Saturday October 16 2010 ~ Death Rattle interview ~
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Blood Red Wedding: Interview w/ Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides frontman, OFF! guitarist, actor in "Suck")
Years ago I bought a pretty cool Buddyhead compilation album called "Suicide". To this day it remains one of my favorite comp albums and it introduced me to a lot of great bands, notably Murder City Devils and another band whose frontman was kind enough to do this interview: Burning Brides. Vocalist and guitarist Dimitri Coats formed the band back in 1999 with bassist (and future wife) Melanie. As of this writing, they've released four full-length albums and have toured with everyone from Marilyn Manson to the White Stripes to Mastodon. Recently, Dimitri threw his hat into the acting ring and starred in the horror/comedy SUCK (which also stars Malcolm McDowell, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, and Alice Cooper) as the evil vampire Queeny. Dmitri was kind enough to answer a few questions about both Burning Brides and SUCK, as well as some other projects.
The Death Rattle (Aaron): Dimitri, thanks a lot for doing the interview. For the people out there who aren't familiar with Burning Brides, how would you best describe the band's sound and style?
Dimitri Coats: Hard rock power trio. Songs are a bit all over the place but heavy and melodic for the most part. Somewhere between Sabbath and Beatles when we're at our best.
Death Rattle: What inspired you to pursue music and who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Dimitri: A lot of classic rock growing up - Zeppelin, Hendrix, Bowie, etc. but later Stooges, Ramones, Sonic Youth, Pixies, Nirvana. As soon as I realized I could get away with simple well written tunes I began pursing songwriting over guitar.
Death Rattle: Over the years, you've toured with a lot of different acts that vary in styles. Are there any tours that stand out as being the best or most difficult?
Dimitri: Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon were a lot of fun. Total debauchery. I was pretty excited early on to have played a few shows with White Stripes when we both were first starting out. Also was great to experience the arena thing with A Perfect Circle and Audioslave. The most difficult tour was when Melanie and I split up one time for an entire US run. No fun.
Death Rattle: Since this is primarily a blog about film, I'd like to talk to you about your role in the movie SUCK. How did your involvement come about? Was it something you pursued or did someone reach out to you about doing it?
Dimitri: I didn't audition. The director is a fan of the band and found out about my acting background. He saw me in that role from the start.
Death Rattle: In case anyone reading this hasn't seen it yet, how would you describe your character in SUCK?
Dimitri: Creepy heroin dealing rock n roll vampire.
Death Rattle: Overall, how was your experience working on the film?
Dimitri: One of the best experiences of my life. Filmed a showdown scene with Malcolm McDowell and got to hang with Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins. The role was incredibly fun. Felt like getting paid for Halloween.
Death Rattle: You also starred in another movie called PASSENGER SIDE. Is acting something you'd like to actively pursue or is it just something that you do for fun when the opportunity arises?
Dimitri: Well, I didn't audition for that film either so I don't know. I guess it depends on the project. I'm open to more but I'm not trying to be an actor.
Death Rattle: Are you a Horror fan at all? If so, what are some of your favorite horror movies and who are some of your favorite directors?
Dimitri: I don't seek out the genre but enjoy films by Raimi, Argento, Fulci, Polanksi, Lynch - basically anything super creative that gives me an uneasy feeling or goes over the top while remaining scary.
Death Rattle: What are some of your earliest memories of watching Horror movies?
Dimitri: The remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland traumatized me as a kid. I vomited when I got home. My first experience with a message of no hope. Scanners was great. Original Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.
Death Rattle: Are there any movies you've seen recently that you're crazy about, horror or otherwise?
Dimitri: Not really.
Death Rattle: Getting back to music, at the moment you're involved with a really interesting supergroup of sorts called OFF! Yourself on guitar, Keith Morris from the Circle Jerks on vocals, Steven Shane McDonald from Red Kross on bass, and Mario Rubalcaba from Rocket from the Crypt on drums. How did this project come about?
Dimitri: Keith and I have been friends for years. I was producing what was supposed to be an album for his other band which fell apart. He and I had written a few tunes together during that process and decided they were special enough to move forward. We were big fans of Mario and Steven and were thrilled when they wanted in. It's a special band. Explosive from the start. Pretty powerful.
