King's X's Doug Pinnick
By Jay Oakley
We've definitely got to start off with your new record. You're back together with KXM, with George (Lynch) and Ray (Luzier,) and you just put out Scatterbrain. How did everything go with the record?
It was cool, it's good. The charts, the whole deal. People are listening and loving it so I'm quite pleased.
It's been about three years since you put out your first record with the band (KXM.) All-in-all, how's it been putting these two records together? From the release of the first one and leading up to the second one.
Well, we just did the second one the same way we did the first one. Nothing new or special. We just went in and jammed parts out and turned them into songs and it went fairly quick actually.
Where there any songs in particular that you really liked from the new record?
I love them all [Laughs] and that's rare for me. To me every song is like a kid.
There were two songs in particular that I wanted to highlight because they were the two songs that spoke the most to me. What can you tell me about the title track "Scatterbrain" and the song "Panic Attack?"
"Scatterbrain" was written fairly quickly because it was really fun when we came up with the music. The lyrics are about the state of the world, the way that I see it, the state of humanity [Laughs] and it's a no brainer. We named the song "Scatterbrain" originally for the song before it even had lyrics and it just seemed so appropriate to keep it that way and to call the record Scatterbrain. With "Panic Attack," it felt like everyone I know is having panic attacks. Everybody seems to be going through hard times and having a hard time with it so the song was written about that kind of situation.
When it came to the formation of the band, I'm under the impression that you all met up at a party. Was that the case?
Yeah, Ray Luzier was having a birthday party for his kid and me and George were invited, amongst other people and we just started talking about making music together and the next thing we knew George had gotten a studio and we were making a record. It made my head spin. It happened so quick.
Did you find that all of your musical styles flowed pretty well?
It seemed like it, ya know. It's like it was a marriage made in heaven. With this band there is no struggle. There's no fights, there's no egos, there's no problems. It's kind of weird, we just go in there and have fun and love each other.
With the new record just coming out and with getting the music out to all the people and doing the press thing like we're doing now, do you have any plans or do your schedules set up in a way that you guys will be able to hit the road together?
No, not yet. Ray's committed to Korn and they're on a year tour so we can't do anything with Ray, at the moment, until he gets a break.
Is this a project that you would like to get out there if the opportunity presented itself?
Oh yeah! We are getting mad offers, people want us to play all the time so I think it would be a really cool thing.
You've been able to work with so many musicians and on so many records but one experience of yours that I thought was really cool was you got to sing for the band Living Colour for a little while. What can you say about that experience?
Yeah, there was ten shows that they had to do in Europe and Corey (Glover) couldn't do it. They money was good so Corey said, "See if Doug wants to do it." and they called me up and I said, "Hell yeah!" and we went and did it. It was a lot of fun. I couldn't do Corey, he sings to high and he has way more stamina they I do when it comes to how high he can sing so I had to do me but it worked.
That's awesome. Did you play also or did you just sing?
No, I just sang.
I'm a big gear nerd and when it comes to your style and your bass playing you've always been very big into and committed to playing twelve-string basses. That's way to many strings for me but I'd love for you to talk about that and what is it about that style of guitars that you're drawn to.
Well, Tom Petersson plays twelve-strings and he's played them since I've heard of Cheap Trick and I've always been fascinated by it. It's nothing new and there's nothing really difficult it's just three strings to the note. It's one big string and two little strings and if you press one thing down then you've got three strings so it's pretty simple. People wonder why you would need twelve strings but it's the same configuration, the same four string configuration.
Because KXM can't hit the road right now, what other things do you have going on right now?
Well, I have a blues band called Grinder Blues and we just finished our second record and we're getting it mixed right now. I have a Jimi Hendrix tribute coming out in a few months after KXM dies out a little bit then we're going to promote that and that's going to be a lot of fun. We did a bunch of Hendrix songs and I tried to replicate him as close as I could. King's X is getting ready to work on a new record. We're just working on the dates and times and the who, where and how. [Laughs]
Cool, man because I was going to ask what's the haps with King's X so that's really cool to hear.
Yeah, we're having a meeting this week to finalize the whole deal and get some direction.
Absolutely. With everything you've done, especially over such a long career, what keeps the drive going for you? Is it music, is it new opportunities, different people to play with?
