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Woody Weatherman (Corrosion of Conformity)

Interview with Woody Weatherman from Corrosion of Conformity
by Phillip Lawless at 07 March 2012, 8:44 PM

North Carolina’s Corrosion of Conformity … C.O.C. for short … reformed as a trio a few years back. After a tour where they performed the entire crossover classic “Animosity,” the group recorded, and will soon release, a new self-titled album. Phillip Lawless had the opportunity to speak with guitarist Woody Weatherman about the new album, the band’s reformation and C.O.C.’s upcoming tours…

I know the new self-titled album is about to come out. I wanted to ask how the recording sessions went for the album.

Basically, it was definitely one of the easiest trips to the studio that we’ve ever done. I mean we pretty much had our shit together. So we, you know, kind of been playing the songs live for a while … well, most of them, not all of them. Working out the kinks and all that stuff. And by the time we got in the studio, man, it just rolled right on, man. We just … the way we do it in the studio is like Mike and I just kind of get in the room with Reed, get the drums all miced up, have some amps off in another room, slap the headsets on, and we just kind of play like we’re playing live. Let Reed do his thing, man. And that’s basically how we get the drum tracks going. Then we just start stacking stuff up. This time around, man, it really went smooth. No worries.

You said you guys were playing some of the new songs live. How did these songs come together? Did different members bring them in, or did you guys just jam and write together?

A lot of both. Probably 80 percent of it, everybody just showed up and had three or four songs in their head that they wanted to contribute. Some of them were sort of partial songs. Here’s a for instance. I showed up, I had a tune that I wanted to do, but it only had a couple parts. And so I played the parts for Mike, you know, five minutes later he had some other stuff and we just threw it together and started making songs that way, you know. If you can’t come up with the whole thing, you just kind of get together and … we’ve all worked together for so long that we can make stuff like that happen pretty easy.

C.O.C.’s new era is kind of the old era, I guess. What led to you guys getting back together as a three piece and moving on without Pepper Keenan?

A kind of funny part of the story is Pepper was kind of the catalyst for getting us all back together because he had been out on the road with DOWN for a while and sort of noticed that there was some interest in having CORROSION come over and do some festivals in Europe. And so he sort of hit us all up, because Mike and Reed and I live pretty close to each other. We started jamming in anticipation of that, and that really never materialized, you know, due to a few factors. But we just kept on jamming, and the next thing you know we were writing music and playing shows and having a good time. And we just kept on rolling with the ball.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re the only member that’s been on every C.O.C. album.

That’s what they tell me.

Was there a secret to that, or was it just carrying on to carry on?

I guess I just was the only one that just kept on hanging around, you know. I mean, with that being said, man, it’s just awesome to have Reed back in the fold. Especially, you know, after him being gone for like really a whole decade, man, he wasn’t in the band. And that’s really been the catalyst for making all this stuff work, having him back and it just makes the stuff flow so easy, you know, having the three original guys. It’s been a lot of fun.

You guys were revisiting the second album, and a little bit of the first, is there anything you remember about recording those early albums? Any cool memories from the early days?

Those things, especially like, yeah you’re talking going all the way back to like “Eye for an Eye” or something like that, I mean we had no idea what going to the studio was. We didn’t, you know, we had no clue. We just were writing these punk rock songs having a good time and wound up, you know, with microphones in front of our amps and trying to capture it. But, you know, we would record that whole damn album like in a day. We’d just set up and just start burning through songs, you know. We had really no clue on what it took to capture, you know, stuff on tape and, you know, that you’re supposed to take a little bit of time or whatever. But, you know, you live and learn. Of course by the time we got around to doing “Animosity,” we did half, side two of that record in Raleigh, NC. We rode out to Los Angeles to do side one. And that was kind of our first foray into a real studio and whatnot. I guess the learning process started then. You know man, it was all good times, you can’t complain.

As young kids, were you guys on any kind of crazy punk tours? Were there any older bands you played with that were noteworthy or interesting?

Oh man, yeah dozens. You know, we were kids ourselves when we first hit the road. I mean, we were playing dives, we were just trading off gigs with, you know, punk rock bands in other towns. It would be like, “Man, well you put us up and let us play your town and we’ll do the same for you if you come our way.” And that was how we kind of traded out and got to tour back then. Because there was like this whole network, and even if you were an unknown band just starting out, I mean you could travel around this sort of hardcore, you know, punk rock network. And that’s the way we did it, man. And just from a very early stage, like whenever we did that “Eye for an Eye” record back in 84 or whatever, we pretty much hit the road right off the bat. I think we did a couple runs that summer, went out west. Yeah, that was just the way that we sort made a name for ourselves was just hitting the road.

