King’s X hits the road as ‘Gretchen…’ turns 30

Buy ‘What You Make It’ here to read it before the show.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, King’s X has completed recording its first album since ‘XV’ (2008). The band recorded at Blacksound Studio in Pasadena, Calif., with ‘Strum Sum Up’ producer Michael Parnin. Details have been kept very close to the vest, but to a person the band seems very pleased with both the process and the results.

One thing did emerge, thanks to the keen eyes of an Aussie King’s X fan, an in-studio whiteboard list of potential working song titles:

New Joys for The World
Basically Saints
She Called Me Home
Flood Pt. 1
Sister Geno
The Whole World Is Crying
Unfiltered Luv
Welcome
Take the Time
All Gods Children
Company
Festival
Give It Up
Watcher
Holidays
Jesus He Don’t
Keep on Goin’
Let It Rain
Nothing But The [illegible]

Roy Turner was in town, gathering footage for the King’s X documentary he’s making. Along the way he captured these in-studio progress reports. Yes, they’re from Week 1, but Turner promises he’ll release another installment once this one reaches 1,000 views

And now the road beckons. The first leg, detailed below, hits the northeast US. Who knows, maybe they’ll perform some of the new material. And you’ll definitely hear songs from ‘Gretchen Goes To Nebraska,’ which turns 30 today! Europe follows in the fall.

6/28 – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
6/29 – Tail Winds Music Fest – Wappingers Falls, NY
6/30 – The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY

7/9 -@- The Vault Music Hall & Pub at Greasy Luck New Bedford, MA
7/11 -@- Wally’s Hampton Beach, NH
7/12 -@- Aura Portland, ME
7/13 -@- Granite State Music Hall NH, Laconia, NH

*Sound & Shape will be Supporting us on these shows!

7/18 – Turnbuckles – Dayton, OH *
7/19 – The Token Lounge– Westland, MI *
7/20 – The Odeon – Cleveland, OH*

7/30 – Sharkey’s Bar & Grill, Syracuse, NY
8/1 – The Queen, Wilmington, DE *
8/2 – Sellersville Theater & Washington House Hotel & Restaurant, Sellersville, PA *
8/3 – The Newton Theatre, Newton, NJ *

Buy ‘What You Make It’ here to read it after the show.

 

‘What You Make It’ turns 1!

‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’ is 1-year old today! And what a year it’s been. Without doubt, the highlight was getting to experience more directly than ever the ardent devotion of dUg’s fans. It’s never-ending.

But passion will only get you so far, and one of the biggest things dUg’s fans have in common with the man himself is kindness. Add a good dose of fun on both sides and a special bond is formed. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being along for the ride.

 

More importantly, since ‘What You Make It’s’ release, King’s X signed with Golden Robot Records and has been in Pasadena, Calif., at Blacksound Studio, with Michael Parnin making its first album in 11 years.

Once its final touches are in place, King’s X hits the road, crisscrossing the northeast US during the summer before heading to Europe for the month of September. A trio of Texas dates already scheduled for mid-November could coincide with the new record’s release, but that is just this writer’s speculation.

Between Europe and Texas, dUg heads out for the second leg of the Experience Hendrix tour, having garnered rave reviews during the first leg for his show-stealing set with Joe Satriani and Kenny Aronoff.

 

With this much action ahead, I want to take advantage of the current calm to thank you all for buying ‘What You Make It,’ telling your friends about it, posting about it…everything.

It’s been beyond anything I expected.

If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, you can buy ‘What You Make It’ here. And fittingly enough, given that we’re on the cusp of what could end up being King’s X biggest year in decades, there’s a band biography available as well. Read ‘em both!

See you out there.

Chris

Review: Machete, Willbringer (by Trevi Biles)

I’ve never reviewed a children’s book. But there’s never been one that moved me the way this one did. Appropriate to the genre, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Each children’s book has three essential components: a message, a story, and pictures. I’ve ranked ‘Machete,…’ for each. It did very well. I’ve also attempted to summarize what you and your child will take away from the book.

