The concept of a “Supergroup” with notable exceptions, usually sounds better in theory than in practice. All-star line-ups convene with all the makings of greatness that due to egos or whatever never quite lives up to expectations. However, when the players are George Lynch and dUg Pinnick with drummer extraordinaire Ray Luzier, you’ve got a notable exception indeed. The world first got a hint of what was to come at winter NAMM 2013 when the trio jammed with bassist Billy Sheehan, turning in an incendiary set of covers (“Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy was a standout). They announced the project then, but it wasn’t until the first teaser video featuring the tune “Gunfight” that it became abundantly clear this was a step beyond. Instantly apparent is their enthusiasm for working together. They’re all genuinely pumped about the music they’re making, and it shows. And how couldn’t they be? The rhythm section alone is to die for – a perfect springboard for any guitarist – but for George Lynch? Seriously? As you’d expect, Mr. Scary delivers, playing some of the most unique and interesting riffs you’ve ever heard him play. This just from the teaser tracks they’ve released alone. And of course the solos we’ve heard thus far are breath-taking! dUg’s as always huge bass tone and melodic interplay is the glue that holds it all together. Did I mention his tone is HUGE?
The next tune teased is “Faith” which also promises to be an instant classic. You can already tell there’s going to be many moods and tones on this release, not just ten barn-burners.
I caught up with dUg briefly at this year’s NAMM show in Anaheim California. I was lucky enough to get a moment to sit down him at the Seymour Duncan exhibit. He’s a great interview subject – funny guy, and very easy to talk to. So we talked about KXM, the future of Kings’ X, bass tones, and also the KXM recording process.
First off, how hard was it for you to pull this off logistically with all your busy schedules?
The only hard part was Ray’s schedule with Korn. I mean, one day he’s in Australia, or Africa, or South America or something and two days later we’re in the studio up in the mountains working on a song! So we’d get together every couple of weeks or whatever. But we’re all busy, George is busy, I’ve got several other side projects I’m working on, so it worked out really well. We kind of did it in our spare time.
So was it recorded in multiple studios, with you guys swapping tracks back and forth?
Pretty much. There’s a house/studio up in the mountains (Sound Mountain studios in Green Valley, CA) where we did the basic tracks; then I did most of the bass tracks at my house in my studio. George did most of his tracks in his home studio. I don’t know where Ray did his tracks. I did some vocals at George’s because my Pro Tools rig went down.
Oh, been there – hate when that happens!
Yeah! It was very last-minute. But I finally got it up and running again.
Are you running Pro Tools version 10 or 11?
Eleven (thinks) no, Ten, there’s the one up I haven’t done yet.
You’d had some health issues, how are you feeling these days?
I’m OK. I’m still dealing with a lymph node issue, it’s been kind of a long process. But y’know, I’m just movin’ on, I should be okay.
That’s good to hear.
Yeah, it’s not that serious.
Happy to hear it. I saw something where you’d said the best advice you’d give an aspiring bassist is to work on your tone …oh, and not follow the guitar player! How do Seymour Duncans factor into your tonal approach? I’d read you were using the STC-3P?
No, not anymore, they finally got me some pickups and rewound them to the velocity I like. Because they don’t make the pickups with the switches on them anymore (the original Pro Active series). They basically made me something comparable (the NEW Pro Actives) to them, AND I LOVE ‘EM. They sent me five sets, and I’m in the middle of getting all my basses re-done with them.
It’s beautiful when something works out like that.
Yeah, and I actually like them better than the old pickups I used to use. The ones that I cried over when they stopped making them (laughs)!
So glad that worked out well! Any plans to do KXM shows in the near future?
We really haven’t had a chance to book anything yet. I mean, we just sent the masters in last week. But I’m SO excited for you guys to hear this thing!
I’ve only heard the two songs and I love them, can’t wait to hear more.
Dude, I haven’t been this excited in years about a project! And I haven’t seen this kind of… is it hype, or anticipation level about something in a loooong time.
I agree! Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to is excited about it.
It’s been blowing my mind, so it’s gonna be good!
That’s another thing I wanted to mention, not only the obvious public excitement for it, but also that YOU guys seem so excited about it, it’s palpable – you’re visibly jazzed in the teaser videos to be working together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen George that excited.
Yeah, he’s like a little kid about it!
So what’s the future hold for King’s X?
Well, we’re doing that rock cruise next month (Progressive Nation at Sea), that’s gonna be grrreat, and then we have a couple of shows in California. And that’s it for the moment, but y’know, trying to get King’s X to do another record in the near future. It’ll happen, but contrary to popular opinion now is not the time apparently.
Wait for the stars to align, then. I also wanted to compliment you on your last solo album “Naked“. Did you do it all yourself, even the drum programming? What did you use?
Thanks, and yeah, all in my bedroom. I played all the instruments, and for drums – get Toontrack.
Got it! Anything else you’ve got coming out?
Well, PGP with Eric Gales and Thomas Pridgen, that’s been done for a while and will be out soon. I’ve got a few other things going on, but that’s about it as far as things concrete enough to talk about at the moment.
That’s more than enough. Thanks for your time!
The KXM release drops March 11, 2014 on Rat Pak Records.