Doug Pinnick: King's X, Poundhound
Paradigm Shift Interview by Philip H. FarberDoug Pinnick is best known as the bass player for the King's X rock outfit. 1998 has seen Pinnick form a new band of his own, Poundhound, which has recently released its first album, "Massive Grooves From the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music." Additionally, a new King's X recording, "Tape Head," is due out this fall, with a tour to follow.
PHF: Can you tell us about the Electric Church?
Doug Pinnick: It's sort of just a frame of mind, group therapy, sort of like "Come on in and let's just get this vibe going and encourage each other and talk about life and go home and get on with it!" It's the vibe I hoped to create, not a religious vibe, but just sort of a communication, a community. Like going to church without having any religion or any god, just getting together and letting it move you. The music is the most important thing.
PHF: You have said that your world has gotten darker. Can you explain?
Doug Pinnick: It's a statement that I wanted to make because people have always had a misconception, those people that do like King's X, they've always thought that I was this real positive Christian guy out to save the world or something. Sometimes I feel like that's the image I was given. That's not really who I am. What happened was, one day I woke up and finally worked out, in my own head, my beliefs. Basically, I don't believe in anything any more. I looked around and saw the darker side of the world, and the reality of it. This is the world. So my world has gotten darker, but not in a bad way, in a good way, just waking up and seeing reality as what it is and dealing with it, and finding that it's not as hard as I thought it was. Coming from a Christian background, there's always these rules and regulations and control built on fear and the whole aspect of God as someone looking down on you and you have to be accountable when you die for everything. It just became such a big mess in my life, and uncertainty, too, because I wasn't even sure. I was thinking, "I'm living my whole life for this, and I don't even know at the end!" I've given my life away and not gotten the chance to do what I wanted to do. In Christianity and in the religion thing, the fear of doing what you want is so prevalent in that place. When I finally stepped out of that place, I found my freedom, I found myself, I found peace. I don't know if you noticed on this record, but it's a bit more positive than the older King's X records. I just see life a lot differently now, and I had to make that statement on this record.
PHF: Did the sense of freedom from your awakening lead to the solo project?
Doug Pinnick: No. Luckily it all happened around the same time. Well, maybe it's a combination of everything. After I stepped out of that whole world that I had engulfed myself in, I realized that I had control of my life and I could do what I wanted to and that I had a place in this world like everyone else. I never felt that I fit in, and I never thought my music was any good. Even though we are respected by a lot of people, we never sold a lot of records. So I really took that as "we're not very good." As a result, I felt bad and felt there was something wrong. When I got to the place where I was freed from the pressure, making this album was just a fun thing to do. Plus, I bought a recording studio at the same time! It seems that everything happened right around that time: King's X finally paid all their bills off. We were so far in debt from bad management a long time ago. We finally got a grip on our lives. We don't have a manager now. All three of us felt that we had control of our lives. I feel like I'm control, finally, for once, and I know what I want. That is just to make music until I die and to have fun doing it.
PHF: How do you think you got the reputation for Christian spirituality?
Doug Pinnick: In the early days, when we first came out, people couldn't categorize King's X. We just sounded different, I guess. I don't know because I was too much a part of it. We were really deemed as something different and unique. People didn't know how to categorize us, so they would ask us a lot of questions but we were pretty evasive about everything because we didn't know. So someone said, "Your lyrics are spiritual, do you have a certain belief?" We said, "Well, we're Christians." That did it. As soon as we said that, it seems like the media had found something to focus on. Since then, every article I've ever read has something to do with "that Christian band, King's X." It's not true. We're not a Christian band, never meant to be, never wanted to be, never said we were. Another thing that happened was that the Christian community embraced us as a Christian band and they called us that, and they paraded us around as "Here, listen to King's X and you can be saved!" We're going, "What are you people talking about?" At that point, what do you do? The ball was rolling. Ever since then, I've been battling the Christians because they ask "How can you say 'fuck'?"... They say, "Why aren't you saving people from the stage? People are going to hell and it's up to you. They look up to you and you've got to save them." I'm going, "Whoa! I just want to make music and get paid for it and have fun." It's always been that stigma that we've had. We've never been able to get away from it. In the last 6 or 7 months, I've just said, "Whatever... I'm not afraid to talk about it. It doesn't matter any more." I think that was one of the biggest reasons why we weren't successful.... People said, "Oh, that's that God band." And we came out right when Stryper just fucked the whole world. What are you supposed to do? Here's a band that's supposed to be saving the world, but they say, "Not really. We do cocaine and we fuck chicks."... Just let me live my life and do what I want to.
PHF: The discussion I would hear went something like this: "Christian rock sucks, but there's one good Christian band, King's X."
Doug Pinnick: That hurts. But it's what happens.
PHF: Where would you like to take Poundhound?
Doug Pinnick: I would like to take Poundhound as far as it will go. This is my baby. When I was a kid I used to dream of being in a rock band and being on stage and playing. I would put my guitar on and stand in front of the mirror. That excitement, after we started with King's X and we've been doing it for 20 years, that excitement is gone. With Poundhound, I feel like a kid again, starting over again. It's new, there's not a lot of preconceived ideas. That's why it's called Poundhound, not Doug Pinnick's Solo Record. I want people to see it for what it is and not for who I am and where I came from.
PHF: When someone listens to Poundhound, what is it you'd like them to experience?
Doug Pinnick: I just want them to walk away and say, "This record rocks!" I want people to go when they're riding in their car or hanging out and someone says, "Put that record on!" Remember the days when you'd put a record on and everyone in the room would just go, "Yeah!" That excitement, that's what I hope... I'm hoping that people will feel that with this record.
PHF: You have a new King's X project in the works?
Doug Pinnick: Ty [Tabor] is actually in the process of mixing it right now. It should be out in October. We did most of it in my studio right after I did Poundhound. I'm real happy with the King's X stuff, too, because, again, we all sort of went through a lot of things and have this sense of freedom where it's new again. There's no one on the outside working on this record, just the three of us this time, and we've never done a record without other people in there, engineers, managers, management and producers. This is all us, it's pure King's X, and we're excited about it, just because of what it is. It's called "Tape Head." I have no idea what that means. This is our eighth record. After a while you just start throwing words out, 'cause it's just fun.
PHF: There's a great movie called "Tapeheads."
Doug Pinnick: That's right! That was a wild movie! I actually have a t-shirt of that... I forgot about that!
PHF: How would you characterize "Tape Head"?
Doug Pinnick: It's pure King's X. I don't think it's anything new. I don't think we're going to break any new ground or change the world, but I feel that it has a purity that our first two records had... Those two records were just us without any pretense of record company bullshit or pressure. This "Tape Head" record has that sense about it.
Music by Doug Pinnick.