 

Scores: 1-5 scale

Message – 6

Narrative – 6

Illustrations – 6

 

Bottom line: Deep human contact is more needed than ever.

 

Discussion:

The important themes touched on by ‘Machete,…’ include proper behavior in group settings, finding music in nature, the importance of both the arts and determination, leading a simple life, and the fulfillment found in following one’s passions. Biles has triumphed on debut by crafting these lessons without either lecturing or beating the reader over the head. Visually, the use of crayons and colored pencils throughout creates a relatable environment for the younger reader. Bonus points for trusting these readers to be excited about expanding their vocabularies.

 

Machete bio (2)

 

[In addition to what’s shown on his bio, Trevi plays bass guitar (And Darkness and Decay, Whorehound, Venomous Maximus), runs an award winning hot sauce company (Big Daddy’s Hot Sauces) with his wife, Becky, and teaches calculus.]

dUg, Satch, and Aronoff highlight Experience Hendrix

From the first date of Experience Hendrix 2019 there has been one point of consensus: the regular-set closing trio of dUg Pinnick, Joe Satriani, and Kenny Aronoff steals the show. There is no recreating Hendrix’ alchemy (and everybody involved in the Experience tour seems to realize this) but the sheer rock joy with which these three attack their portion of the set has an affirming power all its own.

The songs? ‘Crosstown Traffic,’ ‘Manic Depression,’ ‘I Don’t Live Today,’ ‘3rd Stone From the Sun,’ and ‘Voodoo Child.’

It’s also been great seeing Doug gush over finally meeting and hanging with Band of Gypsys’  bassist Billy Cox. Mutual respect seems to abound between them. And why not? As Doug put it on social media:

“I remember back when Band of Gypsys live was released. I was a beginning bass player, I learned the bass on the whole record. And now we got bass rigs side by side!!! And he’s buying the DPX3 [pedal], talk about full circle…what an honor!!!!”

Experience Hendrix continues across the eastern US through an Apr. 6 stop in Wallingford, Conn., so get out and shake that thing!

More good news? Once the tour’s done, recording of the NEW KING’S X RECORD gets underway in Los Angeles. The band’s management company “will be making an announcement soon” regarding studio and producer.

And finally, King’s X leaps back into live action with a string of northeast dates at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ; NYC’s Gramercy Theatre; the Tail Winds Music Fest with The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Black Stone Cherry, Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime, and Sass Jordan; Wally’s Pub in Hampton, NH; Aura in Portland, Maine; and Granite State Music Hall in Laconia, NH.

Buy ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick here!

Enjoy the rock! Enjoy the read!

Doug Pinnick bio ‘What You Make It’: heavy metal cruise reading

(you know, for the all that time you’ll be spending in your cabin!)

Click here to buy!

Doug has earned a vacation, right? He’s been working in one band or another for as long as most of us have been listening to music. And he’s done nothing but pick up the pace of late, writing, recording, and touring in multiple acts over the course of any given month.

Well good news! In nine days (Feb. 24) Doug leaves from Miami on a cruise to Jamaica.

No. It’s not quite a vacation. He and King’s X are one of the featured bands on the Monsters of Rock Cruise (MORC) 2019. But still, I’m sure it’ll be nice.

This isn’t his main band’s first performance as part of a floating festival either. Back in 2016 King’s X was part of KISS Kruise VI, joining Whitford/St. Holmes, Skid Row, The Dead Daisies, and others on the featured act’s undercard.

Tesla is headlining MORC. Skid Row is part of the festivities again. New to sharing a boat with King’s X, but familiar to all dUg fans, is Richie Kotzen.

Also new for this voyage is the perfect onboard reading material: ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick.’ You can download it for Kindle or buy a hardcopy in case you get a chance to grab an autograph from the man himself.

Either way, if you’re going on this cruise you’re in for a treat. Just look at the lineup!

