King's X Song By Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jeff Kent, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    Building Blox is a promotion only compilation issued by Atlantic Records in 1994, featuring highlights from each of the band's albums up to that point. It has since become highly sought after by fans due to its inclusion of a rare acoustic rendition of their 1988 single "Shot of Love":

     
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  2. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I still need to track down a copy of Building Blox.
     
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  3. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    Me too. A fellow KX fan did make me a CD with some outtakes and demos and put this acoustic version of "Shot of Love" on it. But I still want the actual Building Blox collection.
     
  4. slipkid

    slipkid Forum Resident

    .
    Didn't realize it was rare these days, got it back when it came out at a record show (& had the guys sign it at one point or another).
     
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  5. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    The collection has made me realize that Atlantic did do things to try and push the band. But you can't make radio stations play them. If what Ty said was true about mainstream radio turning away from the group due to the perception that they were a religious band, then a compilation like this seems like a moot point. But at least they tried something I guess.
    It also reminded me that, in the early to mid 90s, I was fresh out of HS, and I was in the early stages of trying to learn a little guitar, even the drums, and making friends with musicians. A couple of those guys knew of KX. But outside of that circle, no one I knew had heard of them. Even at the church I attended I was the only KX fan. And I do not recall ever seeing an ad for them anywhere outside of music magazines. That's the way I found out any info on them at all. I never heard them on the radio. I must've missed them on MTV. I used to watch MTV all the time. But I never saw them, although I now know they were on there. But anyway, the only ads I saw were in magazines like Modern Drummer, or Bass Player, or things like that. I think because they were an appeal to other musicians, and because mainstream radio was shutting them down, KX became a niche band. They were forced to occupy a tiny corner of the musical landscape, separated from other acts that were able to get billboards or major TV ads or continual airplay.
    I don't know ... I guess I'm just spitting in the wind here, I can only base these thoughts on personal experience and observations. Maybe someone else has another spin on it. But to me, they seemed to be marginalized and maybe Atlantic just did what they could the best they could? The band have said that Doug Morris, the head honcho at Atlantic, loved them and wanted to keep them on the label at any cost. Whether they sold millions or not. So maybe he and the label were doing what they thought was right, pushing KX as a "band's band", since mainstream success was not happening. But maybe Building Blox was a last stab at that? It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had they stayed on Atlantic, but when Doug Morris left, the new guy came in and heads rolled. Less successful acts were getting the boot. KX saw the writing on the wall.

    Okay, enough rambling. :)
     
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  6. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    I think Atlantic treated them decently as far as that went. There were other bands in that era with actual bigger hits that got dropped quicker than King's X. Musicians loved them, the label head loved them, but I never heard of any station programmers complaining about not being able to get their songs. The band just never took off at that level.

    I like Building Blox more than the official best of. It helps that it has 15 songs to cover 5 albums, whereas the Best Of uses 14 songs to cover 6 albums. Since the Best Of takes three songs from Ear Candy, four songs from Building Blox were dropped. Four other songs from Building Blox were replaced by different songs from the first five albums. So eight songs are unique to Building Blox.

    Building Blox isn't chronologically sequenced, which I think helps for someone like me who already had all of the albums. Makes for a fresher listen.
     
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  7. dislocatedday

    dislocatedday Forum Resident

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    Since we are at the end of Dogman, I'll summarize my own ranking of the album tracks similar to what Wil1972 did. Mine matches his fairly closely with a few deviations. I think Dogman is a top King's X album overall, but it also one I have to digest a few songs at a time unlike most if not all of their other albums. I think it is because I feel like I am being sledgehammered/bludgeoned so often with the heavy and often down-tuned bass and guitars, that I need to take a break from the album.

    Top-Shelf
    Dogman
    Pretend
    Fool You
    Complain
    Cigarettes


    Very Good
    Flies and Blue Skies
    Black The Sky
    Sunshine Rain
    Pillow

    Good
    Shoes
    Human Behavior

    Weak
    Don't Care
    Go To Hell
    Manic Depression (..although as a straight-forward cover song I do not really consider this part of the album..)
     
