KINGSCROSSING: When The Kings Cross Their Swords....

Many bands predict to sound true to their old school metal heroes. However, when you listen to their music, nothing seems to remember about the good ol’ days of heavy metal. This is definitely not the case with KINGS CROSSING, because this band breathes true metal. All the more reason to introduce these true metal warriors a bit closer to you. We’re talking to Zack Grimm here, who shows us that there are still bands who have their metal heart in the right place. We raise our swords for Zack Grimm and KINGS CROSSING!

When did KINGSCROSSING start out as a band?
Zack Grimm: “KINGSCROSSING started as a band with members in 2002.

Zack, why did you leave STEEL LIFE in 2001?
Zack: “I wanted to tour out of the country and out of state. The other members were not taking things serious enough, so I went to Las Vegas to start KINGSCROSSING and find other band members that had the same dream and vision.”

How did you guys meet up with each other?
Zack: “We met through other musicians, friends and music stores. It all came together like it was meant to be.”

What’s the biggest difference between STEEL LIFE and KINGSCROSSING in your opinion, Zack?
Zack: “I have to say the teamwork is there, we all agree on the same things and have the same influences. And having five members instead of three gives us a heavier solid live sound.”

Did any of the band members play in other bands before they joined KINGSCROSSING, and if yes, in which bands did they play and did they record anything?
Zack: “Yes. Michael Adams was in CYRUS ZAIN and recorded a CD and video. Richie Pagan was in ORIGINAL SIN, SPENT and AVATAR with the Oliva brothers. Rob Shock was in AFTERSHOCK and Anthony Kates - our newest member - was in GOLGOTHA.”

Richie, we are very interested in your story of course, because you played together with Jon and Criss Oliva. When was this and what was it like to play with the ‘Mountain King’ and his brother Criss? (R.I.P. brother, we still miss you very much!!)
Richie Pagan: “I met Jon and Criss playing in a bar in the late 70s. At that time Criss was fifteen and playing bass. Jon was singing and playing guitar. Some members of my band and I joined with Criss and Jon to form the band AVATAR. Criss then switched to playing guitar and at one point Jon did lead vocals and played drums. It was definately a great experience! We always had good times and enjoyed what we did. Those were memorable times, I'll cherish forever. To this day, I am still friends with Jon and deeply saddened about Criss's passing.”

Please inform us about any line up changes, that occured between the formation of KINGSCROSSING and today.
Zack: “The original lineup was Greg Williams-vocals, Zack Grimm-guitars, Rob Shock-bass, and D Hying-drums. Today’s lineup is Michael Adams-vocals, Zack Grimm-lead guitar, Richie Pagan-lead guitar, Rob Shock-bass and Anthony Kates-drums.”

Who came up with the name KINGSCROSSING and why did you choose this name?
Zack:“ I originally wrote a song called "The Kingscrossing". The song title became "Kingscrossing". I wanted something that had a medieval style to it and “Kingscrossing” seemed to fit. So the band was named after the song, months after “Kingscrossing” was written.”

How would you describe the music of KINGSCROSSING yourself?
Zack: “KINGSCROSSING has the roots of old school heavy metal for the new millennium. If you like IRON MAIDEN, QUEENSRYCHE, JUDAS PRIEST and DIO, you will love this CD. All of our metal influences shine through.”

Who can we see as the musical influences of KINGSCROSSING and maybe each individual member can name his personal influences here, too?
Zack: “Everyone in the band has the same influences. Most all 80s heavy metal bands influenced us all and we will stay on that track as far as style, but still progress to today’s sound keeping our roots. It’s what we enjoy writting and playing.”

How did the press react on the album “Kingscrossing” so far?
Zack: “We have been getting great reviews, comments and CD sales are doing well.”

Did you also get any negative criticism, and how do you deal with that? Do you try to take learning out of it, or do you try to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Zack: “Not much negative critisism at all. A few people said it’s not their style, but they listen to light rock or blues music. Can't let anything get to you though. We have learning experiences every day in one way or another but such as life.”

