In an era where intriguing, yet uninspired rock stars are meticulously manufactured and magnetised towards the admiration of a press-persuaded population, rarely do the authentic acts gain just accolades. Although listening to this new rock-tastic generation may give you a faint taste of the forbidden, being exposed to Philadelphia's Burning Brides is an exercise in ingesting all that is dangerous about rock 'n' roll.
Prior to the Brides eagerly anticipated performance at London's Garage venue, Gigwise.com was fortunate enough to have an exclusive session with one of the most genuine bands presently pounding the pavement of rock 'n' roll's roadmap.
Although frontman Dimitri Coats was medically required to refrain from unnecessary conversation due to a recent throat ailment which resulted in the band cancelling the two previous dates of their UK tour, promoting their debut LP "Fall of the Plastic Empire"[V2], once the topic of rock 'n' roll was brought to the table, an almost academic admiration for all things rock quickly brought him to life. Indeed, that is the very thing that makes Dimitri such an intrinsically iconic figure; he is consumed by a love for the music as well as the lifestyle. He is a fan as well as a star, and a star with a considerable amount of confidence. When faced with a recent quote in which Dimitri declared that the Burning Brides were one of the ten best live bands in the world, his reply was quick and undaunted, "not really, but it sounds correct, I'm surprised I didn't say top three". His partner in the Brides conception, bassist Melanie Campbell, quickly added, "maybe he meant ten best of all time".
To compliment this confidence, there is a true sense of honesty and authenticity that harkens back to the days of the indie ethic, which now seems so long ago. As Coats puts it, "were sick of being thrown into this [new rock revolution] category, there are just too many bands and the press seems more attracted to how a band looks and what's the story behind them. We're in it for the long-haul. We know we are gonna keep recording and playing live. It's for the fans ya know. I mean, sure, we would love to be a popular band, but we have no intention of being a cool band. Look at the Flaming Lips, they are more popular than ever and they have fuckin' grey hair. It's like, who knows, just put on your blinders and make the best music you can and have a good time and everything will hopefully fall into place. "
This core couple of Coats and Campbell first met through their connections to the Juilliard School of Performing-Arts in New York City. "Dimitri and I met when we were both going to school. I was really sick of dancing, as I was a ballet dancer, and Dimitri was just taking me out to a bunch of gigs and exposing me to loads of records." After
hanging out for a couple of years in NYC's less than glamorous satellite, Jersey City, with no money and barely any furniture, it dawned on Melanie that a band was in order. "Dimitri was always playing, so I told him we should really be playing music, as at the time he was kind of trying his hand at acting, so I was like, why don't you play with me and he was like - all right... I decided to play the bass and here we are." Todays current incarnation of the Brides was completed with the eventual addition of drummer Jason Kourkounis, formally of Mule and Delta 72. "He is our Dave Grohl and when we signed to our label [V2 Records], we had a wheel-barrel full of money, so I made him an offer he couldn't refuse," confesses Coats.
After a year of constant touring behind them, including a recent stint with Audioslave in the United States, has playing arenas and having a proper tour bus resulted in an actualisation that they had finally made it? Dimitri's blunt response was that it doesn't suck at all, "we are totally ready to sell-out if it means travelling around in a mobile tree-fort like that and hearing the roar of the crowd. Being in front of thousands of kids every night makes you feel like that until you realise that they are not there necessarily to see you, but we got an amazing reception on that tour." With upcoming tours alongside The Queens of the Stone Age and an appearance at the revitalised Lollapalooza tour in North America, this may be one of the last times London witnesses the Brides in such a compact environment, but the size of the stage won't change the Burning Brides.
Photos by Jason Baron & Rico Iseppi
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