Kings X Interview

Kings X

Michelle LaRose talks to Jerry Gaskill, Doug Pinnick and Ty Tabor for Metal Masters
Photographs by Michelle LaRose

Hi. You’re rocking out on Metal Masters with Michelle. I’m sitting here with Kings X. I have Jerry, I have Doug and I have Ty.

Kings XMM: You guys have a relatively new album that came out about a year ago, Manic Moonlight. Tell us a little bit about this album for anybody that hasn’t heard it.

Doug: Well if you’re a Kings X fan, this is a bit different from what we normally do. It’s not as crunchy and we used some drum samples to just screw the program up a little bit. Trying to find some creativity there.

MM: You guys have some solo projects too. We’ll start over here with Jerry. You’re writing a book right now I’ve heard.

Jerry: I am. I’m in the process of putting a book together.

MM: What kind of book?

Jerry: It’s going to be fiction. It’s going to be fantastic. I’ve got a guy working with me named Zach Parker who’s going to do some illustrations. I’m very excited about that and it’s going to be a great great thing.

MM: That’s a different type of creative outlet for you.

Jerry: Yes. I’m also working on a record of my own.

MM: When can we expect to hear something about that?

Jerry: We can expect to hear something about that when it’s done.

MM: Now Doug, You have a couple of things going on. You had a solo project come out about a year ago, Pound Hound, Pineapple Skunk.

Doug: That was my second solo record.

MM: What’s different between your solo project and what your doing here with Kings X?

Doug: I guess it’s just all me. It’s my ego. I played everything except the drums on it. Just for my own personal outlet, being a control freak as I am. It was fun. Just doing what I want without having to get approval or work with anyone. A bit of a selfish kind of endeavor. We get back to Kings X and it’s all Three Musketeers again.

MM: Ty’s got a lot of stuff going on. You have Alien Beings Studio where you do a lot of solo stuff. Didn’t something come out last week?

Kings XTy: Actually yes. There was a project I was involved with Matt Bissonette who plays bass with Satriani on this tour right now. Me, him and his brother, Greg Bissonette a really awesome drummer and Derrick Sherinian who is an ex-keyboardist for Dream Theater. We did an album together that was released last week called Jughead. It’s like Foo Fighter’s meets The Beatles kind of super high energy pop rock kind of record. I had a solo album come out a few weeks before that. A new solo album called Safety… And another album with another project with the bass player from Dream Theater, John Myung and Rod Morganstein on drums. We have something called The Jelly Jam that was also released a couple months ago. So we had, with Kings X, like four albums in a row.

MM: That’s really busy.

Doug: He’s the busiest man I know. I have a couple of projects I’d like to tell you about too.

MM: Yes! Tell us.

Doug: I got Jeff Ament from Pearljam, we got together and we got eight songs done. We’re going to finish it up and put a record out. I’ve got another project with Bruce Franklin from Trouble. Remember that band? An old metal band. We did a record called Supershine about a year and a half ago and we’re getting ready to do another one.

MM: So you’re staying busy too.

Doug: Always.

Ty: Yeah, but I’m also writing a book! No I’m kidding!

[Michelle laughs]

Jerry: There are many, many, many other projects coming out that I can’t quite talk about yet.

Ty: Yeah, I have a hundred-million! I tour on the PGA in my off time. And I race giraffes.

MM: You race giraffes! [Laughing]

Doug: And I’m God.

Kings XMM: Giraffe racing? Is that Motocross? I heard you were into Motocross.

Ty: I do actually have a past history of motorcycle racing. I did it for a long time.

Doug: I seen him, on a video, jump five cars.

Ty: Two cars and a truck.

MM: Really! [Laughing]

Ty: With my sister standing in the truck. Well, I’ve done much bigger jumps than the three car one but the one with cars was two cars and a truck.

Doug: Well I must have been on some kind of medication.

[All laugh]

MM: Ty. I’ve heard something about green guitar picks. You just can’t play without these certain picks.

Kings XTy: I started playing guitar when I was very young and I had a neighbor that used this funky little green guitar pick. He was nice enough to give me a guitar and give me some picks. I started to learn to play electric guitar with that. I got so used to that pick. It’s more different than any other pick made as far as I know. Anytime I use any kind of a normal pick I can barely play at all. I ended up developing my whole style from using this type of pick my whole life to where I literally just can’t play without it. It’s made of a different material. Everything about it is different than any other pick I know of and they’re extremely hard to find. Anytime I do find any in a store I buy everything they have.

MM: We’re getting ready to go in to a Kings X video. Doug, why don’t you tell us what video we’re getting ready to take a look at.

