WHEN King King decided to release their first ever live album towards the end of last year, they released the live version of their single Waking Up to promote it
But you would have had to have been asleep to miss the rise of the band which makes its Inverness debut on Saturday.
With five top awards at last year’s British Blues Awards - best male vocal, best bassist, best song, best album and best songwriter – plus an Amazon number one for their first live album, the band is ticking all the right boxes.
But it’s not been a problem-free run since the band formed in 2010.
And maybe the toughest recently saw Alan undergo a throat operation that might have ended his career.
Alan, keyboard player Bob Fridzema, bassist Lindsay Coulson and drummer Wayne Proctor had to take time out – and it was an anxious wait, Alan says, when an examination revealed he needed to have polyps removed from his vocal cords.
"It meant I had to have a good six months off to try and recover properly and then unfortunately, me being the character I am, I tried to come back too soon and I did a little bit more damage," he says.
"I had to take more time off which is why we ended up having to reschedule some shows.
"I was just desperate to get back and get going again.
"But I have to say the fans have been so kind, helpful and so supportive and all I get is messages wishing me well.
"So I can’t thank them enough for that.
"Maybe we are doing something right."
On top of the recovery, there was another delay for Alan.
"I’m also literally coming back from a dose of laryngitis – so I’ve just got over that period where you are still going through walking on stage and being a bit worried about whether everything is going to be fine.
"Once that goes away and the confidence comes back, it’s a joyful thing to be able to sing again.
"You do really start to appreciate things like that when at one point you could have been facing your career ending."
But it doesn’t sound as if alternative career plans – or a plan B to singing would be on the singer’s agenda …
"I’m screwed," laughs Alan with his big gutsy laugh. "If it’s not this, it’s nothing. I’d be in a cardboard box somewhere."
But the voice and Alan have been companions for a long time – almost as long as he wanted to be a frontman.
Alan explains: "When I was a teenager, I started playing in bands and I really didn’t want to sing.
"I just listened to the music of guitarist. I was a lover of blues music and classic rock and I just wanted to play those guitar things.
"But I also knew I wanted to be the frontman of a band, so that meant you had to be the singer, in my book.
"So I took it up, but it’s over the years that I’ve developed as a singer. It didn’t happen right away, I always sang, I always had a voice. But it’s really more in recent years that I’ve been able to find my voice.
"I suppose the more relaxed you get about singing, the more your earlier influences start to show and you develop a singing style. I’ve been influenced by guys like Paul Rodgers and Danny Bowes of Thunder and early Whitesnake, stuff like that, Steve Marriott, all those great, great singers you could never sing like, but I try … which is why I end up in hospital getting an operation done!" he laughs.
"I was on the phone to Danny Bowes and I said ‘This is your fault for singing the way you do then having me try to copy it!’
"And Danny said ‘I blame it on Paul Rodgers, ’cos I try to copy him!’
"So maybe we’re all doing the same thing,!"
There’s a new album planned for September – the fourth studio album. And just last year they released a live album, recorded in Glasgow.
Alan said: "I’ll be honest with you, it took a while to get the home crowd onside. Now that that has happened, it’s amazing.
"We played the ABC in Glasgow last year and that’s where we recorded the live album and it was just an absolutely special night.
"There were a thousand people there making just a ridiculous racket and they were so behind us that it was amazing."
For the first King King gig at the Ironworks, what should the crowd expect from the set?
"What we try and do is a cross-section of all three albums, stuff from Take My Hand and from the Standing In Shadows album – the second – and the Reaching For The Light stuff plus a couple of new tunes from the album we are just about to release.
"So we just try and mix it up and hopefully it blends together and makes a good show."
The straightforward approach extends to the rider – nothing fancy there to see, folks.
Alan laughed: "We are the worst band in the world for that!"
"There’s no blue M&Ms, there’s no freshly-cut grass – we simply ask for water, that’s it! But if we were feeling very extravagant, we’d maybe say ‘Could you get us some cottage cheese and some ryvita?’
"But that’s about as rock n roll as our rider gets I’m afraid!"
King King play the Ironworks on Saturday, May 13 with support from Bad Touch.