Independent hard rock band CO-OP is out on the road in the middle of a very busy tour schedule. That schedule includes joining Sunflower Dead, The Lonely Ones, and others on their tours. It also includes a performance, coming up at this year’s Metal in the Mountains festival. Amid everything that the band is doing, guitarist Jeremy Tabor and front man Dash Cooper (yes, the son of the legendary front man Alice Cooper) took some time to talk with Phil’s Picks about its tour. The guys also took on topics, such as the band’s new music and its coming material, as well as balancing everything that it has going on right now. The guys’ talk with Phil’s Picks is featured here.
PP: CO-OP has been really busy this year. Between new singles and new tour dates, you all are keeping active to say the least. Between live dates with Smile Empty Soul, Sunflower Dead and The Lonely Ones, and a number of festival shows, including the hugely anticipated Metal in the Mountains, you guys really have and have had a lot on your plates this year. You’ve even released two new singles and videos. So how have you managed to balance everything? It can’t begin to be easy, especially on the live side of things.
CO: It’s all about the balancing act isn’t it? We’ve all learned that staying flexible is so important, things can (and usually do) change in an instant and how you react to that change has such an impact on your success. Like everyone else, we had a bunch of shows cancel over the past 18 months, so we utilized that time to write and record some new material and tinker with the live show. We’re just trying to roll with the punches and keep busy!
PP: Speaking of the tour with The Lonely Ones and Sunflower Dead, I recently had the honor to interview The Lonely Ones front man Marty McCoy, and he spoke highly of CO-OP (and Sunflower Dead), noting that between word of mouth and research by the band, he felt you all (both bands) are “the type of bands we want to tour with.” Receiving such praise, what goes through your mind?
CO: Oh wow, that’s so kind of him! Those guys are so awesome, and we’re so grateful to get a chance to do some shows together. Playing with bands like Sunflower Dead and The Lonely Ones and other bands of that high caliber, we just do our best to step it up and give everyone a great show.
PP: Staying on that topic, when did you first learn that you had been tapped to join The Lonely Ones for its upcoming tour? What was the first thing that went through your head when you were notified that you had been tapped to join the tour?
CO: We’re legitimate fans of those guys so we’ve been hounding our booking agent for months to get us together with them for some shows, and then when we were putting together this tour run the stars finally aligned and we were able to make it work.
PP: One of the stops on The Lonely Ones’ tour is close to me at Hooligans in Jacksonville, NC. Have you all ever performed at Hooligans or other venues in North Carolina? Which venue(s) are you really looking forward to playing on the tour with The Lonely Ones and Sunflower Dead?
CO: We played in North Carolina a couple of years ago, on a tour with our good friends Smile Empty Soul, I can’t remember for the life of me what the name of the venue was but I do remember the incredible BBQ we had! Hooligans is well known among touring musicians as an awesome venue so we’re excited to check it out! There are so many good shows on that tour it’s hard to pick one! I know the Newport in Columbus will be a packed show.
PP: There have been lots of reports in recent weeks about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. What with COVID shutting down live music for such a long time through most of last year and even part of this year (and even forcing many shows to push back to 2022), are there any concerns among you all about the potential of your tours getting delayed or even worse?
CO: It’s such an unprecedented and unpredictable time we’re in, we’ve been trying to just focus on the immediate and tackle everything else as it comes. We’re excited to be back out here now playing shows again, but if that changes for some reason in the future we know we can adapt in whatever way we need to.
PP: Switching gears for a moment, as already noted, CO-OP has released two new singles this year. Each song is really enjoyable. Lets start with your cover of Buffalo Springfield’s timeless song, ‘For What It’s Worth.’ The band’s take on the song is unique to say the least. I like the contrast in energy in the verses and choruses. I think it does well to help translate the song’s emotion. How did you come to the decision on that arrangement and how long did it take to settle on that arrangement?
CO: We thought that it seemed like a very relevant song to try and bring into a modern context. It seemed like the anxiety and uncertainty that was expressed in the original was still as powerful today. Building from that, we thought that intensifying the tension between the verses and choruses would highlight those feelings. When we went into the studio we had a general roadmap of what we wanted, but it was definitely a process that went through a lot of revision before we found what we were looking for.
PP: Staying on that cover, what was the inspiration to take on that song? It’s one that has been covered so many times by other acts.
CO: I think it was Cory’s (our drummer) idea actually to try it. He did some investigating and realized even though so many people had covered it they always stayed pretty true to the original. He always comes to us with these crazy cool cover ideas, but with a twist, so this one just felt like it was something we could run with and make a lot of fun.
PP: Moving on to your other recent song, ‘Lie To Me,’ it really is a good modern rock type work. Talk to me if you will about that song. What is the inspiration behind that one? The guitars, drums, and bass are so heavy and rich in this song. I’m going to sound dumb here, I know, but I’ll say it. The choruses….those gritty vocals, I can’t help but think of Chad Gray (Hellyeah, Mudvayne). Was that an intentional approach? Just talk to me about the song in general.
CO: ‘Lie to Me’ was the first song we started working on after the last album release, and we really wanted to build off that energy. We had been talking about early 2000s rock bands, and the awesome grooves those songs had and wanted something that was a little but of a callback to that. Dash gets a lot of comparisons to Chad actually, he takes it as a huge compliment! They have a really similar range and Dash’s voice naturally just has that rasp and grit to it.
PP: Getting back on the matter of CO-OP playing live, you all are scheduled to perform at Metal in the Mountains this year. Now we all know it was cancelled last year due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. So when did you find out that you had been tapped to play the festival and what went through your mind when you found out, because you’re going to be in some pretty well-known company at the festival (E.g. Soulfly, A Killer’s Confession, Butcher Babies, and The Lonely Ones just to name a handful). What does it mean to you all to be among so many established and up-and-coming acts at such a respected festival?
CO: I think we booked Metal in the Mountains pretty early on actually, we wanted to hit as many festivals as we could this summer after all the cancellations last year. We’re always honored anytime we get to play with such incredible bands, and especially so many bands we’re huge fans of! We work really hard to get our music out to people so it means everything to us to have opportunities like this to do just that.
PP: Now you all are scheduled to perform on the last day of Metal in the Mountains. That means that you’ll have time to check out other bands in the meantime. That time provided, what bands are you looking forward to seeing perform?
CO: Unfortunately Metal in the Mountains falls right in the middle of a back to back schedule for us, so we won’t be able to check out the other days, but I know we’re getting there early on the day we play and plan on watching all the bands! We’ll be at the merch table all day hanging out and enjoying some awesome music!
PP: Just one more question for you guys. Unless I’m missing anything, the last album that CO-OP released was its self-titled album in 2018. So can you offer my readers and your fans any update on a new album? As noted, you guys have two singles out already. I imagine you’ve had time between all your live shows to write even more. So what can audiences expect from you all in that avenue?
CO: We have a 5 song EP coming in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that, and we have about 25 more songs to put the final touches on. But we’re always writing more. The idea is to release a new batch of 5 songs every 3 or 4 months and then maybe a full length. So expect lots and lots of new music coming!
More information on CO-OP’s tour and music is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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