King’s X Drummer Remembers Pearl Jam’s ‘Historic’ 1994 Tour

I’ve said it once, twice, three times, and will continue to do so until the cows come home – I thoroughly enjoy the rock n’ roll band King’s X, and have for quite some time (since 1989, to be exact!).

The band has issued quite a few recordings that I continue to spin to this very day (‘Gretchen Goes to Nebraska,’ ‘Faith Hope Love,’ ‘Dogman,’ etc.), and they continue to rock to this day (I caught a live show this past summer in NYC, and I can honestly say they sound better than ever – if you get the chance, definitely catch them live).

The group’s long-time drummer, Jerry Gaskill, recently issued his second solo album overall, ‘Love and Scars,’ which shows that he is much more than just a time-keeper, as he also co-wrote and sings lead on all the tunes. Mr. Gaskill was kind enough to answer some questions about the release, King’s X, and his health (he suffered two heart attacks a few years back) for Alternative Nation.

What are some standout memories of when King’s X toured with Pearl Jam in 1994?

I remember every night feeling like I was watching history being made. It was a true honor to be a part of something as special as what Pearl Jam had become. We had known those guys before they were Pearl Jam and to be a part of this historic event was something I’ll always be thankful for. I remember one night, Dug was to sing “W.M.A.” with them, and David Abruzzese asked me to play octobans. He told me they never did this song because there was nobody to play those extra percussion parts. So he kind of told me how it went and I got up there and played along side him. It felt great! We did the encore with them and I remember walking on the stage and the ovation from the crowd was overwhelming. After the song, Eddie introduced Dug to the crowd, but never mentioned me. David stood and started shouting, “And goddamn Jerry Gaskill!” Of course no one heard him, and that’s ok with me. It was just an honor to be a part of it. I also had my oldest son, Jerrimy, out with me, who was 15 at the time. He hung with the guys quite a bit. I believe Eddie would come to the bus and get Jerrimy to shoot hoops together. At the end of the tour Eddie said to me, “Tell Jerrimy wherever we are, he’s always welcome.” When we got home I remember one day taking Jerrimy to school and he said, “You know dad, almost everybody at my school would give their right arm to do what we just did, and that’s just what we do.” I thought that was really special as well…

How would you compare ‘Love and Scars’ to a King’s X album?

To me ‘Love and Scars’ has nothing to do with a King’s X record other than the fact that I am in King’s X and also some of the players on the record are very much influenced by King’s X. For instance, D.A. Karkos (I call him Dan) who I made this record with, says that King’s X has helped shape his musical life. King’s X is a band. ‘Love and Scars’ is a record I made with Dan and other friends. ‘Love and Scars’ is more my vision, along with Dan, whereas King’s X is ultimately the vision of Dug, Ty and me. King’s X, in many ways, has afforded the opportunity to make a record like ‘Love and Scars.’ I am very excited and humbly proud of ‘Love and Scars.’ I hope that it can somehow spread out and reach more than just King’s X fans. I feel like a fan myself…

What are your favorite songs on the album?

Actually, each song is my favorite to the point as I’m listening to one song that I love I’m looking forward to the next one. If I mention one song as a favorite, I feel like I would be taking away from another that is my favorite. They all mean that much to me. I feel as though
I’ve given a big part of me in each song. They are all true musical babies to me…

Will you be playing shows in support of it?

I am definitely hoping to. I have ideas and I really hope they can come to fruition. I feel this music should be on a stage. I want as many people as possible to hear it. I believe in this record and I want to do everything I can to keep it around…

You have a good singing voice, but I don’t recall you singing on many
(any?) King’s X tunes. Why not?

Why thank you! I sing lead on three King’s X songs…”Six Broken Soldiers,” “American Cheese (Jerry’s Pianto),” and “Julie.” Like I said earlier, King’s X is a totally different thing than making my own record. I don’t necessarily feel like a lead singer in King’s X. Dug is the lead singer of King’s X, yet there are times when it seems appropriate for either me or Ty to sing lead as well. I say whatever works best for the song…

Looking back, what is your favorite King’s X album and why?

I feel like whatever record we’re working on is my favorite. I have fond memories of all the records, and at the same time, a lot of hard work and some maybe not so fond memories come with all the records. There is a part of me that always feels I can do better or I should have done better. The first four records are special to me because they are like a certain era. It was the beginning era for King’s X. Then ‘Dogman’ came, which was produced by Brendan O’Brien, and a new era was born, along with ‘Ear Candy’ produced by Arnold Lanni. From there, we did a few records of writing together from scratch. It started with ‘Tapehead’ then ‘Bulbous’ and ‘Manic Moonlight.’ Again, a whole new era. We ended up doing two records with Michael Wagener, ‘Ogre Tones’ and ‘XV.’ Again, a whole different vibe. I see all the records as times in my life. I prefer to think of them all as profitable for me in one way or another…

How are you doing health-wise?

I’m doing great great! I feel as though I’m doing better than ever in many ways. I have a better understanding of my body now. I’m learning how to take care of it. I work out every day now and I’m seeing a personal trainer once a week. I’ve been seeing him now for about six months. His name is Danny Weltman and I love him. I started out seeing him two to three times a week. I wake up every day now and start my day with a pretty intense workout. I generally feel healthier and stronger than I did before I died. I wouldn’t change a thing. Our bodies tell us what it wants and what it doesn’t want. I’m learning how to listen. Heart attacks have done me well…

What are the future plans for King’s X?

We’ll be doing some shows in 2016, and we’re also talking about a new record. A new record will most likely happen. I don’t know exactly when. I want to feel ready when we get together to do it. I want it to be right. I want to make the best King’s X record that we can possibly make. I will say though that I’m still very much focused on ‘Love and Scars.’ Sometimes I think if anything is holding up the King’s X record it’s probably me. But it’s all good and one day in the pretty near future we’ll get together and do that next King’s X record…

After having his articles posted from other outlets on Alternative Nation (and before that, Grunge Report) for years - heck, he was even interviewed by GR back in 2009! - Greg Prato finally began contributing articles to the site in 2014. He has written for various sites/mags over the years (Rollling Stone, All Music Guide, etc.), and is the author of quite a few books. And as evidenced by such titles as Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, and Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets, he also has a deep fondness for alternative rock n' roll music. You can check out info on all of Greg's books here, see what he's up to on his Twitter page here, and shoot the shit with him at gregprato@yahoo.com.
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  • BoyHowdy

    I am a huge King’s X fan and have been for 25 years. I’ve seen them in concert about ten times going back to 1990, but until this past September hadn’t seen them since 2009. Fortunately for me, I had the pleasure of seeing them again in September, and I told Jerry after the show how great it was to see him playing again, as I’d feared that he’d never be a part of King’s X again after his two heart attacks.

    With that being said, while I love Jerry as a part of King’s X, I don’t think that any of the band members’ solo (or other non-King’s X) output has been as good as what King’s X has produced. While Dug is the primary singer for KX, even his albums (solo, plus Poundhound, KXM, PGP, Grinder Blues) are not as good as King’s X’s music. There is something about Dug, Ty, and Jerry put together that transcends everything else the guys have done individually or as part of other, non-KX bands.

    But despite my thoughts, I think it’s fantastic that Jerry loves his latest album and is extremely excited about it. I do hope that he gets to tour in support of the album, and if so and he plays anywhere within a couple of hours driving time for me, I’ll do my best to be there cheering on him and his band.