King's X is critically acclaimed American Rock band noted for its sophisticated music (that combines progressive rock, grunge rock, funk and soul with vocal arrangements influenced by African American Gospel, blues, and British invasion pop groups. The band's lyrics are largely based on the members' struggles with religion and self-acceptance.
The group traces its beginnings to 1980, when Doug Pinnick and Jerry Gaskill, who had previously met while recording and touring with Phil Keaggy and touring with the Christian rock band Petra, recruited Ty Tabor to join them. Calling themselves The Edge, the group extensively performed on the Springfield, Missouri bar and club circuit. The band specialized in Top 40 covers. By 1983, the name of the band had changed to Sneak Preview and they started to record original material. Sneak Preview released a self-titled LP with all original material in 1984.
By 1985 the group had relocated to Houston, Texas with the promise of a recording contract with Frontline Records, but the deal fell through. However, the band would soon do one tour with CCM artist Morgan Cryar, as his backup band. Doug felt some disdain because they did not get to perform on his album, Fuel On The Fire, but Ty and Doug both co-wrote songs on it, and Ty was solely credited for the song "Underneath Your Feet". And, apparently, Ty, Doug and Jerry are credited to have done backing vocals on the album.
However, it was there that the group met Sam Taylor, then vice president of ZZ Top's production company. Taylor quickly became the group's mentor and convinced them to change their name to King's X. Taylor was instrumental in helping the group. Taylor would soon become the group's manager, producer and mentor, and, according to some, was declared to be the fourth member of the group.
King's X arrives
The group released its first album as King's X, entitled Out Of The Silent Planet, in 1988. Despite being hailed by music critics, the album did not fare well commercially, peaking at #144 on the Billboard album charts. The album shares its name with a C. S. Lewis novel, Out Of The Silent Planet. The band's 1989 second release, Gretchen Goes To Nebraska, fared slightly better from a commercial standpoint. Significantly, the song "Over My Head" received moderate airplay on MTV and radio. The increase in exposure would prove beneficial when the band released their third album, Faith, Hope, Love, in the fall of 1990.
The brink of a breakthrough
Faith, Hope, Love was the group's first album to crack the US Top 100, with the help of the successful single "It's Love." (Another track, the funk-rock "We Were Born to Be Loved," has enjoyed a long life on Late Night with David Letterman as a commercial bumper instrumental favorite of Paul Shaffer's CBS Orchestra.)
The band landed a gig opening for AC/DC in the U.S. and Europe for the first half of 1991. They also toured with Living Colour, themselves near the peak of their popularity. The band was signed to major label Atlantic Records for their next release. That summer, their song "Junior's Gone Wild" appeared on the movie Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
The band released their fourth album, King's X, in the Spring of 1992. But rising tensions with Taylor led the band to eschew the upbeat approach of previous albums and turn out a darker, more introspective effort. Unfortunately, their new style didn't translate well among the record-buying public, thus garnering fewer sales than Faith, Hope, Love. The only single from the album, "Black Flag" received only moderate airplay on MTV. Not long after the release of King's X, the band parted ways with Taylor. The details of the split have not been made public, but it was believed to be rather acrimonious. In the aftermath, King's X took over a year off to consider their collective future together. The band members followed other, non-musical pursuits - most notably, guitarist Ty Tabor took up semi-professionally racing motocross motorcycles.
With grunge music at the peak of its popularity, and Pearl Jam's bassist Jeff Ament declaring that "King's X invented grunge" (despite the group's trademark sound being very different from that of the commercially successful grunge acts), the band went looking for a new sound on their return. They enlisted veteran producer Brendan O'Brien, who had recently produced albums for Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam, and the resulting album, 1994's Dogman, showcased a much more muscular and heavy sound from the group, along with less abstract and spiritual lyrics. The record received a heavier promotional push from Atlantic and the band enjoyed a very successful tour, capped by an appearance at the Woodstock 94 festival in August. But despite a return to the Top 100 for the group, the album failed to sell as well as Atlantic had hoped, and the label's support for the group quickly faded.
The band's third release under Atlantic, 1996's Ear Candy, would also be their last (not including a subsequent compilation) for the label. Although it sold to the band's sizable core following, it lacked the mainstream success of previous efforts. The record was soon out of print, and it seemed that the group's chance for commercial success had come and gone.
