Mar 2, 2012

C.O.C.- Mike Dean Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY

Plus an interview with Mike Dean!

Set list:

Bottom, Intro/Psychic, Loss, Mad, Consumed, 7 - Your Tomorrow, Doom, Vote, Money Changers, Deliverance, Rat City, Holier, Hungry, Leeches, Techno

Mike Dean on bass/vocals, Reed Mullin on drums/vocals & Woody Weatherman on guitar...the original 3 piece version o' COC are back in action sans Pepper Keenan & the current version of COC is leaner, meaner & a bit angrier than the Pepper era o' the band which leaned more towards a hard rock/southern rock sound.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Dean in the Sonar dressing room prior to the bands set & to spill the beans on how the band parties these days:

Backstage we were all gathered around a large flat screen TV watching some reality TV show about restaurants & we were talking about eating ground beef. Mike & Dean both said they didn't eat meat while myself & a roadie got into a conversation about how meat should always be cooked all the way to kill the bacteria & crap in it.

I guess the only thing rock n roll happening was a little beer consumption, BUT, that was how the backstage dressing room was while I was there.... Mike offered me a 40 oz bottle o' Natty Boh which I turned down because Natty Boh is nasty!

The complete interview with Mike is below this show review.

The show was the 2nd night of the tour & was originally slated to take place on the large side of the club Sonar in Baltimore but due to low ticket sales the show was moved to the Club stage which is a considerably smaller room and it actually fit the show much better because it gave that gritty punk rock vibe which accommodated the music perfectly!

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COC took the stage just around 11:30 PM & they played just under an hour... the set was fast, tight & there was very little down time between songs except for a bit o' tuning of the guitar & bass not to mention at one point Reed tightened his drum head & that led to a fan yelling to Reed, "What, are you 50 years old now?" & Reed yelled back, "Basically" & the interesting thing is the entire band IS in their mid to late 40's...the average age is 46-48 & regardless of age, the band still smokes both on & offstage, Woody tears it up on guitar & his playing is clearly influenced by Tony Iommi but Woody tends to bend way more in his solos than Iommi ever could. The only sad thing about the set was the vocals which were very hard to hear & mixed far too low in the mix...the bass & guitar overpowered everything from where I was standing.

Reed was the guy who surprised me when I first saw him...I remembered seeing Reed years ago in COC & he was a thin guy who looked like a kid up there compared to the others...when he took the stage my first thought was, oh my God, Reed's fat! Reed's not morbidly obese or anything, he's just gained some serious weight compared to how he used to look & he reminded me a bit of Jeff Henneman from Slayer...Reed's a kick ass drummer though & he held the pace down tight with Dean!

The bands set included 3 Pepper era songs..."7 Days" was played for about 40 seconds with no vocals, "Vote with A Bullet" was played up till the solo then they aborted it while Reed & Dean took turns singing Peppers parts in that song & "Deliverance" was played in it's entirity!

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Minus those 3 songs, the entire set was music that Pepper was not involved with & the interesting thing about their set was how fast it moved...each song was almost bled into one another & they really did create a set list that made the show flow like a record...each song was back to back to back, little stage banter, little down time & the band left the stage as fast as they took it...the punk/hardcore COC show is very different than the Souther Rock/Hard Rock show they used to do that lasted a very long time with loads o' solo's & breaks.

The crowd in attendance were treated to a kick ass show & I'd highly advise any fans of good heavy music to check out COC, they will be on tour all year & they deliver a show that will leave you wanting more!

Like I said earlier, I had the opportunity to chat with Mike Dean prior to the bands set & he's a very down to earth, cool, mellow guy who answered every question like a gentleman....he didn't act like he was a big cocky rockstar, he didn't talk down to me, he came off very cool & the man is the same both on & off stage.

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Rock N Roll Experience: When is Pepper coming back to COC?

Mike Dean: That is a question mark, its a fluid situation. We are open to the idea of doing it, we wanna kinda exploit this trio stuff that we went to the trouble of making a record for & all that kinda thing, so given his schedule with Down it's hit or miss but I'm pretty confident is about as firm as I can ....

Rock N Roll Experience: Were you a little upset that Pepper abandoned COC for Down because he left COC hanging.

Mike Dean: A little bit, you can categorize it that way but at the same time it's a pretty worthy endeavor musically & it's something that I think is in demand so. He lives in New Orleans & they live in New Orleans so it's something that's gonna come natural so you can't hold a grudge about that so it's a pretty natural choice & I'm not gonna waste time thinking about that but at the same time we wanna be playing music so we kinda needed to move on from that even if it's only temporary to put the record out...life is short, to be a musician you have to put out new music.

Rock N Roll Experience: When Rex left Down how come they didn't call you to audition for the bass slot?

Mike Dean: (laughs) I don't know...I like that cat that they've got in there now alot but I don't know what kinda fit I'd be (laughs)

Rock N Roll Experience: Would you have audition for Down if they asked you?

