A one-man rock ‘n’ roll band

Mark Sultan is coming to a town near you to rattle your brain and show you what rock and roll is really about.

Starting out releasing music under the name “BBQ,” Sultan is one of the hardest working acts in rock and roll, churning out a constant stream of releases and not at the expense of quality. Sultan’s music is simple, to the point, in your face rock and roll with a soul influence that will have you dancing all night long.

Not only does Sultan bash away at a guitar with his hands and a drum set with his feet to create his own solo music, he has been known to team up with some of rock and roll’s greatest heavyweights to create some unforgettable super groups. Sultan is one half of the King Khan & BBQ show, pairing up with garage rock sensation and long-time friend King Khan in 2005 to create eight albums over the course of four years and counting. More recently, Sultan recorded an album with Montreal rock and roller Bloodshot Bill to release a collaborative album in 2010 under the name the Ding Dongs.

I recently had the chance to chat with Sultan about his upcoming North American tour, and here’s what was said.

The ManitobanYou have solo releases both under the names Mark Sultan and BBQ – what do you feel are the differences between these two personas?

Mark Sultan: There aren’t really any differences in the personas. I started as BBQ in like 2002 or 2003, and did two albums before starting the King Khan & BBQ Show in 2004 or 2005. With Mark Sultan as my moniker, I just thought that it would be a means to explore fuller instrumentation on record, so as not to confuse it with the simplicity of the one-man band sounds.

MYou’re teaming up with King Khan for a number of the dates on your North American tour, and recently in a blog post you stated that during your European tour you were able to stay with him for a couple weeks, reconnect, and write some new songs. How was that experience and can we look forward to a new King Khan & BBQ album in the near future?

MS: New album? No idea. We will probably record some stuff in the spring. The experience… I mean we are old friends. I think anyone could imagine what it’s like having a major falling out and then hangin’ again. It’s a relief and like seeing your family again after floating in a submarine for a few years.

MIn 2010 you teamed up with Bloodshot Bill to release a collaborative album under the name the Ding Dongs—which is one of my personal favourites out of your catalogue—how did you find working with Bill, and can we look forward to more from this duo in the future?

MS: Bill is a good friend. I have known him a long time. He’s a classic. It’s great playing with him for many reasons. Mostly I love exploring 50s rock‘n’roll with him [and] playing sounds I love so much, but with someone who has a complete grasp of its intricacies. I think we have mostly been able to play within the tiny window of pure 50s rock‘n’roll —not R&B or rockabilly, so much—and that is difficult.

Do yourself a favor and catch Mark Sultan at the historic Windsor Hotel on Nov. 22 with Rock Lake and the Electrics. 

Photo by John Behm.