A New Chapter After Book of the Broken
Story by Ryan Percy
Photography by Henry Nadasdi
From playing Guitar Hero in their basement to rocking the Strawberry Fest and now touring across North America, the Autumn Kings have worked their hardest to make sure Windsor is put on the music world map.
It started out with a plastic guitar in hand during the mid-2000s. Shredding along the multicoloured frets to rock classics like Paint it Black and Rock You Like a Hurricane and nearly breaking those buttons on Dragonforce’s Through the Fire and Flames.
“I was 12 years old and I’d get home around 4 then play Guitar Hero 3 until 10 or 11 at night,” says Jake Diab, guitarist and co-lead vocalist for the band. “I ended up becoming just an animal at the game and years later when I stepped into the real music business, I realized how valuable of an opportunity that game was for so many artists.”
The game introduced an entire generation to rock music, metal, hip-hop, blues and many other genres. It was a formative experience for the generation that picked up the plastic axe to shred on.
So it was no wonder that Jake and friends decided to get actual instruments and start the band out.
After practicing and building calluses for hours every day, the group walked out onto the stage of the 2015 LaSalle Strawberry Festival and everything began falling into place.
Now, with 7 years of experience across performances, recording and touring the band is pushing hard to make sure everyone gets a taste of the Autumn Kings.
“We’ve been touring the States,” Diab says of the band’s recent gigs, “Mainly the midwest within Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. We’ve been growing our fan base and slugging it out on the rounds, taking that homegrown sound and getting it into neighbouring markets.”
But while the States have been a massive market to push into, the band has not neglected their hometown and Canadian fans.
“We just finished a show in Kitchener and even got a chance to play at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto,” Diab says of their recent tour hitting major cities along the 401.
The Horseshoe Tavern is a well-known spot earning its legendary status in the music scene. Acts like Nickelback, Billy Talent and the Rolling Stones have all strutted onto the same stage there in their own quests to make it big.
But bars and music clubs aren’t the only place the Autumn Kings have set their amps to max to thrill listeners alike.
“In April 2022 we performed inside Little Caesars arena during the Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers game,” Diab says. “And in October we’re playing at the Chicago Blackhawks United Center when they play the Edmonton Oilers.”
Jake especially has an attachment to the Little Caesars arena, having grown up in Windsor it was always the closest arena to watch NHL games at.
“I dreamed of becoming a hockey player that played in that arena,” Jake says of Little Caesars arena. “So being able to play there is neighbouring that dream now. But what I’d like to do is be able to sell out Little Caesars at some point. Everything would come full circle.”
But while the band tours, plays shows and sells merch, they are a bunch of creative people at the end of the day; artists looking to make music.
“We try to make the catchiest music possible while retaining that rock edge that we think is missing in TikTok and top 40 radio culture,” Jake says of how their music differs from what you might hear on the radio or social media.
Jake refers to the style of the band as an amalgamation of different genres, pop hooks that get the song glued in your mind mixed with rock tuned to a knife’s edge with the aggressiveness of hip hop.
“We were influenced heavily by Ontario bands like Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Sum 41 and Thousand Foot Krutch,” Diab says of where the band looked to for inspiration. “Some might even say an alarmingly close influence on our first record.”
The track Jake hints at is Come Save Me which does have a very Billy Talent vibe to it.
But while they may have started out as a pure rock band the group has grown and matured, their influences and experimentation being allowed to expand out.
“I personally felt the pure rock genre was not progressing as fast as some other genres like pop, EDM or R&B were,” Jake says of growing as a musician. “We didn’t want to hit a dead end, so we wanted to try and create a new sound that hasn’t been out there.”
The band looked at themselves and found special synergies that let them play to their strengths and make a more intriguing core sound.
The other co-lead vocalist, Joe Coccimiglio, has a much softer voice than Jake’s. This allows the group a wider range of not just tone but also presence in their music. Had Jake been the main voice behind Castles off their 2022 album Book of the Broken it would paint a much different picture than Joe’s lower tone.
Book of the Broken almost feels like the end of one chapter and the start of a new one. Ever since COVID had rocked every industry, but especially live music, the band had been focusing on releasing singles. But as the world begins to open back up the latest album is a cathartic explosion of emotions bottled up during those times.
With the Book of the Broken closed during a dark chapter of the industry the band has no place to go but forward, diving into the world instruments in hand to live their dreams.
Autumn Kings latest album, Book of the Broken, and the rest of their discography is available on music streaming platforms while albums and merchandise are available at autumnkings.com.
If you want to show your love in person to the band, they are set to perform October 29 at Meteor in downtown Windsor for the Mix 96.7 Presents: Autumn Kings Live in Windsor show. Tickets are available through their website.