Corrosion of Conformity Frontman Talks New Album
This month, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Corrosion of Conformity, best known as COC, will drop its ninth studio album, the aptly titled IX. It marks the band’s second full-length effort after reuniting in 2010. COC was originally founded in 1982 by bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, drummer Reed Mullin and guitarist Woody Weatherman. Over the years, several members have spent time in the band, including Pepper Keenan (Down), who joined in 1989 and remained until the band’s hiatus in 2006. Although all three founding members have taken brief sabbaticals from the group, the trio remains the nucleus of COC.
In a 2012 interview with Metalholic, Mullin shared that it was Keenan who inspired the band to reform. In the end, however, Keenan never returned to the band after setting the wheels in motion. Still, Weatherman, Dean and Mullin find themselves at their creative and organic best in the raw triumvirate which recorded the band’s seminal album, Animosity (1985).
In this reunited formation of the band founders they recorded their self-titled return in 2012, as well as the EP Megladon. Dean chatted with me this month about recording the band’s new album. He also shed some insight into the band’s 1984 debut, Eye for an Eye, admitting that it is like looking back at your high school yearbook picture, remembering how cool you thought you were and how you thought you knew it all. Mike also talks about why COC opted to record IX in their own Raleigh studio.
COC began their career with a hardcore punk and thrash crossover foundation, but they have blended in psychedelic, traditional and sludge/doom metal elements over the years. Dean stated that they tap into elements of so many retro styles that it becomes difficult for people to label COC.
“Our first and foremost strategy is basically being influenced by things that are so far out of style that we can never be mistaken for something that’s in style. Therefore we are not subject to the usual rules of taste.”
The band has also had five vocalists over the years, including a different one for each of the first five records; but still the COC signature remains consistent. Dean and Mullin agree that it is the chemistry between the three of them that allows COC to bend genres and use different vocalists yet remain true to the COC sound. Both offered that they continue to view Keenan as a member of the band and do not rule out working with him again in the future.
For IX, the band opted to go for a raw sound more in line with their live performances. He admits that for the previous self-titled effort, which they recorded at Dave Grohl’s studio in California, the band had to pull backlines together on site. On IX they set up their own full live rigs to get an authentic COC vibe that fans will experience in concert. The record is steeped in 70s rock and roll roots. “We were listening to a lot of 70s heavy rock,” shared Dean, who also revealed that C.O.C. will return to the U.S. tour circuit with a West Coast tour this summer followed by an East Coast tour this fall.
You can listen to the full interview with Mike Dean below, and listen to the 2012 interview with Reed Mullin here.