Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday Music Mambo

Monday Music Mambo is all about lefthanders today, so in honor of my favorite lefty, I'll answer it. We are asked to name our favorite song by each of the following artists:

Jimi Hendrix: While I dearly love "Hey Joe," I have to pick "Crosstown Traffic." My gamer tag, [xCB]xTown, which I've used since forever (or at least since Descent), was directly inspired by that song. I've used xTown since the days when you were limited to eight-character names.

Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath): "War Pigs," I guess. Not a big Sabbath fan -- it was either that or "Iron Man."

Paul McCartney (non-Beatles, just to make it harder): How is that hard? He's been an ex-Beatle for 30 years. I like "Jet" and have a soft spot for what seems to be one of the least-liked, "Silly Love Songs."

Billy Corgan (solo, Smashing Pumpkins or Zwan): Ah, now I understand why we think a non-Beatles Macca song is hard. What the hell is Zwan? I can only think of one Pumpkins song and I hate it, so I'll pass on this. (Seriously... Zwan?)

Phil Collins: The one that has the lyric "the only sound you'll hear is the sound of your voice calling, calling after me." Don't know the name, and I really only like that part.


  • No Doug Pinnick?

    Zwan was Corgan's project with (among others) Matt Sweeney. Matt was the driving force behind Chavez, a really, really good indie pop band. He was also in a band called Skunk that featured two dudes from my high school in Jersey(!). Skunk's biggest claim to fame was that they were originally called Mighty Joe Young, but had to change after getting sued by some blues dude.

    I have the Zwan album, and I likes it - very upbeat and different (in that sense) from Pumpkins. Maybe if you'd seen the Pumpkins play Gardner Lounge opening for the Lemonheads in fall of '91 you wouldn't be such a hater. :)
    [I bought their first single because of that show, and it's now worth upwards of a hundred bucks - hooray]

    By Anonymous Josh, at 10:43 PM  

  • (Savannah) Thank you, Josh! I am always impressed by your musical knowledge. What is Doug Pinnick up to, anyhow? Is King's X still together? Has he taken a look at the scary advance of "the persons with the signs" in the past few years and decided to take the whole Jesus thing private?

    Oh and sweetheart--I think the Phil Collins song you're talking about is "Throwing It All Away." It was one of those songs that, for some bizarre space-time-continuum reason, was *always* playing on the radio of my high school bus. (The others: "Turn Me Loose" by Loverboy, "Leave It" by Yes, "Night Moves" by Marilyn Martin, "Oh Sherry" by Steve Perry, "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger, and "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:49 AM  

  • King's X is still alive and kicking. They come through here pretty frequently, and one of their most recent trips my old band Casanatra opened for them. That was about the only time I've missed being in that band! Doug also does some solo stuff under the name Poundhound, and has collaborated with the guitar player from Trouble (also Christian metal) in a band called Supershine.

    I read a lengthy interview with Doug a year ago or so where he rants at length about the lack of success attained by King's X and pretty vociferously argues that they aren't a Christian band (yeah, right). The last several times I've seen them, he has had several rainbow stickers on his basses, so, um, I dunno...

    By Anonymous Josh, at 11:36 PM  

  • (Savannah) Wow, that's interesting. Yeah, no. King's X is uber-Christian. On the other hand, they're not "Christian" in the Amy Grant/Stryper sense of the term. They're, you know, intelligent, and aware of nuance.

    For those same reasons, I think Doug Pinnick should not be surprised about the lack of mainstream success. Very very few intelligent acts get mainstream success, and arguably, the work with which they do so is not their deepest or truest or best (e.g. Prince). King's X always had way too much to say, way too much of a point of view. You'd think those qualities would be assets, but unfortunately, they're not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:11 AM  

  • From May '06:

    KING'S X frontman Doug Pinnick has issued the following statement in response to rumors that the band were on the verge of breaking up:

    "I wish I could set down and answer all the questions, and speculations. I will try to make light of some of the things said and suggested. You guys are wonderful so please dont take anything I say as negative or bitching... There's no anger here... just love.

    "Here goes... We never fit in; no matter what we do, we can't get the masses on board, and we've done everything there is. I know you all have suggestions of what we could do do get more successful, but we have done everything there is to do! Or at least inquired about it all... We just can't get the folks on board. Woodstock '94 we played for 300 thousand people, and the next week on SoundScan we sold about 200 CDs. Then the week later nothing to comment on.... The rest of the bands on the bill — JACKYL, SHERYL CROW, LIVE, CANDLEBOX, etc. — sold millions!!! We got the best slot of the day, and USA Today, Howard Stern, MTV said we were the best band that day! We sold nothing... and it changed my life. I cut my hair and almost gave up! Plus I was going through midlife crisis. I started getting panic attacks and got blinded by my self-hate. 'Ear Candy' was the result.

    "Management? We have had people check us out and they say were doing a better job by ourselves than they could… after they see what we have to go through to get a gig and keep the boat afloat. Others say we're precieved as an old band and they feel they can't help us.

    "Record companies? We tried to give Atlantic a done CD with nothing to do but throw it out there. They passed, saying they are only interested in new young bands. ALL other companies rejected us except Metal Blade and InsideOut. Thank the gods for that...

    "Booking agent? They say they can't get many promoters to bring us; they all think they will lose money...

    "DEEP PURPLE? were trying to get on that tour, and anyother oportunity we can... but we have to pay to play, it's all political… That's the way all bands are treated now, they all pay, Ozzfest... The record companies pay to get all the bands on the tour. We don't have the $$. We opened for many bands in the past to no avail. A few new converts, but not enough...

