King Records, the iconic Cincinnati label that produced several celebrated and legendary musicians from the 1940s into the early 1970s (including James Brown), will receive support from Newport's PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION for the revitalization of the former King studio in Evanston.
According to a press release, PromoWest Productions CEO Scott Stienecker announced that the company will be donating $20,000 to the project and has commissioned a mural in the OVATION green room.
“PromoWest is very excited to support King Records,” said Stienecker.
King Records' old studio/office at 1532-36 Brewster Ave. in Evanston was named a historic landmark by the city in 2015 and, in 2018, Cincinnati City Council approved a land swap with the existing owner of the former studio property, who had been threatening demolition of the dilapidated buildings.
The city has since started repairs on the structures with the help of a King Records Legacy committee. The committee was formed to help steer the project as it becomes a "new music-making and cultural center, museum and more," says the release. While work continues on the historic site, those in the green room at the new OVATION concert venue in Northern Kentucky will be reminded of King's influence in the development of Rock & Roll by bringing Country and R&B together.
The mural will honor three King Records legacies — Otis Williams, Philip Paul and Bootsy Collins — for their contributions to music and their leadership over the past decade in keeping the King Records story alive. The three musicians have been working alongside the King Record Legacy Committee, as well as the City of Cincinnati and Mayor Cranley’s Music Ambassador program.
The mural will be painted by artist Keith Neltner of Neltner Small Batch.
“We are thrilled with Stienecker’s generous and forward-thinking partnership,” said King Records Legacy Chair Ken Butts in the release.
Otis Williams was born in Cincinnati in 1936 and formed vocal group “Otis Williams and the Charms” in the early 1950s, before signing to King Records in 1954. The band’s “Heart of Stone" reached no. 1 on the R&B charts that same year, followed by several other hits throughout the decade. The press release notes that artists like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys have covered Williams.
Philip Paul was born in Harlem, New York in 1925 and started playing drums when he was 9 years old. Shortly after moving to Cincinnati in the early 1950s, Paul became the studio drummer for the record label until 1965. According to the press release, Paul was a King session drummer with artists like Freddie King, Little Willie John, Lulu Reed, Bull Moose Jackson and Tiny Bradshaw.
Bootsy Collins was born in Cincinnati in 1951 and rose to fame in the early 1970s with his work with James Brown and later with the success as a bassist in the Parliament-Funkadelic. A 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Collins' also worked with artists like Hank Ballard, Vicki Anderson and Lynn Collins.
The $40 million OVATION will sit atop a 550-space parking garage and will have capacity for 7,000 fans outside and another 2,700 inside. PromoWest says that it will host 180 events a year and could draw as many as 400,000 people annually. They hope to have it open sometime in 2021.
The King Records buildings are located at 1540 Brewster Ave in Evanston. PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION is located at 101 W. Fourth St., Newport.