Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview With Corbin King
Interview by JP

corbinking-pic1.gif (19746 bytes)

As part of our never-ending drive to bring you the latest info on the world of metal, we are pleased to present our first interview with Corbin King, guitar hero extraordinaire. Mr. King is currently involved with the legendary Leviathan label and introduced his prowess to the world via last years Vainglory debut CD. (Click here to read a review).


Hail! Since this is our readers first introduction to you, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and are you a rock 'n' roll party animal or a family man? Nothing like some personal questions to start an interview!

Greetings! I'd like to first say thanks for all the kind words and the support you guys have given me. Metal-Rules rules!! I am a native of Georgia, lived in suburbs of Atlanta pretty much all my life. "Rock n Roll Party Animal" huh? Hahaha.....Sometimes a little crazy is good, but I'd probably more fall into the category of a homebody! Plus, beer is cheaper at home!!



How did you come to be involved in the music business?

Well...... I grew fascinated with the guitar and guitar-oriented music years ago. Somewhere aIong that trail, I figured out I was born to play guitar and be a musician. I had pretty much made up my mind at that point, in one way or another, that I was going be involved in music. It's been a great trip....I hope it's one that will last forever!



Who made you want to pick up the guitar and play? Who are some of your current influences and who has caught your ear lately?

The very first person I remember that really blew me away was Jimmy Page. When I was in middle school I had gotten into my mom's old record collection, and yes, I mean actual LPs! From those I really got into Zeppelin, and a little bit of Hendrix. There were others I listened to like Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, but the lead guitar sounds of Page and Hendrix were the ones that caught my ear most at that time. It was strange how fast I went through these. In a period of about a year of first hearing those LPs, I went on to finding other bands that grabbed my ear even more. The next move I made was to GnR. I thought these guys sounded like a heavier Zeppelin, not to mention Slash's guitar playing was more flashy and faster than Page. I was hung on these guys for a while, until I heard Metallica. I was absolutely floored. Metallica put the metal in my veins, I think. To me it was the pinnacle of what I was looking for but didn't know it. Metallica led me to Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, Forbidden, Helstar, etc... It wasn't long after that I discovered the virtuoso side of metal. Three guys in particular really kicked my ass....Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, and Marty Friedman. I had never heard anything like that in my life! So, it was done......I absolutely had to be like them! Tons of practice, music theory, and passion, i'm still trying my best to make that inspiration and dream instilled in me then - a reality now. My main influences still to this day are Yngwie, Becker, and one of the best least known guitarists in the world, George Bellas.



For all the gear heads out there, tell us a little bit about some of your favorite guitars, amps, and effects.

This could get very elaborate! But since you specified 'a little bit' i'll keep it to the point! My guitars are mainly Strats - 6 of them. Four American Standards with HS3 pickups, and two Malmsteen models. I also have a couple Jacksons - an SL1 and RR1. I can't forget about my custom made BC Rich Warlock Supreme! I ordered it with the nice quilted maple top and headstock and plus, Bernie Rico signed it before it was clear coated on the back of the headstock! This guitar is only for recording and will never be sold. Amp-wise, I have mainly Marshalls. One MKII with some Bob Bradshaw mods, one JCM800, and one 50 watt Plexi reissue. I use a couple Fender Roc Pro Heads and a 5150 Peavey head. All cabs are Marshall 4x12s. I want to take time to say I am very much interested in the Rhino Amplification Company. I am dying to try out their new YJM50 head and the Beast! From what I've heard about those they are exactly what I'm looking for. I use a few pedals:. Overdrive, noise supressor, chorus, harmonizer, and delay. I have this real complicated switching system for the amps and such, but I won't get into that now!



Tell us about the Diginet music series and your involvement with that.

corbinking-pic2.jpg (17500 bytes)David T. Chastain asked me if I wanted to participate in a new idea he had for his Diginet Music Label. It was a pretty unique idea where all guitarists chosen for the series were to receive a CDs worth of bass and drum tracks. Each guitarist got the exact same backing tracks and was to put their own guitar tracks down. It is supposed to be like a power trio jam type thing. There were 9 songs in all. When it's all finished, even though the underlying bass and drums were the same, you got to hear how each player sounded so different in their approach to the guitar. It really was like totally different CDs in the end. There was the first Guitar Masters Series in 2001, and now being released is the Guitar Masters 2002 Series. I am in the very final stages of my version and I must say it is the very best playing I have ever done!