Doug: All right people you’re getting ready to listen to It’s Love. We put that video out in what 1994? ’93? 2! Sorry. 1992. I’m sorry, I’ve got great information in my brain today. ’92 and here it is. It’s Love.

Ty: We used to have hair.

[All laugh]

[It’s Love Video plays]

You’re rocking out on Metal Masters with Michelle and Kings X. Now back to the interview.

MM: Lets talk to Ty for a few minutes here. I heard some story about McDonalds. How you went to McDonalds and asked them to feed you.

Ty: Oh!

MM: Yeah, way back in the day. I’m sparking cobwebs here. I just thought that was a really neat story. Tell us about that.

Ty: First of all, how in the… How did you hear about that?

MM: Ha! It’s my job baby!

[Michelle and Ty laugh]

Ty: Well yeah. The first tour I ever went on was in ’79, the day after I graduated high school. I left on tour with a band all over the south. We were very poor. It was one of those ‘just barely make it to the next gig’ kind of tours. All living in the back of a truck, literally, with fold down bunks that we had built ourselves and a net on the back to keep mosquitoes out. We did a tour that way. What would happen on days off, we literally had no money, no way to eat or anything… We would go to a McDonalds or a Burger King or whatever, usually it was McDonalds. They seemed to be the ones that would go along the easiest with this. We would just pull up in some small town and say, “Look, we’ll set up in your parking lot and do a free show to draw people and we’ll take breaks and tell everybody to go in and eat if you’ll feed us.” Everywhere we went and asked that, they did that for us. That’s how we ate on days off by doing free shows.

MM: I just t think that’s a heck of a story. I love it! That is just awesome. Doug, back in the early days when you started playing… You’re left handed so you took a right handed bass, turned it upside down and re strung it for left hand?

Doug: Jimmi Hendrix played upside down. Anybody that played left handed actually played upside down. They usually would restring their strings. It was just hard to find left handed guitars. Now days it’s a little bit easier but back when I started you couldn’t find them anywhere. You’d see one in a store across the U.S. and that was about it. So we had to make due. Since Jimmi Hendrix did it, that was a long time ago, that was the vision I had in my head, so I said ok, I guess it’s ok. My bass’s are left handed now. I get them made backwards. It was out of necessity more than anything.

Kings XMM: Back to Jerry. These guys have done a lot of solo stuff but you’re involved a lot in their solo projects. You’ve done work with Pound Hound and Ty’s Safety.

Jerry: That would be correct. Do you not have any stories about my past?

MM: No tell me. Come on give me some dirt. You’ve got some dirt right?

Ty: What about Jerry And The Knights?

Jerry: Ah! Jerry And The Knights. Ah yeah, we’ll talk about all that stuff.

MM: Ok, go ahead.

Jerry: I auditioned for a Kool-Aid commercial in New York.

MM: Did you really?

Jerry: Yeah. They were very interested in me apparently. My mom told me many years later that they wanted me to be a part of this thing but the other guys in the band, she didn’t want to hurt their feelings so she didn’t pursue anything and that was the end of that.

MM: Awe. [Laughing]

Jerry: It’s probably a good thing. I’d probably be on that ‘Where Are They Now’ kid thing on Oprah.

MM: Another thing I find interesting with Ty over here… Your roots are Bluegrass. You used to play with Grandpa Jones?

Ty: Well, I’ve played shows with Grandpa Jones. I never actually played with him. Although I knew people in different circles that toured with people, I met some of the members. In fact I met Marty Stewart the country artist playing guitar when he was fourteen. He was playing guitar for Lester Flatt and that’s where I first met him. I doubt he even remembers that. There were a lot of people in that circle who are now big Nashville musicians. I played with Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Minnie Pearl back in the early days. We did festivals every year and it was a lot of the same people, Bill Monroe, whoever, at these festivals. I luckily got to meet them and grow up around that whole camp kind of thing and it was fun.

MM: It’s very interesting that your roots come from Bluegrass like that.

Doug: It’s pretty cool when he puts heavy music with his Bluegrass influence and it’s a part of Kings X.

MM: Yeah, it’s a different type of sound, you guys have a very different sound. We’re going to go back into another video. Doug, what are we looking at now?

Doug: We’re looking at Black Flag coming up. That was off of our fourth album, self titled…

Ty: Bevis and Butthead liked it.

Doug: Yes, Bevis and Butthead. Well actually one liked it, the other one started drooling but they didn’t dis us and that was great.

MM: Alright. Here we go. Black Flag with Kings X right here on Metal Masters.

Kings X