dUg PINNICK (KXM/King’s X) Interview

KXM (George Lynch, Doug Pinnick, Ray Luzier)
Photo: Alex Solca

When Kings X bassist/vocalist dUg Pinnick attended the birthday party of Korn drummer Ray Luzier, little did he know that within a couple of hours he’d be jamming with Dokken’s George Lynch and the latest supergroup would be born. Mick Burgess called dUg to chat about the formation of KXM, how they wrote their new album Scatterbrain and their touring plans for the future as well as news on the next Kings X album.

Your latest album Scatterbrain came out recently. Are you pleased with the reaction so far?

I’m delighted with the reaction. I wasn’t expecting people to like it that much.

Your first album made the Billboard Top 30. Did that put a touch of pressure on you for the follow up?

I never feel pressure like that. When I make a record I just do the best that I can at the time. Sometimes it’s better than the last one, sometimes it’s worse. I’m pleased that some people think it’s some of the best work we’ve done but I don’t know how they’ll react while I’m making the record until it’s finished and they tell me. It doesn’t put pressure on me though. I just go in and do what I can.

As far as songwriting goes, you had no preconceived ideas before you went into the studio. Did you literally turn up on day one and just jam to see what you could create?

We just went in and jammed. We just went for it. We’d play a riff or a part that sounded good and we’d stop and go over it a couple of times and record it. We’d then work on another part in the same way. We’d then cut and paste parts together to create the music. It’s the new way to make music and a lot easier than sitting there learning a whole song completely through. We can now do it on Pro Tools and get it up and together as a new song by bringing ideas together. Once it’s done like that though we have to go back and learn it as a complete song, it just makes it easier to write initially.

Did you have a rough idea what you wanted, whether it was to be heavier or more progressive, or were you open to just about anything?

We literally had a blank sheet of paper, nothing more, no ideas at all. We went in and created everything right there on the spot.

Was that a little scary for you or did that give it an edge and spontaneity?

Not really. I get with people all the time with nothing pre-prepared and it always works out. We’ve written so many songs and done this for so long and we all know what we like and what we don’t like that it just kind of naturally works out. Sometimes Ray was doing a drum pattern to check his drums for tone and I’d tell him to keep on playing it and I’d add a bass line to it or George would play a riff and we’d just start playing along with it. We’d just develop ideas like that. It was like Christmas opening up presents and we’d see what was in this box.

What song did you come up with first?

I don’t really know, as they were all created a bit at a time so it’s hard to say which was finished first.

All in all how long did it take for you to write and record the whole album?

We were in the studio for 10 or 11 days then we had to do some overdubs, write lyrics and add harmonies to the vocals but the basic album was laid down in that initial 10 or 11 day period in the studio. I did a lot of that at home and George did some stuff at the studio at his house. Ray had done his drum parts the way he wanted them and we took everything home and kind of did what we do to finish off the songs. We can go home and live with stuff for a while and if we don’t like it, we can change it. We’re not tied to being in the studio these days, we can do a lot of stuff at home. I love it that way. On those early King’s X records I couldn’t do that and there’s stuff on there that I’d love to have gone back and changed if I could have.

How would you describe the musical direction of Scatterbrain compared to your debut release?

I’d say it’s just the next step. With the first record we were just getting to know each other. With the second one we got our heads down and worked so fast I didn’t visualise what was going on until it was done. If anything I’d say this record is more diverse than the first one.

The artwork by Jean Michel really compliments the music. Were you involved in the artwork in any way?

Joe, who runs Rat Pak Records, knows him and thought he’d be perfect for our record. He came up with several ideas and we picked the one that we liked the most. I think it really fits the feel of the record.

You’ve worked for many years in a three piece with King’s X. How does the approach you take to creating music and playing differ in KXM?