Death Rattle: Are there any long-term plans as far as OFF! goes, or is it basically just a side project that you guys are doing at the moment?
Dimitri: We're going for it. We'll do as much as we can bite off. The reaction so far has been insane so we're gonna try to give the people what they want. You have to strike while the iron is hot.
Death Rattle: Is there anything else going on for you right now, music or film-related, that you'd like to mention? Any shows, tours, albums, etc. you'd like to encourage people to check out?
Dimitri: I'm pretty busy with OFF! and being a dad so I'm a bit out of the loop. Definitely check out our First Four EPs box set that's coming out Nov. 23. It rocks.
Death Rattle: Dimitri, thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions. Take care and best of luck.
Dimitri: Thanks man.
Wednesday October 13 2010 ~ Mega Metal Magazine Interview ~
Interview by David Metcalf
If you donít get it by now, then allow me to let you in on a very ìwell knownî secret: the best bands out there are not necessarily the ones with the biggest record contracts and corporate sponsorships. Really? Not meaning to sound like a sourpuss, I think we all tend to get complacent with our collective ìart appreciationî and start to get more and more easily satisfied by what is processed and fed to us instead of keeping our radars open to the greater goodness of bands on indie labels or musicians making more of a conscious effort to explore the unknown. (That was a mouthful.) One dude who has been ìon my radarî for a while is Dimitri Coats, front man for the excellent rock band Burning Brides, and co-founder with (the also excellent) Keith Morris of the recently formed punk/classic hardcore band Off!
Dimitri is a guy who you immediately realize is a cool cat. The kind of guy you want to be buds with. He is a fucking brilliant songwriter and a (seemingly) compassionate human being who just happens to be able to write some monster riffs and who has acted in a couple of really cool movies. I had the sublime pleasure of speaking with him the other night and the transcript that follows is a loose representation of what went down:
Dimitri, first (and most obvious) questionÖ What are the ìBridesî up to and what is on the horizon for you?
ìMan, a lot of stuff is going on right now. The Brides are kind of on hiatus while I am concentrating on my new band [Off!] with Keith Morris, plus my wife, Melanie, and I are expecting another babyÖ A baby boy! We have a little girl and things change a bit when you become parents, you know? Melanie is the bass player in the Brides and that band is ours together, so right now we just have to put it on the back burner. But, we will be doing another record in the future. Maybe, two more records and then be done with it. I have been thinking of a concept where the second to last record will be called ìBurningî and it would be the hardest, most metal-like thing we ever put out. The last record would then be called ìBridesî and be some kind of surreal, acoustic thing, but dark, you know? Weíll seeÖî
I read that while you were filming the vampire movie ìSuckî you had some really cool interactions with the other cast members, some of whom are also well-known musiciansÖ Tell me about that experienceÖ
Yeah, it was a lot of fun working on that film. I am very grateful to have been cast as ìQueeny,î the lead vampire. I remember the day I met Alice Cooper. I walked out in full vamp makeup and he is there watching everything. He walks up to me and says ëPlease tell me this the look of your band.í He was a little disappointed when I told him that the Brides are not really a Goth band. Actually, I got that a lot. A lot of people were really surprised at how cool the whole Goth thing worked for me. I even had a good friend of mine in the record industry tell me that we should totally use that vibe when the Brides do another record, you know? Who knows? I think it could work for us. It is actually something I have been thinking of exploring for a while.
It was also cool to meet Malcolm Mc Dowell, who plays a vampire hunter in the film. He was really nice and he and I hit it off, which was great. He talked with me a lot about acting and even had me delay my flight back to L.A. so we could hang out and play some golf and stuff. Cool guy, for sure. Everybody was great to work withÖ
I loved your character in the film! I agree that it would be fantastic to see the Burning Brides go a bit Goth or even play up the whole vampire thing with your next recordÖ Speaking of recording, tell me how itís going with Off!, your new punk/hardcore band with Keith Morris. You guys hooked up while you were producing a ìCircle Jerksî record, Right?
