Acid King
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, USA
Genres Stoner Metal, Doom Metal
Years active 1993 - present
Labels Small Stone, Leaf Hound, Man's Ruin, Sympathy for the Record Industry
Associated acts Altamont, Black Cobra, Goatsnake, The Obsessed, Buzzov*en, Melvins
Website Acid King Official
Current members Lori S., Rafael Martinez, Bil Bowman
Past members Dale Crover, Peter Lucas, Dan Southwick, Brian Hill, Guy Pinhas, Joey Osbourne, Mark Lamb

Acid King are a stoner metal band originating from San Francisco, California. Forming in 1993 by frontwoman Lori S. along with bassist Peter Lucas and drummer Joey Osbourne the trio quickly earned a reputation among the stoner scene for their heavy low-end sound, their spacey atmosphere and Lori's distinctive vocal delivery.

Since their formation Acid King has released four albums to date along with a host of split and EP releases and Lori being the sole original member. Their second and third albums in Busse Woods and III solidified their place among the top stoner acts as by the mid 2000s Acid King would regularly tour all over the world.

The band's name and song content are taken from the satanic stoner Ricky Kasso, known for his chronic hallucinogenic drug usage. Kasso attained the nickname "Acid King" by his peers for his excessive usage and notably murdered his friend Gary Lauwers in Northport, New York on 19 June 1984. Upon purchasing a book based loosely on the events titled Say You Love Satan (Penned by David St. Claire) the band would get their name.[1] Notably Lori S. would have new members read the book as a "rite of initiation" before officially joining, with few exceptions. Kasso's likeness was used on the band's debut EP and several songs had been written about him by the band.

History[edit | edit source]

Early Years, Zoroaster and Busse Woods (1993 - 2000)[edit | edit source]

Lori S. would start Acid King in 1993 when she would put an ad in the local newspaper seeking out a bassist and drummer to make a very large and low-end sound. Peter Lucas would answer the call as the band's first bassist and read Say You Love Satan as a rite of passage to join the band. The two began harvesting heavy riffs while in search of the third. After several months in search of a drummer and getting frustrated, Lori was at a party and screamed out "anyone know any drummers?" Enter one Joey Osbourne whose Ritalin style drumming was just what Acid King was looking for (And would also read Say You Love Satan as a rite of passage). Acid King's first live performance would be at Lennon Rehearsal Studios in San Fransisco (With Luv Hammer).[2]

Acid King started playing the club scene in SF and was lucky to score some killer opening slots with some of their favorite bands like Melvins, Sleep, Nik Turner's Hawkwind and The Obsessed. In 1994 after putting a handful of songs together, the band put out its debut 10" EP on Sympathy for the Record Industry, produced by Dale Crover and engineered by Billy Anderson.

The band continued playing SF shows and started going on small West Coast tours. In the Fall of 1995, they released their debut album Zoroaster. In the summer of 1996 Acid King set out on their first U.S. tour. The tour took the band from L.A. to New Orleans, The East Coast, the Midwest and back home. When reaching Kalamazoo, Michigan, Peter decided he had enough of Acid King and announced he was leaving the band. Acid King had shows already booked in LA and needed a bass player fast. In a panic Lori called up Dan Southwick, bass player for Altamont. Although he never read the book, Dan's ace musicianship and deference to Ricky Kasso translated into a full-time slot with the King as he learned all the songs in two weeks.

Following the tour the band had a few new songs and were introduced to Frank Kozik, owner of Man's Ruin Records. Upon quickly signing with the label in 1997 they went back into the studio and recorded their first release for Man's Ruin, a 10" titled Down with the Crown (Released on 25 July). The EP would also be released as a split CD with Altamont. After the release and small West Coast tours with Melvins and Fu Manchu to support it, the band started concentrating on new material. However in the Spring of 1998 Southwick would leave the group. Lori would then recruit Brian Hill (Buzzov*en, Spilth) and he would read SYLS as a rite of passage. He'd tour with the band in 1998, performing with Goatsnake, Fatso Jetson and Queens of the Stone Age among others. Hill, Osbourne and Lori would begin work on Acid King's second album.

Busse Woods would be released via Man's Ruin Records on 10 September 1999 and would be praised as an essential album in stoner metal. In support of the record Acid King would tour with Altamont but after that tour would be finished Hill would leave the band. Guy Pinhas (The Obsessed, Goatsnake, Beaver) would join the group (and read SYLS) in 1999 and record a handful of songs with the band, later released as a split with The Mystick Crewe of Clearlight in 2001. Acid King would also notably tour with High on Fire in 2000.[3][4]

III (2001 - 2013)[edit | edit source]

2001 would see Acid King largely performing in the West Coast, sharing the stage with the likes of Electric Wizard, Spirit Caravan, Warhorse, Operator Generator and High on Fire among others. This would build up to an appearance in October at Stoner Hands of Doom Festival, that year being in Austin, TX. The next year would see largely weekender tours with the likes of Dixie Witch and Bongzilla as work on new material slowly began. The next year amid a host of shows the trio would venture to Ohio for an appearance at Emissions from the Monolith. Acid King would notably sign with Small Stone Records and after a March tour with Drunk Horse would release III on 21 June 2005, produced by Billy Anderson. III would attain praise across the board from various publications such as Sputnikmusic,[5] Your Last Rites,[6] and Exclaim![7] among others. What would follow would be the trio's first ever tour of Europe. However by the end of that tour Pinhas would leave and Black Cobra drummer Rafael Martinez would take over on bass. The next year Acid King would tour Japan with Eternal Elysium and then the United States with Black Cobra and Eternal Elysium. That same year a compilation of their early material saw release in form of The Early Years, via Japanese label Leaf Hound Records.