Vainglory's 2050 was one of my Top 10 picks last year for my radio show. I noticed you wrote all the music, but David Chastain wrote all the lyrics. Which came first: the whole sci-fi lyrical concept and you put music to the story, or did you write the music first and David put his story over it? Or was it a collaborative process?

corbinking-pic3.jpg (113026 bytes)Thanks for your interest! Glad to hear you liked it so much. The music came first. I had finished a CDs worth of music and was searching for the right guys to record it with me. Leviathan and I found the right drummer very quickly. When I heard what Brian had done with the drums, I knew he was the one. Chastain hooked me up with Kevin for the bass. Kevin had worked with the band Chastain and some other projects with David, so he came with high recommendations. An excellent job done as well. We were having a terrible time finding a singer. We must have went through close to 10 people collectively. The long vocalist search time was becoming an issue. At this point everything was nearing completion, but still no vocals. While the search continued, David T. sends me this idea in an email about the storyline and says he's almost finished with the lyrics to the songs! I was like, damn! This was a great help to me and the band. It wasn't long after this that we found Ted. Ted had the drive and passion to make it happen and knocked out the vocals in about two weeks time as opposed to the eight months or so of the other wishy-washy vocalists. It has been a long road getting this CD to an actual tangible product but I think it came out great and I thank everyone for their input and efforts that were involved.



It is quite...unique (but cool!) for a guitar hero to launch his career with an elaborate concept CD. The norm seems to be a a self-titled, instrumental CD with a boring picture on the front of a guy standing holding his guitar! What made you decide differently?

I guess I am more of a band or composition-focused person. Don't get me wrong, I love the guitar instrumental albums, but to me if the song isn't as strong as the intricate solo or lead parts, then why does it exist? I think it's a lot more important to have the song substance and let the solo guitar enhance that than having some killer shredding over a cheesy and worthless bunch of disjointed chords and riffs. I believe every instruments part is important and when they stand together strong then they can also strongly stand apart.



Do you have any plans to develop a dual-edged career like Chastain did, solo stuff and a stable band?

Yes. I have plans to get a more solo career going along side the band efforts. After this Diginet CD and the next Vainglory are complete I want to work on a more solo type project.



Sticking with Vainglory for a moment: Is it an "official" band?  Did you , or will you tour? Will you record another CD?

Yes it's official. Even though the members on '2050' were somewhat "found" for the CD, the band itself is something that will be around. Some rethinking and replanning is going on currently to ultimately turn this band into a touring act. Due to many circumstances at hand for the debut release, a tour wasn't possible. I'd love to do it. That was something I definitely had in mind to happen at some point. As far as a second CD is concerned, that is in the works as we speak. You can expect something bigger, better, and undeniable!


corbinking-pic4.gif (47298 bytes)


How did you get Kevin Kekes (ex-Damien) invloved with Vainglory? We have not heard his name in a long, long time!

Kevin came aboard through the Leviathan Records connection. Kevin had done the bass on a Chastain album and had also worked with David T. on one of his other bands called Southern Gentlemen. Kevin is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him very much.



I noticed much of the work on Vainglory was done at Kingdoom Studios. That seems to be a nickname of yours as well! I'm assuming you have your own studio?

Yeah, Kingdoom has become some sort of nickname for me and was what I decided to call my studio here at my house. I did all the guitar tracks for Vainglory, both Guitar Masters Series, and the bass and drum machine demo material for '2050' as well. I am in the progress of really expanding the studio's equipment and capabilities at the moment. It's still a little ways away from completion, but will be well worth the wait. I'm going to an all digital 24 track system that will be able to do everything from the initial tracking to mixdown to mastering.



Do you act as a producer, mixer or engineer for other bands?

No, not really. I did have my first encounter with engineering recently though. I engineered the new Cauldron Born CD ...And Rome Shall Fall entirely here from the tracking of all instruments and vocals, mixing, and mastering. I think it came out a great CD, especially from the standpoint of the engineering side, considering it was my first real venture of doing a full band. Howie Bentley, Cauldron Born's guitarist and songwriter, is a very close friend of mine. We're discussing now some future plans to record more of his bands here soon. Other than Cauldron Born, the only music I've ever engineered or worked on is my own.



What does the future hold in store for the next several months?

You'll be seeing a lot more of me very soon. Within the next few weeks, the release of my version of Diginet Music's Guitar Masters 2002 will be available. At that point the second Vainglory CD will be full speed ahead, shooting for a really late 2002 or early 2003 release date. As that CD is in the final stages, I will begin working more heavily on the solo project I have been wanting to do. So, I'll be staying pretty busy for the most part!!



Thank you very much for your time and are there any last plugs or comments you have? Now is your chance!

I'd like to say thank you all for your interest in me and Vainglory and any of my other creations that happen to end up in your CD players!!

Band Website: www.diginetmusic.com/ckdgm.htm

Label Website: www.leviathanrecords.com