Innocent Words Issue #117 April 2017 COVER STORY: KXM: Noises In The Sky

Photo by Alex Solca

Early In 2013 the stars aligned and brought together three iconic musicians to form one hell of a supergroup entitled KXM. Taking a letter from each member’s main band, KXM consisted of bassist and vocalist Dug Pinnick (King’s X), guitar legend George Lynch (Lynch Mob/Dokken), and hard-hitting drummer Ray Luzier (Korn).

Not long after their formation the trio released their self-titled debut March 11, 2014 on Rat Pak Records and the release rocketed up the charts to #31 on the Billboard 200. Unlike most “supergroups” who sound exactly like their regular bands, KXM had a sound unique to its three members.

I think with this band we just set out with no compromise. That’s why we like this band,” front man dUg Pinnick said. “There’s no one at the helm of songwriting, we are in this together. Everyone does their own thing, no one tells me how I should play the bass and no one tells George how to play his guitar parts and Ray can handle himself behind the kit. We are experienced enough, we know what works and how to make it work. So, it’s a band thing, we didn’t try to sound like King’s X or Korn or Lynch Mob. We wanted to sound like we do.”

Pinnick (age 66), Lynch (age 62), and the baby of the group Luzier (age 46) have all spent decades in the music industry and had no grandiose plans when they set out jamming for fun. But when the debut album made its mark, it was clear this wasn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill, one-and-done supergroup.

“We got done with the first record and realized people like what we are doing, Pinnick sets from his Los Angeles home. “And, we realized how fun it was to make the first record. So, it was a no brainer for me when we saw a little bit of success, let’s do another KXM record.”

That they have.

KXM released their sophomore album ‘Scatterbrain’ (Rat Pak Records) on March 17. The album was produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier (Flotsam & Jetsam, Prong, Last In Line) who also produced the band’s 2014 debut. The 13-track album packs the power and drive of the first record while adding in elements of prog, ska, punk, and metal. ‘Scatterbrain’ is a sonically diverse journey with Pinnick low-end groove and soulful vocals, Lynch’s blues-inspired shredding and Luzier’s monstrous drumming. Just as with the first record, the trio had a great time making ‘Scatterbrain’ and part of the reason for that was not having to worry about the business side of things.

Recorded in 10 days, each track on ‘Scatterbrain’ began as three friends jamming together in the same room. Luzier says of recording the new songs, “we wanted to use the same formula as the first KXM record: book studio time, come in fresh every day with a new idea, run with it, and not over think anything.” Lynch added “we showed up in the studio, camped out with a bunch of gear and let the tape roll! Just like the first album, no pre-production, no rehearsal, no pre-written songs.”

“I think it’s easy for us [making another record], because we’ve been doing this so long that we have built up a reputation,” Pinnick said. “We don’t have to worry about shopping this around because labels know what they are getting and that we have a fan base. Obviously, younger bands don’t have that luxury in their favor, so that part makes it easier for us as far as the business side of things go.”

The current state of the music industry and with technology the way it is, also plays into the favor of KXM.

“The major difference for this band now, then if we formed it, say 20 years ago, is we don’t have to spend six months in the recording studio and worry about deadlines or going over budget. I can cut the vocals in my room and then go down to George’s house, who lives like 10 minutes away and we can work on the song structure. Ray will come in and lay down drum tracks and we will have a song done within days or even the same day. It makes things easier and there is no pressure.”

The ease of recording at home has also afforded Pinnick, Lynch and Luzier the opportunity to work on other projects. Lynch continues to work with his bands Lynch Mob, Souls of We, there are also rumors of another Dokken reunion. Luzier has Korn and countless session offers, while Pinnick is in more bands than any man should be allowed — King’s X, KXM, Grinder Blues, Poundhound, Supershine, Tres Mts, and more.

“It’s easy for me getting together for KXM. Like I said, George lives close by so he can call me up or vice versa. Moving to L.A. changed everything for me. Everything is here. People think L.A. is big, but it’s not that big. It’s a group of small cities. We just shot two videos for the new album and it was 30 minutes from my house. Everything in my world is close by,” Pinnick explained.

“That allows more time for me to work on other projects. That’s why I’ve got so much going on. I still battle depression, but I think I am over the major hump now. I realized I can wake up and get nothing done and be depressed or I can get up and make music. It’s that simple really. I got a lot of free time, which is probably why I am on social media too much. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in that shit, especially the way the world is going right now. I will say something political and ten people will come back at me starting a fighting match. I am not all about that man, why can’t we all just get a long and love each other? Is it that hard? That’s all I really want. I got my music and I got my friends who love me, so that’s all I really need.”