Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Night Videos - Over My Head

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.


Opus #6 said...


yearsagotoday said...

Hey, thanks for sharing this King's X bio. They're truly an awesome band, and criminally overlooked. One question, I didn't know of any other fourth member of The Edge other than Kyle Henderson. I know Marty Warren wrote some songs with Ty Tabor, particularly Pleiades, but I don't think he was ever part of the band. So who was the other fourth member?

Also, in live versions of Over My Head, Pinnick talks of his grandmother as something of a hypocrite because she called herself a Christian yet never told him she loved him. She had a big part in making him who is, of course, but sadly, a lot of that was due to hurt.

Z said...

Hi, Soloman...what you said about Mr Z's "Survival Guide.." meant the world to me.
Thank you so much. xx

Dr. Dave said...

Not bad, Solomon. I was in Germany at the time doing the whole metal scene, singing in a terrible band, so I ignored this kind of music. But we mellow as we age (or rather, I allow good clean rock into my ken right next to the nasty metal I'll be playing on my stereo when I'm 110).

I think I'll go to cduniverse and find the CD.

Soloman said...

Opie, glad you liked. Hope you're having fun in Fresno!

Soloman said...

yearsagotoday - thanks for the comment..

Honestly, some of this was knowledge I already had, but some of it I pulled from Wiki, and we all know Wiki's not a perfect source, but it met a lot of what I knew in this instance.

Having said that, Wiki includes the "first" fourth member as a Dan McCollam on rhythm guitar, and says he quit "shortly thereafter" so he must not have lasted very long. That is why I was rather vague about that point.

Regarding Doug's 'sermons' as I know a lot of people call them... I honestly have not seen the band live since the "King's X' album tour, and haven't kept up with them much since either. Just as this post's opening statement says, sometimes certain people at certain times..

I no doubt still would love to see a live King's X show, but my music purchasing days have dwindled greatly for various reasons, and so have my concert going days... therefore, I was not certain of the specifics.. I just remember him speaking of his youth and his faith.

I had a very unique experience when I met the band, which was after the 'Faith, Hope, Love' show in Cleveland, OH. I gave Doug a gift of a chime necklace I was wearing.. he kept looking at it as we talked and I offered it to him. He allowed me to put it on him, as opposed to just handing it to him, which impressed me because many people wouldn't trust someone like that if they don't know them, but he did.

He tried to give it back, actually.. he could tell how important it was to me (I bought it from a Deadhead at my only Grateful Dead show ever) but I insisted he keep it. He told me I'd see it again, which I thought was an interesting thing to say..

Their next release was 'Dogman', and on the inside cover there is this picture. That's my necklace. He also was wearing only that necklace at the Cleveland show for 'Dogman' which I thought was interesting, if not amazing. I didn't stay after that show.. they had become very popular through that time, and the crowd to meet with them was quite large. I had my moment with the band, and they changed my life in ways they'll never know.

Thanks for adding some insight and for stopping by!

I checked out your blog quickly, what a very interesting concept. I'll be back to check it out on occasion.

Soloman said...

Hey Z... hope you're well.

As I left you that note, I had an interesting thought. At the top of your comment box, you tell your guests to "SING!"

I left my comment to you shortly after I put this post up.. and if there was ever a band in my life that gives me faith, this is the one...

Certain people at certain times...

Soloman said...

Dr. Dave.. I would definitely recommend this one. Their other album that I regard very highly is "Faith, Hope, Love."

They're closer to 70's prog-rock or grunge than they are to metal, but they're extremely talented. I think the only reason they never hit the big time is because they speak of faith in their music, and we know how that goes...

yearsagotoday said...

Soloman, very cool story about the necklace! Doug, Jerry and Ty are all really cool down-to-earth guys. I didn't get to see them live until the Tape Head tour, but since then I've probably seen them about a dozen times. No matter how many times I see them, as soon as I hear those three-part harmonies, Doug's bass shaking my insides, Ty's insane guitar solos, and Jerry Gaskill's teeth-clacking along to his drumming, I get a big dumb grin on my face.

I didn't know about Dan McCollam being the fourth member. I googled him, and it turns out he's a worship leader now.

And thanks for the encouragement on the blog. I'm sure King's X will pop up on there soon.

Soloman said...

years - good to hear you keep up with King's X. A couple of weeks ago something made me think of them, so I checked out their website. Unfortunately they're not touring anywhere near me now.. but I'm going to try to check them out next time they're here. It would be interesting to what they've become some 15 years after my last show.

I'm going to spend some time on your blog... like I said I just checked it out quickly.

I just added a new blog roll to my page, though... I'm calling it 'not about politics' (I'm a simple guy) and I'll fill it with non-political blogs. You're its first member, since besides the mommy-bloggers who also do politics, you're the first non-politics blogger I've had stop by. Hopefully you'll see some traffic from it!

FYI - every Friday here I do "Friday night videos" - it'll always be a post that relates to the political topics of the day, but it might be music or a comedian..something besides straight politics. We all need a diversion.

The_Kid said...

Good tune.

Soloman said...

Glad you enjoyed, Kid.. they're a great band.

yearsagotoday said...

Thanks for the add Soloman! I added the followers widget on my blog. You're my first follower, so there's an easy way for people to get from my blog to yours. Not that you'll get much traffic that way!

yearsagotoday said...

Also, look for a scary King's X post on November 4th!