With more than a decade in the game, over 2 million records sold, countless live shows and eleven studio releases, there is no question that the Kottonmouth Kings are one of the hardest working groups out there. The band has stayed focused and true to their roots over the years allowing them to cultivate a very dedicated following. As they prepare to release their latest masterpiece, ‘Long Live The Kings’, Icon Vs. Icon catches up with Brad X to discuss the making of the album, what fans can expect from the release and what the future holds for the Kottonmouth Kings! It’s 4/20! Go out and grab ‘Long Live The Kings’ and fire it up!!!
How do you feel that you have evolved as a band through the years?
I think that in the natural order of living, we constantly evolve as humans. Having a family, losing friends or loved ones , traveling , experiencing life contributes to evolution and progression. Musically speaking, we continue to push ourselves with songwriting and production. We produce, write and record all of our own music, so there are no wires or safety nets. What you see is what you get, 100 percent! We added a new member the Dirtball to the line up, he adds a whole new energy and dimension to the group.
‘Long Live The Kings’ is the eleventh studio album for the Kottonmouth Kings. To what do you attribute the longevity of the band?
That’s a good question, and I think it is a combination of consistently releasing quality records, and putting on great shows. I think the imaging and subculture that we have built around Kottonmouth Kings makes it a little deeper movement than a normal band. I think that having our own label and infrastructure built up around Kottonmouth Kings gives us the freedom and muscle to be in control of our own destiny! If we succeed or fail we do this on our own terms!??
Tell us a little about your new album and what can we expect from this release.
”Long Live The Kings” marks the dawning of a new era in the Kottonmouth legacy. We went back to the drawing board and added labelmate and our friend Dirtball. He is such a talented lyricist and artist. His energy added some firepower that Kottonmouth Kings was lacking. The easy way out would have been put it in cruise control and go through the motions. I felt that we needed to inject new energy in the group to move forward.?
The Kings spent 8 months in the studio producing the album. What was the biggest challenge in making “Long Live The Kings”?
We build these records from the ground up. The hardest part is getting people to check their egos at the door and get down to songwriting and making records. We made this Kottonmouth Kings record at my home studio in the Tehachapi mountain range. We rented a house for the guys to stay in and we just ate, slept and drank this record. One of the biggest challenges was to stop writing songs and focus on the material that would make the record!??
You wrote 48 songs for the album, 20 of which ended up on the final product. How difficult was it to determine what to bring to the fans?
The good news is that a lot of the songs that did not make the record will appear on bonus discs at Best Buy and iTunes. Some of my personal favorites did not make the main album. Since I produce the records it becomes challenging to be objective and pick songs that make the complete full length. I am old school, so I still believe in making albums not singles. I approach records like a movie, meaning that there has to be a flow from start to finish.
?So we can expect to hear the tracks that didn’t make the album on a future releases?
We have a series called the “hidden stash” records, that are the home to unreleased tracks, b-sides remixes, collabos and so on. I am sure all the material will find a home!
?Where how do you think it stacks up to your previous releases?
I look at this record like our first! We added Dirtball so we are entering into uncharted territory. I think this is the strongest Kottonmouth Kings album to date.??
The Kottonmouth Kings are known for evolving musically on each album. Is it difficult to keep things sounding fresh and where do you see yourselves going in the future?
When we make music I try not to have any preconceived boundaries. We might do live punk stuff, acoustic mellow jams or hip hop bangers. We throw all the rule books out the window! We make records that we want to make. It has always been important to make innovative original sounding records. We attempt to have our own sound and style!??
You have two stellar guest spots on the ‘Long Live The Kings’. What can you tell us about working alongside Tech N9ne and the Insane Clown Posse?
We consider and Tech N9ne and the Kottonmouth Kings to be the underground trifecta. Kottonmouth Kings has Subnoize Records, Insane Clown Posse runs Psychopathic Records and Tech N9ne has Strange Music. We all exist in the same underground arena. We are all close allies, so when we do songs together it sends shockwaves through the underground! It was a honor as always to do songs with both Tech and Insane Clown Posse. The other special guest was Big B on the song “Let’s Do Drugs”!??
Another interesting collaboration the Kottonmouth Kings are involved with is Ward 57 (www.operationward57.org). How did you initially become involved in that cause?
We have so many fans and friends in the military. Anything we can do to support our brothers and sisters in harms way we will do! DJ Product from (Hed)pe set us up with the Ward 57 folks!??
The song “American Made” was a punk track I had recorded when I did an upcoming side project I have called X-Pistols. It is turn n’ burn balls to the wall rip-hop!! I brought it to the group in the studio one day to add some good energy and everyone jumped right on it. Proud to be American!
What is your take on the current state of hip-hop? Do you think we are emerging from the general lull that we have been in for the past few years?
If you look at mainstream music, it is pretty pop and corny. However, if you look deeper than the force fed crap we get shoved down our throat, their is some great progressive music happening. You just have to be willing to search it out! Owning my own label I have the ability to put out music I think is important.
Looking back what do you feel is the defining moment for the The Kottonmouth Kings so far?
We have had so many highs. I think being on the cover of High Times was a great achievement for Kottonmouth Kings. We have been so blessed that our music has enabled us to travel the globe and touch so many people.??
We’ve seen the music industry change so much over the past few years, what advice would you give someone who wants to get into music and make it a career as you have?
It starts with the songs, write songs and make music you want to play. Everybody has something unique and original to contribute. Next I would say use all the great resources the internet provides to get your music out there and build a fanbase! Make music with people you enjoy being around, because it will be your band against the world! Last, I’d say be honest and don’t burn bridges, because karma is a bitch!
When can fans look forward to seeing the Kottonmouth Kings hit the road for a national tour in 2010?
The national tour kicks off May 10th and we are going out on the “Happy Daze” Tour with Insane Clown Posse, Kottonmouth Kings, Coolio, Kittie and Necro. Kottonmouth Kings will be on the road all year long!??
Any special plans for celebrating 420 this year?
Of course, the release of “Long Live The Kings” the new Kottonmouth Kings record! We are playing 420 weekend Friday April 23rd in Phoenix at The Marquee Theatre and Saturday the 24th in Vegas at the Freedom Fest on Fremont street! We will be puffing tuff!
Anything that you want to say to the Kottomouth Kings fans out the before we let you go?
Get out and vote! Let’s legalize freedom. Marijuana reform is going on all over the country get involved in the revolution! Let’s end prohibition and legalize it!