The Genesis of King's X: The DUg Pinnick Interview, Part 2

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In Part 2 of Rocks Off's interview with the King's X leader, DUg Pinnicktalks about possibly creating grunge, using Drop D tuning, and his new album, titled Naked.

You can check out Part 1 right here. Go ahead and open another window on that browser. It's Friday.

Many Houstonians discovered King's X through their singles getting airplay on Rock 101.1 KLOL. They had a great track record of playing locals amongst the heavy-hitters of the day.

Was Pinnick into the other Houston bands running at the time?

"Galactic Cowboys and all of the bands were all friends of mine. And deadhorse, I loved them. They were a great band," Pinnick says. "I tried to go out and see everybody, and I remember seeing Pantera back in the day before they got signed, the whole deal."

"Being in King's X, I gained a lot of friends. Houston was great."

Around that same time, another notable bass player, Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, said on MTV that King's X had invented grunge. That was quite a compliment, even nearly 25 years later.

"It was like 1988. Our record had just come out and my roommate was running sound at Fitzgerald's. He called me and said, "Hey, there's this band called Soundgarden and they remind me of King's X."

"So I told him to get a copy of their album and bring it home. It was Ultramega OK. That and Kings X's first record came out about the same time. The first song is Drop D and the riff is a typical King's X riff so I don't know who was really, really responsible for introducing it to everyone."

Soundgarden's Kim Thayil will argue that it was Soundgarden, and Pinnick used to think that it was King's X.

"I'll have to backtrack now and say that both bands stumbled across Drop D tuning and just kind of went with it," says Pinnick.

Let that soak in. Because it goes back even farther than that.

"We branded ourselves 'heavy melody' back in 1980. We were out to write the heaviest melodic music we could think of," Pinnick says.

Being in the backing band for a major Christian artist has a way of stifling the hard stuff.

"We were with Morgan Cryar flying to Heritage USA, Jim Bakker's old PTL club. Ty got on the plane and said he had a new song, it was really different and he didn't know if it was any good or not, and it was Drop D tuning," says Pinnick.

Drop D wasn't a new thing, it was just not used very much at the time. Pinnick name-drops Killing Joke, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin as popular examples of those who used it to their advantage.

"After we did our gig at Heritage, I took my guitar home and started writing, and I'd say 80 percent of it was Drop D."

Pinnick has long-term plans for his new album Naked.

"My goal was to own something that I've written. Everything that I've written record companies own," Pinnick laments. "I've put out 14 records with King's X, five solo records and all kinds of side projects and basically I don't own any of them, so I decided to do this record on my own."

Pinnick has poured his heart out on this record, writing what he feels are really good songs. Whether anybody knows about it or likes it, he's happy about it being in the hands of fans.

"The goal is to push it and push it and push it and do what I have to because I have nobody telling me what to do," he says.

"I can plug this thing for ten years if I want to."

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