The Killer King's X Playlist
That Will Convert the Non Believer
King's X is the best band on the planet...at least, I think so, anyways. You may not concur, but we can at least agree on this: they are misunderstood, mis-categorized, extremely talented, underrated, unique musical innovators who make music that is sometimes soulful, sometimes heavy, sometimes tear-jerking and sometimes bizarre. I refer to them as the Kings of the Absurd (after an absurd live German bootleg featuring KX and Faith No More). If you love the band and want to influence your friends to try them out, I have created a playlist featuring one track from each of their major releases, including their "Best Of" extra tracks. With their new, charting album, “Three Sides of One” hitting this month, its time for your music buddies to fall in love with these 3 little ole dudes formerly of Texas fame. Here's how:
Out of the Silent Planet-
Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
There's 1000 ways to start a fan made best of album, but this one is probably the most King's X way to do it. It's starts off with 12 string bass, a legendary part of KX lore, and then a tasty guitar riff, leading into Doug's otherworldly voice with the fellas providing stellar background vocals. The lyrics are poetic, upbeat, mysterious, and the musical component is ethereal... in that Pink Floyd way: like the song is not from Earth, but created in outer space by luminous beings on a musical mothership. The middle interlude with odd samples, sitars, mumbling and Gretchen Goes to Nebraska-style strings features great drum licks and eventually explodes back into the fantastic, angelic harmony hook before heading to the end of the song. There's a bunch of King's X uniqueness in this one... a track that features their earlier, more spiritual vibes.
Far, Far Away-
Out of the Silent Planet
There should have been concern when this track wasn't the single from the first album and didn't it make them millionaires. Jerry's drum intro should have been as iconic as Michael Jackson's “Rock With You” drum lead-in, as the guitar riff and crazy bass tone leads into Doug's soulful vocals. The chorus is musically unique and features some unusual rhythms for a radio tune. This song features some non-challenging, sing along lyrics, and builds nicely to the solo... preceded by sitar... because hey... why not? A good drum track and far far away the best song on the first disc.
Lost in Germany
This may be the best riff rock song in their library, featuring Doug on lead vocals again with Ty and Jerry killing it on background vox. This peculiar number is about, apparently, being confused on where to go in some European country, and features one of those iconic, sexy, and mostly superfluous King's X-style vocal break downs that they became famous for. This kind of break down appears in many songs from several modern rock bands... from Nothing But Thieves to Live to Foo Fighters and beyond. I believe this is the track where several blossoming acts borrowed some of that KX sauce.
Black the Sky
Dudes, Dogman is the best King's X album- there is no question. There are just too many great songs on it to deny it that mantle. Funny enough, it is their heaviest album throughout and maybe their easiest CD to digest for a new listener. Also, the main riff in this song may be the best thing I have ever heard, and the timbre of Ty's guitar and Doug's bass sound like one, thick, insane, indistinguishable sound that thunders out of the speakers. This song is a bit darker than their earlier “I think tomorrow is gonna be fine” type lyrics, and therefore, it may have a broader appeal to the masses these days. Black the Sky sounds like it was released yesterday. The production is just sick. Some may think the gang vocals at the end are corny, but I dig them. Also... Jesus Christ the bass tone on the guitar solo. OMG.
All God's Children
Three Sides of One
Yay! New album time! Let us slow things down with a ballad that Ty sings lead on. The intro guitar work through a headphone spread is gorgeous. King's X has rarely been political, but you can see that some elements of what has happened in the last 14 years between CDs has left a bitter taste in their craw. I personally agree with them, but even if you don't, you have to agree that this song delivers some powerful emotion. Doug's bass runs are atypical for him yet wonderful, and the gang harmonies are gorgeous and groovy. The guitar solo sounds like Gretchen guitar work over Ogre Tone bass tones. A neat bass solo under what sounds like toy instruments and guitars send us home with a lot to think about in this “less is more” lyrical dynamo.
Not to be confused with Sometimes off their first album, this is what I wish King's X was more like “some” of the “time.” Sometime is a sweet, Funk, black Gospel, Hard rock, Beatles, Psychedelic milk shake of groove: great stereo pans of the guitar, tons of space with the bass, that famous single note Ty guitar work, and a bass drum that sounds like a cannon. The back and forth, simple lyrics is what church should sound like. I love the de-tuned bass string gimmick that makes a nasty bass hit from time to time. A nearly a capella third verse from King's X? Yes, please.
Stuck seems out of place on XV, but if I am trying to convert a new listener into the fold, this is the one from that disc I would try. Another Doug tune that starts off with a simple, but catchy chord progression, where the tune takes some odd turns as the parts of the song fall into one another. Eventually we explode into an anthem-esque chorus that features some odd guitar accents buried deep into the mix. No one builds a song like King's X... and Stuck is an example of that quality.
Sally is one of three bonus tracks featured on their Atlantic records “Best of” CD. She is a groovy little number with a funky pocket, where the band does what I wish they would do more of: Tag team vocal leads. Ty sings the thematic verses, and the chorus crashes into the semi-humorous lyrics mentioning some busybody named Sally, (rumor has it this is really about their first band manager Sam Taylor) with Doug on the lead. There's some LA LA LAs with Jerry singing too, for good measure. It is a perfect little fun song that shows King's X can write some great damn tunes that sound nothing like what you would expect from them.