In which way does the ‘new version’ of this album differ from the original version, which was recorded with other band members, that left the band almost right after the album was completed?
Zack: “The original version was just a demo and only a few hundred copies were made. I was never happy with the way it turned out and knew it could be better. I feel Michael’s vocals and adding Richie Pagan on guitar changed things for the better and I am happy with how it turned out.And the live shows have much more energy and full sound now.”

How do you create a new song? Do you write lyrics first, or do you start with the music, or do you create new ideas while playing or jamming together?
Zack: “Most of the time I turn on my recorder and let it run as I play around with guitar riffs. Drums also inspire me to write, so Anthony, Richie and I get together and come up with some cool stuff too. Michael has some really good lyrics that create ideas as well.”

Who writes the lyrics for KINGSCROSSING and what are they about?
Zack: “Michael and I wrote most the songs on this CD and Rob wrote a couple. Most are about things I've been through in life. Some tell a story with a medieval theme. Richie wrote a couple and will be on the next CD.”

Where do you have your rehearsal space and how did you find it?
Zack: “We rehearse in Las Vegas at MDV Entertainment rehearsal studios. I found them through a search on the internet. They have everything music related and treat us very well.”

We’re gonna have a look at your live shows now, if we may. With which bands did you share the stage already?
Zack: “In KINGSCROSSING we've done shows with Ron Keel and several cover bands.In the past I have done shows with FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, TESTAMENT, PISSING RAZORS, MISSING PERSONS, GUTTERMOUTH, to name just a few.”

With which band would you like to go on touring, if you had the chance?
Zack: “OZZY for sure. SAXON, JUDAS PRIEST, HEAVEN AND HELL, IRON MAIDEN come to mind first. Most any of the true metal bands.”

What can people expect, when they come to see a KINGSCROSSING live show?
Zack: “They can expect to see and hear a great metal show with high energy and a medieval theme.”

Do you use any show elements or special effects?
Zack: “Yes, we have a castle backdrop, and some medieval props.We are also working with Rockstar Pyro and will have fire.”

Do you also play covers live, or do you just stick to your own penned material? And which covers do you play live?
Zack: “At the moment we are all original, but have played “Metal Gods” by JUDAS PRIEST in the past.”

Have you ever played outside of America and if yes, where was that?
Zack: “We haven't been out of the U.S. yet, but look forward to touring soon in different countries.”

Are there many clubs in the area, where you come from, where you can play live? In other words, what’s the metal scene like in the Arizona/Nevada area?
Zack: “Las Vegas (Nevada) has several smaller clubs. Phoenix (Arizona) has more venues, that would suit us better. Bigger stages and more of a demand for metal.”

What do you think about (heavy) metal in 2007 in general? Any favorite (new) bands perhaps?
Zack: “The metal scene is making a good comeback and it’s great to see most of the 80s metal bands still touring. I like the new SAXON CD.”

The metal scene over here in Europe is still quite big. Have you ever thought about coming over to Europe to tour here?
Zack: “Yes. We hope to tour Europe in 2008. We will be playing the Swordbrother Festival and Darkside in December 2007 and looking forward to it.”

Are there many (well-known) bands, that come from the area where you live?

I was positively surprised by the old school metal sound you created on your album. I get the feeling that the album was recorded in 1982 instead of 2006. How come that you didn’t put any new metal influences on the album and why was it so important for you to sound as authentical as possible?
Zack: “The influences of KINGSCROSSING really shine through on this CD, I think. With our new drummer, we will be able to take things to the next level and have a more power metal feel.”

My favorite song on the album is “Rapid Fire”. What’s yours and why?
Zack: “I like “Rapid Fire” also, but a more favorite of mine is “Powersource”. Richie and I really have fun trading solos at the end on that one.”

