Since the first record back in ’97, my MO has been to pick up my old Washburn acoustic and just start noodling. Sometimes I will go direct with an electric guitar, but mostly I like the notion that if a song isn’t good on an acoustic, it probably isn’t good at all…
I piece riffs together with a lot of trial and error. Tempo and time changes are key at the beginning, as it helps me find that groove that seems to best fit the mood of what I’m laying down. Oftentimes I do have a plan for the theme of the lyrics and how the flow of the music will work. That is, heavier and faster here, even faster, slow down, pick up, mellow, crush, really crush…something like that.
Lyrically, I always have a thematic concept in mind. Every album from Time Extension (1998) to the new single, “Silver Tongue” have a direct theme. Once we have laid the bed guitar, drum, and bass tracks, I will typically take some ruff mixes out into the desert for a couple months. I sing to the saguaros and coyotes, you know? I start to name the songs based on the theme of the album, and when I have a name I like, then the themes start to manifest into full songs.
Little King songs are HARD to sing and play. Trust me! So I have to make sure the music is second nature to my hands and in that part of the brain. Only then can I begin the lyric writing. From there, I can finish a song through more trial and error, finding my spots to syncopate or push/drag, and then it’s back to the mic to sing my legacy.