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Corrosion of Conformity In the Arms of God; Bonus Interview With Guitarist Woody Weatherman

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 @ 11:39 PM


(Sanctuary)

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Don’t believe the hype.

Well, maybe just this once you can go ahead and actually consider believing what you read. At this point, it isn’t as if any discerning metalhead shouldn’t know what they’re going to get with COC—straight up rock/metal done as well as just about anyone. Don’t be expecting me to write the word “southern” in conjunction with these guys though because everything I have ever read about Corrosion has used that adjective about eight thousand times, and basically that descriptive does nothing for me—metal is metal and unless you’re playing thunderous music with a pork chop, I don’t see the relevance. Nope, I’ve listened to In the Arms of God numerous times and have heard nary a washboard or jaw harp—instead, what this disc does possess is a timeless sound that would be easy to envision longhaired teens playing twenty years from now while they drink beer and fornicate by some lonely road on the outskirts of town. In fact, Corrosion’s first record since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer is probably better than any true fan of the group could have ever had a right to hope it would be—
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especially considering that many longtime followers of the band found their previous record to be a bit of a disappointment of sorts due to the inclusion of what was perceived by some as more “slower” type songs. This, of course, would have represented a huge deviation of sound from the band’s earliest hardcore days--the ones that took place before even Pepper Keenan joined the fold and COC’s evolution into a hammer-fisted hard rock force first began. Throughout the years since his arrival, the group has produced numerous records that have pleased fans of Sabbath and Metallica (pre-Black, of course) as well as an assortment of other “no bullshit” metal legends such as current tour mates, Motorhead.

The most obvious aspect of the band’s sound that stands out on ITAOG starts with the drumming of former Galactic skin pounder, Stanton Moore. Soundly respected for his previous work, Moore’s style here perfectly compliments what may be Pepper Keenan’s best vocal performance to date and serves to provide a strong backdrop for the guitar work that is so pervasive on this record. From the introductory selection, “Stone Breaker” to the closing notes of the final track “In the Arms of God” Keenan’s voice is clear, authoritative and full of purpose. Helping solidify the rhythm section is Mike Dean who admirably handles the bass duties while also helping out with the vocals as well. Of course, you also know that if we’re discussing a COC record, the presence of guitarist Woody Weatherman is bound to be felt as he can always be counted on to provide thick, sludgy riffing that shakes the bottom of the soul. It is pretty obvious from this offering that the group’s musicianship or commitment hasn’t suffered during the span of five years and assorted side projects that have come between this record and Volume. If there has been any recurring criticism of this release, it has primarily stemmed from what some listeners have perceived as a repetitive sound that recurs in some of the individual songs on the record. Basically, if portions of this disc sound the same, it is probably because it is all metal—period, but that isn’t to say that the distinct riffing evident in “Paranoid Opioid” sounds anything like another classic track from this disc, “It is That Way.” Besides the normal type of balls-out assault COC is known for, there is even a type of subtle experimentation that exists in “Dirty Hands, Empty Pockets” that pushes beyond the normal range of predicted influences one always mentions when describing Corrosion’s sound. When this disc finally ends with the title track, any momentum that may have been lost during a couple of the lesser songs that occur towards the middle, are more than compensated for as the ITAOG concludes on an apex that may be difficult for the group to ever surpass on any subsequent offerings yet to come.

It could be that one of the major reasons COC is planning on spending an extended period on the road supporting this over the next year is because they know exactly how good of a record this is--yeah, Corrosion fans may even grow to love it more than Wiseblood or Deliverance. If December rolls around, and ITAOG isn’t on numerous “Top Ten Lists,” it would either mean this was the greatest year in the history of rock or that metal fans have suddenly lost all sense of taste and desire for auditory relevance. Basically, just consider In the Arms of God to be one of the many reasons it was great that Pepper didn’t get the bass player gig in Metallica after all.

* * * *

INTERVIEW with Corrosion of Conformity Guitarist Woody Weatherman

What follows is a short discussion about the new record and tour that took place with guitarist Woody Weatherman before one of their recent shows. If you’ve ever met Woody, you probably know him to be an affable, cool individual that is always level-headed and accommodating to those he comes in contact with--our conversation might have been a bit longer here, but Motorhead began their sound check towards the end of it, and…well, you know Motorhead, continuing this interview would have required about a five mile drive and two pairs of ear plugs. Anyway, here it is--I‘m sure we’ll be hearing more from the boys in the future as well:

KNAC.COM: Opening for Motorhead, you guys have only been able to play a few songs from the new one; how did you choose which ones would make the cut?
WOODY: On this Motorhead trip, we’ve just been playing about forty-five minutes, and half of that has been new stuff. We just didn’t want to pummel people with too much new material right away, but it’s been going over great.

KNAC.COM: Do you guys have any plans to put “It is That Way” onto the set list?
WOODY: Nah, we haven’t been playing it on this tour.

KNAC.COM: That figures, since it’s the one I like the most.
WOODY: [Laughs] We’re gonna be touring for awhile, so we’ll be working more of the new one into the set especially when we start up with our headlining tour.

KNAC.COM: What are the plans for that at this point?
WOODY: It looks like in June/July we are going to head out into the States and cover as much territory as we can in that time doing the headlining thing. Apparently, we have been invited to do some dates in Europe with Motorhead, but I don’t know if that is for sure yet. We’ll also be doing some stuff in the fall as well.

KNAC.COM: Could there ever be a better band for you guys to tour with than Motorhead?
WOODY: That’s what I’m thinking really. For the most part, we share the same fans. If you’re a Corrosion fan, you probably like Motorhead and vice-versa.

KNAC.COM: Yeah, it isn’t like the fans have to make some type of abrupt transition while watching the show.
WOODY: You know, we aren’t the same type of music exactly, but it is doin’ something that is kinda like the “real deal“—that’s what I like to call it. There’s no B.S. going on out here.

KNAC.COM: What is the worst aspect of being out on the road that you have encountered recently?
WOODY: There isn’t much bad going on. Most of it is just waiting around, but it is all just a part of it. You learn how to deal with that type of shit.

KNAC.COM: Do the forty-five minutes you’re on stage just seem to be gone in a blink?
WOODY: They really do. It’s like before you know it, it’s done. That’s all part of the deal though.

KNAC.COM: Everyone always has to say that their latest album is their best, but are you as personally proud of this record as anything you’ve done?
WOODY: Absolutely. This is a strong record, and we are going to stay out on the road to support it because it is some kind of record. You don’t get a chance to make these all the time.

KNAC.COM: Is there really a sense of this record being difficult to top?
WOODY: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t want to say we couldn’t do better, but when things come together like this, you wanna give it it’s due.

KNAC.COM: What do you think the strengths of this record are?
WOODY: I think it’s mostly the riffs that everybody came up with. This just all came together in pretty much the same practice space where we have recorded all the last several albums. We’ve been in that practice pad forever, but it was turned into a real studio.

KNAC.COM: Everybody had been doing some writing on their own as well?
WOODY: Exactly. Everybody had a lot of stuff, so when we came together, we just kind of put it all in a big blender.

KNAC.COM: That’s a lot harder than it sounds though, isn’t it? I mean, taking all that different material and still managing to come up with a cohesive album can’t be that easy, can it?
WOODY: You would think it would be, but really, this record just kind of came together. It wasn’t like we were pulling teeth to do it. It just kind of happened. Call it luck or whatever--maybe we just sort of know what we’re doing, but we’ve been at it for awhile. [Laughs]


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