COAL CHAMBER frontman Dez Fafara spoke to Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire", about the band's upcoming reunion shows at this year's edition of the Blue Ridge Rock Festival, set to take place September 7-10 in Alton, Virginia, as well as at Sick New World festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 13 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. Regarding how the COAL CHAMBER comeback came about, Dez said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "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 'Rivals' to where we are now.
"I'm very excited for the Sick New World fest and to see what we're gonna do. There's a lot of tours that have been offered. 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."
After MikeZ pressed Dez about whether there are plans for a new COAL CHAMBER album or if he and his bandmates are just "taking it one babystep at a time," Fafara said: "I've had e-mail after e-mail after e-mail with offer after offer after offer, and it's really just up to the camp to what we're gonna do. As of right now, we have these few festivals. There's an amphitheater tour that's offered to us in June or July. We're not sure what's gonna be happening. We will see. And only the future time will tell. But we're gonna do what's best for us and for the fans."
When COAL CHAMBER's participation in Sick New World was first announced last fall, Fafara took to his Twitter to write simply: "#coalchamber is back #thatisall".
Guitarist Miguel "Meegs" Rascón wrote: "My brothers and sister. Back together, w all the love in the world. Cant wait to play for all the fans who have been there for us and loyal. We love u all! #coalchamber #sicknewworld".
Added bassist Nadja Peulen: "Excited to share the stage with my brothers again! COAL CHAMBER live in Las Vegas 2023 @sicknewworld festival. Register now for Presale that starts Friday November 11th 10am PT. @coalchamberofficial @dezfafara @meegsrascon @mikeycoxofficial @nadjapeulen #coalchamber".
Drummer Mike Cox wrote: "Well this is definitely something I thought I would never post again in my life!!! I am rarely on social media anymore as it is…..
"Quick recap as it will be therapeutic for me !!! After our last tours in 2015 I was coming off stage very depressed and wanting to be home with my young son. I was missing a lot and it started to really get to me. I made the decision , that if we stop again it was my last time ever playing again. After our last show ,it was over … and that's what I did. I completely retired from music and began focusing on my family life and raising our son . With the tremendous support and encouragement from my wife we moved to a new city …..Bought a new house ,and my construction company is booming…. Everything was exactly where we wanted it to be . After YEARS of hard work , therapy, sobriety , 2 elbow surgeries, I found extreme peace with not being a musician anymore.
"Over the years I kept in contact with @dezfafara and I feel like for the first time in 25 years we actually became real friends . Both our families went through A LOT over the past years and we were actually there for each other . We actually listen to each other and that means more than any band at this point in my life . That slowly changed the conversation of starting to play again… and here we are!!!
"I really thought about this decision for a long time with my family and what it meant to jump back in and this was a family decision. Our son is older now and always asks about what I used to do… now I can just show him all the crazy hardcore COAL CHAMBER fans we have out there!!!. It's an exciting time for us all the future looks bright!
"As for @meegsrascon ….. I think I have talked to him almost everyday of my life for the past 25 years….can't get rid of this fool!!!
"I want to thank everyone who helped me with this decision as it was not a easy one to make. Thank you to @theoraclemgmt for all of the extremely hard work and putting things in black and white and not bullshitting me like the music industry is so famous for. Also thanks to @nadjapeulen for being a part of this whacky journey we have put her through. I love all of you!!!!"
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.
Fafara painted a bleak picture of COAL CHAMBER's future during a 2016 interview with Revolver magazine. He stated at the time: "I had a lot of fun doing that record and playing shows with them again. But there were some circumstances that were not ideal and that's why that thing is not continuing as of right now. If something comes up and I have time and want to make a record and the members have their shit together, I'll do it. But as of now, there's some deep-seated shit that certain dudes in the band still need to work out. And if they work it out and want to tour or make another record, they can come back and give me a call. But right now, everyone in DEVILDRIVER is stoked. No one's fighting. And I feel lucky to be where I am."
Dez had stated in previous interviews that COAL CHAMBER's original split happened because "I did not want to be around the band's hard drug use and I realized that going onstage every night that the money was feeding their habit, so I walked to save my friends." He added that his COAL CHAMBER bandmates were "clean" as of 2012, which made him realize that "it was the right thing to walk [away from the group back in 2003]."