Rescue Me. An interview with dUg Pinnick from KXM (Korn, King’s X, Lynch Mob)
Sometimes a project comes at you from out of nowhere and you really don’t know what to expect. Will the sum be greater than the parts or will it be a showcase of skills with little cohesion? More often than not, it’s unfortunately the latter that takes precedence. Sometimes though, the project works so well, it can become an instant classic. In my opinion, that’s where we are today. KXM is a new project that includes dUg Pinnick from King’s X, Ray Luzier from Korn and George Lynch from Lynch Mob. I’ve certainly enjoyed each of the members projects in the past, but I never dreamed up, in my rock and roll fantasy camp mind, that these guys would ever play together. The end result is something refreshing, spectacular, captivating, spontaneous and brilliant. The self-titled album released on March 11th through RatPack Records and I highly suggest you pick up a copy without hesitation. In fact, if you want to know more, here’s the link to our review.
Listen to the entire dUg Pinnick interview below:
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All that brings us to the point of this article, an interview with a man that has brought so much joy into my life with his music. I’m absolutely honored to welcome dUg Pinnick to the Unsung Melody family today. First off dUg, I can’t thank you enough for joining me today.
Man you are more than welcome bro.
I do want to take a moment and personally thank you for all the music you’ve created over the years. I had a massive record store poster of Faith Hope Love on my wall for many years growing up, so I have nothing but respect for you and I’m incredibly excited for this new project KXM
Now KXM is something that I couldn’t have dreamed up, but I’m 1000% behind it. Tell me a bit about how the project came together.
That’s kind of how it happened. We were at a party together. Ray Luzier was having a birthday party for his son. We were all there. Me, George, Ray and a bunch of other friends. We were just having a great time. George mentioned to Ray and I, that we should get together and record some music. Because Ray had just showed us his drum room that he had set up to record in. He put a small recording studio in there. So he was all excited about that. So we said let’s make some music. A lot of times you can hang out with people and they’ll say let’s make some music together and it just never happens. Even though most are always more than willing, nobody really takes it home. Well, I’ll tell you what, George is a real go getter. He’s an overachiever. The next thing we knew we were in a studio and before I know it we’ve got a record coming out. I still don’t know how it all happened, but I’m happy. (laughter)
This project sounds much more like a band than any other project I’ve heard in the last 20 years. Maybe even all the way back to the Temple of the Dog record.
I’ve seen bands play for 20 years and not have such a cohesive record. Where do you feel that cohesiveness comes from?
I just believe that because the three of us have been making music and writing music for the last 20, 30, 40 years. I think that getting together, it’s going to be good. It may not be what everybody likes, but it’s not going to be crap. Because we’re at a point in our lives where we’re not going to make crap if we really believe in what we’re doing. If we’re not lazy. Because I don’t believe any musician goes backwards, they can only go forward and if they don’t go forward, then they’re just lazy. That’s just the way that I look at it. I’m lucky enough to be with two guys who think like I do. You want to push the envelope and do the best you can. You don’t want to just lay on your laurels. Somebody said to me one time, he said, “dUg, why are your side projects subpar to King’s?” It was sort of an insult, in some ways, but I understood what he was saying and I said, “You know, it’s because side projects just get together and in a couple of weeks, you just shit out a record and go on.” You have fun and you get paid. It’s a part of your life, but when you really, really put your heart and soul into something, you have something that is high quality in the end. I think with KXM, we actually put our heart and soul into this. We feel like a brand new band. We feel like teenagers who just got together and we’re ready to go out and conquer the world. Isn’t that ridiculous? We’ve already done so much, we should be jaded, but yet we feel like three little kids who just started again. It’s great. The bands that we come from are very excited for it too, so it’s just a match made in Heaven.
If I’m perfectly honest with you, I’ve always enjoyed George Lynch’s guitar work, but I think it took playing with you and Ray to bring out the very best in George.
I’m not going to argue with you about that. I think George is a great guitar player, but I want to agree with you on that, because everytime I listen to KXM I think, “Wow George.” I didn’t know, cause I love George and and I think he’s a great, great guitar player, but the stuff he did on this record just stepped up my appreciation for him.