You guys were playing a different style, and then you came back and did the whole “Animosity” album. Did you have to work on your speed metal chops again or was it like riding a bike?

It was kind of like riding a bike. But I tell you, some of those tunes, like and the stuff on “Technocracy” and stuff, they’re pretty challenging. I mean there’s a … they’re fast and there’s some crazy changes and lots of parts, you know, stuffed in there. I tell you, it was definitely fun relearning some of them. There were a few that we had played live through the years, thrown in sets at different times, but doing the whole, it’s kind of challenging. Because, yeah, they’re a little faster than some of the stuff we’ve been playing, you know, on the last few records. But man, they’re … that stuff is a blast to play live. We’re having a great time doing it. I mean this upcoming tour we’re keeping a lot of that stuff in the set, and doing a lot of, of course a lot of the new record. And even some, you know we’ve got a couple things off like “Deliverance,” you know, stuff like that we’re tossing in there for fun. So we’ve got a pretty wide variety happening on this tour coming up.

Are you guys still doing a song off “Blind”? It seems like I heard you were playing “Vote with a Bullet.”

Yeah, sometimes we do a little taster of that, you know, just for fun.

Was the “Blind” lineup revamp you guys, or did the record label have something to do with taking the band in that direction?

Nah, no record label stuff. I mean that was just us, you know, doing our thing. There were things at the time and the place, and that was what felt right at the time, you know, throwing that lineup together. And we had a … we made a good record and had fun on the road. It kind of fell apart, that particular lineup, whenever it came time to start working on the “Deliverance” album. It didn’t really work out that way. But we made the changes and made it happen like we always do.

Now, 30 years later, being on the road, how has it changed for you guys? Is it a different routine, or does it have a lot in common with the early days?

Hey, we’re still in a van, playing some of the same venues as a matter of fact. There’s still a few venues that are still hanging there, you know, year after year. But, I mean, it’s kind of the same thing, you know. Obviously we used to do crazier stuff when we were younger. We would do, I mean, crazy drives. We would just kind of kill ourselves and not really know it just cause we didn’t care. You know, kids just get out there, “Ah, it’s only 15 hours to the next show. We’ll leave after we play and we’ll get there in time to play.”  We used to do a lot of that kind of stuff. You know, we try to take it a little easier on ourselves, driving distances and all that kind of stuff these days. Other than that, man, you know we’re still out there doing it, having fun. So it’s kind of the same thing.

You’re touring with a good number of up-and-coming younger bands. Have any of those bands that have caught your eye? Anybody that you’re impressed with?

Ah man, there always is. Well, this tour coming up I’m really excited about. We’ve got the TORCHE guys; VALIENT THORR, who are another Carolina act, so we’re real stoked about that; and A STORM OF LIGHT, who I’m really excited to see live. I mean we always try to … if it’s our tour, we try to throw something together that’s, you know, pretty cohesive, but not exactly the same thing. Like we don’t want to go out where every band is the same thing over and over. You know, we try to get a little diversity in there, a little variety without it going too far off the deep end. And I think this tour is going to be fun. We’ve got a bunch of other dates that we haven’t announced yet. We’re going to be heading out west and, you know, up into Canada and stuff. So we’ve had a lot of people going, “Man, you never come to Canada anymore!” So we’re getting ready to.

No offense, but the vocals with this lineup have improved tremendously. Was that something you all worked on, or have you all just had more time to mature as vocalists?

Well, you know, Mike of course really brought his A-game to the album. And he did a great job. And Reed sings three songs on the record too, you know. Thankfully, I didn’t sing much. They don’t want me to sing. I just stick to the six strings they allow me to twang on. But yeah man, Mike really stepped up to the plate. He did a great job, and so did Reed. I mean those guys, you know they worked on their stuff and worked on their lyrics and, you know, spent some time on it.

C.O.C.’s upcoming U.S. tour dates:

03/01/12  Gramercy Theatre - New York NY
03/02/12  Sonar - Baltimore MD
03/03/12  Lincoln Theatre - Raleigh NC
03/05/12  Grog Shop - Cleveland OH
03/06/12  Pyramid Scheme - Grand Rapids MI
03/07/12  Double Door - Chicago IL
03/08/12  Triple Rock - Minneapolis MN
03/09/12  Beaumont Club - Kansas City MO
03/10/12  Downtown Music Hall - Little Rock AR
03/11/12  Hi-Tone Cafe - Memphis TN
03/12/12  Trees - Dallas TX
03/14/12  Tone Deaf Touring SXSW Showcase - Austin TX
03/16/12  Korva - San Antonio
03/17/12  One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans LA
03/18/12  Zydeco - Birmingham AL


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