    "Paul Shaffer [of the 'Late Show with David Letterman'] plays 'Born to be Loved' all the time... but to get to play live on the 'Letterman' show? Practically impossible.

    "I wish you all could understand how impossible the situation is these days for many bands. It sucks! The rejection to KING'S X is overwhelming in the music marketplace. You can imagine how it makes us feel.

    "Christian music scene?? Yeah, we could have been maybe the biggest band in Christian music, but we're not hypocrites, and when the Christians find out that we drink, smoke weed and I am gay, they would turn on us anyway, so why go there? That just hurts. Besides that, they rejected us anyway after they learned who we were. They're human, they hide it. We're not like that, we're too honest. That's why I am down on Christian music. In the name of truth they live lies. That's never been me, or KING'S X. It's one of our biggest faults. The Christian music scene was a dead end for us no matter what had happened in our career. I am agnostic now anyway. We just couldn't justify being a Christian band. It just wasn't the truth. I was raised Christian and have seen the Christian music scene first-hand. I can't be a part of it and I couldn't back then either... and we're still called a Christian band to this day. It wasn't kosher back then either. I remember so many people saying that they couldnt get their friends to listen to KING'S X 'cause we were Christian, even though STRYPER were successful. Now it's accepted being a Christian band, but we're not one of those bands. What's done is done and it's the past...

    "Downhill career? 'Manic Moonlight' was a good CD; I don't care what anyone says... I put my heart in that CD and wrote some songs that I am proud of. There was some wasted space on it, but isn't that the way most CDs are? We really did our best with what we had and who we were at the time. This band started out downhill, now we're in a hole. We couldn't get the $ for a producer for years, so we did it ourselves; at least we tried. Then we paid for Michael Wagener out of our own pockets, and finished the CD paying for it ourselves. We are really trying to do the right things, but all we get are walls. There's only so much we can do without money, record company support and attendance. We have maybe sold a million CDs combined from day one! That's not many in the real world. And Atlantic put millions into promoting us. More than most we have had the oportunity for exposure and we got it.

    "I know some of you think there's things we should be doing, but trust me, we have tried or checked out all the possibities, it's just not as easy as you may think. We need all-ages shows, and it's almost impossible to get them. That's just fact. It sucks playing at such late times when people have to go to work or drive hours to attend. We always ask for early shows and all ages, it just dosent happen. Bands that are successful without airplay or much promotion? It's a mystery. We're doing what they did and here we are. We're going home from this tour broke. I get no $ when I am off tour, I have to fend for myself. That's life, I guess. Same as everyone else, I wish it wasn't so...

    "25 years of doing this with KING'S X... Wven in the early days before the record deal, we couldn't get good attendance doing covers when the other bands we competed with packed the clubs... It's always been this way, we just don't appeal to the masses. Maybe if we had about 10 million to promote us??? But there's no guarantee. We're precieved as an old band in the marketplace that is well respected but not a moneymaker. Bands try to take us out with them but their management always reject us. We may not tour for a while because of all of this...we can't.

    "We have made mistakes, for sure, in our career, but we have realy tried to do the right things. We're not the same people as we were when we started this band, and we always try to do our best and make the best music we can. Sometimes it didn't seem like it was the best effort at the time, but if you were there, you would understand.

    "We are so thankful for the support from the faithful. We wouldn't be here if it wasnt for all of you people. The band is really down these days, frustrated, and out of money and ideas that will work. We're not young upcoming wide-eyed kids anymore, and this music biz is obsessed with youth. The whole U.S. is this way, just look around.

    "It's not over untill the fat lady sings, they say... Well, she's at the mic…

    "I have had a wonderful adventure being in this band and being me. I have been blessed more than most. I take nothing for granted. We could go on and on about what we should do and what we haven't, but at the end of the day, we have done the best that we could with what is before us.

    "We're not done, we're not breaking up… We're still hoping to be the biggest band in the world, and I have many more songs in my head and on demos to throw out there for you guys… good or bad, you can decide. I will make music as long as I can breathe.

    "I have questioned my whole life and this band's place in the world. It's still a mystery to me. This band I have invested 25 years of my life to... and I think about my place in this more than anyone could possibly know or understand... and still don't know why no one realy gives a feck on a major scale. And people wonder why I have low self-esteem. I am one of the biggest losers that there is, and I don't know why. No one in KING'S X knows why it hasn't happened for us... but I will keep doing what I do because I know nothing else and I love making music.

    "Thanks for letting me ramble. Thanks for hearing me out. And like I said before, without you guys I probably wouldn't be alive. Thanks for saving my life. I love you all. Keep the faith. It's not taken for granted."

    By Anonymous Josh, at 9:26 AM  

  • (Savannah) Oh, that is just heartbreaking. It's terrible that Pinnick feels a sense of failure. He shouldn't. He should feel a sense of tremendous accomplishment.

    He should take some art history classes. Seriously. The story of art history is the story of Van Gogh--genius being recognized when it is waaaay too late. Not every good artist has that story--but enough of them do. Enough to permanently change your ideas of what success means.

    King's X makes really beautiful, meaningful, substantive, challenging, noncommercial music. It is absolutely no surprise when a band like that fails to get a mass audience. They shouldn't have even been trying for one--except that there currently is no other way. We need a "fine art" slot for popular music. King's X, properly understood, is like the Mark Morris Dance Group or an experimental theater troupe. If the burden of trying to function in the commercial arena could be lifted from them, and they could get onto the art circuit, that would be a much better fit.

    Thanks for posting that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:57 AM  

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