The group moved to Metal Blade Records in 1998. Their first album for Metal Blade Records, Tape Head, signaled a new era for the band. They modified their creative methods by writing and recording the album together in the studio, rather than coming together to record songs that the individual members had written separately. Their next two albums, Please Come Home... Mr. Bulbous and Manic Moonlight were created in this same way.
For their next album, Black Like Sunday, the group arranged and recorded an album full of songs that the band had regularly performed prior to releasing their first album for MegaForce Records, Out Of The Silent Planet. The cover art for this album was selected from artwork submitted by fans.
The double-disc set Live All Over The Place was the band's final album for Metal Blade Records, and their first official live release.
The band's latest album, entitled Ogre Tones, was released in September 2005 on the InsideOut label. It was produced by famed rock producer Michael Wagener (Dokken, Extreme, Stryper, White Lion, Skid Row).
A second double-disc live set entitled Live & Live Some More was released in 2007 on Wally Farkas' independent label Molken Music.
King's X is working with Michael Wagener again on their second album for the InsideOut Music label, tentatively titled "Go Tell Somebody", originally set for release in September 2007, but now set for release early 2008.
The members of King's X have been musically prolific, releasing a number of solo albums (such as Doug Pinnick's two PoundHound albums and Emotional Animal, Ty Tabor's Naomi's Solar Pumpkin, Moonflower Lane, Safety and Rock Garden, and Jerry Gaskill's musically intriguing Come Somewhere) and side projects (such as Ty Tabor's work with Platypus, Jughead, and The Jelly Jam, and Doug Pinnick's work with Supershine. A Jimi Hendrix tribute album, "In From The Storm", performing lead vocals on "Burning The Midnight Lamp". The Mob and Man Friday). Doug Pinnick stood in for lead singer Corey Glover on Living Colour's August 2006 European tour. Doug is also featured on a recording with Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, performing a cover of Cream's "Born Under A Bad Sign", and on Dream Theater's "Lines in the Sand" from the album Falling into Infinity.
Source of the band's name
The band's name, King's X, is sometimes understood to be a reference to Jesus, whom Christians often refer to as the King, since one of His teaching themes was about the Kingdom of God. The "X" portion in this interpretation of the name is understood to be a reference to the cross that Jesus was crucified upon. This theory is further backed up by the fact that in London, England, the train station King's Cross is sometimes referred to verbally and in print as "King's X". The "X" is sometimes printed as a "+" rendering "King's +", with the X now turned 45 degrees and closely resembling the shape of a cross. Some fans believe the band wanted to name themselves "King's Cross" so as to have the name stand for a double-meaning for both Christians and non-Christians, the later of whom would assume the band was named after the train station. These fans believe that Sam Taylor encouraged an even more distanced association from Christianity by suggesting the name "King's X" in substitution for "King's Cross".
In an interview on the UK late night TV show Raw Power around the time of the release of Gretchen Goes To Nebraska, the band's explanation of their name was that the X relates to the mark on the wax seal used by royalty to seal correspondence. If the seal on a letter sent by the King, the King's X, was broken, it meant death for the messenger.
An interview with Ty in guitarist magazine in the mid-1990's revealed the true origin of their name, namely that "Kings X" is a safety zone in the game of "Tag" in Texas - a player could "Call Kings X" to avoid being tagged. Sam Taylor's brother was in a band called Kings X some years earlier and he suggested it to the band. After much thought and with better names forthcoming, Ty stated that one of the band simply said "Are we gonna be called Kings X or what?". The band agreed on it and Kings X stuck.
Whether the band's name was intended as a Christian reference or not, the band members themselves have resisted being been identified as a Christian metal or Christian rock band. Although many of their early lyrics have a clear spiritual influence, generally this came from the individual faith of the members rather than an explicit attempt to tap into the contemporary Christian music market in the way groups such as Petra did. While members would speak openly about their faith, and the Faith Hope Love CD insert contained an entire chapter of the Bible, the band rejected the association as a Christian band. While some of their albums were marketed through Christian book stores, most removed their albums from sale after Pinnick's announcement in 1998 of his homosexuality. This caused the band to lose some Christian fans, but did not significantly affect the band's core following.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King's_X