Grinder Blues is a blues-based power trio made up of King’s X’s dUg Pinnick on bass/vocals and roots rock brothers Jabo and Scot Bihlman on guitar/vocals and drums/vocals, respectively. The idea behind the band was to offer a fresh, updated take—or, to quote Jabo Bihlman, a “heavy, twisted take”—on 1950’s Chicago blues but to avoid all the clichés of the genre while keeping the music simple and fun. And according to dUg, to “rock out.”
Good grief, dUg must be one of the hardest working men in rock ‘n’ roll right now.
The Mob - “I Will Follow” (The Mob, 2005)
Decent track from a Doug Pinnick (King’s X) one-off “supergroup” side-project with Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken, Whitesnake), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Timothy Drury (keyboard-for-hire most known for stints with Whitesnake and the Eagles), and Kip Winger (duh!). The focus here was more about fun, 80s-influenced hair metal (and way too much guitar wankery from Beach) than anything serious, and unfortunately much of the album suffers because of it. This song is one of the exceptions, but it’s still pretty forgettable despite having one of my all-time favorite singers on it.
R.E.M. - "Pilgrimage" (Murmur, 1983)
Jangly alterna-pop from one of my favorite 80s “alternative” bands. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I try to forget about everything after 1991’s Out of Time, not being a big fan of the band’s direction from Automatic for the People onward.
Alice in Chains - "Angry Chair" (Dirt, 1992)
I can’t say I ever understood this song much (and likely neither did Layne Staley, who was high as a kite during the recording of it if the mostly-reliable Wikipedia is to be believed), but I don’t think that was ever the point. I’ve never been a fan of Staley’s vocals on the spooky-sounding verse sections, but I absolutely adore the “chorus” section with Jerry Cantrell’s harmony vocals and the “I don’t mind/Lost my mind/Can’t find it anywhere” lyrics.
Collective Soul - "Reach" (Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid, 1994)
Jangly alterna-pop from one of my favorite 90s “alternative” bands.
Transatlantic - "Spinning" (The Whirlwind, 2009)
We end today’s Five the same way we started—with a supergroup of sorts, although I’m sure most people would be hard pressed to name a single member other than Mike Portnoy or be able to identify the bands from which the members hail. The difference here is that Transatlantic was never intended as a one-off project, and these guys were always pretty serious about bringing prog to the people. As a matter of fact, they very nearly lost me when they cranked the prog knob up to 11 for 2009’s The Whirlwind, a one-track progfest with 12 parts. “Spinning” is special-edition bonus track with a country swing despite the classic prog keys opening and is unlike most of the album proper. Still, it’s a good song that features Roine Stolt on vocals (and the prog kicks in at about the 5-minute mark just in case you’re interested).
For your listening pleasure, KXM, the new project featuring dUg Pinnick (King’s X), George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob), and Ray Luzier (Korn), has released a sampler of every track from their forthcoming eponymous album. The tracklisting is as follows:
Anthrax guitarist and co-founder Scott Ian has one of the coolest wives ever. Not only is Pearl Aday the adopted daughter of Meat Loaf (that ought to be enough right there, right?!), but she hosted a surprise party for Scott last night at LA’s Largo that included a performance of King’s X’s “Goldilox”—one of Scott’s favorite songs of all time—by none other than dUg Pinnick.
Basically I was serenaded by Dug. I had chills. His voice turned a square room into a round one and just blew everyone away.
As if that weren’t enough, the party featured sets by comedians Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, and Sarah Silverman, and the house band for the night included Armored Saint’s John Bush and Joey Vera, Metalocalypse creator and voice talent Brendon Small (who also plays guitar for the show’s fictional band Dethklok) and Tool’s Justin Chancellor. Among the songs performed were Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song” and “The Boys Are Back In Town,” KISS’ “Parasite,” AC/DC’s “Down Payment Blues,” and Cheap Trick’s “He’s A Whore.”
Pearl put together such an amazing event for me that actually got me to completely forget everything going on in our lives for a few hours. It was just sheer fun…
My birthday isn’t until the 31st but anything we do that night will be an anticlimax compared to last night.
…to me, [Doug Pinnick] was the benchmark… He comes from gospel roots, he’s got the blues thing, he just does it all… Doug is so good he’s a natural fit with anybody. He’s a self-contained machine. He’s got that very unique bass attack and sound and obviously his vocal styling. He’s a poet. He’s a great lyricist and a great frontman, the whole nine yards.
George Lynch on King’s X vocalist/bassist Doug (dUg) Pinnick, Talking Metal podcast, Episode 442