Author: Greg Prato
Title: King’s X:The Oral History (Book review)
Publisher: Jawbone Press
Reviewed: May 2019
Rating: 4.5 /5
The gods of rock are on my side for change! I was reading this excellent book in a digital format which I don’t normally like to do. I’d rather have the full book experience. To my luck, the day before this review was published, I got my hard copy in the mail also I can give it a good look.
Prato has tackled, the long overdue biography of King’s X. The timing is perfect as Dug Pinnick’s autobiography came out very recently and there is a new King’s X studio album coming…the first one in over a decade. Prato is the master of those cool, oral history style publications. Why not get the facts straight from the horses mouth? Being very productive and prolific, he has written at least 20 other books!
KINGS’X-The Oral history is a nice appointed, 325+ page soft cover with lots of photos on glossy plates in the middle of the book. Prato pens an enthusiastic introduction and Scott Ian writes an equally enthusiastic Foreword, extolling the virtues of this great band. The book his fairly streamlined, no discography but there is a cast of characters so you know the source of many of the quotes.
For me reading is a very pleasurable experience. I spent a few very pleasant hours, sitting relaxed with a drink, listening to recent era King’s X albums (BLACK LIKE SUNDAY, OGRE TONES, and XV) and enjoying this band. The book is well organized, chronologically naturally. After a few chapters of history we move on to a chapter by chapter analysis of each release. I really appreciated that Prato gave each book equal billing and even the live albums and the ‘Best Of’ compilation all got their moment in the sun. The book is loaded with great trivia for the tree fans. I didn’t know that the song, ‘Junior’s Gone Wild’ from the official Bill And Ted Bogus Journey movie soundtrack was a rejected demo from the ‘Gretchen’ sessions and that it was recorded while on tour in France with AC/DC! We get a good look at each solo album, and there are many, as well as a pretty comprehensive tour overview as well. Like most people I suppose, the band is fairly private there were divorces and major health problems that were all touched on but not elaborated on to any great extent. I found it interesting how the XV sessions just sort of died out leading to a 10 year hiatus. Prato did an excellent job bringing this disjointed story that spans five decades together into one superb chronicle.
In terms of praise and guest commentary, this book reads like a who’s who of American Hard Rock and Metal. Members of Dokken, Dream Theater, Extreme, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Mr. Big, Pantera, Winger, and many many more, all have nothing but praise for the band. In addition to the fine folks, we get to enjoy quotes and insight from ex-managers, industry people, record label people, relatives and more. The only real notable exception was the not-so-hidden fourth member of King’s X , their original manager, Sam Taylor. Her declined to be interviewed which is a shame as he would have some interesting insight into the early days of the band, but as it stands, the band and management parted on poor terms (money issues) and there hasn’t been much communication since.
Many people use (and over-use) the term under-rated. King’s X is not under-rated by any means. They are widely accepted by the musical community as one of the most interesting bands in recent rock history, it just a shame that more people don’t realize it. Perhaps this excellent work will help rectify that situation.