January 20, 2015 Interview – Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber
It is a very rare and special gift to be able to go back to the roots of where one began. Southern California’s Metal band Coal Chamber are one of the few fortunate enough to revisit the magic with their reformation in recent years. Led by Dez Fafara (vocals), Miguel “Meegs” Rascón (guitar), Mike Cox (drums), and Nadja Peulen (bass), it is like old times as the band looks toward the future. Proving there is much unfinished business in the history of Coal Chamber, the band is set to release their first studio album in thirteen years in 2015 and embark on a lengthy tour across North America. Recently we sat down with Dez for a look into the resurrection of Coal Chamber, life experiences, their upcoming album, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Coal Chamber came together over two decades ago and rose to mainstream success with your 1997 self-titled album. After nearly an eight year hiatus, the band reformed in 2011 and began actively touring again in 2013. Obviously you were able to mend relationships with bandmates and revisit Coal Chamber once again. What has the ‘reunion’ been like for you?
Dez Fafara- I guess the short answer would be we mended ways, put all the bullshit aside, and of course things have changed drastically within the personal lives of both Meegs and Mike. Meegs is married now and Mike is settled down with a year old, so things change, people grow, and the vices get put away. Now we can make music like we should have been doing . It has been a learning experience for sure and a good time! How many times in life do you get to reconcile with a lost friend, lost love, etc ….never …. but we have this shot and we are taking it with a full heart, ready to rise up with a killer new record.
CrypticRock.com – Well that is certainly something not to take for granted, and it seems as if you and the band are making the most of it. You have kept extremely busy with both Coal Chamber and DevilDriver over the past couple of years. Now that the touring cycle for DevilDriver’s 2013 album Winter Kills is complete, and the band is taking a break, can fans expect Coal Chamber to be extremely active in the coming years?
Dez Fafara – Well, DevilDriver has been touring straight for almost twelve years. We released six records in that time when most bands take a year or more off between records. DevilDriver did not, and now it is time to sit out for at least a year and half, which puts us back on the road in early 2016 with a new record that DevilDriver will record late summer 2015. As far as how active Coal Chamber will be, we will take touring at our own pace, when options present themselves.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, well, that is good news on both fronts for Coal Chamber and DevilDriver. Now, Coal Chamber has in fact not released a new studio album since 2002’s Dark Days. It has been a long break for the band, but now you are returning with the long awaited fourth studio record in 2015. What was it like for you to go back in and write Coal Chamber tunes once again?
Dez Fafara – Everything has changed. The band is more focused, the writing is more comprehensive, and the sound is Coal Chamber, but definitely on another level completely. You cannot expect a throwback record after such a long absence and I would not want to be part of such a thing at all. What was interesting was to see all of us “Just do what we do now ” and hear Coal Chamber music come out of it , yet it is more mature for sure. Just as my voice is stronger, the writing is much stronger than it was back in the day; that is age and focus (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Right, naturally you have progressed as a musician and songwriter, so of course the music will be different. You are a man of very open musical tastes, which one can imagine has grown through the years. Did you find that this time around, writing Coal Chamber songs, that you took a different approach than perhaps you did years ago?
Dez Fafara – My approach was and will always been the same. Let us get the songs together and let us get me writing lyrics to these things. We wrote like a band should; locked away in a room to write, then to do pre-production, and me on my own writing lyrics. We took our time, time to hone the craft, and it certainly shows.
CrypticRock.com – That is actually rather exciting to hear and it will be extremely interesting for fans to dig into this new Coal Chamber album. The band will in fact be hitting the road in March with Filter, Combichrist, and American Head Charge. That is one hell of a line-up. How excited are you to partake in this upcoming tour?
Dez Fafara – I am fucking stoked to hit the road! I have been since July 2014, except for doing Knotfest and a short Australian run, so I’m chomping at the bit to get it on! Anyone who knows me, knows I am a Road Dog!
CrypticRock.com – Well this certainly is a lineup loaded with talented, well-respected bands, so it will be a lot of fun once it kicks off. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. Last we spoke, you told me you are in fact a big fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films. Have you seen any new Horror or Sci-Fi films that you enjoyed?
Dez Fafara – To the Devil a Daughter (1976) with Christopher Lee is good classic, I just watched it the other night. I have been absorbed in reading daily, mostly Masonic, Esoteric reads. I just finished Mayan writings The Book of the Jaguar Priest a Translation of the Book of Chilam Balam of Tizim.