Corrosion of Conformity
When Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) released its first record “An Eye For An Eye” in 1983, fans of the fledgling punk and metal fusion sound liked what they heard. The band soon developed a small but dedicated following in North Carolina. Their blend of meaningful lyrics and outright aggressiveness appealed to the sector of society which was itself at odds with so called “normal” conventions. Quickly dubbed CoC for short, it was obvious that Corrosion of Conformity was a law unto itself, willing to risk creating its own sound and welcoming the criticism that they weren’t adhering to either punk or metal rules.
The original creators of CoC’s sound were Mike Dean on base, Woody Weatherman on Guitar, Reed Mullin on drums, with Eric Eycke providing the vocals.
Their 1985 release, Animosity on the Death label added somewhat to their fan base. This recording featured a new guitarist, Pepper Keenan and Simon Bob on vocals. Executives at Death were nervous about changes in the CoC’s make-up. Despite Corrosion of Conformity’s growing popularity, Death let them go immediately following the band’s 1987 release of Technocracy. The band drifted for a while trying to perfect their choice of members and their own, identifiable sound. When Corrosion of Conformity released Blind in 1991, the band was made up of Weatherman, Keenan, and Mullin from the previous record, but vocals were handled by Karl Agell and Phil Swisher on bass. These two newcomers left the band just after Blind had found success.
Looking back, Keenan says of their next record, Deliverance (1994), “We began carving our niche with Deliverance. Now that we have a niche we should stay in it.” Keenan had taken over lead vocals on this, their breakthrough record, and Mike Dean had returned on bass. Co’s heavy, alternative metal sound was beginning to find mainstream popularity. Deliverance left fans ready for more. Rock radio stations were now featuring Corrosion of Conformity’s music, and this really increased their exposure beyond their dyed-in-the-wool fans.
1996 saw the release of a new album, Wiseblood. The name stemmed from Keenan’s experience in the boarding house where he had holed up to write some new lyrics. He would write a lyric and tape it to the wall. The other tenants at the boarding house soon noticed Keenan’s odd behavior. As he tells it, “These guys---(thought) I was some kind of freak or burned out poet. I was the only white dude in the whole building, and they thought I was crazy anyway. So they started calling me “Wiseblood.” Hey, Wiseblood! Wha’s up?” The album was very well received.
In 2000, Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) released their album, America’s Volume Dealer. 2001 saw the release of a live recording titled Live Volume. And in 2005 Corrosion of Conformity released their thought provoking album, In the Arms of God. Corrosion of Conformity has “arrived”, to the extent that an alternative /metal group can arrive on today’s music scene. Maybe their success can be attributed to their determination to stick with their original rebellious world-view.
The last word goes to Pepper Keenan:
“We really try hard to be true to what our hearts tell us to do. We---don’t want to get caught up in ant ‘90’s style production bullshit, ‘cause when we look back at what we’ve done, we want it to sound timeless.”
Corrosion of Conformity members are:
Pepper Keenan – guitar, vocals
Woody Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Jason Patterson – drums
Corrosion of Conformity Discography:
1983 Eye for an Eye
2000 America's Volume Dealer (Available as Dualdisc)
2001 Live Volume (CD, DVD and DVDA)
2005 In the Arms of God
1989 Six Songs With Mike Singing: 1985