King’s X’s “Gretchen Goes To Nebraska” @ 25 Years (1989-2014)

Artist: King’s X
Title: “Gretchen Goes To Nebraska” @ 25 Years
Label: Megaforce Records
Release Date: 6/27/1989
Genre: Progressive Hard Rock

Thanks to a friend of mine who is nothing less than a diehard about the musical body of work that comes from the band King’s X I was reminded that today is the 25th anniversary of their second album “Gretchen Goes To Nebraska”. With that being the case I wanted to take a moment to congratulate the band on their seminal second release (it’s long been lauded as one of their very best releases in the catalog and that is not a bad honor with ones sophomore effort). It was released on Megaforce Records where the band recorded three albums in total (Out Of The Silent Planet, Gretchen Goes To Nebraska and Faith Hope Love). They are now a part of InsideOut Music which I think is the perfect place for them based on the kind of music that they play but I digress. Now one of the things that I most remember about his album was how the video for “Over My Head” was in a constant rotation on MTV. They used to have a killer Saturday evening program that showcased tunes like this and then of course I remember it being on at other various times. For me as a music fan I was getting into this and the debut around the same time and I feel that I like both albums equally as opposed to one more than the other. Still this does withstand the tests of time and one of the coolest aspects of this anniversary celebration is the fact that King’s X still actively tours with all three of its original members. Yep, Dug Pinnick, Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill still regularly do gigs for their most ardent fans and can always be found at their merchandise table after a gig to talk to fans and pose for pictures. They deserve any praise that you wish to heap upon them my music loving friends and since this posting comes shortly before some national touring dates; do check your local listings so you can get a ticket to see them in concert. I can pretty much guarantee that you will leave very, very satisfied and I am speaking from experience and as one who never managed to see the band during their earliest time but have been on point several times since becoming a music scribe in 2005. They deliver.

What are your thoughts on this release? Was this your favorite King’s X album, or was there a different one? You can let me know in the comments section since I love hearing from you all about this stuff. Below is the track list of the original album and since there does not appear to be a special anniversary edition coming out you can snag this one rather reasonably.

Track Listing:
1. Out of the Silent Planet
2. Over My Head
3. Summerland
4. Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something
5. The Difference (In the Garden of St. Anne’s-on-the-Hill)
6. I’ll Never Be the Same” (Pinnick, Tabor, Gaskill, Marty Warren)
7. Mission
8. Fall on Me
9. Pleiades
10. Don’t Believe It (It’s Easier Said Than Done)
11. Send a Message
12. The Burning Down

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21 thoughts on “King’s X’s “Gretchen Goes To Nebraska” @ 25 Years (1989-2014)”

  1. I was lucky enough to discover King’s X when their first big single, “King” came out in ’88 and have been attending their tours ever since. I definitely preferred “Out of the Silent Planet” to “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska”, but for the die hard fans, there’s not a dud amongst their catalog.

  2. Absolutely my favorite release of theirs, followed closely by Ear Candy, FHL and then OOTSP. Pleiades is, without any approaching a Ty Tabor solo of his usual virtuosity, the seminal song of this seminal album. No weak tracks and still fodder for their best concert material. July 10th, we’ll be there in Raleigh for another show!

  3. This began the golden 4 album era that ended with Dogman. All those albums are great. After that it’s a little hit and miss. “Over My Head” jumped out at you because it sounded like nothing else on music tv and is still one of my favorite all time songs by any band.

  4. I’ve been a monster fan of King’s X since hearing It’s Love on the radio back in the day. Saw them on the FHL tour, Tape Head tour, then again earlier this year in San Diego…..we drove from Tucson just for the show. Picking a favorite is very difficult, and the first 5 albums are stellar. It would be tough to make a case against Gretchen as being the best.

  5. This album was my introduction to King’s X. I am embarrassed to say that I bought it, because Jon Bon Jovi was raving about the band back then, and I was into hair bands at the time. This album introduced me to prog metal and pretty much ended my hair metal days. I went back and picked up Out Of The Silent Planet, and that is my favorite King’s X album, but Gretchen is a close second.

  6. That must mean that I have adored King’s X for just about 25 years then!
    Love this album, but then I love every single one of them.
    Sadly their visits to the UK are few and far between, but I was there for Live In London and that DVD’s a decent second best alternative.

  7. They have been brothers to me since 1980. Doug and Jerry ended a tour with Phil Keaggy at Evangel College in Springfield, MO (I was at that show). Ty & Kurt (long gone) went to Evangel and gigged around some. They soon formed the Edge and it all began. I saw their first performance, in Joplin, MO, at the Missouri Mining Co. (long since defunct). Great friends and great memories. God bless King’s-X.

  8. Gretchen Goes To Nebraska is my second favorite behind X. Send a Message is my favorite off of Gretchen. Ok, I’m going to back pedal. All King’s X’s albums are my favorite! Ty’s sound on each album is just amazing.

  9. C’mon, Atlantic – give the masters back to King’s X so we can see a proper reissue/remaster of their catalog. Do it for the music, for the fans and for the band.

  10. There would be a huge musical vacuum in my life without King’s X. I have no clue what would fill the void..

  11. Living at the other end of the world, where the band has never toured, I’m not even sure how I found out about them. Gretchen is my favorite with most of the others being a close second.

  12. I was introduced to them between FHL and their fourth album. So, their fourth album is my favorite, then FHL, then Dogman, then Ear Candy, then Tape Head, then GGTN, then OOTSP. Anything after Tape Head is average at best.

    As far as GGTN, Over My Head and Pleiades are both stellar. This band shoulda been HUGE but you never touch a nerve with your passive rock fan (for unknown reasons). I still refer rock and roll fans to this band to this day as an unknown band that is better than “popular” or more well known bands and everybody I have ever turned on to King’s X loves them.

