TBR: First of all, congratulations on the completion of the new album! It’s the first LP release since In The Arms Of God and that’s about 7 years. Does it all seem “real” yet now that the recording is actually done or are you guys holding your breath till the album has hit the shelves? Don’t be modest dude! We all know it’s going to kick ass!!
Woody: I appreciate that and it is always nice to have another collection of tunes finished in the form of a real Album. Really a lot of work and time goes into making a record so once it’s been mastered and sent off to the record company it is a good feeling.
TBR: Obviously, you guys had some relationship over the years with Dave Grohl, but how did you guys come to the decision to record at his studio in LA?
Woody: I think Reed had been talking to him some and told him we were working on some new shit, he offered his studio up to us and Reed took him up on it. He does have a great place too, awesome fellas working there and top notch gear etc. There was a big variety of guitar and bass amps laying around the joint too so we asked if we could try em out and we wound up using stuff we normally might not use.
TBR: You guys were always really close to and loved by a lot of the guys in the skateboarding scene and all those guys from Venice during the 80′s. Was being back in LA a return to old stomping grounds in Cali for you guys? Did you bump into any old friends while you were out there? Would love it if you could share any stories or memories from those times.
Woody: Yea we did pass by the old Track Record Studio one day driving around, that was where we did side one of the Animosity album. That was cool to see that place. We have our fave burrito joint we always have to frequent, but really we were kind of busy so not much party time.
TBR: Realizing that Mike was the guy who did the collaboration with him on the Probot album, do you recall anything he’s told you about that project — beyond being stoked to do it?
Woody: That Probot record was pretty cool. I liked a bunch of stuff on there. I do know Mike had a blast working on his vocal tracks that were included on the record.
TBR: Tell the people a bit about your relationship with John Custer. You’ve worked with him quite a bit through the years… what is it that he brings to the table and kept the working relationship going?
Woody: Custer is pretty easy going in the studio, he is not one of those guys that tries to re-invent a band. He lets us do what we do and offers up great advice if he hears something that is not working or if a timing issue arises. John makes sure that the tones are up to par and has a fantastic ear on all of that. Does not get uptight and that helps out tremendously in a recording environment.
TBR: Obviously, having the original Animosity lineup with yourself, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin is one of the things that really makes this album so special. Obviously, you guys have been playing together forever, but can you talk a bit about the evolution of your working relationships or friendships through the years? Riding around in smelly, fucked-up vans touring in your 20′s is enough to drive a lot of guys apart after awhile… Other than a love of making music together, can you share anything about Mike and Reed as people that has kept you guys together?
Woody: Well, having Reed return on the drums has made all the difference with the new material. It’s one of those deals where we will have riffs and he plays the drum beats that you hear in your head. That comes from having a lot of the same influences and liking alot of the same kind of music. It’s hard to believe it is 30 yrs later and we’re still having a good time making these records and playing out live.
TBR: If I understand it correctly, you and Mike were in closer contact through the years and Reed was kind of off doing his own thing for awhile. Tell us a bit about how you got him back into working together again?
Woody: Reed split after we got done recording the Volume Dealer album back in 2000 or so. He had some serious back pain and needed a break I guess. We did a bunch of touring on that record with Jimmy Bower from Down/EyehateGod sitting in on the drums for us. Of course we did the Arms of God record with Stanton Moore from Galactic on drums and Jason Paterson did most of the live shows with us on that tour. I’m just stoked the break is over and we’re back at it with the original 3-piece.
TBR: As I understand it, the band has been open to having Pepper continue to work together and he’s always seemed to acknowledge the possibility. Obviously, things didn’t work out that way. Can you talk a bit about how that decision was made and what led up to it?
Woody: Yep, Pepper is our buddy and if and when the time feels right I think we could do some more as a four piece.
TBR: Simon Bob was another guy who you guys worked with in the past, even if only for a relatively short time around the release of Technocracy. Wondering if you can share a bit of his time in the band. Do you guys cross paths much these days?
Woody: Saw Bob last year in L.A. at a show we did. He actually came up and sang a tune with us.
TBR: You guys did the 7″ for Southern Lord prior to this. Can you talk a bit about what it was like to get together again to write and record those tunes? Truthfully, was there a lot of rust to be shaken off when you guys first got back at it?
Woody: Not too much rust really. Came right back for us and the tunes started flowing. Greg from Southern Lord asked us to do some shows he was putting on and thought releasing a 7″ would be a cool thing to do just prior to those shows, so we did it.
TBR: Tell us a bit about working with the folks at Candlelight. How did that relationship begin?
Woody: Those folks seemed to have the best ideas and we felt good about the label.
TBR: The vinyl releases sound like they’re going to be absolutely KILLER! Were you guys involved very much with putting the artwork and things together or did the label simply let you know that they had some ideas and put a killer package together?
Woody: We always try and come up with cool artwork, luckily Mike Dean took the lead this time and asked a friend of his to do a current version of our Skull (logo). The guys at Candlelight had some great packaging ideas and we worked together on making it happen.
TBR: Through the years, COC has had a lot to say about the social outlook of the day and even dealt with overtly political issues from time to time. With everything that’s going on today, does any of that figure in to the songs on this new album?
Woody: Yes there are some topics touched upon as always. And as usual they are left open for interpretation.
TBR: “El Lamento de Las Cabras” roughly translates to “The Lament of Goats”. What’s going on with this one??
Woody: That one is an instrumental and received it’s title after a goat of mine died one day as we were working on the demo version up here at my farm. We decided to dedicate it to him and his kind.
TBR: If you were going to boil it all down, is there any one particular statement that this album makes?
Woody: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
TBR: What sorts of things did you guys do (besides drink beer and maybe smoke some weed) to bond during the year of songwriting that you did?
Woody: We ate a lot of Burritos.
TBR: You’ve influenced a whole lot of guitar players through the years so I hope you don’t mind to talk a little shop. What were the main guitars and amps that you and Mike used in the studio?
Woody: I used mostly my usual guitars with the Invader pick-ups although I did tinker with a few weird guitars that were in a stand in the control room. A lot of the tracks I used a Dual Terror by Orange that was there at the studio. A little bit of Mesa Rectifier on a couple of songs. I’m not sure what Mike had plugged in. Sometimes they go direct for bass and then phantom re-amp later on.
TBR: In the early days of COC, punk rock had a heavy hand as a form of legitimate protest music. It seemed like in the early 80′s, every band was kicking the shit out of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and really “going there” in terms of politics. What is your take on the state of Punk these days both in terms of the music that is being made and as a form of protest? Do you think that music is still as relevant as a vehicle for change or as a call to arms?
Woody: I don’t follow much of what is called “punk” these days. I’m sure there are some decent real punk rock bands out there though.
TBR: I know that you got a piece of land and enjoy living closer to the earth… care to talk a bit about that?
Woody: It’s cool to have a little space to do your own thing, not sure I could move back to the city now. I like to visit every once and a while though.
TBR: Give us a couple of your favourite albums that stand the test of time.
Woody: All of ZZ Top’s records and just about all of Sabbaths records and toss a couple from Motorhead and the Ramones in there too.
TBR: Now that it’s done, would you say that this album was everything you’d hoped for when you guys first set out?
Woody: The end result is different than what I imagined it would be when we first started talking about it. I’m glad that we decided to include such a diverse bunch of tunes.
Candlelight Records confirms February 28, 2012 as the North American release date.
Thanks to Taylor Keahey and Dino Quinto for the photos