Every so often, the right people come together at the right place and in the right time of life, and the results are truly inspired.
In 1979 in Springfield, Missouri, guitarist Ty Tabor was a member of a band opening for Phil Keaggy and his live performing band, which included bassist Doug Pinnick and percussionist Jerry Gaskill. The drummer in Tabor's band had just quit, and since he was skilled in percussion Ty offered to fill in for that night's set. Not owning a drum kit, Tabor asked Gaskill if he might borrow his set for the night. Both bands played, and everyone went their separate ways.
Fast forward to 1980. Doug Pinnick attended a set at Evangel College where Tabor was back to his original instrument of guitar. Pinnick was impressed and asked Tabor if he would like to collaborate on some ideas. Joined on many occasions by Gaskill, the three eventually added a rhythm guitarist as a fourth member and formed a band called The Edge. Three years and a couple of fourth members later after playing primarily top 40 cover songs, the band became a trio, and changed its name to Sneak Preview.
By 1985 the three-piece band had made some connections with a record company in Houston, Texas and moved south. While in Houston, the band met Sam Taylor, then the vice president of ZZ Top's production company. Taylor became interested in promoting the band, and convinced them to change their name, and King's X was born.
Over the next three years Taylor helped the band transition from a radio friendly pop-style genre to more of an experimental and complex writing style, with influences including Sly And The Family Stone, Rush, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and Jimi Hendrix just to name a few.
This hard work all came to fruition in 1988 as Kings X released their first full length album, Out Of The Silent Planet. While critically acclaimed by critics, Out Of The Silent Planet never made it any higher than #144 on Billboards charts. Two songs were released as singles but never garnered much attention.
In 1989 the band released what is considered by many to be their landmark album, Gretchen Goes To Nebraska. It is from this album that tonight's Friday Night Videos selection is chosen.
Over My Head is a song written by Doug Pinnick. Considered the "lead singer" of King's X, Pinnick is a long, lanky left-handed Black man who, because of his looks and musical talent, is often asked if he is related to Jimi Hendrix. With vocal skills developed in his youth as a member of a very musical Southern Baptist family, Pinnick passionately belts out an amazing range of tones with strength comparable to the likes of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.
Adding a strong gospel influence to his singing in Over My Head, Pinnick tells the story of his grandmother sitting on the front porch of his childhood home in Illinois. During live performances, the band brings the volume down and Pinnick speaks of his love for the woman who taught him music, helped him develop a strong relationship with God, and ultimately was the primary influence in making him the man he is today.
Witnessing a live performance by King's X is a truly inspirational event. They tend to play smaller, more intimate venues, so there's rarely a bad seat or location to stand and witness great musicianship. The friendship of the three men is evident in their performances, and each of them is extremely skilled at his invidual instrument.
King's X has released a total of 12 studio albums and one official live album. In addition, each member of the band has released their own solo album.
On a personal note, I have met the members of King's X and they are extremely courteous and appreciative of their fans. They make a point at each and every show to stay after and meet with fans outside of their tour bus, which in today's era of big arenas and big stars is quite respectable.
At a time in our existence during which we are witnessing events beyond our wildest beliefs, every so often it is good to take a deep breath, look toward the sky, give thanks for our freedom, and hear the music... Over My Head.