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  8. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    Building Blox does cover more ground. It should be their official Best of album. With EC tracks added though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  9. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

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    Northeast US

    I got this because up until that time there was no comp available and the bonus is nice. Like it better that the Best of album.
     
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  10. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

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    Northeast US

    There was a lot of turmoil and turnover at Atlantic during that time. Even Dream Theater and Rush were being neglected during those years.
     
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  11. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    I've never heard about the Rush neglect. What happened?
     
  12. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

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    Rush wasn't as affected as maybe Kings X or Dream Theater, but the people they knew at the label some of them maybe who were influential in getting them signed had moved on and were replaced by people who had little or no knowledge of the band. That was going on a lot back then and it wasn't just limited to Atlantic. There was a lot of consolidation going on and many artists were on the short end of that with some of them even getting dropped.

    The was a lot of label backing with Presto, Roll The Bones and even Counterparts but there didn't seem to be much when Test For Echo came out. Not much radio airplay by that point beyond the lead track but radio was changing then too.

    Rush was never really pressured like Dream Theater was in the mid '90s.
     
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  13. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    Interesting. With Rush having already established themselves I can see that. DT were still on the way up and probably did get more pressure.
     
  14. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

    Location:
    Alabama
    Ear Candy is the sixth studio album by King's X, released on May 20, 1996. Ear Candy was produced by Canadian Arnold Lanni and King's X. This would be the last album of all new material the group would release on Atlantic Records.

    After Dogman failed to reach a wider audience - even though the title track was a modest hit - Atlantic Records felt the band should re-focus their efforts on writing hit songs. That message was relayed to the band via new manager Ray Danniels.
    Ty Tabor: "Ray came in to tell us that he was getting some pressure from Atlantic for things that were more 'single-minded' - for radio. And we, of course, pushed back on it ..."
    Doug Pinnick: "I felt pressure. They didn't say it, but I felt it. Because I knew that Dogman didn't sell well, and we all figured they were waiting for us to do something - or else they were going to drop us."
    Jerry Gaskill: "I never felt those things. I think probably Ty and Doug would have different stories about that. I guess Atlantic was probably looking for a hit. I guess we just don't write hits."

    The record company had hit-making record producers in mind to help as well, but King's X wanted to handle production themselves, as they felt they had enough ability to make a record on their own. A compromise was reached when Pinnick suggested Arnold Lanni, for his work with Our Lady Peace. Atlantic agreed, and the band made the trek to Milagro Sound Recorders in Glendale, CA to begin work with Lanni. (A couple of self-produced songs still made it onto the finished record: "Lies in the Sand" and "American Cheese".) The recording process was generally positive.
    Ty Tabor: "Working with Arnold is great. He had done some stuff that became pretty big hits on the radio, and some albums that were doing real well."
    Jerry Gaskill: "I liked working with Arnold Lanni."

    In order to meet the record company's request for more commercial material, Tabor and Pinnick began to dig through and mine older songs for ideas.
    Ty Tabor: "... A lot of stuff is old stuff that wasn't all that great, but had potential - had good riffs and good ideas - but weren't totally complete. Or the lyrics weren't okay."
    Examples include "Picture", originally known as "The Door", which had been released on their pre-King's X record Sneak Preview with different lyrics. Another song, "Mississippi Moon", was based on an unreleased composition called "If I Could Fly". They took these various pieces and worked with Arnold Lanni to iron out the material into acceptable - radio-friendly - form.

    During production, Jerry Gaskill was stricken by more personal turmoil; his estranged wife was involved in a serious car accident. Gaskill flew back to Houston to attend to her needs.
    Jerry Gaskill: "... My ex-wife had a really, really bad car accident. We didn't even know if she was going to live or die. Fortunately, the kids weren't with her."
    In his absence, some of the backing vocals Gaskill would have normally performed were instead sung by Glen Phillips of Toad The Wet Sprocket.
    Jerry Gaskill: "I didn't do any vocals on that record, except for the song 'Sometime'. And there's a song on there I wrote, called 'American Cheese', where I did the vocals ... So I ended up not singing on any [other] songs, being as I wasn't there."

