Interview: Corrosion Of Conformity – Mike Dean talks Bl’ast,Black Flag,Kyuss and IX

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 9:22 AM (PST)


IX from C.O.C. is some of the best fuzzed out tones from the band this side of America’s Volume Dealer, perfect to ease the aches and pains of what ails you or to help incur new bruises rocking out.

Just a real rambling rumble here , a sense of friendship and exploration in these tunes. One of my favorite albums in the band’s career, actually. My fave since In The Arms of God, which I dig as much as Deliverance and Animosity and more than Blind, to be honest. Though any era of C.O.C. is the bees knees, the total shit, rock n roll, etc. The band are touring  with Bl’ast!, Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band and Lord Dying in the best, coolest fucking package tour of the year, in my opinion. I spoke to veteran musical soldier Mike Dean about the tour and the latest John Custer collaborative

C.O.C. audio event, HERE.

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IX is an awesome album. It’s got “The Nectar” that has some raw or punker influences. I love the three piece vibe, though it also has some of the Southern Rock influences of the band and amazing stoner riffs. The stripped down edge. You’ve got trippy stuff. That cool little interlude…

Mike Dean: (chuckling warmly) Thanks, man. It’s got kind of a way about it.

We’re you having fun?

Pretty much. I think about half of it is we just come to practice with a few ideas and throw it together as a group, collaboratively. Maybe I’ll come upwith lyrics or something. The rest of it, we might bring a fully completed song to the table. Kind of complete it by messin’ around with it. Maybe arrange it a little bit. That interlude this was kind of written on the spot. Just lookin’ for that kind of Black Sabbath “Laguna Sunrise” kind of segueway, to fill that roll as a counterpoint to the burly kinda rock n roll. Makes you hungry for a little more ass whuppin’.

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And then comes “On Your Way” right after that, which is one of the most powerful songs on the record.

We actually made a video for that song. I think it’s done. I’m just waiting to see if everybody thinks that it’s done. Kind of get a little music video out. I could tell you that we had some concepts. We didn’t want to be the main deal in it, too obvious. It’s kind of a trip. A real bit of a vintage heavy psych kind of horror movie type of thing. It has a very rich visual landscape going on, in a distressed kind of way. Music videos used to be big time commercials. It doesn’t really happen anymore. It’s kind of an online thing. We want it to be like a short film with a soundtrack of the song to it. Try and promote this tour we are doing with Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band, Bl’ast and Lord Dying.

I’m jealous it’s on the West Coast. I’ve wanted to see Bl’ast pretty much for half of my life now.

Where do you live, man?

New York.

I think they just played there, man.

Yeah, I think it was at Santos Party House, but I couldn’t go.

I know we’re lookin’ for more East Coast stops ourselves. Maybe we’ll try and get them along, if they’ll have it.

It’s a great package. Is it crazy touring with them, since they are such an old school band? Does it bring you back to more political punk days?

Well, that’s a band we used to play around with when we were teenagers, just got our punk on and went out to the West Coast, the first couple times. It was rad that we met. We weren’t into being just a hardcore band and were into heavy rock even before that. Just being into what we were into. So we took a shot and did a couple tours with them back then. So we go way bakc with them and it’s kind of a full circle thing. First of all for Bl’ast to get back together in any form and then to get back together with Nick Olivieri playing bass and Joey Castillo on drums. It’s crazy , man.  So, you’ve got Brant also playing on the bill. They Kyuss family thing. It’s pretty cool, man. Little West Coast love.

Bl’ast always reminded me of Slip It In-era Black Flag, where they had that dirty skateboard thing goin’ and kind of jazzy solos.

Yeah. Yeah…I think all eras of Black flag is their basic starting point. (chuckling) But I think they took they took some of the more out their ideas and made them more exaggerated or extreme. It’s very musical and focused but they have these kind of tear off breakdowns where I don’t know how you would write it down in notations. It’s kind of like memorizing a car crash and then coming out of it at the right spot. A lot of that is indebted to their original drummer Bill Torgerson. He was a bad ass player. He’s not with them but it takes someone like Joey to even come close to that. Joey has his own super tight thing. It’s gonna keep us on our toes. We have to go out and perform after that, so it’s gonna keep us on our toes.

You’ve got a lot of shows under your belts. Some people wouldn’t be surprised if you could get up there and dial it in, but that’s not in the C.o.C. pedigree, so to speak.

You can’r worry about it in your life, but at the same time…the best way not to worry about it is to be prepared.

Good point. You would have records with lyrics written by different people. I love that song “war” off of In the Arms of God, by the way. There’s always different eras. A lot of attention going back to the Blind record again via Decibel Magazine’s Hall Of Fame induction. The C.O.C. journey up to and including what you are doing now is amazing for people to look at.

Unless you like  ongoing soap operas, keeping it all in your head is probably pretty hard (laughing). It’s not so easy to keep track of. I don’t know how anybody could keep track of it, so when I see online stuff from an innacurate historical perspective, I just let it go. It doesn’t matter. The music is there for people to hear. If you’re a fan of heavy music and being scholarly, we’re a good challenge to people.

Yeah, you guys, and Napalm Death (Author’s Note: and Shai Hulud, The Misfits) have some complicated histories. (laughing) It’s complicated.

Lee Dorian was in Napalm Death at one time, right?

Everybody was! I probably was! Maybe you were! (laughing)

I was not a big Napalm Death fan but I’m a big Lee Dorian fan.

Well, his bread and butter was to be in Cathedral anyway. That was his calling.

Yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. I actually like their later stuff. That’s when it got real heavy.

Yeah, The Last Spire was a masterpiece. Amazing.

Rise Above Records is just a great label. The first Goatsnake, came out on it, I think. And it goes back to a Black Flag song title.

Ha, “Rise Above”. Yeah!

That brings us back full circle, man.


Special thanks to C.O.C. PR and to my old friend Tom Moretti of Error 404 Records who got me into Bl’ast and old school C.O.C.



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