Corrosion of Conformity Biography
Corrosion of Conformity (COC) started as a hardcore punk band in 1982 in Raleigh, North Carolina, with original members Reed Mullin on drums, Woody Weatherman on guitar and Mike Dean on bass and vocals. COC were pioneers of the crossover thrash genre in the 1980s. The seeds for Corrosion of Conformity were planted when a 15-year-old Woody Weatherman was taken by his father to a Black Flag concert. Inspired by the gig, he took up guitar after his father gave him an acoustic a few days later. Not being able to make enough noise with it, he traded it in immediately for a Gibson electric. A little while later, Woody met up with high school friend Reed Mullin (who had coincidentally just bought a drum kit) in the sixth grade. They formed a band called No Labels, later changing it to Corrosion of Conformity. In 1982 they started out as a hardcore punk band that played fast aggressive music with political messages. They were all heavily influenced by bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag, Bad Brains, Discharge and Black Sabbath. The band has received acclaim for being--along with Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I. and Cryptic Slaughter--one of the first to merge hardcore and metal where previously in the US, punks and metalheads were notoriously archrivals. COC recruited Mike Dean on bass and Eric Eycke on vocals and recorded 1983’s ‘Eye for an Eye’. Not long after, Eric Eycke left the band and COC continued on as a trio. Around 1985 they released the ‘Six Songs with Mike Singing’ LP and ‘Animosity’ with Mike Dean on vocals. In 1985, Simon Bob was recruited in to take over vocals and the band put out ‘Technocracy’. In late 1987 their band manager at the timehad a falling out with the record company and booking agent, which resulted in Mike Dean and Simon Bob leaving, with the band taking some time out. "I left COC over a small quibbling about a tour that was poorly booked and whether we should honour our commitments to do it or to cut our losses and start over” - Mike Dean. He later joined a band called Ninefinger. In the in-between period when there was no COC, Mike and Woody appeared in a band, Snake Nation with drummer Brian Walsby and released one self-titled album on Caroline Records. The band resurfaced with three new members and headed in a metal direction for the next album, 1991’s ‘Blind’. Pepper Keenan came in on second guitar, Karl Agell on vocals, and Phil Swisher on bass. Pepper had previously been in a band called Graveyard Rodeo which had opened for COC before. He had also played guitar with a band called “Cry of Love”. ‘Blind’ included vocals by Pepper on the successful single track ‘Vote with a Bullet’. After touring for Blind the band ran into more label troubles during sessions for the next album. Vocalist Karl Agell left the band and he was followed by bassist Phil Swisher. They later went on to form Leadfoot. Sessions were underway for the next album which saw the band head in a stoner rock, Black Sabbath inspired musical direction. While looking for a new bassist, the band ran into previous member Mike Dean. He heard a tape of the material they were working on, dug it and sarcastically suggested he rejoin the band. It made sense, Mike headed back to North Carolina to join the band. Several new vocalists were auditioned, with none fitting what the band were looking for. Luckily it was decided that Pepper would take care of all vocals and the band recorded 1994’s ‘Deliverance’ and signed to the major label Sony/Columbia. Video clips were filmed for ‘Albatross’ and ‘Clean my Wounds’, gaining some rotation on MTV. ‘Wiseblood’ was released in 1996 and followed the same formula as “Deliverance”. It was also the first time the same line-up had recorded two albums in a row. It also featured guest vocals on the track ‘Man or Ash’ by Metallica’s James Hetfield, a huge fan of the band. The track ‘Drowning in a Daydream’ was nominated for a Grammy award in 1997 for best metal performance. Unfortunately they lost out to Tool. Metallica invited the band to be the opener for a huge 9 month world tour, which saw the band play to the biggest audiences of their career. After the Metallica tour, record label troubles again plagued COC with Columbia giving the band virtually no promotion whatsoever despite the 9 month tour with Metallica and a Grammy nomination. The band and label agreed to part ways and luckily COC were able to split amicably with rights to all their music. 4 years after ‘Wiseblood’, COC released their next album, ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ in 2000 after signing to Sanctuary Records. AVD had more a laid back, southern rock style, but still branded with the COC trademark sound. Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule played slide guitar on "Stare Too Long". A back injury early in touring for AVD saw Reed Mullin share drumming duties with friend of the band Jimmy Bower. Later Reed left the band citing his back injury, but it was speculated he fell out with the other members of the band. Jimmy Bower took over drumming duties for the rest of the tour. Reed went on to form the band Brown and later The Shining Path on guitar/vocals. 2001 saw the band release their first live album and DVD, ‘Live Volume’, recorded at Harpo’s concert theatre in Detroit. After touring for AVD, the band went into hiatus with Pepper recording and touring another Down album, Mike and Woody working on a project called Let’ Lones, and Pepper doing some production work. In 2004 COC returned from hibernation to start working on a new album. A version of Is It That Way was released on a High Volume compilation by HighTimes. Mike Dean also contributed vocals to the track Access Babylon for Dave Grohl's Probot project. Prior to Corrosion of Conformity's 2005 release, In the Arms of God, many fans wondered if the group was over. During this extended break, singer/guitarist Pepper Keenan did double duty in Down (2002's Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow), and of course, had a much publicized tryout for the vacated bass position in Metallica (as seen in their Some Kind of Monster documentary). Finally April 2005 saw the release of the bands latest album, the politically charged In the Arms of God to widespread critical acclaim. Longtime friend of Keenan and Galactic drummer Stanton Moore joined on drums for the recording of the album.