Dug Pinnick on Kings X, writing songs using mathematics, and the stigma of Christianity

Dug Pinnick sitting on a stool holding a bass guitar
(Image credit: Rat Pak Records)

Dug Pinnick is a busy guy. In the past few years the King’s X bassist/vocalist has released albums with two of his other bands: the hard rock supergroup KXM and the more blues-oriented trio Grinder Blues. 

There’s also a new King’s X album due for release in 2022. And he just dropped a bomb: Joy Bomb, his fifth solo record (and first since 2013). The album rocks like hell and proves that, at 71, Pinnick has no intention of slowing down.


What was it like making a record during a pandemic? 

I did the whole record in my house, in my little studio, except for the drums, which a friend of mine did. I had written a bunch of songs for King’s X and myself. We made a King’s X record, and I took all my songs, about thirty of them at the time, to the band, and we did seven. To tell you the truth, [the other guys] wrote better songs than me. So I had all these songs left over. With King’s X we’re competitors, you know? We love each other dearly, but we’re gonna try to push each other. 

Tell us about Key Changer, the first single from Joy Bomb. I wrote the basic song maybe ten years ago. I was just trying to mathematically write a song that had these key changes, that kept fooling you. When you got back to the root, it didn’t sound like it was the same key, but it was. I always loved songs like that. Remember My Generation by The Who? They did a half-step up every time they did the verse and chorus. 

I wanted to ask about one of the early King’s X songs, Goldilox

Ty [Tabor, King’s X guitarist] wrote Goldilox. He went to a club one night, saw this beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl and he was completely enamoured by her. But he couldn’t talk to her. He was too afraid, it was a crowded place, and he left. And she left. But it impressed him and it stuck in his head so much that he wrote a song about it.

You had a church upbringing. When you came out as gay, did you face more of a backlash from the hard rock community, or the church? 

I faced no backlash from the hard rock community. I never made a statement [or] a press announcement. It was just, I was doing an interview for this major Christian magazine. They started talking and I just thought: “You know, I’m so tired of these Christians and the whole hypocrisy. I’m just gonna tell ’em I’m gay and get it over with.” 

Even to this day it’s not an issue. I’ve never had any backlash from anyone. Except when the article came out. That was the point where King’s X records were banned from Christian music stores. When that happened we went “Great! Now we can get away from this Christian stigma.” For some reason, King’s X [was considered] a Christian band. Maybe because that was our faith at the time; none of us are any more. Jesus Christ is not my Lord and saviour. 

Looking forward, what have you got coming up?
The new King’s X album is finished. We just started mastering it, so the record company is getting ready to do the campaign. My solo record will be out soon. And I have a blues band called Grinder Blues. It’s a three-piece, and it’s sort of like ZZ Top dropped to C. Like Tres Hombres, that kind of vibe.

Joy Bomb is out now via Rat Pak Records.