 

Tesla, Tom Kiefer, Extreme, Queensryche, Saxon, Skid Row, Y&T, UDO, Kix, Danger Danger, Richie Kotzen, D∙A∙D, Pat Travers Band, The Quireboys, The Wildhearts, Rose Tattoo, Killer Dwarfs, Vain, Bullet Boys, Faster Pussycat, Jetboy, and the list goes on…

 

More good news? Even if you’re not on MORC you’re going to have plenty of chances to see dUg in action this year. And recording of the NEW KING’S X RECORD gets underway.

The boat returns to Miami on Mar. 1. Two days later Doug takes the stage in Pompano Beach, Fla., as part of the 2019 Experience Hendrix tour, wrapping Apr. 6 in Wallingford, Conn., at which point he rejoins Ty and Jerry in the studio to begin making their first new music together in more than a decade.

dUg takes a brief intermission in the first part of May from crafting new King’s X to roll with 3rd Ear Experience from New Orleans (May 1) through Texas, Arizona, and California. 3EE is a desert jam collaboration led by dUg’s long-time friend Robbi Robb. The two first met when both were on Megaforce and have had overlapping musical journey’s ever since (as chronicled in ‘What You Make It’).

And finally, King’s X leaps back into live action with a string of northeast dates at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ; NYC’s Gramercy Theatre; and the Tail Winds Music Fest with The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Black Stone Cherry, Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime, and Sass Jordan.

 

Enjoy the rock! Enjoy the read!

Komatsu – ‘A New Horizon’

The super massive mothersludgers from Eindhoven returned last year with their latest full-length offering on Argonauta Records.  The album titled “A New Horizon” is a fantastic slab of stoner rock heaven.  Mo Truijen’s (guitar/vocals) voice is majestic and powerful as it soars over dense layers of massive groove.  The instrumental track – “Surfing A Landslide” is a moody psychedelic number that takes the listener on a hazy and heavy ride of epic proportions.  The track sequencing alternates beautifully between mid-tempo stompers (“Infected”, “Komatsu”, “I Got Drive”) and slower doomy songs (“10-4”, “Love Screams Cruelty”, “A New Horizon”).  Arrangements are clever and captivating.  Great melodies and memorable hooks that keep the listener engaged.  The tones are thick and heavy yet capturing an astral airy vibe at the same time.  In a genre that can seem over-saturated at times, KOMATSU offers the right amount of character, grit, musicianship, and song writing prowess to distinguish themselves.  All killer and no filler.  Crank this record to 11 and rock the fuck out. – Aamir Hydari

I agree fully with Aamir and would add that every one of these songs is a multi-layered feast for the ears. Little weirdnesses abound but never intrude (or get hokey), pulling you in further the longer you listen. Sometimes it’s spooky. Sometimes it’s spacey. But it’s always HEAVY.

Check the album out here.

And the rest of Aamir’s list here.

King Chiefs – ‘Blue Sonnet’

My friend Aamir put out his annual Top Albums list late last year. I’m finally making my way through them and was so impressed by his first selection I’ve decided to share it here.

King Chiefs – Blue Sonnet (Roosevelt Row Records) – Hands down my favorite release of the year.  Power, beauty, soul, fuzz…it’s all here.  See my write-up on this awesome band here – http://www.gonzogeek.com/Blog/tabid/62/ID/2145/King-Chiefs.aspx 

‘Blue Sonnet’ is the Phoenix-born but San Diego-based band’s second album, following 2015’s ‘Tomorrow’s Over’ (released as Chiefs). ‘Blue Sonnet’ was produced by Landmine Marathon guitarist Ryan Butler at his Arcane Digital Recording studio in Chandler, Ariz.

You can listen to and buy the record here: https://wearechiefs.bandcamp.com/

Like what you heard? Check out Aamir’s full list.

dUg Pinnick’s Grooviest Tracks

Happy 2019! Last year was big for King’s X, marking the 30th anniversary of its ‘Out Of The Silent Planet’ debut. The band book-ended the occasion with dates in its home state of Texas, including a sold-out Jan. 19 stop at Trees in Dallas. Touring between the Texas runs brought King’s X through Arizona, California, Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (a Sellersville sell out!), with Milwaukee and Chicagoland wrapping up the year.

