This past summer, Modern Drummer magazine met up with drummer Mikey Cox of COAL CHAMBER to capture his return to the stage for the 2023 “The Psychotherapy Sessions” tour and to get a rundown of his colorful ddrum Dios drum kit. Check out the video below.
COAL CHAMBER recently completed a U.S. tour as the support act for MUDVAYNE. Additional support on the 26-city “The Psychotherapy Sessions” tour, which was produced by Live Nation, came from GWAR, NONPOINT and BUTCHER BABIES.
COAL CHAMBER played its first two shows in eight years at the Sick New World festival in Las Vegas in May and at the Inkcarceration Music And Tattoo Festival in Mansfield, Ohio in July.
In a recent interview with the Loaded Radio podcast, COAL CHAMBER frontman Dez Fafara was asked about the possibility of new music from him and his bandmates. He said: “We’ve been discussing it. [Sigh] I take a sigh right there, and the reason is because I don’t wanna rush anything. I actually said to them… We booked [festival appearances at] Inkcarceration, Blue Ridge Rock Fest and Sick New World. That’s all we were gonna do this year until MUDVAYNE hit us up [about supporting them on their summer tour]. And I actually said to them about the MUDVAYNE run, ‘Let’s not do it. I’d rather just stay friends. Let’s do a few shows.’ But the point is when we’re all together, I realized that any problem we’ve ever had is gone. To think about it as any kind of continuing problem would be wrong. So, okay, cool. Let’s go do MUDVAYNE. And now, of course, talking about new music is very exciting for us.”
Dez continued: “I happen to feel like if [COAL CHAMBER‘s last album] ‘Rivals’, which was released 12 years ago — something like this; 10 [or] 12 years ago — if ‘Rivals’ would have been released now with where the genre is and where, I would say where nu metal is at this point, that record would be insane. We were 10, 12 years too early getting back together and releasing that record, in my opinion. But I guess it’s always good to preempt what’s coming down the line, and we surely did with ‘Rivals’. So if you’re a COAL CHAMBER fan, go check out ‘Rivals’, if you haven’t.”
Regarding what it was like returning to the live stage with COAL CHAMBER for the first time in eight years, Dez said: “[It was] unbelievable. We were all backstage. Of course there’s a hundred people back there with their cameras on us as we’re hugging. But it was amazing. We hit the stage… They were chanting ‘COAL CHAMBER‘, so it was 55, 60 thousand people chanting ‘COAL CHAMBER‘, which just absolute goosebumps on my arms. We came out. We killed it. The set was short — it was only 30, 35 minutes; something like that — so it was in and out. But it was at the height of the day. People were telling us that, ‘Your stage was the most packed of the day.’ Of course I’m not putting myself up against the bigger bands; I’m just saying that it is what it is. And then when I got off, I said to my wife, ‘What’s going on? What’s going on out there?’ And she was, like, ‘They’re all singing you ‘Happy Birthday’, dummy.’ And I was, like, ‘Wow.’ So it was a pretty incredible weekend… It was an amazing time, man. And I’m grateful. I’m humbled by everybody who came. And the reception that we got was wonderful.”
This past March, Fafara told Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program “Wired In The Empire”, about how COAL CHAMBER‘s reunion came about: “Unbelievable turn of events. That actually happened… I was on my way out from COVID. And my wife called [the other members of COAL CHAMBER] and said, ‘Hey, you guys may wanna text Dez or call Dez ’cause I don’t know if he’s gonna make it through the night. He’s telling me where he wants to be buried and not to sell his ’78 Cadillac.’ So they started to call me, they started to text me, and over a period of six, seven, eight months, we didn’t talk any business at all. And we realized that, you know, why are we not playing shows? Those guys are totally different people than when we broke up. I have always been the same — I’ve just been solid as a rock; and I told them, ‘I’m solid as a rock. If I come out of this, I would love to do at least one show with you guys.’ And that’s how this all started — very organically.”
Dez added: “COAL CHAMBER is a very unpredictable thing, all the way from its beginning, playing with PANTERA and BLACK SABBATH, to where we were when we put out ‘Rivals’ to where we are now… But we’re gonna take it slow and we’re gonna do what’s appropriate for the brand and for the band and especially the fans that have been with us for so long.”
COAL CHAMBER existed for ten years before disbanding in 2003 to pursue other musical projects. They reunited in 2011 for touring purposes but it wasn’t until 2014 that the band began work on a new studio album of original material, the aforementioned critically acclaimed “Rivals”. Several months of touring activity followed before Dez returned to DEVILDRIVER to make a new record, 2016’s “Trust No One”.
DEVILDRIVER‘s 2019 co-headlining tour with STATIC-X saw the Fafara-fronted outfit performing material from COAL CHAMBER for the first time.
Fafara painted a bleak picture of COAL CHAMBER‘s future during a 2016 interview with Revolver magazine. He stated at the time: “I had a lot of fun doing that record and playing shows with them again. But there were some circumstances that were not ideal and that’s why that thing is not continuing as of right now. If something comes up and I have time and want to make a record and the members have their shit together, I’ll do it. But as of now, there’s some deep-seated shit that certain dudes in the band still need to work out. And if they work it out and want to tour or make another record, they can come back and give me a call. But right now, everyone in DEVILDRIVER is stoked. No one’s fighting. And I feel lucky to be where I am.”
Dez had stated in previous interviews that COAL CHAMBER‘s original split happened because “I did not want to be around the band’s hard drug use and I realized that going onstage every night that the money was feeding their habit, so I walked to save my friends.” He added that his COAL CHAMBER bandmates were “clean” as of 2012, which made him realize that “it was the right thing to walk [away from the group back in 2003].”
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