Mike Dean: I don't know, potentially...it depends, I think, not if it was at the point where we had geared up to do this record because I'm pretty excited & I think it was a good move, but I don't know; there's alot of good riff writing in that band (Down).

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you like singing?

Mike Dean: I like singing...it's alot of...I kinda thrashed my voice pretty good back in the day with screaming "Animosity" style so I have to be really careful about it in preparation & warming down & stuff like that, so it's a bit of a pain in the ass just getting up there to sing not astoundingly well & it's kinda alot of work....it's fun, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it...I have fun with it, especially writing the songs in the studio.

Rock N Roll Experience: When you say you have to warm down your voice, what does that mean?

Mike Dean: If you reach the point that you're kinda yelling & playing this kind of music you wind up yelling even if you try not to & if you don't kinda do some scales or warm down & then kinda take it easy you are not going to have a voice tomorrow to do it. I learned it from Keenan (Pepper) & now he's got the easy job because he barely sings a lick in Down so he can play guitar & stay out till the next gig or whatever so that's probably also the other natural thing of leaning towards that...Pepper's expressed a real interest in being with COC again though

Rock N Roll Experience: Would Pepper tour or just record with the band?

Mike Dean: That's a hypothetical, I would imagine a little bit of both but I don't know. I think once we get this off the ground with this record & stuff like that, it's not as key if we put out a record with him (Pepper) unless it was like a long term thing with Down, ya know? We'd have to have something to stand on other than us.

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Rock N Roll Experience: Did you like it when COC went towards a southern rock sound?

Mike Dean: Well, we are kinda all over the place generally & that would be a slight over simplification, yeah, it was fun, it was just kinda, we just get restless stylistically & like to explore not just new things but we like to explore old things in a new way & that was one of them & I just kinda remember it's been an evolution & I just remember before I quite the band after "Technocracy" I remember riding around & listening to things like Deep Purple & Thin Lizzy...things like that & I kinda lost track of these guys for a little while & then they came up with an album, "Blind" where they managed to incorporate those things effectively & they had John Custer to work with & that kinda floored alot of people but I wasn't surprised at all...maybe a little surprised at how effectively it was incorporated but what was next...Skynyrd?

Rock N Roll Experience: But COC did kinda touch on Skynyrd sounding material.

Mike Dean: Sure, I liked it alot too, it was fun, I think I got "Second Helping" from Columbia record & tape club without having to pay for it as a kid like many other young people. (laughs)

Rock N Roll Experience: COC's been on both major & independent labels...which do you prefer?

Mike Dean: If I had to pick I'd prefer the advance from a major label but for the intelligence, flexibility & reasonableness of the independent...I'm sure the situations are getting more & more dire on the major labels at this point though.

Rock N Roll Experience: What made you re-join COC as opposed to being a solo artist?

Mike Dean: I don't know...I think, solo career (laughs), that's fairly comical (laughs really hard) wow...yeah, that just never really occurred to me (laughs again) I can't think of any examples of anything like that that did really well even though you can say the same thing about some people that would be perspective of the subject of such an endeavor, I can't think of any successes, there might be one but I can't think of one.

Rock N Roll Experience: Well, Dave Grohl kinda did it with his Pro-Bot record

Mike Dean: Well, that was different, that was him helping out & giving a shout out to various vocalists that he liked & also he was saying he liked this metal stuff & he was probably at the point where people were making false distinctions about his music & he was probably tired of hearing the term grunge & stuff like that & just wanted to show that he was into something else so he had some pretty interesting material there...I liked the Eric Wagner thing, the Lee Dorian thing, the King Diamond track....

Rock N Roll Experience: How come COC hasn't worked with Trouble?

Mike Dean: I think that would work...they haven't really had what I'd consider a quorum of the band, I would like to see Wagner singing for them.

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you see Trouble when Kory Clarke was singing for them?

Mike Dean: No....Kory's got a good voice for sure...I think I've seen video, it's almost there but not quite a quorum...I'd like to see more like the original surviving core of individuals.

Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of Black Sabbath doing a reunion record/tour?

Mike Dean: I wish it would have been a full reunion but it's taking kinda an unfortunate turn with Bill Ward bowing out because he feels like they made him an insulting offer & not valuing his service to the cause & I think he's pretty essential at this point if you're gonna have an Ozzy Black Sabbath record you should just have the whole original deal, ya know? Do they not have enough money?

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you prefer Ozzy or Dio fronted Black Sabbath?

Mike Dean: I prefer the Ozzy material that everybody knows but I think that given the situation that they were put in maybe with that guy not holding up his part because he was too messed up or whatever, to suddenly see Sabbath without Ozzy then the best thing you could have was Dio & that was kinda like a whole other epic, I thought Dio was really good & it's held up even better than I thought it would at that time for sure...Mob Rules and Heaven & Hell.