Whenever Corrosion Of Conformity releases a new album, folks take notice. But their latest is a true event. It’s been a dozen years since Corrosion Of Conformity recorded new material with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan at the helm. In that time, there have been rumors, whispers, and outright allegations that the legendary Southern rock outfit would reunite to blow the doors off the whole damn scene again. In 2014, after nearly a straight decade traversing the globe as a guitarist with New Orleans super group Down, Keenan reconnected with the core Corrosion Of Conformity trio of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean, and Reed Mullin to hit the road hard. Hayden Johnson of Capital Chaos TV recently had the chance to chat with Woody Weatherman of Corrosion Of Conformity
Did the Pepper rejoining change the recording or writing dynamic for No Cross No Crown?
“Yeah, I mean it wasn’t like Pepper ever actually left the band. He lives in New Orleans. But whenever we decided we were going to do it, we were talking the whole time and said hey, when the time is right, we’re gonna make it happen. But I will say this, whenever you add somebody into the mix there’s different ideas and of course the dynamic changes a little bit. Generally the way we approach stuff, is we’re riff oriented. We come up with riffs, and see how they work together and bridge them together with other riffs. That’s just the kind of music we do. But when it comes to the recording of this thing, we took a totally different turn than we usually do. We didn’t do pre-production or demos and shit. We just went in there and wrote as we went along and had a great time doing it. I’d love to do it again that way.”
Do you have a favorite COC album you’ve worked on?
“There’s a bunch of stuff. I don’t listen to our albums per say once they get done. I mean every once in awhile a few years later down the road I’ll give it a spin and remonice about it and whatnot. Some of the old stuff just sound so crazy now, like the Animosity album. It’s just wild. We were off our rockers back then crazy. I guess if I were going to throw some songs on, it might be something off In The Arms of God or something like that. Some of the space-y jam riffs on there are pretty cool. That was a fun album to make too. In general I don’t listen to a lot of our stuff once we’re done with it. Other than if I have to learn some songs for a live show or something like that. For the most part, its not 100%. It’s not like I throw on Corrosion albums and jam on them all the time like I would ZZ Top of something.”
How do you feel No Cross No Crown compares to your prior album?
“Well so far fan reception has been fantastic. Whenever we’re gonna buckle down and make a record, we’re going to be serious about it. It’s going to be a COC. Although we don’t make the same album twice, people will be able to tell ‘hey, that’s COC.’ Especially with Pepper fronting it and the guitar tones and of course Mike Dean’s crazy bass line. And of course having Reed Mullin, our drummer back for the recording of the album, that was awesome. It was kinda like the first time all four of us actually made a record together with Reed there as well since Volume Dealer which was 2000 or 2001, I can’t remember when that came out. So it was kind of a coming back together thing for us as well. It was fun.”
Good to hear that Reed is back to playing. Do we have any updates on how his knees doing?
“He’s having a little trouble with it. He’s not going to be with us in South America but we’re hoping he gets it all back together. I think it takes a lot of physical therapy after you get your knee operated on like that. Especially if you’re a drummer. Well really anybody if you have to walk around. So he’s working on it and we’re all wishing him well.”
How has your home state of North Carolina’s metal scene grown in comparison to the rest of the U.S?
“I would say at a pretty damn similar pace. Back in Raleigh, there’s a lot of bands in the local scene. Still several kickass clubs to play at. I’d say it’s on par with pretty much anywhere else in the country. They’re hangin 10 down there un Raleigh. I actually live a couple hours out up in the hills of Virginia but I have to go down all the time when we jam with the band or in studio. The facility where are little studio is is home to twenty rehearsal studios behind it. So I get to hear all of it. And a lot of the dudes I’ve known for a long time. There’s a lot of new bands too. I get to hear a lot of the stuff going on and a lot of it’s good heavy rock going on down there in Raleigh. I’m proud of that little town.”
Now I’m sure that you and your playing are a big influence on a lot of the upcoming bands within Raleigh. Do you have any influences for your playing?
“Oh shit, hell yeah man. Of course mostly guitar and guitarists. Some of my favorites and I’ve said it a million times, Billy Gibbons, I love his work. Pretty much all the normal stuff. Iomi will pretty much knock your socks off. Brian May was always a giant influence to me. Just the controlled vibrato, and I’ve never been able to do it. When I jump on the vibrato I just go crazy whereas somebody like Brian May starts off slow and ends it with a big ol wiggle. Its pretty bad. So I mean there’s a lot of stuff like that. And then you could get back into some of the more bluesy stuff like Johnny Winter or something like that I’m crazy for. So there’s dozens. I could probably sit here and rattle off shit… Santana, I’m a giant fan. It goes on and on.”
You mentioned your tour throughout South America and Europe after that you’re heading back stateside with Black Label Society once again. How do you feel about these upcoming dates?
“I’m stoked. We feel good about this record so we’re gonna go out and support it as long as we can. We’re just gonna stay on the road. To be honest, going back out with Zakk is gonna be great. This is like the second leg, we already did a couple months with him over the winter. We were discussing earlier going to different places like Idaho and Iowa, snow ladened pieces of land. We were up in Grand Prairie, Saskatchewan or wherever the hell that is man. We were up there in January and it was so cold this year, it was just ungodly. But we had a blast with those guys and they asked us to do another leg and we were like ‘hell yeah. We’re there.’ So we got another month with those guys in North America. Then after that for the fall, we really want to do some headlining stuff stateside and in Europe so we’re gonna get around to it sooner or later. I know a lot of people want to hear more songs than a support slot but we’re working towards it.”