    Doug Pinnick changed his approach to lead vocals on Ear Candy, abandoning for the most part his banshee metal scream for a more natural, soul-infused delivery.

    The lyrics for many of the songs exhibited a much more personal side of the band. Some were nostalgic in nature ("Mississippi Moon) or familial ("Picture"; "Fathers"). Pinnick was also becoming much more open about his struggles with religion ("Looking for Love"; "Run").

    Like the 4th album, Ear Candy contained a bonus track not found on North American copies of the record, "Freedom". This track was also issued on the "A Box" single. Another non-album track, "I Change My Mind", was issued on the "Looking for Love" single; the single also included "67". A third single was released from the record, "Sometime". None of the singles charted.

    The band changed their image around this time. It started with Tabor, who had made a pact with Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee to cut their hair at the end of their tour together. Shortly thereafter, Pinnick shaved his head. Gaskill decided to follow suit and shaved his head as well. The band photo in the album booklet reveals their newly shorn heads - Ty with a goatee - sitting on the porch of a purple building on a multi-colored couch.

    The Ear Candy title came from Doug, as well as the concept for the album cover, designed by Alton Kelley.
    Doug Pinnick: "I was the one that named that album. I thought Ear Candy would be a neat name for an album ... And I wanted the cover to look really psychedelic - real bright. So we got ahold of the guy that did the Haight-Ashbury posters back in the day - he did Grateful Dead stuff and things like that."

    Ear Candy sold poorly, and never cracked the Billboard 100, peaking at #105. The album completely missed the UK charts - the first King's X album to do so since Out of the Silent Planet. It was a difficult reversal of fortunes for a band that had been on the cusp of breaking through.
    Doug Pinnick: "Atlantic did nothing with that record. It wasn't promoted much."
    Ear Candy, however, was a hit on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, making #4, much to the band's amusement, considering some of the lyrical content. The only other King's X album to chart there was Faith Hope Love, which got to #31.

    The band were ultimately unhappy about being forced to chase hits. Tabor called the finished album "neutered King's X".

    *************************

    I personally thought the band were splitting up, because I'd heard a rumor they were. So I thought this would be their final album.
    The songs on Ear Candy felt looser than before, and that looseness came across in my mind, at first, as a sign of a band that was tired, losing its intensity and losing its drive. They sounded a little beat down. But I think it was just a shift in the way the songs were presented. The focus was more on the groove and less on pummeling the listener with heaviness. But it eventually connected with me. The more I listened to it the more I enjoyed it. It was more melodically vibrant than Dogman. There was much more variety; Ear Candy doesn't suffer from the same-yness of Dogman. I really started liking Ear Candy and now feel they were striking a pretty good balance between their early records and Dogman. I didn't like that they were abandoning much of their proggier influences that hooked me early on. But the times they were a-changing and I knew they were too. And if this was going to be it, I felt it was a pretty good final album.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  15. PhR

    PhR Forum Resident

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    Finland
    Ear Candy is probably my favourite King's X album. I bought it as soon as it was in the shop (summertime IIRC) but I really connected with it early '97.
     
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  16. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    I hadn't known that they went through prior songs other than Picture for this one.

    By the time the album came out, Atlantic was clearly done with them, I remember that much.

    There is a lot of single-ready production on the album, which is good in some places, not in others. The "looser" concept of King's X would carry forward. Don't necessarily blame the guys in the band for that.
     
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  17. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    Yea I think they may have arguably found a better home for that loose grooviness on Tape Head. That album to me is a continuation of what started here.
     
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  18. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I remember seeing them on the Ear Candy tour in NYC and they seemed really down. They thanked the fans more than they normally do and really harped on the importance of people still showing up to see them. dUg later told me that was the closest they come to breaking up.
     