  13. In the winter of 1991, three years after their first album came out, someone finally introduced me to King’s X. Far, Far Away was the very first song I heard. Little did I know, riding in a car in Fort Worth, TX that night, with someone I don’t even remember now (thank you “unremembered” dude) going to get more drinks for the drunks who had invaded the apartment I was sharing with a high school friend, that I’d just heard a song from a band that I’d follow closely for the rest of my life, or that I’d go to see them live nearly twenty times and meet in person and talk with at almost all of those shows. I also didn’t know at the time that the members of the band, and I, would go through similar ideological changes over that time, or that I’d often go back to their music for comfort and catharsis while those changes caused my mind discomfort.

  14. I saw them around the release of GGTN (1989/1990?) at the Santa Monica Civic Center, with Mr. Big & Winger – needless to say, King’s X were amazing. I bought a “Out of the Silent Planet” T-shirt, as a fan of the first song on ‘Gretchen’ (and of C.S. Lewis), not realizing that it was also the title of their first release. I remember that Dug broke a string during their last song (‘Visions’ – from the first record) & they still managed to pull it off (complete with Ty Tabor’s raging ‘air-raid-siren’ solo). Went out & bought the first record shortly thereafter (on cassette, of course) & wasn’t disappointed. I’ve seen them a couple of other times (at Cal Poly with Living Colour on the ‘Faith, Love, Hope’ tour – absolute slaying – and later at the Palace in Hollywood) and they’ve always been amazing.
    Thanks for the post!

  15. Faith Hope Love is my favorite. It’s such a consistent album yet with so many different “flavors” throughout. Gretchen is my second favorite. Pleiades is such a classic for me. Summerland, Fall On Me, The Difference, The Burning Down to me are all stronger tracks than “Over My Head”. Of course, OMH is a song that NEEDS to be heard live and I have heard it performed probably about 30 times by now. I have happily lost count of how many times I’ve seen them. My THIRD favorite album is XV. That knocked my socks off out of nowhere. I have every album and I got SOME enjoyment out of efforts like Mr Bulbous and Manic Moonlight (particularly Vegetable) but had not been blown away by a King’s X record in all the years between FHL and XV. Tapehead was close to that level but not quite. They set the bar very very high for themselves early on.

  16. Definitely their best record! The first 5 are pretty untouchable but every King’s X record is good. I loved the debut, bought the tape after seeing the video for “King” but with this record, the production, performances and songs are all improved. Gretchen is and probably always will be in my TOP 5 albums of all time. Thanks for bringing attention to such a masterpiece!!

  17. what a seminal album!! bought the cassette at a truckstop in Iowa and it was a constant companion for 2 years!

  18. First heard this in summer 1989 and was lucky enough to see Kings X at the Astoria in 1990. One of those gigs you just don’t forget.

  19. Yeah, for the originality and variety of mood and sound production of the songs,and the lushous but utterly slaying “in your face” guitar sound…this would be the best of a large crowd of best albums by King’s X. But I’d have to tie it with it’s follow up, Faith, Hope Love. FHL will always hold a special place in my heart as my introduction album!

    I first heard them on MTV actually! Kinda wish they had stayed in MTV rotation longer…maybe they wouldn’t be such a best kept secret kinda band now! I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at like 3am to the video of It’s Love. In my half concious state I remember it being the best unknown band (to me) I’d heard in several years…much more interesting than most of the crap they were playing at the time. I made a mental note and went back to sleep.

    Memory would fail me until a few years later I found Faith Hope Love in a cassette cut-out bin for $3. It had It’s Love and 13 tracks total on it for $3…new! Certainly worth a shot right? [email protected]! After an hour of getting floored by this band, I immediately loved 10 out of the 13 tracks on the album! And I usually can find fault or weakness on a least some of the tracks of even my favorite albums from my favorite bands! A perfect, consistantly strong, brilliant album is a rare thing indeed… Faith Hope Love is still the best value in a music purchase I ever had!

    Faith Hope Love sounds like they just went into the studio, set up like they were going to play a gig and burned song after song! The production sound is very consistant over the whole album as a whole. However, Gretchen has a little more warmth, an intense immediacy as if you the listener, the band, and Sam Taylor were all in a small studio control room listening together to a final mix playback with studio monitors blasting away at max volume! There’s no escape…they’re still right there…in your face! That could be quite uncomfortable if the songs weren’t so brilliantly…original.

    I suppose some who were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor might feel this way about OOTSP their first album…and that’s certainly fair. I mean there really wasn’t anyone who sounded quite like they did. It must’ve come as quite a revelatory shock! But I can’t help feel that their song writing and production just hadn’t quite matured to that consistantly high level until Gretchen came along. Plus, there was a little more promotional push or success with Gretchen, so more folks became aware of the amazing, unique blend that is King’s X!

    So if I had to go with one album to cap a mountain of classics…yeah I’d go with Gretchen too! For quality of songs, consistency of quality throughout, album production, and that special undefinable magic mojo feeling…yeah Gretchen is the one!

    But special mentions for the best of the rest for me would have to go out to…Faith Hope Love, KING’S X (4), Dogman, Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous, Ogre Tones, and possibly even Tapehead, and Black Like Sunday. Whew…I know it’s a lot, but they don’t falter from excellent quality very often.

    Whenever I make best of mixes, I’m always suprised at how may Tapehead songs are in contention! They are relatively simplistic for King’s X, but still very catchy and memorable. And Black Like Sunday always feels like a B-side collection to me. There are some wonderful songs in there, but it wasn’t really a “new” album of “new” songs. It was a collection of songs that for one reason or another got passed over from one album or another going all the way back to pre-Kng’s X days. I am glad they made it and released them though,they all deserved second consideration!

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