Playing with these guys is like playing in King’s X in many ways. We have this connection and freedom to create, not necessarily what people want to hear, we like to create art and don’t really care if people like it. We hope they do like it but we’re really just trying to stay true to ourselves and in that respect KXM is very much like what King’s X is. In many ways KXM and King’s X are brothers.

You obviously feel comfortable in a three piece. Is that the set up you feel most at home with?

Not really. I’ve never, ever made a conscious effort to be a part of a three piece. I’ve been in bands with anything up to 8 members before so it’s not a requirement for me to be in a three piece it’s just that people seem to associate me with that format. I have no qualms at all playing with more than two people. I’d love to play with a keyboard player, a saxophone player and some brass. It’s great. I have a desire to put a band together like James Brown did and I hope I can live long enough to get everything that I want.

You’ve all got your own bands and are all busy with your own work. How did you first get together and decide that you wanted to make new music?

Ray Luzier was having a birthday party for his one year old son, Zakk Wylde was there and a load of other musicians with their kids were there too. Ray had just built a drum room in his house and he suggested that we made some music with George Lynch to test it out and we had a lot of fun doing that. A couple of weeks later George called up and said he had a studio up in the mountains and asked if we wanted to come up and play. When George gets an idea he’s ready to run with it. Without George I don’t think there’d have been any KXM. George started coming up with riffs and one riff led to another. Before we knew it we had a record. We put the first record out and people really, really liked it so we decided to do another one.

Did the fact that you all came from such different musical backgrounds make it a more exciting proposition?

I guess so but it’s like with every different project we all put our hearts in it to create something different to the main bands that we are in. I think we have created something unique and I’m very proud of that and I’d say that was down to us each bringing a different angle to the creative process.

Your debut album was released in two versions one for The States and a European version. Why did you do that?

We had three different deals in America, Europe and Japan and the record came out in America before Japan and Europe. The European label thought people might have already got the American version so they thought they needed to put out something a little different to give incentive to people in Europe to buy it. So we did a different mix and there’s some parts added that weren’t on the original version.

What about live shows. Is this a studio only project or have you played shows together?

We plan on playing live when Ray finishes his year long tour with Korn. We just want to go out and play for everybody. People like the music and can’t wait to get out and play for them.

Just before we go, how is Jerry Gaskill your drummer in King’s X now as he had a serious health scare a couple of years ago?

He’s fine. He’s working out and building his stamina up. In the last 6 months he said he feels he’s back in a place where he can play drums again as well as he did before.

You’ll be playing three shows in the UK in June. Are you looking forward to playing over here again?

I absolutely love playing in England. I love it and can’t wait to come over and play there again. I’m so excited. Everytime we play in Europe I’m just like a little kid at Christmas. The people there are just really cool.

It’s been almost 10 years since your last studio record XV. Are you planning on a follow up soon?

Oh, yes we’re getting ready to work on a new record. We’re having meetings now to discuss who’s going to produce it, what record label we’re going to go with, where we are going to do it and how. We’ve got to get a record out soon as it’s been way too long since our last one so we’re looking forward to starting that process again.

With KXM and King’s X taking up the bulk of your time, do you have time for any other projects in the coming months?

It only takes me a few weeks to make a record and I have a Jimi Hendrix tribute record coming out in a few months. I went into the studio and did a bunch of songs which was a lot of fun. I’ll have an album out with my Blues project, Grinder Blues, we’re like ZZ Top tuned down to C. The Bihlman Brothers are in the band with me and the record is getting mixed right now so should be out soon.

Just one last question, I’ve seen your name written as dUg and Doug. Which is correct?

I love to write. I think that’s an art form in itself. Since computers people have stopped writing. I was trying to figure out how to be artistic when I used the computer so adopted the small d and capital U as I thought it looked cool. I just started using it and within a year or so it just became normal. That’s the reason, I just liked it, it wasn’t as if I was trying to change my name or anything. It was just a bit of fun, one of those little things I like to do.

Scatterbrain is out now on Rat Pak Records


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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