Start me up: Alan Nimmo

(Image credit: John Bull)

Alan Nimmo is the kilt-wearing, Les Paul-wielding guitarist and vocalist from King King, one of the UK's hottest emerging blues outfits.

He first came to the guitar around the age of 12, his interest spurred on by his older brother. Initially, his attention was drawn to bands like Guns N' Roses, but after spending some time with a beaten-up old acoustic guitar that had been lying around the house, he began listening more to blues-rock:

"I really started getting into bands like Free, Bad Company and Peter Green and started literally fumbling around on the fretboard until it sounded like what I was listening to."

Who has he listened to?

Pretty soon, Paul Kossoff's playing became Alan's biggest influence - something that remains in place today. From there, he discovered Gary Moore's Blues For Greeny, which provoked some further exploration into the blues genre in the shape of John Mayall's Blues Breakers.

I heard Gary Moore play All Your Love and I thought, 'Where did that come from?'

After that it was Clapton, Thin Lizzy, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, plus the older school of BB King, T-Bone Walker and Muddy Waters.

"I heard Gary Moore play All Your Love and I thought, 'Where did that come from?' I heard John Mayall doing it after that and then I went back and discovered it was Otis Rush and started listening to him. It was a great discovery."

What's so great about his playing?

Alan's playing references a fine blend of influences that stretch back to Robert Johnson, but with a contemporary twist, and combines the fire of Gary Moore with the passion of players such as Peter Green and T-Bone Walker, something he's been working on since his formative years in school bands.

In fact, his first ever gig was in front of 800 of his fellow students in his school's assembly hall. "We were playing Born To Be Wild and Jimi Hendrix stuff and there was a great band from Glasgow called Gun and we used to cover one or two of their songs as well."

Why do you need to hear him?

Alan's come a long way since the school hall. He might have been armed only with a cheap guitar and a Boss MG-10 amp in those days, but that the enthusiasm and zeal that fires a King King performance today was in evidence even back then.

A self-confessed technophobe, Alan went through the next few years using a Les Paul and an old Marshall JMP head with a George Dennis wah-wah pedal that still forms part of his gear today.

"I am forever trying to find the ultimate sound and I get new gear all the time. After a while, it's, 'I'm not quite happy with that', but I'm always searching for the perfect sound."

What gear does he use?

Trying to get the audience in the palm of your hand from the first song, that's what makes me tick

You'll find him playing through a Budda amp head, fed into an Orange 2x12. He also uses an Orange Rockerverb 50 head. Guitar-wise, it's still the Les Paul Standard, but as a contrast he will switch to a Lone Star Strat-style guitar for some numbers.

On the floor, he favours Line 6 effects such as chorus, tremolo and delay, and uses a Dunlop Pork Loin or Analog. Man King Of Tone for his drive sound.

"I'm such a dinosaur when it comes to these things. I'm not a tech head at all. I'm a kind of plug-in-and-go guy but I've forced myself over the years, especially with King King."

Where should I start?

King King have three albums so far - Take My Hand, Standing In The Shadows and Reaching For The Light - but it's on the live stage where the real magic is unleashed and King King have a busy touring schedule, much to the delight of their growing fanbase.

"I've always been a live player. I've always been at home on a stage, because trying to get the passion across and the feel, that's the best part for me. Trying to get the audience in the palm of your hand from the first song, that's what makes me tick. That's great."

King King May 2016 UK tour with special guest Dan Patlansky
24 hour box office - 0844 478 0898
Book online at The Gig Cartel

Manchester Academy - Thursday 12 May
Gateshead Sage - Friday 13 May
Glasgow O2 ABC - Saturday 14 May
Sheffield City Hall - Sunday 15 May
Gloucester Guildhall - Wednesday 18 May
Crawley Hawth - Thursday 19 May
Salisbury City Hall - Friday 20 May
Birmingham Town Hall - Saturday 21 May