In a 2007 interview with, Lori would speak about the band's first adventures to new continents:

“Playing out of the U.S. is far superior to the U.S. (sorry, peeps). Japan is just an insane country, and they`re very serious about the shows. They`re expensive to get into and even the smallest hole in the wall has a good P.A. and lighting system. Since there aren`t too many U.S. bands touring there, they are very into seeing the music and into buying the merch. Japan kicks much ass!

The UK isn`t all that different from the U.S. It`s very expensive and besides London or some of the bigger cities, you cannot predict a crowd will show up. The mainland is great - they really know how to take care of the bands and 90% of the shows are well attended. Even if they`re not, you have a place to stay and lots of beer to drink. Since you`re not from there, it`s like being on a trip. The fans are far more receptive and I much prefer to play there then here (sorry again, peeps). They know how to do it right in Europe!”

— Lori S., [8]

2007 would see them back in Europe with Black Cobra and Blutch, including an appearance at Roadburn Festival. Kreation Records at this point would have a hand in vinyl reissues of Busse Woods and III along with reissues of the Man's Ruin splits and The Early Years a few years later. Acid King would regularly tour Europe over the next few years with notable exceptions being a 2009 California show with Ufomammut (Notably Ufomammut's first appearance in the United States), the band's first ever Australian tour in 2012 and the band's first of many appearances at Hellfest that same year.

Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2014 - Present)[edit | edit source]

While new material had been written and in the works for some time no new studio releases had some since 2005. New songs would appear in the set as early as 2013 and on 18 December 2014 a new album would finally be announced along with European dates in the Spring.[9] Working with Finnish label Svart Records with Billy Anderson once again handling production, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere would be released on 14 April 2015 to critical acclaim. In an interview with The Obelisk, Lori would explain the long songwriting process for the record and the changing of engineers and producers:

[On deciding to record again] “We had a handful of songs. They were kind of ready but not really ready. I felt like the timing was right, I felt like it’s been a long time. This music was not popular when this band first started. All of a sudden it was like, a whole different state out there than when we first started this band. I thought to myself, oh we better seize the moment now because it might not be around forever. I really just wanted to get this done. We’ve been fucking around for way too long. I really wanted to get it done. I booked studio time, and I was like, “we’re doing it.” Once I booked the studio time and made preparations, it put a little pressure on us to get it together and get it finished.”

[On working with Toshi Kasai and later Billy Anderson] “No. Matter of fact, it wasn’t originally with Billy. I wanted something new. I wanted a new label, new engineer. I didn’t want to do anything — I wanted to do something different. We originally hired Toshi Kasai, who started off recording us. We recorded some of “Red River” and “Outer Space” with him. Those are on the record, he did the recording and then we – part of it was, we weren’t really ready for all the songs. We weren’t really happy with the way we recorded. It wasn’t really him, so when it came to wanting to finish the record I really missed my collaboration with Billy. I don’t know how to word it without making it seem like Toshi wasn’t good enough, because it’s not like he wasn’t, he’s awesome.

But when you have a relationship with a producer who you’ve recorded so many times and they just know what you like. We have such a history with Billy. But, like with anything else when you get comfortable just like when you have a new acid-king-tour girlfriend. First you’re going out and you’re all proper and you’re not farting, then all of a sudden you’re married and you’re peeing with the door open. You get too comfortable, maybe don’t treat each other the way you should — so, because of the history with Billy we thought it might be nice to have someone else. Some fresh ideas. But the thing is, the difference is for us, and I think if we all lived together closer…

I’m telling the long version because I feel like I just want to make sure it doesn’t come out that Toshi is not good. The thing is, he lives in L.A. and we don’t really know him that well and so I think if we had the relationship we have with Billy where we recorded a bunch of times and knew each other more, it probably would be awesome. But I need more of a collaboration than just an engineer. I need someone that is, “Okay, what else do we do with this part to make it better?” Billy has got a lot of ideas of let’s do this or that. He doesn’t need to be told, he’s a good collaborator. Where with Toshi it was more up to me to be like, “Now I want you to do this or that.” I like to have collaboration. I like to have someone else have ideas too. I’m not like a dictator in the studio.

So when it came to finishing the record, I was like, “Billy! Hi! Don’t hate me for not originally hiring you but now I want you back!” (Laughs) Everybody was cool, he was totally stoked and Toshi was totally cool. Everyone, was all good. That’s the story of how that all happened.