Word began to emerge in August that King’s X first new album since 2008 would be recorded in 2019. Recording plans became more tangible when King’s X’s signed to Golden Robot Records, an Australian super-indie spearheaded by A&R legend Derek Shulman. A February 2019 release of ‘King’s X: The Oral History’ was also announced.

In the meantime, work started on a King’s X documentary. A film crew followed the band through Texas, shooting many old haunts and talking to friends and associates from the early days. Doug is excited about the project, describing it as a deep—sometimes almost too-close-to-the-bone—dive into what has made King’s X the band it is.

Between all this, Doug could be forgiven for letting his non-King’s X work slide. But 2019 will see him not only hitting the road as part of both Experience Hendrix and 3rd Ear Experience but finishing new solo material, new KXM, and new Grinder Blues.

It’s with an eye to this end of Doug’s musical life that I’ve put together a bracket comprised of Doug’s non-King’s X music. Unlike last year’s King’s X grid, I didn’t have a method in developing this one. I included the songs performed on the Texas Poundation tour, figuring those were Doug’s favorites from his solo career, but otherwise just chose the tunes I liked best.

Just like last time, however, my hope is that the ‘tournament’ will provoke some great conversation and provide an opportunity to listen to some tunes we might not have heard in a while or, for some of them, maybe even ever.

The new year is here. Let the fun begin!dug bracket

King’s X hitting Texas, Milwaukee, Chicagoland

What better way to celebrate the return of cold weather than to rock!?

King’s X evidently agrees, booking a series of Texas and Milwaukee-Chicagoland dates sure to please both dedicated fans and any newcomers looking for shelter.

The fun kicks off with a homecoming show south of Houston at Scout Bar on Nov. 30. Upping the ante for this one is Beaumont-Houston powerhouse Peace and The Chaos: Blake Sticker, Kenneth Q. Turner, Lenwood Sonnier and Wally Farkas. Those last two names should already be familiar to any King’s X fan, but the other fellas are going to blow your mind. You ain’t seen sangin’, slangin,’ and bangin’ like this in I don’t even know how long.

S-O-U-L Power Rock!

Peace and The Chaos are the flag bearers of this newly (like right this second) established genre. See them first so you can spread the word and be cool like that.

The Texas swing continues with stops at Canton Hall (Dallas) and Come and Take It Live (Austin). PATC will be on the Austin bill but not Dallas. They will, however, be playing a FREE 5 pm set at Good Records in Dallas before the King’s X action kicks off.

It’s a Saturday (Dec. 1). You hearing me? Go. To. Both!

Dec. 6-9 brings King’s X shows in Milwaukee (Shank Hall), St. Charles, Ill. (Arcada Theatre), and Chicago (Reggie’s). The Arcada show features guitar wizard Vinnie Moore (UFO, Alice Cooper, Vicious Rumors) as support, creating a muso’s dream bill.

Get your tickets to any and all of these shows below. Then keep scrolling for a taste of what you’ll be experiencing once you’re there!

11/30/18 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar – https://ticketf.ly/2oTraLY
12/01/18 – Dallas, TX – Canton Hall – https://ticketf.ly/2oXDpaq
12/02/18 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live – https://ticketf.ly/2MYLHNz

12/06/18 – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall – http://bit.ly/2oWJa8j
12/07/18 – St. Charles, IL – Arcada Theatre – http://bit.ly/2N3zVSa
12/09/18 – Chicago, IL – Reggie’s – https://ticketf.ly/2oXqRQo

Excerpts from ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’

“One of the stops on the road with [Morgan] Cryar in 1984 was Sulphur, La., where Dane Sonnier had a 10th grade English teacher who knew he and Lenwood (then 13) played guitar and told them about the show. Dane and Len’s parents bought them tickets. They had good seats in a little theater and even as a backing musician, Doug’s stage appeal was inescapable. After performing, the band came out to talk with the audience. Dane met Doug and the two struck up a conversation, exchanged addresses, and became pen pals. Doug’s mail to Dane would be addressed to Dane “The Child Prodigy” Sonnier and encouraged his pursuit of music.”