Browsing through the thanks lists of the different band members I found the name of AMY SCHUGAR, the female guitar player, who recorded a CD with MICHAEL SCHENKER a couple of years ago. What’s your connection with Amy? If you see her, please give her our regards (Toine and Rita van Poorten of Metal Maidens in Holland, she’ll remember us).
Zack: “Amy has been a very close friend for several years and we talk often. I gave her your regards and she said “hi”.”

In your biography, I read that you’ve recorded eleven (!!!) videos, which aired on the local TV stations. Have you ever thought about releasing these videos on DVD for the fans?
Zack: “I don’t think we'll release the older videos, but release the new videos to our fans instead. We are trying to get them out very soon.”

Knowing that the debut album “Kingscrossing” was written already before this line up existed, I can imagine that you’re working on new material already. What will it sound like and what’s the main difference with the songs that we can hear on “Kingscrossing”?
Zack: “I like Anthony’s drumming better. More power there for sure. Richie and I are also doing more harmony leads and trading solos a little more too.”

What are your future plans with KINGSCROSSING?
Zack: “To keep writing metal and hopefully get to tour full time.”

Are there any important shows on your agenda?
Zack: “So far, it’s Swordbrother Festival in December. Other than that, we will be playing several local shows around Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and California.”

We read, that you were added to the bill of Swordbrothers in Germany. Will this be the only European gig or have you got more shows scheduled over here?
Zack: “We will also be playing Darkside in Berlin. Hoping to get at least 2-3 weeks of shows at that time in Europe also.”

I guess, you must be really looking forward to play over here?
Zack: “Yes! We can’t wait.”

You contributed a song on the “Metal Crusade” compilation album. Which song was chosen for this CD?
Zack: “The song chosen was "Rapid Fire". Martin Brandt from Heavy Magazine helped out with that a lot. (Thanks Martin!!)”

How important is the internet for a band like KINGSCROSSING?
Zack: “It has made things so much easier to get the word out and helps us to better communicate with our fans and other people in the music industry.”

Do you have any merchandise available for the fans?
Zack: “We will have shirts again. At the moment we have stickers, 8x10 autographed photos of the band, 18x24 posters of the band and more merchandise will be added soon.”

Is the “Kingscrossing” album the only available release so far? And where can people buy this essential killer album? Please advertise here, it’s for free my friend!
Zack: “The CD can be purchased through our site or any of the listed distributors on our site such as CD Baby (, Karthago Records, Hellion Records and more.”

How did you get in touch with the Blue Steel Agency of my good friend Martjo Brongers?
Zack: “Sascha (Sir Lord Doom) from Hellion Records told me to contact Martjo.”

I am an old school heavy metal fan since about 1978. I always thought, that heavy metal is more a way of life, than a music style. Do you agree with this statement?
Zack: “I agree 100%. Learn it, live it and love it.”

Do you have a large record collection at home?
Zack: “I have over two thousand CDs, all metal.”

What’s the rarest, or most valuable item in your record collection?
Zack: “I really value some of the old OZZY with Randy Rhoads. "You said it all" and "You Lookin At Me".”

Who are the beautiful KINGSCROSSING MAIDENS on your My Space page?
Zack: “Kaley, Sarah, Misty, Talia and Michelle. We will be adding more girls very soon, but only taking thirteen.”

Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here, which is essential for the story of KINGSCROSSING. Any latest news maybe?
Zack: “We look forward to seeing everyone in Europe very soon. We are currently working on some videos with Rockstar Pyro and the next CD. Please drop by our Website “

Do you have any personal messages for your fans?
Zack: “Never stop rockin'! And a big thanks for your support.”

The well-known ‘last’ words of this interview are for KINGSCROSSING....
Zack: “We would like to thank Kahler Tremelo Systems, Anvil/Calzone Cases and Pagan Guitars. Thanks to all who support us and metal. We want to thank Blue Steel Agency, Rita and Toine for this interview and support, and thanks again to everyone that has helped us get on our way.”

Interview by: Toine van Poorten (July 2007)

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