He’s always been a shredder, but every single note has a purpose on this record. A lot of projects, musicians have a tendency to kind of jerk off all over a record for lack of a better description. This album seems to be a level playing field where everyone has their moments. Was that something you guys discussed going in or did it just turn out that well?
No. What we did was, the only rule that we had, no one dictates to the other one how to play their instrument or what to write. So when we get together, we’d throw our parts together, and compliment each other and all of a sudden we’re coming up with music that is new to us. I wouldn’t say it’s original or it’s not groundbreaking, but for us it’s three people who we don’t play with, who we admire and we’re excited to hear what they do with what we do. Like my bass parts, along with Ray’s kick drum, it’s just fun to figure out what he’s doing and play around that. And George, he just didn’t want to do a lot of leads. He wanted to try and just stick to what he did. What we did with George, George has so many ideas, he’s such a genius at what he does, we would stop him when he would come up with two or three parts and say, “Stop. We’re going to focus on this.” He would go, “But I’ve got another one and I’ve got something else. What about this?” And we’d go “No. Let’s work on what we have here.” So that was the way that we worked things out. We never really told each other what to do, we did try to confine each other and force each other into a box, so that we could create. I think working with the two guys was an eye opening experience for me, because King’s X doesn’t work like that. We work a different way and I think, and George will tell you the same thing I think, that he’s so used to writing the song himself and everyone plays the parts that he tells them to do. He writes the music, the melodies and everything. He had a hard time at first, because he wanted to come over and write lyrics with me and melodies and stuff, and I just go, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” (laughter) I just kept making excuses up, until I got to a couple of times where I drew a blank and I’d say, “George I need help.” He’s just got so many ideas, which is so great. But again, like I was saying, we just really wanted to stay true to who we were personally, as we created our little world within the world of KXM.
I do want to ask you this, on this record in particular, Ray has some of the best high hat work and cymbal work on here, that honestly, I knew he was great, but I didn’t realize how intricate he was in his playing. How different was that for you going in?
It was wonderful for me. Because for me, as long as a drummer is as steady as he can be, I can dance with him. That’s what I loved about Ray. Everything he did, I could find the pocket, I could find the groove. Ray even said that when we were mixing the record, that the overheads were not loud enough to him and he calls our guy Chris who was mixing and said, “Look, I’m tired of being on records and nobody can hear my overheads.” (laughter) That’s why you can really hear the clarity of his drums. I even complained, I said, “I can’t hear the bass man. Turn the bass up.” Chris calls us back and says, “Look, I’m dealing with a drummer who can’t hear his drum parts.” So basically when you’re mixing a record, everybody has to have a dialogue, so that everything comes out the way they want it. It’s very important. Through our dialogue we got it right. I got my bass where I wanted it to be and his drums, to me they’re just light years ahead of a lot of mixes that I’ve heard. Some people might complain that the drums are too loud, but it could change the way that people mix. From now on, maybe they’ll put the drums that loud. All it takes is for one person to hear something they like and someone will follow. There’s no rules here in mixing. You mix the way you want it to sound and the way you want people to hear it.
I think it’s awesome. I enjoyed it when I first listened to it, but then I put it through the speakers in the car and it’s so thick. I kind of joked with a friend that the tones that dUg is playing on this record are thicker than Kim Kardashian. (laughter) I absolutely love it. Tell me about the rig you recorded that song through to achieve that.
Pretty much it was straight into the board. I used my fractal, my Axe Effect. I have my rig programmed into that and that’s what I use live. All I did was took the line out and plugged straight into Pro Tools and put my bass tracks down in my studio.
It turned out fantastic.
Chris mixed it and he made it rock and that’s all that matter.
Let’s discuss a couple of songs for a moment. The first one I want to dive into is Gun Fight. I’m not one to put my interpretations out there, so tell me a bit about the call to arms, if you will, in this song.