“The seeds of branching out [for ‘Strum Sum Up’] were sown when Doug initially returned to the 10 songs that hadn’t been used for ‘XV’ to finish them. He’d always found his guitar playing sloppy and wanted to hear what the songs would sound like cleaned up. The whole process was also taking a lot longer than he wanted. He called Farkas, who at the time was living just down the street from Doug at Ty’s house.   Farkas went to Poundhound [studio] to lay down some tracks. Doug showed Wally how to play the parts, then hit record. “We knocked out all the guitar parts, double-tracked and everything, for an entire album’s worth of material in a day,” remembers Farkas. When Doug played them back, listening to just Farkas and the drum machine, he was blown away. There was life to his solo music, and all it took was a real guitar player!”

Hard copy and Kindle editions of ‘What You Make It’ are available NOW on Amazon.

You can also buy the hard copy through Barnes & Noble.

“Not your generic ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ biography designed to cash in on some nostalgia. Smith has done a superb job capturing the life of [an] iconic and respected musician.” – Metal-Rules.com

“Smith manages to cover a lot of ground and provides an insight into one of the best musicians of our time. [‘What You Make It’] is highly suggested if you are a fan of King’s X or Doug Pinnick.” – Read, Rock, Repeat

“This isn’t a eulogy to a ‘big time Charlie’ rock star. Rather, the book tries to explain the journey of a man who looks to music to save him from a certain amount of life confusion. It’s atypical, which is surely a good thing in these days of formulaic, plodding biogs…. Smith writes with knowledge and enthusiasm.” – Rock Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King’s X Most Beloved Song Ever: ‘Over My Head’

Back in July, to have some fun with Doug’s wonderful fans, I set up a 64-entry bracket to determine King’s X’s most beloved song ever. And after 10s of thousands of votes cast, the winner is: ‘Over My Head’!

This outcome will likely not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen the band live, ‘Over My Head’ having long held a place of honor near the end of a King’s X set. The band regularly extends the song past the 10-min mark, Ty and Jerry holding down the groove while Doug calls the congregation together for a combination sermon and sing-along.

The victory is also appropriate given the bracket’s mission: to find King’s X’s MOST BELOVED song. ‘BEST song’ is a category that can be debated forever, with a tournament attempting to address the topic likely doomed to failure from the start.,

‘Over My Head’ beat out Gretchen Goes to Nebraska album-mate ‘Pleiades’ for the top spot, 56% to 44%.

The 64 songs selected were a combination of the band’s most popular, its live standards, fan favorites, and my own favorites. I briefly considered seeding the entries, but decided that could slant the contest too much towards my own preferences and put them in an online randomizer instead.

As it turned out, I’m pretty sure ‘Over My Head’ had this from the beginning.

Enjoy a few different performances of it at the end of the post, starting with the studio version from ‘Gretchen Goes To Nebraska.’

 

“Back in Katy after the tour, Doug and Ty started songwriting, Sam cautioning the band about the potential for a sophomore slump. “We can’t have that,” he said. “You got great acclaim on the first one, and everybody’s expecting the second one to be crap. I want to hear everything you’ve got.”

The band pulled all its demos, going back years. Among them was a 2-track recording of ‘Over My Head’ Doug had made using a microphone, a tape player, and a recorder. He had faced the speakers toward each other to record one another, used a Mattel drum machine, and wrote the whole song, almost just the way it came out in the finished version. Doug didn’t like it. He thought the chorus didn’t go anywhere and that the song as a whole didn’t work.

He had thrown it in a pile with the rest of his perceived misfires and there it sat until Sam’s demo roundup.

When Doug heard it start as he was playing his songs for Sam, he moved to skip it, describing it as “a piece of crap.”

“No,” said Sam, “let’s hear it.”

Ty, Jerry, and Sam all loved it.

Doug still didn’t like the song, but took their word regarding its qualities and moved on.”

Excerpt from ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CZXHK3L

 

(1989)

 

(1994)

 

(2009)

 

(2016)