GOD FORBID’S DOC COYLE SPEAKS WITH METALSUCKS “ON THE RECORD” (WHATEVER THAT MEANS)!
At this point in the annals of MetalSucks history, an official interview with God Forbid is weird. Interviewing Doc Coyle “on the record” is kind of like interviewing your mom about her performance as your mother; like, are you truly getting the full skinny? But God Forbid are like family to us, and Doc was his usual self; honest, level-headed and frank. At New England Metal and Hardcore Festival last month, Doc told us what led to Dallas’ split from the band, how things with his replacement Kris Norris (of Darkest Hour) are going, the band’s current and future touring plans, critical response to Earthsblood, and breaking into the European market. Our chat, after the jump.
Let’s fucking get the dirty shit out of the way first.
Get the dirty shit out the way. How do you know I’ll give up dirt?
Well, that’s a good point.
We’re inside that camp.
So what happened with Dallas?
Long story short, we got into a really ridiculous, stupid argument over something really stupid and ridiculous and he quit. It’s really that simple. He did this on the day we were supposed to leave.
Do you think it’s the kind of thing where you might kiss and make up? I mean you guys are brothers.
I don’t know. I think the way in which it happened, it would be very difficult for it to go back to the way it was. In a sense, maybe it was meant to be. I don’t know. I really don’t want to talk about it with any sort of definitiveness right now. It’s difficult for me. I don’t want to say anything bad about Dallas, but it’s an upsetting situation either way you look at it. There’s an emotional bulk anyway. It’s not the time or place to air dirty laundry.
I totally understand. So you guys have Kris Norris with you. How is that working out?
It’s great. He’s a fantastic guitar player. He’s a genius guitar player, really. The guy is insane.
Yeah, he’s a shredder.
He learned 5 songs in 2 days. In a couple of days it started getting tight. Now we’re in a really nice groove. The tour is incredible. Right now things are really good.
So you guys are doing a five song set?
Twenty five minutes. We have five songs, and he just learned “Empire of the Gun” so now we’re doing that one. Now he’s going to learn two more because we have a couple of off dates with As I Lay Dying where we have to play a longer set. So he needs to learn a few more songs.
What’s the new song to old song ratio?
Two new songs, two off Gone Forever and one off Constitution. With that type of set, unless you’re a band like Terror who has two minute songs, you kind of just go with what’s working. It’s a heavier tour and we’re playing a bit of a heavier set. It’s working out great. People are into it and feeling it. You do a tour like this where you’re playing in front of 3,000-5,000 people a night, it’s the exact type of thing you want to get at, you have nothing to complain about. I have nothing to complain about. I’m on cloud nine.
So the reception has been awesome? People are getting out there early?
Incredible. The reception has been incredible. It’s, like, overwhelming. It doesn’t feel like we’re an opening band if that makes sense.
Do you feel like people are getting there early to see God Forbid or do you feel like you’re winning over people that happen to get there early?
I think people are getting there early to see everybody. It’s an event show. People are getting there, especially young kids who aren’t getting off of work; they’re getting there as soon as they can. They’re running in the door. They’re there at noon waiting. There’s also the older people who get there and tailgate. It’s that type of show. It’s the type of show people take the day off of work for. I feel extremely privileged. Lamb of God is a band that we’re very close with personally. So it’s come full circle. We haven’t toured with them in awhile, and the fact that they went out of their way to put us on this tour is incredible. It’s a very comfortable tour. We’re very close with Lamb of God. We’re very close with Bodom. Never toured with As I Lay Dying before, but I was friends with them from shows and whatever. It’s almost as if I toured with them before. Then Municipal Waste, the drummer is from Jersey and we kind of came up through the Jersey scene together. Usually when you do a “big” tour, you expect all this other kind of shit, like rock star shit. There is none of that on this tour; it’s all of the positive aspects of doing a big tour without any of the down sides.
From your perception, what’s the feedback that you’ve gotten on Earthsblood so far? Do you feel that people are digging it?
I feel that people are really digging it. It’s very hard to gauge. I think we all live in an internet bubble, and we think that that’s the real perception when it’s not always the way it is. If that’s the way it was, then bands like Disturbed and Godsmack wouldn’t sell a million records. There are a lot of people out there who don’t give a shit about the internet. That’s not how they find out about music. They still buy CDs. They go with their gut, and they’re not trendy. That’s most of America in the Middle and down South. A lot of Europe is like that too. Sometimes we forget that because [we think] New York is the world. We’re kind of like in this funnel air of industry elitism. You know how it is. We all get together and debate over records and shit.