[On the process of switching engineers] That was like another year. We recorded some songs in January and then we recorded some songs – that probably took a whole other year. Six to eight months, getting the rest of the songs. Billy lives in Portland now, flying to San Francisco, etc. But it was awesome.

So you’re in the studio with Toshi and you’ve got these recordings, how long between you have a sense of something is not working like it should or could be working better — how long between you getting that feeling and you calling Billy?

I would say when we were done with the amount of time we had recording and it came to, “Okay, I want to redo these songs, I’m not happy with what they are.” I really started feeling at that point, almost immediately, I think I need more help. I think I need my Billy. It was pretty quick after that when I realized that I missed recording with him.

[On feeling about the album] Oh I love it! So happy. I like the songs that Toshi did too, Toshi recorded them but Billy ended up — we recorded more and Billy finished and mixed everything. So where was a collaboration on both, but I’m super-happy with the way it came out. It’s probably my favorite record, for sure. When you haven’t put a record out for 10 years you’re just thinking in your mind of what the reviews will be like, like, “This is what they’ve done after 10 years?” There’s all kinds of — not that I give a shit about what anybody thinks, but you know, still. It’s in the back of your mind. But I was really happy with the record and I of course was very happy because the most part it’s gotten really good reviews, everyone seems to like it. Of course that makes you happy.

You can say you don’t give a shit about what other people think all you want, but if you read a bunch of shitty reviews about your record it certainly doesn’t make you feel good. I know because I’ve had shitty reviews.”

— Lori S., The Obelisk [10]

Touring with Black Cobra once again the trio would begin support for their fourth album which would include appearances at DesertFest London, DesertFest Berlin and Heavy Days in Doomtown. The band would also notably embark on their first United States tour in nine years. The next year would see more sporadic shows and festival appearances, including Desert Generator and Psycho Las Vegas before returning to Australia as part of Doomsday Festival. However by the end of 2016 bassist Mark Lamb and drummer Joey Osbourne would leave the group, with Rafa Martinez returning on bass and new drummer Bil Bowman joining. In an interview with Marquee Mag Lori S. would explain the departure of her longtime bandmates:

“I knew after we were done writing the record that they didn’t want to commit to anything after that. They were kind of done. You know Joey was in the band the entire time — 20 years — and Mark had been in the band for 10 years. It’s just a hard thing for people to do something forever. They had both traveled the world many times and they were just done.”
— Lori S., Marquee Mag [11]

With a new lineup the trio would hit the road once again for a host of festival appearances including Maryland Deathfest, Electric Funeral Fest, Modified Ghost Festival and a tour of Europe which would include appearances at Stoned From The Underground, Red Smoke Festival and Lake on Fire Festival among others. The year would close out with a pre-show appearance at the inaugural Days of Darkness.[12] 2018 would see the band touring North America alongside Yob and CHRCH before returning to Europe for appearances at Into The Void Festival and Desertfest Belgium. In 2019 the band is slated for their first appearances in Russia and a return to Hellfest among other dates. On 21 May 2019 Acid King would announce a North American tour in support of the 20th anniversary of Busse Woods.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Studio Albums[edit | edit source]

Misc. Releases[edit | edit source]

  • Acid King (EP) (1994, Sympathy For The Record Industry)
  • Down With The Crown (EP) (1997, Man's Ruin Records)
  • Split with Altamont (1997, Man's Ruin Records)
  • Free... / The Father, The Son and the Holy Smoke (Split with The Mystick Crewe of Clearlight (2001, Man's Ruin Records)
  • Free / Down With The Crown (Compilation) (2006, Kreation Records)
  • The Early Years (Compilation) (2006, Leaf Hound Records)

Members[edit | edit source]

Current Lineup[edit | edit source]

  • Lori S. - Guitar, Vocals (1993 - Present)
  • Rafael Martinez - Bass (2005 - 2008, 2017 - Present)
  • Bil Bowman - Drums (2017 - Present)

Past Members[edit | edit source]

  • Joey Osbourne - Drums (1993 - 2017)
  • Peter Lucas - Bass, Vocals (1993 - 1996)
  • Dan Southwick - Bass (1996 - 1998)
  • Brian Hill - Bass (1998 - 1999)
  • Guy Pinhas - Bass (1999 - 2005)
  • Mark Lamb - Bass (2008 - 2017)
  • Dale Crover - Contributor (1993 - 1999)

List of Known Tours[edit | edit source]

NOTE: This is only a partial list. Tours will be added when found.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Official Links[edit | edit source]

Archival Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

V·T·E Acid King
Current Members Lori S.Rafael MartinezBil Bowman
Past and Live-Only Members Joey OsbournePeter LucasDan SouthwickBrian HillGuy PinhasMark LambDale Crover
Studio Albums ZoroasterBusse WoodsIIIMiddle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
Other Releases Acid KingDown With The CrownAcid King / AltamontFree... / The Father, The Son and the Holy SmokeThe Early Years
Associated Bands, Artists, Etc. Altamont • Black CobraGoatsnakeThe ObsessedBuzzov*enMelvinsShrinebuilder
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