Amid the humid pull of the Big Easy's swampy charm and within Jefferson Parish—with its levees held together with FEMA red tape—resides one King Louie. Born Louis Paul Bankston on the curve of the Mississippi River, the man has wasted little time unleashing a violent flurry of murky blues, junkyard punk, and a homespun genre of music that is entirely his own.
A bruised soul from a simpler time entangled with the reckless energy of filthy punk rock, Louie wails on ramshackle numbers (typical song titles: "Tombstone Barstool" and "I'm 13 and Too Ugly to Live") with an inflamed, raspy set of pipes that seem on the verge of complete collapse. Primarily touring as a one-man band, he's a red-faced livewire masked by a harmonica, draped by his guitar, and surrounded by drums and an instrument he is unafraid to use, and use often—the cowbell.
King Louie's recorded output is a dizzying parade of various band names (the Loose Diamonds, Kajun SS, the Persuaders) and curious aliases (King Louie Stomp, King Louie One Man Band). While his heart, and sound, reside deep below the humid reaches of the Bayou, the man's rambling travels once led to a stint in Portland, where he lent his writing and playing skills to Guitar Romantic, the power-pop opus from the Exploding Hearts. In fact, during his two-night stand in town, Friday's performance is a special one-off (billed as "Louie & Terry") with former Exploding Hearts bandmate—and current Nice Boys guitarist—Terry Six.
Most artists we feature have a paper trail of bios, discographies, and factual information—Louie has none of these things. For this smudged myth of dirty DIY history, the truth is dubious at best. Not surprisingly my requests for an interview were ignored, which I suppose is fine, since, in keeping with the Louie mythology, I highly doubt his quotes would reveal much. And, to be honest, I didn't really want to know. Sometimes the myth of a man is more appealing than the truth.