Music & Nightlife

Respected rock trio King’s X shows little sign of slowing down

King’s X – from left: drummer Jerry Gaskill, guitarist Ty Tabor and bassist/vocalist dUg Pinnick – returns to Amos’ Southend.
King’s X – from left: drummer Jerry Gaskill, guitarist Ty Tabor and bassist/vocalist dUg Pinnick – returns to Amos’ Southend. Golightly Photography

In November 2013 during King’s X semi-annual gig at Amos’ Southend, singer/bassist dUg Pinnick (aka Doug Pinnick) suffered a ruptured hernia. Instead of cutting the set short, he soldiered through until the encore when he took a seat and let the fans carry the song.

“I remember every moment,” he says, calling from his home in Los Angeles. “It was the most excruciating pain I’d ever felt in my life. I kept thinking it would pass. When we got to (the song) ‘Goldilox,’ I knew I couldn’t stand up anymore.”

The King’s X crowd did what they’ve done since 1989, when Pinnick’s bass amplifier petered out at a gig in Atlanta. They sang along, harmonies intact, like a choir. That night, he needed the support more than most.

Afterward he collapsed on the couch in the green room.

“I couldn’t even lay still. I couldn’t find a comfortable spot. I tried to do meet and greet. I signed two posters,” recalls Pinnick, who was rushed to the hospital.

It’s been a tough couple of years for the revered hard rock trio, who returns to Amos’ Friday. Drummer Jerry Gaskill suffered two heart attacks. His house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. And Pinnick’s July 2013 fan-funded hernia surgery was followed by the flare up at Amos’.

“Jerry has recuperated. It’s been over a year (since his last heart attack). I haven’t had a hernia problem since,” says Pinnick, who turned 64 last week.

Pinnick has been particularly prolific for the last five years, recording with rock supergroups KXM (with Dokken’s George Lynch and Korn’s Ray Luzier), Pinnick Gales Pridgen (with Memphis, Tenn., blues guitarist Eric Gales and former Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen), Tres Mtns (with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and the Fastbacks’ Richard Stuverud), and Grinder Blues (with Emmy-winning composers the Bihlman Brothers), as well as recording solo.

He credits his move to L.A. after years in Houston.

“It’s brutal financially, but where else can you work as a musician?” he says of the cost of living. “This is where the industry is. Everybody I meet does something in music or film. There’s always something to do out there. People know I live here. I get calls all the time. There’s the paycheck.”

Among musicians, Pinnick may be one of the most respected artists in the industry, but his line of work isn’t typical of the AARP age bracket. He was without insurance, for instance, when he needed hernia surgery.

He path goes back to something his cousin said when he was a teenager in reference to her inebriated husband – “It’s a terrible thing for a man to do the thing he don’t wanna do for the rest of his life.”

“It impacted me,” Pinnick recalls. “I never thought about it, but I pursued what she said. Everybody said get a regular job and I was just getting ready to graduate from high school.”

It was the ’60s – a time when pursuing a music career was even more unusual for a kid from Joliet, Ill., than it would be now.

“People looked at me like ‘Why are you playing that white boy music?’ Her telling me that confirmed for me to keep on going. As I got older and watched the people who didn’t get to do what they wanted to do and how miserable they are.... It makes me realize, I’m lucky.”

King’s X

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St.

TICKETS: $20-$23; $33.50 VIP.

DETAILS: 704-377-6874; www.amossouthend.com.

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