That’s not how the rest of the country is.
No, a lot of people are more like “hey man, it’s a good record. I like it.” There’s not this grand deliberation about it. That’s where, I think for us, where we are most successful. We’ll do better in some weird town in Oklahoma then we would in New York sometimes. It’s true. A lot of major cities are very trendy. I think, right now for us, it’s almost like a sense of a rebuilding, period. I didn’t realize it, but we almost went like two years without having a bigger tour. It was kind of under the radar. We’ve been kind of off people’s minds for awhile. So this is almost like a reestablishing of the band and the [Rockstar Energy Drink] Mayhem Tour is going to kind of knock it over the edge. I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to come out to that tour. “Oh, I saw them with Lamb of God,” so hopefully it will cement a whole new legion of new fans.
Yeah that’s a good tour for you guys. That’s a really good tour.
Honestly, we couldn’t have gotten better opportunities if we had tried.
How was the Ill Nino tour?
It was actually a really good tour. I didn’t know how we would go over over there because Europe is so different. Musically, it was not an ideal tour. I think there are certain people who are going to come out and see them that might not necessarily identify with what we do. But we had a great time. We’re really cool with them. They’re really nice guys. We felt really comfortable at the shows. It was like a club tour, but the clubs were full. It was fun, man. After a few weeks of touring Europe, you get a little homesick. It’s difficult to deal with, but it was a good tour. For us, Europe is still a developing area. We’re still building. It made sense on a business level, and it was fun. Now we’re going back for the festivals, and it’s going to be even bigger.
You’re doing the whole summer festivals circuit?
Yeah. We’ve never done that. Right now we’re kind of functioning on all cylinders. When you’re on an international level, you have to be thinking on these multi-tiered type of strategies as far as breaking the band. That’s what we want to do. You can’t just tour America all the time. Some bands do like Mudvayne or Sevendust. They don’t go to Europe, or there are European bands that never come here. You can get away with that, but I think it’s a true test of your band’s legitimacy as a metal band if you can do well in Europe. You’re not really official until you can actually make it in Europe. So that’s a really big goal.
Do you guys feel like you guys are reaching that legitimacy finally after going at it for 10 years?
Critically, the album has done better than all of our other records over there, which actually does carry some weight over there. They’re pretty serious. Rock Hard Germany or Metal Hammer and some of those countries are not afraid to give a big record a 3 (they don’t do 10, they do 7). They don’t care.
They’re like us [MetalSucks]. (laughs)
Even like some magazines, I won’t really name names, it’s political. If they don’t give a band a certain review, then they’ll get ad space pulled or that publicist will cut them off or whatever. So things are kind of taken with a grain of salt. The touring opportunities are increasing. These festivals are really important over there. A lot of bands are fortunate enough to be able to do that circuit very early on in their careers. When you do that, you play Belgium, which is a small country; you play in front of 40,000 people. You are essentially playing for the entire metal community of Belgium. It’s important on what you put out and it affects how you do afterwards. It’s kind of weird that it’s taken us this long to put something together like this, but the fact that we haven’t, it’ll manifest into bigger and better things down the road. They don’t have that short sided thinking like America, especially when things started blowing up with the style a few years ago. They expected a band to blow up in one year. That happens for some bands, but I think for many bands it’s a different journey.
You guys definitely have been more of a constant . . .
We go up and down, but as long as we end up in a better place in the end.
It feels pretty good for you guys now with this tour, festivals, and then Mayhem, it’s a fucking great year for you guys.
It’s an incredible year. I just want to take care of business. If I just keep my nose down and take care of business. As long as you stay level headed and put on a good performance, we already made the record, so that’s done. Touring is still the most important thing for heavy music or rock music.
A lot of people are struggling right now with the recession, but it seems like metal is doing just fine.
Yeah, because they say entertainment doesn’t really suffer too much during a recession or depression because things are difficult and it’s a safe-haven and the one thing people don’t want to give up. They’re like “man shit is rough, but I can go and vent and forget about whatever problems I am dealing with at the time.” At the worst of times, things are never as bad as they say they were. In the best of times, things are probably not that good either. You just kind of have to maintain a certain level of balance.
Any last things you want to say?
No man. Thank you guys for doing the interview, I’m sure the MetalSucks people love hearing from us.
We’re a source of controversy and fun.