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  19. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I bought Ear Candy when it came out, and I liked it a lot on first listen. I thought the band had come up with a very good batch of songs, and I was hopeful the album would turn the band's fortunes around. Alas, it was not to be. Still, a good album is a good album, and Ear Candy ranks high for this listener. It jostles back and forth with Faith Hope Love for the third spot in my King's X album hierarchy.

    Also, I want to add that the double vinyl version of this album improves on the sonic presentation as I was never a fan of the sound on the CD.
     
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  20. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Guys, this is a "heads up" for those of you who collect vinyl. It's a little bit off topic, but it does concern King's X.

    The next Record Store Day drop in July will include three King's X titles on vinyl--I believe for the first time. On July 17th Tape Head, Please Come Home...Mr Bulbous and Manic Moonlight will be hitting the store shelves. Each title is limited to 2000 copies. Svart Records is the label. I've never heard of them, but I assume these vinyl releases are legit.

    PromotionalEvent | RECORD STORE DAY
     
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  21. Didn’tfeelathing

    Didn’tfeelathing Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    If pushed to pick a favourite King’s X album I would probably choose ‘Ear Candy’.
    Personal memories include purchasing this while at University during a period were the Oasis album ‘What’s The Story…’ was played on a seemingly endless loop on campus & I also remember reading King’s X interviews where I was getting the impression that ‘Ear Candy’ sadly might be the last album.
     
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  22. slipkid

    slipkid Forum Resident

    I love Ear Candy. At the time found it a welcome return to more of the KX "sound" that I originally fell in love with as opposed to the more heavy/darker sounding Dogman.

    Somewhere (a show? I don't remember) I bought an Ear Candy poster which Doug signed. Still have it hanging on the wall but used to be next to/under some genuine SF concert art poster that I had (Hendrix flying eyeball, The Who's beetle thing, 4 get what else) and it looked right at home with that style, like they were playing SF back in the 60's. ( I had to sell my real SF posters at some point though when I was out of work and broke but Ear Candy remains up there).

    Was the Ear Candy tour the one where they played Grand Funk Railroad's I'm Your Captain at the end and invited people up on stage to join them? I remember one gig where they did that, the stage was full of people, had the impression it was more than a one off but can't recall for sure....
     
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  23. PhR

    PhR Forum Resident

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    I'm proud to say that Svart Records is a Finnish label. And legit they are too. :cool:
     
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  24. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    According to the setlist fm website they did play it in 1996:
    They only played it 3 times.
     
  25. Wil1972

    Wil1972 'Nader Dodgin' Champ

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    The Train



    Ear Candy kicks off in good form with this psych/rocker, "The Train". It balances a heavy groove with a Beatle-esque bridge and soaring harmonies.
    The lyrics invite the listener to "step aboard" and join them on this musical journey. However, the invitation is tempered with a warning: "Last time aboard the train" seems to indicate this journey is coming to an end. Ty Tabor, who wrote the lyric, admits, "Even though I didn't tell anyone yet, it was my way of saying, 'I think this is the last album and last tour I'm doing. I'm gone.' Because I was unhappy with Atlantic ... There was no reason to keep going if we were going to be pressured to not be ourselves."

    I really dig this song. I always like hearing Doug and Ty trading vocals. It's a really great way to start things off. Big thumbs up from me.



    Step up and step aboard, your seat is to the left
    Leave all your bags and tightened up your metal belt

    Last time aboard the train that goes around the world
    (Last time aboard the train)
    Last time aboard the train that goes around the world
    Around the world

    You leave us all behind, you start to feel the pain
    (Last time aboard the train)
    Don't try to take the ride, sit back and let it rain
    (Last time aboard the train)

    Last time aboard the train that goes around the world
    (Last time aboard the train)
    Last time aboard the train that goes around

    Flying
    Around the world
    Flying
    Flying
    Around the world
    Flying

    Last time aboard the train that goes around the world
    (Last time aboard the train)
    Last time aboard the train that goes around the world
    (Last time aboard the train)

    Last time aboard the train that lives inside my world
    (Last time aboard the train)
    Last time aboard the train I'm going 'round the world

    Around the world
     
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