I think it's all of that but the biggest thing is that this is what I do. It's what I've been doing all my life and I'm not retiring or I'm not stopping or being bored with it, it's what I do. So, I'll just keep doing it and I'll play with anybody if I feel it's good and we can create something that's fun. And, to get paid for it, I've got to get paid. [Laughs] When King's X is not doing anything, I have to do something and I have to have a living. Ty (Tabor) and Jerry (Gaskill) both do things outside King's X to make a living and I do too because we don't make enough just doing King's X and we have to do other things.
Definitely, we want all of you to be able to support yourselves and survive so we can keep coming to see you.
Gonna try. [Laughs] With everyone's support we can keep doing it.
For someone like yourself this might be a little tougher because you have so many influences and so much stuff that you've done but is there an album out there, that's not your own personal work, that best describes your personality?
[Laughs] That's a loaded one, I like that. I really can't think of anything because so many records changed my life through the course of history. So, I can't really say that one record says who I am.
I can understand that. Is it safe to say, based on the bands that influenced you and got you into music, that if Hendrix was still alive today that you would want to play with him and be playing with him?
I would be fascinated with him. I don't know if I would be playing with him, I don't know if he would want to play with me but just if he was around I would do everything I could to see him play live and meet him, if that was possible, because that would be cool. Just to talk to a legend.
For sure, did you ever get to see him play live when you were younger?
Never did. He was only seven years older then me but I missed him every time. I lived in Chicago and very few bands came to Chicago at the time, back in the 60s, late 60s and early 70s. I just didn't get a chance to see him, I've seen Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and bands like that at an early age but Hendrix, he was gone before I had a change to go. I think I was twenty when he died so I hadn't had the chance to really get to see him. He was out three years and then he's gone.
Besides the albums that you have coming out and your meeting with King's X, do you have any live gigs coming up?
Oh yeah, well King's X, we're always doing shows. At least two or three shows a month and we're going to do a European tour this summer which we're really excited about, doing the festivals and stuff. Europe is going to be fun.
If you could put together a band for an album or a tour, who would you put in your band?
My band would be Prince and Lenny Kravitz on guitar, me on bass and Chad (Smith,) from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on drums. But, to late now. [Laughs]
I know, you lost a key member of your fantasy band last year. Have you gotten to meet Chad or work with him?
Yes, not work with him but we've hung out a couple of times. We've discussed doing some projects together but we've never done anything. A lot of times when all these rockers get together and we go to parties, it seems like everybody says, "Hey man, we need to do a project!" and maybe one out of ten times somebody really steps up to the plate. Musicians, we're not go-getters sometimes, and we get together and say, "Hey, lets do something!" and nobody will call each other. Even though people want to, it's like a date, "Should I call her?" [Laughs] So, George just stepped up to the plate and took charge and that's why we got the KXM thing going. So you have to push a little bit. Musicians, we love to play with each other but somebody has to real us in. [Laughs]
To wrap everything up and put a nice little bow on everything, with music giving you your life and career and all these wonderful opportunities, is there anything you can say about music in general or the music business, about what it's done for you, done to you or influenced anything?
I was born in 1950 and rock was pretty much started around 1950 so I got to watch it grow up and get old. It's a history, it's a whole lifestyle and story after story after story of people who have come into our lives and changed our lives for the better. Music is just a very, very important part of all of us. It's our recreation, it's our go-to for fun, it's our go-to when we're crying, it's so important. It's hard to pin-point things, it just comes and goes. What I have to say about it all is that if there is anyone making music out there just keep doing it. Don't let anybody tell you what to do, keep doing what you want to do and hopefully you'll be successful. It's hard in this day and age now but rock is alive and well, outside of the United States. Here in the US it seems like it's dead. It's not really dead, it's just underground and there's not much in the media about it. You look at Billboard Magazine and there's not any real rock bands on there, like there used to be. So, I don't know what's going on but the kids are still growing up and rocking out. The twenty-somethings are still doing it, just like they did in the 70s and 80s. I'm just hoping that some, kind or, thing happens where people can get their music out and the masses can hear it again and until then it's a struggle.
Are there any newer bands that you like and that have jumped at you lately, that you think are pretty cool?
Tesseract, I really like them a lot. There's a lot of new music out there. My favorite bands right now are Coldplay and Meshuggah. I'm trying to find a way to mix the two and create another genre but until then I'll just keep liking them. [Laughs]
Doug, thank you so much for taking some time out of your morning to sit down and talk about the new record and talk about you. I really appreciate your time.
You're welcome, bro. Thank you so much.