Today Januay 18, 2018 marks the 24th anniversary of the release of the album Dogman by King’s X. Dogman is the 5th album in King’s X’s discography, and it marked a bit of a change in sound for the band. This album definitely has a heavier sound to it, which is what the band was going for. The band thought their previous albums were a bit on the wimpy sounding side compared to what their live sound was like.
Doug Pinnick (bass) and Ty Tabor (guitar) already played in drop D tuning on their previous records to get their heavy crunch sound, but by the time 1994 rolled around everybody was playing in drop D so they went down another half step on Dogman to get that extra heavier edge. This was also the first King’s X album without producer Sam Taylor. The band brought in Brenden O’Brien who had worked on popular albums of the day from artists such as Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. Brenden really helped King’s X really capture the heaviness and energy of their live sound. There’s definitely a difference in heaviness of Ty Tabor’s guitar tone. The overdrive really got cranked up here whereas on previous albums it much more clean close to an AC/DC tone which is very light on overdrive.
Dogman was King’s X’s second album on Atlantic Records after releasing three albums with Megaforce. Atlantic really did a lot promoting band through MTV, radio spots, and other press. The band played in a highly coveted time slot at Woodstock ’94 as soon as the sun went down and right before Sheryl Crow. Dogman (and their previous releases as well) should have all gone platinum. King’s X will always be a band that should have been huge, but they just never hit that level.
I can’t understand why this band does not have a single gold record in their discography. King’s X just never hit the big time despite touring with big artists such as AC/DC and Motley Crue. Their music has so much to offer. They have heavy songs. They have ballads. They’re very melodic. They have outstanding vocal harmonies. Have you heard Ty Tabor’s guitar solos? Wow. Does drummer Jerry Gaskill ever miss a beat? Somehow King’s X are a very respected band, but they just didn’t click with the pop culture crowd. Doug Pinnick is quoted as saying this on the matter in a 2016 interview with SeymourDuncan.com:
“Bottom line, Ray Daniels (the band’s manager at the time) said to us “You guys are like a fine wine. Those that love you love you, and those who don’t just don’t care.” And that’s the sad thing about us; we were never hated, we were just ignored. Even at the beginning we were told “People will either love or hate you, but if they’re indifferent, that’s a bad sign.”
Here’s what Eddie Trunk had to say about the band and their lack of commercial success:
I used to take guitar lessons from a gentleman named Jeff Willoughby, who used to be in a band called Hybrid Ice which played all over the East Coast opening up shows for popular artists such as Ted Nugent, Foreigner, and Kansas. Boston even used their song “Magdelene” on their 1994 album Walk On. I brought in my Best of King’s X CD to try to learn to play some songs from the the album. Jeff told me how great of a band King’s X is and how well respected they were within the music community. He said musicians would ask each other, “Hey, have you heard the new King’s X album yet? How do they play like that?” This made me, his impressionable 14 year old student, all the more interested in this band. I said to myself if I’m going to be a musician (I’m not, but what teenager doesn’t want to be a rock star?) I should like people with talent such as King’s X.
Dogman remains one of the bands finest offerings to date. Give this album a chance and crank up the heaviness of songs such as “Dogman”, “Black the Sky”, “Don’t Care”, and “Pillow” then relax to ballads such as “Flys and Blue Skys”, “Cigarettes’, and “Sunshine Rain”. This is a must own album for anyone who says they are a fan of hard rock music. Give King’s X a chance right here in 2018 and listen to Dogman today. Don’t ignore them like the masses did 24 years. Listen to music that has the respect of musicians everywhere.