Enfield’s kings of rock return

King Cujo bassist Ben Keep on how the band ended up back in the studio after a 15-year break

Enfield rock act King Cujo first formed in 1998 (credit Jamie Taylor/Homble Photography)
Enfield rock act King Cujo first formed in 1998 (credit Jamie Taylor/Homble Photography)

When my Enfield-based band Cujo split up over 15 years ago we left behind an impressive list of achievements from our nine years of blasting audiences with loud-and-proud alternative rock at blistering, sweat-filled gigs.

In that time, singer/guitarist Kevin Dawson, drummer Jamie Hook and myself as bassist shared stages with Jet, Razorlight and The Subways. We also won both the Virgin Radio Unsigned and ITV London Tonight Unsigned competitions, culminating with a slot at the O2 Wireless Festival.

We initially formed as a four-piece (with then-bassist James Norton and myself on guitar) and played our first gig at The Laurel Tree in Camden in 1998. We enjoyed two years of growing our fanbase before tragedy struck in summer 2000 when James was killed in a motorbike accident. After a step away from playing, we decided to move forward as a three-piece as I switched to bass. We used playing together to push us through our grief, while honing our sound across three albums over the next few years.

By 2007, feeling our chance had passed, Cujo disbanded. Other than a handful of anniversary gigs for James, no new music or gigs came along. Then, in 2020 during lockdown, Kevin suggested we record an at-home version of Summer Song, a track originally penned for James. We put it online, the fires reignited, and we soon returned to the rehearsal room together. At first, we had no real agenda, but as new material began to surface, it wasn’t long before there was talk of recording new music.

Now back with the new name King Cujo, we are about to release our third single in as many months, before releasing our first album in 18 years – Lost Inside The Landfill – in February.

With over 1,000 plays across 200 radio stations already, the music has our trademark edge, vitality and impact – while pushing our sound to greater, more layered depths.

Many bands reforming in their 40s dampen the urgency and high-octane energy with their new output, but the mix of lockdown, Brexit, middle-age and anger at the UK government has led us to create some of our most vitriolic, anxiety-induced songs and lyrics yet!

Find out more about King Cujo:

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