REVIEW: King’s X – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (1991)

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Complete studio albums (and more!), part 5


KING’S X – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (1991 Interscope, from the Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey movie soundtrack)

With Faith Hope Love creating a little bit of a buzz, 1991 coulda been the year for King’s X to finally break.  Meanwhile in Hollywood, a Canadian fellow named Keanu Reeves re-teamed up with his buddy Alex Winter to star in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Many rock fans worldwide had enjoyed the prior adventures of Bill & Ted.  They liked cool bands and got to hang out with George Carlin.  Not to mention, the movies had soundtracks.  Extreme, for example, had some exposure thanks to an appearance on the first movie’s album.  Then somehow, King’s X landed a song on the Bogus Journey soundtrack.  Maybe because the movie soundtrack came out on Interscope, owned by Warner, also the parent company of King’s X’s label Atlantic.

The soundtrack CD is actually really good.   Kiss, Faith No More, Megadeth, Primus, plus quality tracks from Winger, Slaughter and Richie Kotzen.  Surprisingly, one of the weakest songs was the one by King’s X!

“Junior’s Gone Wild”, barely three minutes long, is one of the most unremarkable songs King’s X have done.  You can’t pinpoint what exactly what doesn’t work.  On paper, it should.  A stuttering riff, Doug Pinnick’s impassioned singing, and the trademark lush King’s X cloud of backing vocals:  it’s all right there, wrapped up in a bow for 3:09.  Yet it’s bland and forgettable.  Was this the first crack in King’s X armour?  Or did they just send a throw-away outtake out for the soundtrack?  If so, perhaps doing so was a mistake.  The movie made almost $40 million, doubling its budget.

In another weird twist, “Junior’s Gone Wild” also wound up on the B-side to a Kiss CD single, “God Gave Rock & Roll to You II“.  With that kind of exposure, don’t you just wish King’s X had put an amazing song out instead?  Meanwhile back on the soundtrack CD, I was being blown away by this new young kid, Richie Kotzen, with an incredibly soulful voice and hot space-blues licks.  Kotzen succeeded in competing with the big boys on the CD, and so did Faith No More.  King’s X fumbled the ball.

2/5 stars

KING’S X review series:

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X

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35 comments

  1. And then yep, this is the track that opened my ears further to the head damage brought about by the King’s X catalog. Nice work including this (soun)track Mike, another fine addition to this series.

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  2. This was indeed my first introduction to King’s X and likely the reason why I never bothered to listen to them. Thankfully, I found three of their albums at Goodwill last year and my ears have been opened.

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    1. To be fair, my favorite band made the exact same mistake on the Last Action Hero soundtrack. Among an album of top-material from Alice in Chains, Queensryche, and others, Tesla is represented by their very worst song.

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  3. I probably heard this but don’t recall it now. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Man, I was just thinking about a theory forming itself in my mind. Between this and that bootleg you had of them and FNM, I wonder if there wasn’t a movement to tag them onto other releases to try to get them out there more, put them in the big time where they belonged. I mean, that boot with FNM, that single with KISS… one wonders if they didn’t have friends out there doing what they could for them!

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      1. Not consciously, I just started to discover all manner of other stuff old and new that excited me more and with a limited budget … it’s the same old story: Boy meets band, Boy loves band, Boy gets distracted by jazz/ambient/grunge/hardcore punk, Boy runs out of cash, Boy forgets band.

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        1. Or as your friend More Berg said: “No more boy meets girl boy loses girl. More like man tries to understand what the hell went wrong.”

          It’ll be interesting to see how you stand when we get to the “table” album — but don’t tell me til we get there.

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        2. … girl loses patience and gets off with his more decisive friend, boy listens to Black Flag very loudly in his room … alone. Boy falls in love with Henry Rollins instead.

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        3. … Boy grows up and writes post about ‘LP that got me through a hard time in my life’… Girl is happy, mature, fully-functioning social being, who has no idea what WordPress even is … Boy still feels aggrieved deep down inside.

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    1. Ah, but here’s the catch Geoff — it’s not about time travel so much this time. Yes, there is some involving George Carlin, but our heroes are actually killed and must travel from hell to the pearly gates and back to Earth this time, to save the future!

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  4. This song always seemed to me to be too much like King’s X. Like a band attempting to sound like King’s X, except that it was King’s X. It was too dissonant in spots and too scream-y on Doug’s part. It felt very forced. Maybe it was a throwaway, I don’t know. I think they could’ve put a better foot forward for a major soundtrack spot.

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      1. I can see that. Nothing after Faith Hope Love was as distinct and stood on its own like those first three records. Though I actually quite liked the self-titled. It didn’t have quite the epic sweep of their first three records, but to me it just felt like a tight group of individual songs. It came out my senior year of high school so it was in the tape player of my 1977 Chevy Nova a lot. “Lost In Germany”, “Chariot Song”, “Ooh Song” and “What I Know About Love” are some of their best written tunes I think. While I thought ‘Dogman’ was pretty stellar at the time, going back now and listening all I think is that I miss Sam Taylor’s production. I felt he was the honorary fourth member of the band. O’Brien definitely made the loudest King’s X album ever.

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