Oh man, I’d just been watching too much YouTube and too much conspiracy theories and aliens and all that stuff. I’m a real big champion of all that stuff. So I watch it and read up about it all I can. The latest thing I was thinking about, at the moment of writing lyrics for that song, I had heard about martial law and about all of the concentration camps there are supposedly in the United States and how the government was shipping all of those tanks to different parts of the country. So the conspiracies are there is going to be a martial law really soon because the Americans are really tired of the government. Through that, I just thought Gun Fight. There’s gonna be a Gun Fight. People are going to get up and get out in the streets like Paul Revere and the Raiders and take to arms. It just sounded like a cool way to say there’s gonna be a gun fight like you’ve never seen before, because for me, I’ve never seen a gun fight. (laughter) I think Americans are starting to wake up and realize that they’ve been duped. I’m not talking about the ones who’ve been aware for years and years and years, but those people who haven’t really payed attention. We hated Bush and then we champion Obama. Now we see Obama is no better than Bush and they’re all puppets. So, I think no matter where you look, left, right, far left, extreme right, it’s all fucked and sooner or later we’re all just going to drop and get together and go, “Look, we’ve got to do something.” I’m waiting for that day to happen. It may happen and may not happen, but I got a good song out of it. (laughter)
I’ve often felt that the most overlooked line is For the people, by the people; because we’ve really gotten away from that.
We only have a little time here. So let’s talk about Never Stop. It has a southern rock ballad feel to it and it also has an interesting subject that you’re serenading there. Give us a little insight into how that song came together.
I don’t want to get too specific. It’s just someone that I love more than anything in the whole world, who has a drug problem. Because of it, I’ve watched this person go through and it just got to the point where I realized, actually I have several people in my life that because of drugs, they’ve just made some of the worst choices in the world and hurt some of the most beautiful people and children in the world because of it. I realize, once I’ve gotten in their heads, they love me and they love the people that they hurt, but the drugs are so much stronger. They just can’t seem to rise above it, now matter how they hurt other people or how they hurt. So I had that line that says drugs are more powerful than love. I know that’s really negative and I thought, “Man, people may not want to hear it that way.” But, you know, that’s how I look at it. The truth is, you can love somebody but if the drugs have you addicted, it’s just the way it is. The drugs are just more powerful, period. What are you going to do? It’s just the fucking truth. This whole record to me is just saying things that are truthful, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem, that’s who I am and that’s who I’ve always been. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and my opinions fly out of my mouth all the time. (laughter)
To me, that’s one of the most intriguing songs I’ve ever heard you personally on. I don’t know it’s just interesting. It’s a setting I suppose, where I’ve never really heard you in before. It’s a stellar track on there for me.
Thank you very much.
That got a little heavy there, so I’ll try to lighten the mood a little bit here.
dUg ain’t light at all. If you hang out with me, you’ll laugh all the time, but I’ve always got something deep to say because it’s the way I am.
KXM – Rescue Me:
Let’s shift gears just a little bit here. You’ve got Rescue Me out there as the first single. You’re doing a lot of press and the video is out and the radio play is starting to pick up and all that. Is this project just a project or can we expect some tour dates out of all of this?
Oh yeah! We’re going to tour. You better believe it. I can’t wait.
You just made my day.
I don’t know when. I don’t know what capacity, but we’ve talked about it. We’ve even thrown around the idea of maybe going out with Winery Dogs and just do a double bill. That would be just so much fun and so many people would come.
Just go ahead and put me on the list for all those shows. I’ll be the tour photographer.
One of the topics that a reader wanted me to ask you about, was your time filling in for Corey Glover in Living Colour. There’s not a ton of items out there to see or read about it. What was that experience like for you?
Man it was a really, really great experience. I do have one live concert. I want to release it, but I was so horrible on it, I just can’t. (laughter) When they called me up and asked me to do it, I immediately said yeah. Then I realized that I don’t sing as high as Corey. Corey, his voice is in another range than mine. I’m a lower singer and he’s a higher singer. Even though I scream and yell a lot, I naturally can’t stay up there. I’ve got to come down. With Living Colour, I was up in the stratosphere the whole time. I lost my voice all the time, so I just wasn’t happy with my performance, but it was so much fun being with the guys and playing. There were some pretty big shows that we did in Europe. 40,000 to 50,000 people at festivals and stuff. So it was a big deal for me. I hadn’t done that in a long, long time with King’s X and I got paid, so it was good. I love those guys. I’ve known them for years and years and years. It was quite an honor that Corey asked me to do it, which made it just even more the better.