Faith, Hope, Love
Faith, Hope, Love
For a band that didn't want to be known as a Christian rock act, they didn't try to throw people too far off of the scent with some of these songs. I don't think any of them are religious now, but that stigma remained with the band for years. FHL comes off of their best selling CD, so this nine minute song is a controversial choice for sure. Eschewing “It's Love” “We Were Born to Be Loved” and “We are Finding Who We Are” this tune flexes a little of the band's prog rock muscle, which KX was known for through the first 3 discs. There's great harmonies, odd samples, unique movements, plus some great preaching from Doug buried in the mix. Also here: creepy little voices, sirens, strained breathing, grunting, peculiar knocking, etc. Besides, is there a better line than “Everyone believes somewhere there's love”?
“She's Gone Away”
Please Come Home, Mr. Bulbous
King's X pens some odd lyrics and songs at times, but this track is something every man who has loved and lost can nod their head in time to. Ty sings this guy, and this heartbreaker eventually explodes into a multi layered and beautiful “She's Gone Away” harmony hodge podge chorus which then quickly breaks back down into the very personal second verse. Verse two sounds more like real life experience than prose. A tasty guitar solo that sounds like Ty is playing his heart out comes for us, and then the band plays a trick on us with a tasty decrescendo fade out, followed by the chorus again. Heavy shit: “I took your brother to the zoo... the sky was falling and he seemed to know it too.” DAMN.
King's X are kings of the groove, but man, they can riff rock with the best of them too. This song is part swamp rock, part funk, part sermon. What I most love about this song is that the coda features lyrics from all the verses, as Doug belts his heart out, dealing with his own humanity into the finale. Great, great riff. The band often plays this number at shows (a rarity on this list).
Black Like Sunday
Finished sounds like its from another era, part 80s, part 90s... part 50s? It almost feels like a heavy as shit Doo Wop song. See? King's X is capable of anything. The harmonies are on point, and I love the bass runs Doug plays, as well as the a cappella breaks and the airy space that creates a swing vibe through the verses. The 'non-guitar solo guitar solo' was a fricking tasty thing, too. Play this for the people who insist King's X is Heavy Metal, Grunge or Prog Rock.
Ogre Tones is a really solid and consistent CD, so it is extremely tough to pick a track from it. I decided to go with another ballad, this one with Doug on lead vocals. Mr. Pinnick is asking some hard questions of the man upstairs, “Where do you go to get away?” with some terrific harmonies from Ty and Jerry to help the quest for knowledge. It should be noted that Jerry is not playing a traditional drum set on this number. It sounds like he's playing a djembe or a cajon, making this an extremely rare occasion in the KX percussion department. King's X throws another lyrical curve ball in the middle of the song during the breakdown where the fellas are singing “Abraham, Abraham.” A simple song with powerful lyrics and a great sing a long chorus.
Huh? What? Huh? Calm down, shut up and listen to Mr. Funk. “Quality Control” was never released to the public, but torrents of it exist- floating around the web. You may have heard the song “Happy”, which is a decent romper on the Tape Head CD... but that song was truly the gutted version of QC. QC was written when the band was running the funk away from the Christian label people kept trying to stick on them as hard as they could, right around the time Doug Pinnick came out as gay. This song uses “THE EFF” quite a bit, and criticizes some churches and how they treat “the children left behind”. And that's maybe why they never released it... they liked eating. This features THE BEST recorded Doug Pinnick preaching ever, totally encapsulating how I, a believer with no need for a church nor judgment, feels. It is coming from a place of deep truth. The lyrics are smoking. This is church. QC is a headbanger with Ty and Jerry playing the part of a Sunday morning choir as Doug brings his version of the gospel during the change: “The Father Son and Spirit, are with me everyday!” “YEAH YEAH YEAH!” “Help me Jesus!” A very Jerry “falling up the steps” drum part plays under the sermon and another plays the song out with a musical fade out. What a great friggin song... probably my favorite King's X song, even though the version I have is not a completed mix and lacks mastering. If you can't find this version, play your friends “Happy” “Fade” or “Groove Machine” from Tape Head. (But seriously find this.)
There you have it. If your friends don't like King's X after that rundown, begin slowly poisoning their food... they are not human and they need to be dealt with. I think it took me this long, after listening to the release of their new album, to realize that KX does what they wanna do. Listen to the new tracks, with parts of the album sounding like Stuck Mojo, Sevendust, Enuff z'Nuff, the Beatles, Meshuggah, James Taylor, americana and swamp rock... one has to wonder, what the hell is going on? RELAX. It's King's X baby... welcome to the first church of groove.
Please comment with your additions or subtractions, but please... no division. It is still early.
-Vinnie "Funkmaster V" Vineyard
Buy the new album “Three Sides of One” here.
News from Big N Funky
***Our first report of WJHC AM and the Hike's DVD/ Blu-ray sales have come in and we couldn't be more pleased! During that time, WJHC AM hit #9 on new horror discs on Amazon. Thank you guys so much! Buy the discs here:
***WJHC AM has been picked up by HorrorMax, a horror streaming service and will start playing it during Halloween season!
***WJHC AM won Best Actor (Vinnie Vineyard) and First Runner Up for Best Feature Film at the Cinema Soup Film Fest in Gatlinburg, TN.
***WJHC AM was nominated for best Horror Scene and Best Scene Stealing Actor at the MLC Scene Awards in Green Bay Wisconsin.
***WJHC AM is nominated for best horror movie at the Thrills, Chills and Kills Film Fest in Nashville, TN.
***Big Luke, Funkmaster V and Amber were guests on The Horsefly Chronicles Podcast/ Radio show earlier in September and the show surpassed 300,000 listens. They talk about their new movies and the paranormal. Check it out here: