We all know that being good, intelligent and tasteful in the music biz will usually get you nowhere. Some of the best writers and performers will get some attention, maybe signed and an album put out. But sales and the youth culture still reign supreme; the companies would rather put out the same junk that sold well over and over again in a newer younger body and often the same old song.

I’ll admit that my tastes have always leaned well away from the mainstream; while my classmates were listening to Kiss, I listened to the Dixie Dregs. The soundtrack to my senior year included The Tubes, Jeff Beck and other tasteful players who would not pull down the same numbers as the big boys. I won’t even go off into my jazz and world music leanings as you would have to use a micrometer to record their sales.

One such band that has always been a beacon of good to me was King’s X, the trio from Katy, Texas that defied most pigeon holes from the start and has continued to grow for 25 years as men and artists. They could obviously play, wrote catchy songs that were complex in construction but not to the ear. They rocked hard, harmonized like they had paid close attention to the Beatles and the Beach Boys and were de-tuning their guitars Waaaaaay before those nu-metal kids figured out the trick.

Often with bands that stand out early and have classic recordings that find a place in their fan’s hearts, they never make anything that touches their fanbase the same way. King’s X continued to grow, stretch and try new things each time they went into the studio. Sometimes they created albums that were more true to where they were at in their own lives than a record exec would like. I have gone back to some of those middle albums recently and found gems, songs that resonate even more now than when they originally caught my ear. I’m glad I’m kept up with them and their music all these years as I am continually rewarded for being a listener and a fan.

I received an e-mail this morning from my dear friend and often co-backline guy Bobby Schneck. One of the things that help build our friendship was our common love for King’s X. It’s rare to find touring people who are strong fans of anything other than easy schedules, tour bonuses and abundant shower towels. Most people would look at us like we were listening to static; their loss I say. One other tech who got them was Gary Williams and once again when he and Bobby met, it was like they spoke the same language. Music is a really strong thing, even for tired, jaded guys in black cotton.

The e-mail included a heart wrenching post from Dug Pinnick, the bass player from King’s X, who went on to share his frustration and sadness at their current place in the business. I’m going to include it here, though quite long. I’m still looking for a direct link to his original post though Bobby sent me one from a repost on the Blabbermouth.net site.

For some of you, this will not be filled with surprises; for others it might open your eyes to how the business will throw you by the wayside again and again if you don’t bring them the money they want. Perhaps this is the greatest argument for grassroots and self- provided music in a clearly not-podsafe world. The record companies are no longer the only game in town…

posted by Dug Pinnick of King’s X:

dUg’s words

“I have read about 2 pages of this thread, 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….theres no anger here….just
love …here goes…we never fit in, no matter what we do we
cant get the masses on board, and weve done
everytnig there is, I now 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 cant get the folks
on board…woodstock 94 we played for 300 thousand
people, and the next week on soundscan we sold about
200 CD’s .then the week later nothing to comment
on….the rest of the bands on the bill, Jackel,
Sheryl Crow, Live, Candlebox, stc.. 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
thru mid life 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 thru
to get a gig…and keep the boat afloat…others say
were precieved as an old band and they feel they
cant 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 accept
Metal Blade and Inside out…thank the gods for
that….

booking agent?.. they say they cant get many
promotes to bring us, they all think they will loose
money…

Deep Purple? were trying to get on that tour, and
anyother oportunity we can…but we have to pay to
play, its all political….thats the way all bands
are treated now, they all pay, Ozz Fest… the
record companies pay to get all the bands on the
tour….we dont have the $$, we opend for many bands
in the past to no avail..a few new converts, but not
enough…

Paul Scheafer plays Born to be loved all the time…
but to get to play live on the Letterman show?
practicly impossible….I wish you all could
understand how impossible the situation is these
days for many bands..it sucks! the rejection to KX
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 were
not hippocrites, 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……..theyre human, they
hide it….were not like that, were to honest. thats
why I am down on christian music…in the name of
truth they live lies….thats never been me..or
kingsX..its one of our biggest faults…The
christian music scene was a dead end for us no
matter what had happend in our career….I am
agnostic now anyway, we just couldnt justify being a
christian band…it just wasnt the truth…I was
raised christian and have seen the christian music
scene first hand…I cant be a part of it and I
couldnt back then either…and were still called a
christian band to this day, it wasnt kosure back
then either, I remember so many people saying tat
they couldnt get thier friend to listen to KX cause
we were christian, even thoug Stryper were
successful…now its accepted being a christian
band….but were not one of those bands…..whats
done is done and its the past…….

downhill career?.. Manic Moon Light was a good CD, I
dont care what anyone says…I put my heart in that
CD and wrote some songs that I am proud of…there
was some waisted space on it but isnt that the way
most CD’s are? we realy did our best with what we
had and who we were at the time…this band started
out down hill, now were in a hole…we couldnt get
the $ for a producer for years, so we did it
ourselves, at least we tried….then we payed for
Michael Wagner out of our own pockets….and
finished the CD paying for it ourselves….we are
realy trying to do the right things but all we get
are walls….theres only so much we can do without
money, record company support and attendance….we
have maybe sold a million CD’s combined from day
one…!. thats 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 theres things we should be
doing, but trust me, we have tried or checked out
all the possibiity, its just not as easy as you may
think… we need all ages shows, and its almost
impossible to get them…thats 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?,,,its a mystery, were doing what they did
and here we are..

were going home from this tour broke…I get no $
when I am off tour, I have to fend for
myself….thats life i guess. same as everyone else,
I wish it wasnt so..
.
25 years of doing this with KX….even in the early
days before the record deal, we couldnt get good
attendance doing covers, when the other bands we
competed with packed the clubs….its always been
this way, we just dont appeal to the
masses…..maybe if we had about 10 million to
promote us??? but theres no guarantee…
were precieved as an old band in the marketplace
that is well respected but not a money maker…..
bands try to take us out with them but thier
management always reject us,
we may not tour for a while because if all of
this…we cant…

we have made mistakes for sure in our career, but we
have realy tried to do the right things.. were not
the same people as we were when we started this
band, and we always try to do ur best and make the
best music we can…sometimes it didnt 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 wouldnt be here if it wasnt for all of
you people…the band is realy down these days,
frustrated, and out of money and ideas that will
work….were not young upcoming wide eyed kids
anymore, and this music biz is obsessed with youth,
the whole US is this way, just look around….its
not over untill the fat lady sings they say… well,
shes at the mike…..

I have had a wonderful adventure being in this band
and being me…I have been blessed more than most..I
take nothing for granite..we could go on and on
about what we should do and what we havent….but at
the end of the day we have done the best that we
could with what is before us…..were not done, were
not breaking up….were 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 breath…I have
questioned my whole life and this bands place in the
world….its 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 dont 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 loosers that there is…and I dont
know why….no one in KX knows why it hasnt happend
for us….but I will keep doing what I do because I
know nothig 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
wouldnt be alive….thanks for saving my life….I
love you all…..keep the faith, its not taken for
granite…..dUg . “

Love and support the music that moves you; don’t steal it and point at the record companies. This is what can happen to your favorite acts.