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Biography

If there is a thread to carry through Coal Chamber's story, perhaps it is turbulence. Turbulence within the band - turbulence on stage - turbulence in the studio - turbulence in their personal relationships. Formed in Los Angeles in the Spring of 1994, the band quickly recorded a self-produced demo and set out on a street level raid that put their name on every street corner and underneath every slimy rock in L.A. Ensuing word of mouth quickly led to packed shows at well-known Hollywood clubs such as The Whiskey A Go-Go and The Roxy. Within a few months, Coal Chamber were drawing as many people to a club as locally established peers who had been doing the rounds for 2 years. Mixing hip hop, punk, goth and hardcore influences with a thick, molten, down-tuned riffing style, they were marinating their sound, and sweating away in a dark rehearsal room at the same time as then-unknowns Korn were doing the same in Orange County and the Deftones in Sacramento. In the Fall of '95, Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and producer Ross Robinson simultaneously brought Coal Chamber to the attention of Roadrunner VP of A&R, Monte Conner. Blown away by "Loco" (the demo's opener) and intrigued by Dez's schizophrenic vocals, Conner immediately offered them a deal. Life was suddenly easy. They were on the rise. And then, it all came to a halt.

According to Dez: "I met my soulmate, and she couldn't deal with the hours, the people I had to work with, just none of it was copacetic to her. I left the band because of her and I left it for almost half a year. But I always missed it. I just missed the music, missed performing, being with my friends and making music with them. I spent most of my days just in a haze, not really inspired anymore. Then my friend Meegs came knocking on my door one day and said, ‘Look, none of the singers we've tried have been working out. We really had magic, let's go for it again' and the rest is history."

Regrouped by Spring 1995, Dez's decision to commit to Coal Chamber bred a "no-looking-back" attitude that fueled passion and fire into their music. From the opening lines of the twisted "Loco" (now the lead track to their forthcoming self-titled album), it became clear: "Pull - steamroller rollin' through my head said attached to loco power up coal through the system..." This band were here to move forward, letting nothing get in the way. Meanwhile, on stage, the band's performances might better have been called ritual possession, or exorcism-- as if each show were an attempt to simultaneously reconcile the past and set a tone for the future, with the members visually switching their appearances every few months, like writers racing to catch up with their thoughts. With Coal Chamber no longer a question of "if" but instead "how good and how soon", they put their urgency and determination together with matured perspectives gained from their time away.

The Roadrunner deal was finally inked during Christmas of ‘95 and the band were faced with the decision of finding the right person to lay their magic down to two inch. Never afraid to take chances and try fresh ideas, that right person turned out to be two, as the band gave a shot to long time L.A. scenesters, Jay Gordon, a local musician, and Jay Baumgardner, house engineer at NRG Recording (home of Hootie, White Zombie and Green Day). These two were starving for their first big break and had as much to prove to the world as the band. By the time the NRG sessions were completed 30 days later, the band were emotionally and mentally drained, and the production duo had proven they had the goods to compete with the big boys.

The album's style is that of a work in progress, tapping the veins of immediate experiences. Explains Dez, "The day I started recording my vocals, my wife left me. She left me in the driveway of my home, taking the dog and everything I fuckin' owned. Everything I fuckin' thought was real." Asking him "Are you alright?" before she took off, Dez's response, "Do I seem alright to you?," was being laid to tape in a flood of tears 10 minutes later in the studio. Those words becoming the new chorus to "Unspoiled."

"Making this record was the most difficult thing any of us has ever gone through. We were challenged physically, mentally and emotionally, and it was pure hell, especially on my end. I needed to rid myself of all this emotion so that I could feel alright again. This LP is like a closure to that part of my life, and a new beginning at the same time. That was a very turbulent and chaotic period. But you know what we've since come to realize? We thrive on that. That's what drives us and gives us our edge. That's what keeps it real."

Groove heavy, with a flair for the theatrical, and the spirituality of knowing better, Coal Chamber inevitably crosses genres and styles to present a kaleidoscopic view of a world of inner conflicts put to aural form. It's a sound that is still evolving as you read this.

Thank You to the Official Coal Chamber Web Page for this Bio.

Coal Chamber, are proof that you can snatch success from the jaws of defeat. The band's explosion on the hard-rock scene proves, hard work, determination, innovation, and confidence can overcome any obstacle--even the ones artists put before themselves.  Whereas less than two years ago, the very existence of the band was in doubt, Coal Chamber is now taking their unique brand of music and road-tested performance to new heights.

Here are the up-to-the-minute, hard numbers on Coal Chamber's self-titled debut album, released in February of 1997: over 307,000 copies shipped, with sales peaking at approximately 6,000 a week - 220,000 total soundcanned to date. The band moved up the HEATSEEKERS chart, climbing to #13 at best and holding steady at #45 right now .   Spectacular figures for a band that is, just now, breaking through at rock radio for the first time. The single, "Loco," got airplay on influential stations like WRCX (Chicago, IL), 93X KXXR  (Minneapolis, MN), WAZU (Columbus, OH), and a host of others, including a rousing appearance on the nationally syndicated MANCOW morning show. The new single, "Sway", is set to top the performance of "Loco" - endearing the band to programmers and listeners nationwide.

It was relentless touring that got Coal Chamber to this point in their careers. "We don't like being at home," admits frontman Dez "If we're home for an extended period of time, we feel like we're not doing our job" Well, the band has been doing their job, and doing it damn well: following their triumphant European debut last spring and their high-profile slot on last
summer's already legendary Ozzfest, the band jumped into the opening slot of the Pantera/Machine Head tour at the personal request of Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul. Next up came another cross-country jaunt as openers for Type O Negative. All along, this nonstop touring machine has received rave reviews for their manic and dramatic performances, which have called "the musical equivalent of an exorcism" for their intensity and emotional output.

It's that intensity-fueled by personal and musical turbulence-that has earmarked Coal Chamber for success from the beginning. The group came together in the spring of 1994 and produced a self-financed demo which caught the ears of Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and producer Ross Robinson. The two brought the demo to the attention of Roadrunner
Records, who promptly offered the band a deal in the fall of 1995.

Personal trauma ripped Dez from Coal Chamber for a short period of time. His life experience played a big part in the music that came out of the recording sessions for their first Roadrunner album. Dez and his bandmates are taking full advantage of the new beginning that his return afforded them.

The band continues to rack up acclaim in the press, with coverage in Alternative Press, Request, Thrasher, Metal Maniacs, Live Wire, Bass Player, Hit Parader, Metal Edge, and especially Kerrang! (which voted the band Best International Act at their 1997 Kerrang! Awards ceremony). The group has also been featured in over 30,000 classrooms as part of a
CNN cable program called "Cable In The Classroom." Finally, Coal Chamber's career got a huge boost last August when Sharon Osbourne, wife and manager of Ozzy Osbourne, decided to manage the band--the first new act she has taken on in a decade.

This is just the beginning. Most importantly, don't look for Coal Chamber to tone down their approach or get off the road until sometime after you can ice skate on the lakes of Hell. Despite the band's rapidly blossoming success, they're still driven by the same demons that first ignited the band's music. "We thrive on that," remarks Dez. "That's what drives us and gives us our edge. That's what keeps it real." 

That's Coal Chamber. Right now.


Copyright Troy Reeves. All rights reserved.
Revised:April 25, 1999