SHOCKWAVES correspondent and bassist extraordinaire, JOEY VERA (Fate's Warning/Armored Saint), was sent on a mission to interview one of the most underrated musicians on this planet, King's X frontman Doug Pinnick. The two discuss everything from the brilliant new King's X release "Tape Head" (Metal Blade Records) and Doug's side project Pound Hound to faith and Christianity.
Shockwaves: The new record, Tape Head, has been out only a short time before the first leg of your American tour started...so, you're obviously not playing much from the new record. Will you begin phasing out some of the older songs to make room for newer ones in the future?
DP: I want to because we've been doing this for so long and most of the people who come see us are always the same people anyway. I'm running out of the adrenaline to keep doing the same old songs. Besides, the way I feel about life and my beliefs have changed so much, it's just so hard to sing a lot of the old songs. I just don't feel the same about a lot of things anymore.
Shockwaves: When did this change begin to take place for you?
DP: It's always been an ongoing change. It's been a struggle of what is true and what is bullshit and through the madness of it all, I woke up one day and said " F**k it all, this is too ridiculous". I think I finally got to a point where all of the answers that I thought could keep me believing in some kind of a God and a purpose were outsized by thoughts that it was all just bullshit and that I was just wasting my time on this utopia thing that no one really knows is for sure.
Shockwaves: You touch on this subject in the song "Fade" from the new record and I think many people, myself included, feel much in the same way. Did this process come to a head during the time when the band left Atlantic? You must have felt like you had some free time to sort some things out.
DP: Yeah, since we played at Woodstock in '94, we've toured for only 3 months total until this year. So this gave me a chance to get into a routine. You know, when you're on the road supporting an album, it's living on the road. Then, you come home, write another record and go out and do it all over again. You don't really have a chance to settle in. But this time, being home for so long and having no real direction gave me a chance to do some soul searching and a lot of music writing. I had the chance to look at everything in my life very meticulously and as a result I came out at the other end more solid than I've ever been. And I can say for the first time that I am happy. I didn't like the God thing looming over me, I felt like the Christians always wanted me to be something other than I was. And, if I didn't live up to the model, then I wasn't good enough. But I just wanted to live my life.
Shockwaves: Was it during this time that you wrote much of the Pound Hound record?
DP: Yeah, and that was a whole other demon I wanted to exorcise. Being in King's X, my songs always get altered in some way to be tailored to fit King's X. The original vibe on my demos always got changed. It was always very frustrating for me. So this is why I decided to do Pound Hound which I intend to pursue even more. So, I can say "this is who I am". I just love simple songs and a lot of what I do would never fly with King's X. Some of my songs don't have any key changes and there's no way King's X would let it go like that.
Shockwaves: What is the writing process for King's X like, now as opposed to the past?
DP: In the past, everyone would come in with a demo of their songs and we'd change 'em. For Tape Head, we got together and wrote 10 songs in ten days. We literally wrote and tracked a song a day for ten days. Jerry would get a take he liked and Ty would lay down the guitar rhythms right then. My bass tracks were recorded at the same time as the drums and I never went back to re-do them. Then Ty would put the leads down at his studio. There were 4 more songs that we did at the end that I wrote before this session which the band wanted to do. After that, everyone went home and for a week and a half I wrote and recorded the lyrics. Then, they came back and put harmonies on top. Ty is good for tying up the loose ends.
Shockwaves: But Ty wrote the lyrics for "Ocean" right?
DP: Yes, actually he had the song written only on guitar and we got together and played along without knowing what he had in mind for say, the bass and drum parts. But he really liked what we did. In fact this record is a first for Jerry to really be able to play whatever he wanted. In the past Ty and I would have the song written and demo drum parts and all, so he got left out of the writing process sometimes. This is another reason why I wanted to write all together because Jerry is a talented drummer and has a lot to offer.
DOUG PINNICK Interview Part 2