COAL CHAMBER's DEZ FAFARA: 'We Are Absolutely Slamming It Harder Than We Ever Have'

November 5, 2023

COAL CHAMBER frontman Dez Fafara spoke to Wall Of Sound about his band's upcoming February 2024 Australian tour with MUDVAYNE. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We did huge summer shows with [MUDVAYNE in the U.S.]. We did a big amphitheater run with them. I don't know how many shows — I don't even fucking know; 36 shows, something like that. And it was absolutely incredible. When we came onstage, deafening, just deafening sound. So we knew that, 'Okay, if we come down [to Australia], we would like this package to come down.' So when I knew MUDVAYNE was in, my whole group said, 'Yeah, let's go.'

"We're at top form right now," Dez continued. "Some of those shows that I saw from this summer on YouTube — I watched a couple of 'em — we are absolutely slamming it harder than we ever have.

"I haven't had a drink of alcohol since 2016. Those [other] guys [in COAL CHAMBER] are obviously not on the things that messed them up in the past. And we are all in this thing that's, like, where it should be."

Fafara added: "I've said this in another interview — it's like we're just now getting ready to get started. And we've turned down more tours than we've taken. 'Cause we wanna take it slow; we wanna do only the right things. Everybody has families and other things going on as well. We don't wanna burn it out. We wanna make sure that it comes out and does the right thing.

"Coming to Australia with MUDVAYNE is absolutely a great move."

COAL CHAMBER recently completed a U.S. tour as the support act for MUDVAYNE. Additional support on the 26-city "The Psychotherapy Sessions" trek, which was produced by Live Nation, came from GWAR, NONPOINT and BUTCHER BABIES.

COAL CHAMBER played its first two shows in eight years at the Sick New World festival in Las Vegas in May and at the Inkcarceration Music And Tattoo Festival in Mansfield, Ohio in July.

Regarding what it was like returning to the live stage with COAL CHAMBER for the first time in eight years, Dez told the Loaded Radio podcast: "[It was] unbelievable. We were all backstage. Of course there's a hundred people back there with their cameras on us as we're hugging. But it was amazing. We hit the stage… They were chanting 'COAL CHAMBER', so it was 55, 60 thousand people chanting 'COAL CHAMBER', which just absolute goosebumps on my arms. We came out. We killed it. The set was short — it was only 30, 35 minutes; something like that — so it was in and out. But it was at the height of the day. People were telling us that, 'Your stage was the most packed of the day.' Of course I'm not putting myself up against the bigger bands; I'm just saying that it is what it is. And then when I got off, I said to my wife, 'What's going on? What's going on out there?' And she was, like, 'They're all singing you 'Happy Birthday', dummy.' And I was, like, 'Wow.' So it was a pretty incredible weekend… It was an amazing time, man. And I'm grateful. I'm humbled by everybody who came. And the reception that we got was wonderful."

This past March, Fafara told Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire", about how COAL CHAMBER's reunion came about: "Unbelievable turn of events. That actually happened… I was on my way out from COVID. And my wife called [the other members of COAL CHAMBER] and said, 'Hey, you guys may wanna text Dez or call Dez 'cause I don't know if he's gonna make it through the night. He's telling me where he wants to be buried and not to sell his '78 Cadillac.' So they started to call me, they started to text me, and over a period of six, seven, eight months, we didn't talk any business at all. And we realized that, you know, why are we not playing shows? Those guys are totally different people than when we broke up. I have always been the same — I've just been solid as a rock; and I told them, 'I'm solid as a rock. If I come out of this, I would love to do at least one show with you guys.' And that's how this all started — very organically."

Dez added: "COAL CHAMBER is a very unpredictable thing, all the way from its beginning, playing with PANTERA and BLACK SABBATH, to where we were when we put out [the 2015 album] 'Rivals' to where we are now… But we're gonna take it slow and we're gonna do what's appropriate for the brand and for the band and especially the fans that have been with us for so long."

COAL CHAMBER existed for ten years before disbanding in 2003 to pursue other musical projects. They reunited in 2011 for touring purposes but it wasn't until 2014 that the band began work on a new studio album of original material, the aforementioned critically acclaimed "Rivals". Several months of touring activity followed before Dez returned to DEVILDRIVER to make a new record, 2016's "Trust No One".

DEVILDRIVER's 2019 co-headlining tour with STATIC-X saw the Fafara-fronted outfit performing material from COAL CHAMBER for the first time.

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