Interview Sophie Dunsford
Corrosion of Conformity (COC) fans have been waiting for over a decade. Chatting on the phone from the front yard of his home, with a rooster crowing in the background, guitarist Woody Weatherman expresses his enthusiasm about COC’s upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand. “I am extremely excited. Last time we were there was 13 years ago and all I remember was that we had an excellent time, people treated us so well and everybody was so friendly. I remember good beer and good food and great shows. If I can replicate that even by half I’ll be super excited.” He’s eager but slightly anxious about the time spent away. “It’s been so damn long I hope people remember who the hell we are. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.”
When questioned about the name of the band’s most recent release, Weatherman jokes “It’s a very imaginative title, it’s our ninth full studio album so very originally we called it IX. It’ll be easy to name the next one, X.” Their energy was focused on creating the sound they wanted. “We wanted it to be raw and we wanted it to be a very live sounding record. We used our lives rigs, our amps. We set up the mics like we were doing a live show, and had the studio set up like a live stage and just let it rip! We just didn’t want to go for that dry studio sound, we wanted it to be a little over the top. It’s a little raw, maybe even a little too raw for some people but it’s what we were shooting for.”
Recording the music was quick, but because of band members’ other projects, there was a span of time between recording music and vocals. “Mike our bass player / singer was off doing some touring with the Vista Chino guys, he was filling in on bass. Reed has been working on the Teenage Time Killer thing. I’ve been done with my guitar parts for practically a year now so it’s nice to see it finally coming out and people hearing it and enjoying it. Now it’s time to go on the road and support it. We’ll get some touring under the belt and then we’ll jump back into the studio and do another one!”
Weatherman certainly is keen to go back into the studio, and reminisces about time spent recording. “I had so much fun in the studio because it’s like being a kid in a candy store at this point. Especially if everything’s working good and it flows good. Creativity flows, nobody’s worried about it or uptight. If you’ve got a low stress situation when you’re a musician that’s when the fun starts happening. I look forward to it. I’m ready to go back in the damn studio right now! I’ve got riffs ready man, it’s time, let’s go!”
It’s been a long career for Corrosion of Conformity and members have come and gone. Weatherman agrees it feels like they’ve come back to their roots with the original trio back together since 2010. “It was awesome to have him [Reed Mullin] come back after being gone for a period like that. We just dove right in and it felt natural, because he and I and Mike our bass player learned how to play together 30 years ago and learned how to do everything together. It was kind of like a homecoming to get the original three guys together. Turn ‘em loose!”
Band member of 17 years, Pepper Keenan, is currently busy with other projects but COC would love to be working with him again. “We chat with Pepper all the time, he’s got this little band some people may have heard of called Down that he travels with. We’ve had the luxury and the pleasure of sharing the stage with those guys three or four times over the last couple of years. Whenever we do Pepper comes up and sings songs with us and we have a blast. We’ve been chatting lately, it might be time to do some four-piece stuff after a while, we’ll see. If everybody’s schedule works out I’ll hop a Greyhound bus down to New Orleans and we’ll write some riffs. We’ll figure it out! In the mean time we’re having a blast doing this three-piece stuff too. There’s room for all of it man!”
Wisdom comes with age, and having over 30 years of experience playing, recording and touring, there are a few things that Weatherman comments he’s picked up along the way. “I think probably learning how to tour is something that I could have had an easier time with earlier on if I’d known a little bit more about that and how to interact with people in a tight situation for long periods of time. Going to the studio, that’s another whole monster right there. Learning how to not be freaked out about it and just be casual with it, and next thing you know things really happen. We used to go into the studio, oh hell I’d spend six hours trying to get a guitar tone that I liked. Now, if I go in and I don’t get a guitar tone that I enjoy in about three minutes I’ve got take a break and come back. I don’t fret the small tiny shit like that, like I used to.”
He offers some words of wisdom for younger bands, and live shows are the key. “You’ve gotta jump in the van and you’ve got to hit the road. That’s what we did and we didn’t give a damn if we were playing a basement or a backyard party or a club or a porch somewhere, we did it and we just kept on doing it. It’s the live thing that grabs people. That’s where they see your attitude, they see what you’re doing and they get it. They may hear your stuff on record and maybe they don’t get it but if you show them what’s going on and they see it, it’s that impact and the power that a live show can have. That can be a game changer for people.”
There’s no sign of fading into retirement for these guys. They love what they do! “If we didn’t do it I guess we’d just sit around twiddling our thumbs. It’s too much fun to give up. You can’t just not do this after we’ve done it and have that jolt of adrenalin from creating what you love doing and travelling, being on the road meeting people, sampling local beers all over the planet. You don’t want to give that up.”
Corrosion Of Conformity New Zealand / Australia Tour 2014 details:
Friday 18 July – Churchills – Christchurch, NZ
with Stonehurst, Soulseller.
Saturday 19 July – Valhalla – Wellington, NZ
with Fallen Order and Johnny & The Fletchers.
Sunday 20 July – Kings Arms – Auckland, NZ
with The Penny Dreadfuls and Bloodnut.
Thursday 24 July – Crowbar – Brisbane, AUS
with Frown and The Matador.
Friday 25 July – The Factory Floor – Sydney, AUS
with Lo! and Whisky Smile.
Saturday 26 July – Reverence Hotel – Melbourne, AUS
with Caged Grave and Wolf Pack.
Sunday 27 July – Enigma Bar – Adelaide, AUS
with Hydromedusa and Emergency Rule.