David E. Gehlke of Blistering.com recently conducted an interview with bassist/vocalist Mike Dean of Raleigh, North Carolina legends CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Blistering.com: When the touring cycle for “In The Arms Of God” ended, and Pepper [Keenan, guitar/vocals] went back to DOWN, did you think that was the end of C.O.C.?
Mike Dean: I wasn’t really sure. It was always in the back of my head that it could be over with, so it wasn’t a shocking possibility. I was hopeful we could get it back together and do something, although we did start another band called RIGHTEOUS FOOL. I just kept the matter open, basically. I wasn’t counting on anything, basically.
Blistering.com: Did you stay in touch with Reed [Mullin, drums] and Woody [Weatherman] during your time away from C.O.C.?
Dean: I was in touch with Woody quite a bit because originally we were writing songs with Jason Patterson who played a lot of the live dates for “In The Arms Of God”. I really didn’t get back in touch with Reed until about four years ago, and that’s when we started to play again.
Blistering.com: There’s quite a bit of history with the three of you, going back to the mid-’80s. What was the determining factor in moving forward with this incarnation of C.O.C.?
Dean: Who knows? The generic answer is that Pepper mentioned he had some offers from people to get back together and play a couple of festivals in Europe. It sounded like a good idea. It was exciting to get him and Reed back together and it would be a fun thing to do, but then it turned it out we wouldn’t be able to do it because of DOWN‘s schedule. At that point, we thought, “Why don’t we do a three-piece?” We could write some new songs so it won’t be a completely nostalgia-based appeal and we could play some shows, and probably, we could do an album if there was some interest. We had the idea, and two years later, here we are.
Blistering.com: Being that you spent so much time in the ’90s and 00s as a four-piece, was it hard to get back into “trio mode?”
Dean: It was pretty easy. In terms of the songwriting, it was a little easier. Everyone has more room in which to play, more ideas. We gave everyone more of a chance in which to contribute. We have a lot of material, a lot of ideas so it wasn’t challenging. I guess the challenge is not to go crazy in the studio and manufacture a lot of overdubs you wouldn’t be able to pull off live. You can do it in the studio, but it can’t be the main feature or people are going to be really disappointed. We had to stick with the idea that it would be sparse, but that came part of the fun of it.
Blistering.com: The big question hanging over C.O.C. is if you’ll ever do anything with Pepper again. I know he’s tied up with DOWN, but have you had discussions about it?
Dean: There’s no firm plans, but there is a firm desire to make it happen. We had a really good time doing “In The Arms Of God” and I’m really proud of that album. The only thing missing was Reed. I thought Stanton Moore did a great job. If you’re not going to have your original drummer, then it’s novel to get someone who’s flamboyant to do their take on it. I thought that was a good move. I came away from that thinking that if we had this level of creativity and also had Mullin… that would be a bonus. But yeah, I hope we don’t just get that lineup together for shows or “Deliverance” nostalgia shows, but get it together with the idea of putting out a record. There’s some controversy to doing the three-piece. People are like, “Oh my God, no Pepper!” People haven’t even heard it and complain. I’m like, “Complain on, you’ll see!” There’s a good story behind this version, and there would be a good story behind doing the four-piece again.
Read the entire interview from Blistering.com.