Interview: Dimitri Coats from Burning Brides

posted January 18, 2003

by Corinne

Dimitri Coats from Burning BridesHow are you?
Good, how are you?

I'm all right. So how did the band meet?
The current line up?

Yeah.
We went-- Melanie and I went to an awards ceremony at The Trocadero Theatre. Are you from Philly?

Yeah.
Ok, at the Troc, and we were up for best rock band last year. We were having some problems with our old drummer. And we were supposed to get up and play a song. We ended up winning best rock band and it was time for us to play the song and our drummer had not shown up. And it just so happened that Jason was there at the -- I think he was one of the judges or something - and we coaxed him into playing a song that he had never played before. We taught it to him in the dressing room about 5 minutes before we were to go on. And I'd always thought he was an amazing drummer and I probably asked him to be in the band a few times during that year but he couldn't do it due to conflicts and stuff like that. We played the song and it went great. And I don't think anybody even cared that we switched drummers and, in fact, it's about 10 times better now and he's been in the band ever since.

You said "this line up." Have you had any other line ups besides the other drummer?
No, that's the only change.

Where did the name Burning Brides come from?
I was working at TLA video and I noticed that the same director that directed "Bride of Chuckie" also directed "Bride with White Hair." And I thought, "That's a cool name for a band: The Brides." So we [were] called The Brides for, like, our first 3 shows. Then a friend of mine did a search on the Internet and said, "Uh oh." There was a band called The Brides from Texas or something a long time ago. But you can get in trouble. I just added "burning" in front of it, just cause I thought it sounded cool, y'know? And then I did a search on the Internet to make sure there was no band called Burning Brides. And all these hits came up for this phenomenon that happens in India. I think back…many, many years ago, when a man died, in India, his wife was expected to jump on the funeral fire and die with him. That's where the term comes from. So it actually means something, which I had no idea.

So you shot a video yesterday.
Yeah.

Your first?
Yeah.

Who directed it?
I don't remember his name, simply because there were so many people working on the project and it's difficult to say who directed it. I met, like, two directors and a guy who is doing some post-production editing and… I mean, I thought the guy that was original going to direct it was the same person that did our artwork on the CD so I don't know his name. [laughs]

It was a collaborative effort.
Yeah. [laughs]

Did you enjoy the whole process of making the video?
Yeah, I did. Were you there? Did I talk to you?

Yeah.
Yeah, that was you, right? Yeah I think it was…I mean, you know, you were there. It was fun. We shot all day with no crowd there. Then you all came and made it fun. I was really psyched to get to play for real after all that, y'know. Standing around doing the song 20 times.

How much input did you have into the video?
A little bit, y'know.

Did you want to have creative input on it?
I don't really have time to go into full on into something like that. I definitely had some ideas before we went into it. It was my idea to do it at the TLA [Theatre of Living Arts] and I have an idea for the ending. I don't know if they're gonna go with it but I gave them a bunch of video tapes of -- my roommates taped a bunch of our shows -- and I gave the director a bunch of those and told him that at the end during all the metal freak out stuff, it'd be cool if we had a barrage of us playing live from actual shows. I hope they run with it cause I think it's cool. But they have all these ideas of their own, it's not really interesting. We'll see. I think it'll be all right. I think the guy that is doing the editing, all the post-production work on it, did the new Interpol video or something. I think I've seen that; I think it looks pretty decent.

So you're starting a tour this week?
Yeah, yeah. Division of Laura Lee from Sweden and a band from Seattle called The Catheters on Sub-Pop.

Do you enjoy touring?
Yeah, I mean, when Melanie and I met, we just had this romantic vision of us playing music and being on the road going from city to city. Now that we're doing it, it's pretty much a dream come true. The great thing about touring is you get to see a lot of different places and meet a lot of interesting people. And if you have a bad show, or whatever, you always have the next night to try to get better, or whatever. But it's a great way to become a better band: to tour your ass off.

Are there any shows you've played in the past that kind of stick out? That you particularly remember?
There was a show at the Khyber one time, a couple summers ago, where we started to realize we could really fill up the place. It was just a hot, sticky night and people were just in the right mood and the right people were there and everything was just perfect. We played great and it was just this amazing feeling, like something going on, y'know? That one sticks out. And I'd say definitely that Queens of the Stone Age/Trail of Dead tour was amazing. We always have a really fun time playing in New Orleans, for some reason, because we made a lot of friends down there. And the voodoo in the air and it's just an awesome city to hang out in. When we go to England it's great. Cause the kids over there really take their rock music seriously; they're not afraid to let go and get into it. People really go nuts. There're just so many shows it's so hard to pick a favorite, but those are a few.

So what do you have lined up after this tour? Is it more touring or…?
Yeah, we fly out… This tour takes us out to the West Coast so we don't even get to come home. We fly straight from LA to England and do a full UK tour -- of, y'know, England and Scotland and Ireland. And then come home and do some more touring of the States -- either a club tour or opening up for a bigger band, again. And then probably go back to Europe and do a full European tour, hit all the different countries and then come back and record the next record which we are so ready to do it's not even funny.

Have you started writing for it?
Oh yeah! Yeah, I mean, half the stuff we play live is new material. We could record the record tomorrow, if we had to. It's gonna be a really cool album.

You re-released Fall of the Plastic Empire. Were there any tweaks or changes from the original?
Yeah, new artwork and we got it re-mastered, which is like the final stage in the process of making a CD, that final equalization. We got that done by Howie Weinberg who mastered a bunch of big records. So sonically, it sounds a little bit better than it did. It's cool cause when it comes on the radio it fits in there pretty good with the other stuff. We recorded it for 5 thousand bucks in a motorcycle garage in Manayunk on our own, y'know? And now it's getting played on the radio and we made the video…should be interesting what happens.

Do you have a favorite Burning Brides song?
Do I have a favorite?

Yeah.
No, not particularly. They're sort of like children, y'know? You love 'em all the same. I don't even really have a song that we play that I don't like, y'know? I like 'em all for different reasons. Sometimes some of the more aggressive stuff gets me off. And then other times I like to sink into a nice melody and just sing and not scream, for a change. But I think that's also what sets our sound apart, is our diversity.

What are your favorite albums?
Favorite albums?

Yeah, just in general.
Off the top of my head? Pretty much any Beatles record, especially Sgt. Pepper, Rubber Soul, Beatles For Sale…love Led Zeppelin III, the first side of Led Zeppelin III is amazing. I love The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society. Ummm, gosh. Sabbath - Master of Reality and Vol. 4. Slayer - Reign of Blood. Love The Ramones first record. The first side of The Zombies' Odessey & Oracle is pretty hot. I love Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Syd Barrett's solo stuff. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds is great. Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Zuma. ZZ Top's Tres Hombres and Tejas. Sonic Youth - Sister.

You have a lot of favorites.
Yeah, I could go on and on. That's enough; there you go. [laughs]

Name an underrated band you think deserves more attention.
Bad Wizard from Brooklyn, New York.

What do they sound like?
They sound like MC5. Also, The Capitol Years from Philadelphia.

What have you been listening to recently?
The Cure and The Jesus & Mary Chain.

Who would you consider your influences?
Everything that I've been talking about. I don't have… just all the great records that have turned me on. Just put them all into the pot and stir and taste. If it tastes good, don't question it.

Where do you see the band in 5 years?
On the cover of Rolling Stone. Nah, I don't know. [laughs] Either the cover of Rolling Stone or in a gutter somewhere, prostituting ourselves. [laughs]

That's very optimistic.