Yeah, thatís right. I was helping Keith and the band with producing, but things didnít go as planned and the record was shelved. Keith and I developed a friendship, though, and we started writing together. Now, we have this awesome band called Off!, and the energy we are getting from everyone and the support from the fans is amazing. We have a few things set to be released, including a box-set coming out in November and we are playing some shows through the fall. Actually, I am getting ready to leave in the next day or so because we are playing a festival (Riotfest, Chicago, IL) this weekend. Things like thatÖ The cool thing is that Keith is such an icon in the punk world (Circle Jerks, Black Flag) and to play with him is a great honor.
Would you consider Off! to be your main now, since the Brides are on hiatus?
Yeah... I mean, I am putting all my energy into it and I am really amazed at the reception we are getting. Itís crazy, because I am not a punk guy, really. My playing has had to change. I am playing all down strokes on the guitar; really hard riffing. I think the thing that impressed Keith the most was that I was coming from a place of NOT being an expert in his scene, you know? I have had a lot of experience with the ërockí thing and I used that, but Off! is so different from what the Brides are. Sometimes, it can be really adventurous and satisfying to plunge into something you arenít used to. I am a fan of punk/hardcore music and I used that to our collective advantage.
Definitely! But, I think the world needs a band like Off! because there are really no classic punk/hardcore bands left. I mean, there are no more Ramones or Black Flags or Circle Jerks (two bands that Keith has fronted)Ö
I can see that. I agree that there is a desire to see bands that are honest and can step up and be true to a certain feeling or whatever. I mean, I hope people are seeing us for what we are and are going to enjoy the music. I do! I am having a blast doing Off!
How is Keithís health? Knowing he is a diabetic, how is that going to influence things for you guys?
Oh yeahÖ Keith is doing fine. I mean, he is diabetic and all, but he is doing well. He knows how to handle itÖ
Anymore acting plans? I know that you were at Julliard in the acting program (where Dimitri met his wife, Melanie, who was in the dancing program, at the same time)Ö
I love acting. I have been very lucky to have basically fallen into the two movies I have been in (ìPassenger Sideî and ìSuckî) and would love to do more acting. You know, none of this would have happened had I not been in the Burning Brides. That band is my baby. Itís mine and Melanieís thing and music will always be a main focus of mine. I have had a great experience and am grateful for where things have gone for us. We have opened for some pretty amazing bands and have played with Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age and guys like that. We have made some pretty amazing relationships with other bands and I love what the Brides do. I will always love that and hope to continue being an artist and do things like acting when it comes around, but music is my focus right now and Off! is going to do some great stuff, just like the Burning Brides have and will in the future, tooÖ
Wednesday July 21 2010 ~ SUCK hits theaters Sep. 2! ~
Donít miss the outrageous rock ëní roll vampire spoof about a down and out band, The Winners, who will do anything for a record deal. When their disgruntled manager (Dave Foley) tells them that they are getting ìlong in the toothî, he doesnít know that his words are truly prophetic. During a road trip, their humdrum image radically changes when Jennifer (Jessica ParÈ), the bass player, disappears one night with a hip vampire (Dimitri Coats from Burning Brides). She emerges with a sexually charged charisma that drives the audiences wild.
As the band members succumb, one by one, to blood lust, their ìgimmickî launches them into the limelight. Following an ìincidentî on a national radio show with ìRockín Rogerî (Henry Rollins), they hit mega-stardom beyond their wildest dreams. Joey (Rob Stefaniuk), the lead singer, is haunted by an eerie bartender (Alice Cooper), who turns out to be much more. Meanwhile, legendary vampire hunter, Eddie Van Helsig (Malcolm McDowell), is tracking them down, despite his fear of the dark. When a veteran music producer (Iggy Pop) calls them on becoming a vampire freak show, they begin to realize that fame is not what itís cracked up to be.
Suck is a wild ride down a highway to hell, with a killer soundtrack that includes Iggy Popís, ìTVeyeî and ìSuccessî; Alice Cooperís, ìI am a Spiderî; Lou Reedís Velvet Undergroundís ìSweet Nuthinî; David Bowieís, ìHere Comes the Nightî and The Rolling Stones, ìSympathy for the Devilî.