PCK. “OK, let’s see the papers”.

They all decided that this was their best answer for coming up with the name of the band. They each had ideas, but none worked for all three, so the solution was to leave it up to fate: each would write down the word that expressed what they thought of their ensemble, and the three words would be the name of the band.

Wayne Sherman, the percussion master sitting on his drummer’s throne, looked out upon his realm: KINGDOM.

Louis Johnson, the bass player, considered the world of styles found in their music as well as their ambition: PLANETARY.

Erik Leone, the multi-instrumentalist and lead singer, thought of how much fun it was to meld so many different musical genres into an on-stage experience with so much variety and joy. One word came to mind that suggested the constantly changing entertainment for the band and the audience: CIRCUS.


Named, but not born. Wayne and Erik have played music together since grade school; Wayne was a natural drummer and Erik started playing keyboards at 18 months, performing classical piano recitals from the age of 10 and participating in adult classical voice competitions as a teenager. He also picked up the guitar at the age of twelve and absorbed other instruments during his education: drums, bass, brass and didgeridoo, among others. They had bands during their school years with another friend on bass; with graduation came changes.

Erik and Wayne jammed with Louis early on, but he was a few years behind them. When all were beyond their school years the current incarnation of the band was cemented. It has now been a decade since their first jam, and it sounds it – in a big way.

And it sounds – unlike anything else. Or like everything else, all at once? Genres blend, not only song to song, but within songs. One hears snippets of familiar sounds, but to name a few would be to ignore the scores of influences represented; a veritable kingdom of styles, reflecting planetary influences, brought under a musical big top that revels in a display of the exotic and the wonderful.

A great band requires a great rhythm section; Wayne and Lewis deliver, to the point where Erik occasionally stops playing, allowing the Planetary Kingdom the spotlight as a musical entity in itself. Sometimes the two-man band supports Erik as simply the singer.

Most of the time Erik plays guitar or keys, sometimes guitar and keys simultaneously. Sometimes…!?!?!?

It is the changeability and flow that impresses. An occasional cover pops up, but mostly performances feature original songs the variety of which display a roving eclecticism and sense of adventure. To hear one song, or even one performance, does not hint at the breadth of the band even as it displays its depth. And when done, the performance illuminates the name:


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Planetary Circus Kingdom
September 2012
Boston, United States
I am:
Music & Art