The only thing I could really find from that time was, I think Funny Vibe is up on your Youtube.
Yeah, I put it up there actually. Because I’m the only one who has it. (laughter) Nobody else has a copy of it. Nobody does. When we played the show live, it was about like 40,000 people at this big festival and the video, the big screens they had on each side of the stage, so they videod and recorded it and somebody had a copy that worked there. So, they just gave it to me. So I’m basically the only one who has that footage.
Well hopefully at some point, you’ll feel comfortable enough that we’re hear a little bit more of that some time.
Yeeeeaaahhh. You know, I’ve been meaning to. I just forget to get around to it. I’ll try to clean it up a little bit and it’s only on one side of the speaker too, so I have to redo it so it won’t be in mono.
Are you excited to be playing the Hendrix tribute at SXSW this year?
Yeah. I’m excited about that because I can do me some Hendrix.
You know what, I can not argue. I remember the first time that I listened all the way through Dogman and you came on, the last track is Manic Depression, and when you came on, I had to take multiple listens to be ask, “Is that a track of Jimi?” Because you nailed it. You blew my mind.
That was the second take, because on the first take, I sounded so much like Jimi, I had put a little dUg in there too. It’s funny that Jimi’s and my voice, as well as Phil Lynott’s voice have sort of the same kin. I don’t know if it’s maybe because we’re biracial or it’s just makeup. I don’t know what it is, but the tones of their voices are in the same range as mine. So it’s very easy for me to mimic both of those guys. I don’t feel like I can copy anybody. I’ve tried to copy all my heroes, but those two guys, I can do them pretty good.(laughter)
I can’t argue with that. Alright dUg, I always end on a random question so since I live within my own structured existence, I must do the same with you. Since we just discussed Jimi Hendrix, I thought I’d ask another related question. I often think of the legacy that Jimi left behind and I sometimes wonder if he had lived longer if his legacy could have been any greater. He was so far ahead of his time. Do you think if he had lived another say thirty years, with the advances in the technology of amps and pedals, not so much technique that he would have still been as innovative or would his flame have been dimmed with time?
I know that his whole thing was to push the envelope. That was his nature. No telling what he would be doing now and no telling how we would all hate it maybe. (laughter) I mean I think about John McLaughlin when he came out in the UK in the 70’s and how his leads just changed the world. Now he won’t even play like that. He’s off somewhere’s else that I can’t relate to, but he’s continuing creating. So you never know. He could’ve gotten stagnant. I think about all those guys that died young Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin, down to the Godfather of blues Robert Johnson. He died when he was 21 and without him, we would not be playing the blues right now. He was just 21 years old. So you just wonder. Then I look around at the Eric Clapton’s and B.B. King and they’re still around and they’re still relevant, and they’re still making great music. They’re not pushing the envelope, but what they have done is learned how to emulate what they do and be a character of themselves and make it real. You never know how it’s going to turn out. He could’ve turned out like Sly (Stone). A complete recluse mess who never writes anything, because he feels like he can’t top himself from Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself.
That’s just one of the things that I always wondered. It intrigued me to think about. He’s still ahead of his time. I just wonder if people would have, not necessarily lost interest, but like you said, had a difficult time relating if he continued to push. So very cool.
Yeah. He said he wanted to get into jazz a lot, so that would have turned into some abstract, crazy ass stuff. Jimi, John Coltrane and Sly, the three of them seemed to play off of each other. When pushing the envelopes, they’d talk about each other all the time.
You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Well dUg it’s been an absolute honor for me. It was difficult to not have a fanboy moment and freak out a bit.
I didn’t feel it and I couldn’t tell it. So it sounds like a personal problem. (laughter)
Awesome! Well musically you can do no wrong in my book my friend. I wish you all the best in the world and hopefully we can get caught up at a show sometime soon.
Well thank you so much and I will let you down. Don’t worry. (laughter)
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