King's X Planning Trip Down Memory Lane for 2010
By BRIAN HEATON
Twenty-one years after its debut album, King's X remain largely unknown to the average rock music fan. With little commercial success, one might reasonably expect the band to cut its losses and wind down. But the power trio of Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill shows no signs of slowing. If anything, 2010 might be the busiest year in the band's history.
Pinnick, King's X's primary singer and bass player, revealed that the band was discussing a variety of projects for the upcoming year, including the release of King's X's first major live DVD and a possible box set of the band's years on Atlantic Records.
For hardcore fans, however, one of the more interesting options under consideration is playing Gretchen Goes to Nebraska in its entirety. Released in 1989, Gretchen is heralded by many fans as King's X's greatest work. Although quite a few bands have followed the full album presentation trend in recent years, it would be the first time for King's X.
"We've been throwing around the idea of doing all of Gretchen in key cities with a lot of special effects," Pinnick revealed. "A lot of the songs we don't play live much, so it's going to take some work."
Although the King's X frontman was clear that playing Gretchen front-to-back was not carved in stone and is just being discussed internally among the band members, the one firm undertaking is the live DVD. Shot earlier this year in London, England, the release will feature a DVD of the concert and a bonus audio CD of the performance that is being mixed by Tabor.
Currently in the mixing stage, the DVD was filmed in high-definition by eight cameras and will be released by InsideOut Music in the coming year. Pinnick was ecstatic about what he has seen of the footage, saying it was the first time he was really pleased with how he and the band had been portrayed on camera.
New music is also on the horizon for King's X, but according to Pinnick, nothing is imminent. The band really wants to take its time when they finally hit the studio and create something a little deeper than King's X's last few records.
"We've been trying to write a couple of hit songs so we can sell some records," the bassist admitted. "Next time we want to do a real record again – Gretchen, Dogman, something people can sink their teeth into. We've been writing songs and want to get back to ground zero and touch someone emotionally."
One of the things Pinnick was adamant about was writing together as a band. The singer revealed that most songs on King's X last album, XV, were written individually. While both fans and media praised the record, Pinnick noted that only one song, "Go Tell Somebody," was written by the group together in the studio. It's a vibe the singer wants to build on.
"We want to do it in Los Angeles somewhere, get in a room and hash it out, take our time and have some fun," Pinnick said.
Just back from a short slate of dates with progressive rockers Porcupine Tree, Pinnick was thrilled at the reaction King's X received from fans.
"The tour was great and so were the guys in Porcupine Tree," the singer said. "There were a ton of sold out shows and we really won the crowd and had them all singing. They gave us a lot of respect and it was very successful."
On the road periodically since summer 2008, King's X is likely done touring in support of XV, according to Pinnick. Although King's X made sure to include a few new tracks from its latest album into its set list each night, the band made a conscious effort to play its hits – a decision the frontman has mixed feelings about.
When asked about King's X's classic tune "Over My Head," Pinnick emphatically stated that he never gets sick of performing it because of the crowd response, despite it being 20 years old. But that doesn't hold true for him regarding some of the band's other fan-favorites.
"Truthfully, I'm pretty sick of 'Dogman,' 'Black Flag,' and 'We Were Born to Be Loved,' but I understand it's a part of it," Pinnick admitted. "When I'm a fan of a band, I don't want to hear stuff I don't know. I want to hear my favorite songs and I get mad if I don't."
As strange as it might seem to those that know about the band, King's X is relegated to playing small clubs as headliners these days -- not exactly a lucrative career. Despite being cited as an influence by members of genre-defining acts such as Pearl Jam and Pantera, King's X hasn't been able to have a prolonged period of notoriety and financial success like many of its contemporaries.
Pinnick acknowledged that at times, the fact that King's X hasn't had that big break does bother him, but not to the point of depression.
"We live week-to-week and it's only frustrating on the days where I can't pay my bills and something as simple like buying tires screws up the whole month," Pinnick explained with a laugh. "I don't feel like a loser or want to give up, but sometimes you feel that way. If King's X isn't as successful, it's not the peoples' fault. Life is what you make it. I'm a musician but I'm not a rich rock star. I just do what I like to do."
For more information on King's X, visit www.kingsxrocks.com. All concert photos courtesy of King's X and InsideOut Music.
Copyright 2009, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.