Coalesce: covered in covers


this is a post from the old blog, that i didnt want to lose in the vacuum of the interwebz.

The first time i heard Coalesce was probably in 1995. Their first 7″ had just come out, and my friend Chad put it on a tape for me with the first Bloodlet 7″ and the Conviction 7″.  I was hooked. That year they toured with 108 and Bloodlet, and seeing them in a warehouse in downtown San Diego, with the show starting at midnight, following a rave and a weird spoken word/ performance art piece.

Since then, I have loved the band.  I have always been intrigued by their innovative take on covering songs, and decided to ask Sean to go in depth with the circumstances surrounding each cover.  Here’s what came back, and it’s a good read. Enjoy.

Undertow – “cutting away” from ITS ALL ABOUT FRIENDS comp

This was done for a friend of ours, Carrie.  She is a really cool girl
from Seattle that moved to Kansas City because she was dating Dan  Askew from Second Nature.  Because we all hang out with Dan (Askew) so much we  hung out with her too.  I think we knew her from playing Seattle once  too, but I’m not totally sure.  Regardless, she asked us to do a song,  and knowing she is from Seattle, we picked the one hardcore song we  felt summed up Seattle for us.  This was done during a session at  Westend with a guy named Bob.  He was more interested in putting  applause on Grateful Dead Studio tracks for profit than concentrating  on our session.  We did this song, and the lost Black Sabbath track  recently released in this session.  I don’t really remember why we  didn’t go with Ed on this.  This session and the first 7″ are the  only sessions done without Ed.  We remember it sounding good in  the studio, then when we listened to it in the car, the guitars were  out of tune or something.  We were definately unhappy with it.  I think Carrie even mentioned that we played the song wrong, which is  always nice to hear.

Get up Kids – “I’m giving up on this one”

This one was another “bros” type deal.  I think the idea happened at the Wilkes-Barre fest with the flying drum and all that drama.  It was  a no brainer since we were from the same city, and making names for ourselves in different genres.  We always liked this record because it reinforced our attitude that we weren’t a metal band, or meat heads,  or whatever people thought we were back then, and that we could mingle with this new type of music happening called “emo”.  Matt Pryor actually wrote another coalesce song into guk style, and I remember it being just as amazing.  This is definetely one of my favorite GUK  songs ever, and I got them to play it live once in Philly I think.   The only thing I remember about our track is that Jake Bannon told me  once that it’s one of his favorite Coalesce songs, or that we should  write that like more.  I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I  remember thinking that it was odd since it was one of the more simple  songs we’ve ever done.  This was also the split 7″ that caused all the  drama with the Boy Sets Fire split.

Black Sabbath – “supernaut” from IN THESE BLACK DAYS

There are 2 versions of this song, the one on the 7″ ( the later), and the one on the reissued Zeppelin cd (the first abandoned one).  As I stated on the Undertow one, this session was terrible upon listening back to it, and we knew that getting a chance to do a split on Hydra Head with Today Is The Day was a big deal, so we went into see Ed. I really don’t know why we went to Westend in the first place, and even worse, I don’t remember recording this with Ed at all. I know we did, but I can’t recall one memory of what it was like, or when it was or anything.  Sad.

Boy Sets Fire split

This one caused much drama and hurt feelings.  I did an interview with BSF for Second Nature Fanzine at a more than music fest.  I remember being way into this band and that song with “I am no one I am nothing” in it.  I remember pushing coalesce into this as they weren’t really into it.  I think they tried to find the “bro” link in it as we were both on 800 Pound Gorilla publishing.  Either way, they agreed to do it.
Maybe the dude from Immigrant Sun records had the idea, but regardless I was the one gunning for it with the band.  But for some reason it was supposed to come out on Immigrant Sun records, and a bunch of factors made the recording take a long time.  We were being Coalesce with our infighting, and disappearing and stuff, and I think BSF had some scheduling issues.  While we were waiting to do this record, the Get Up Kids split came up and we did it.  The guy from Immigrant Sun was super pissed at me, stating that we had stolen the idea of doing split 7″ records, and that we ruined the BSF split, and that I was a dick, etc, etc.  I found him to be irrational, and we pulled the record from him, and compensated him later with Hydra Head copies for whatever reason (I must not have been that big a dick maybe).
I remember pitching it to Initial Records, and they didn’t want it because of the perceived controversy, then I pitched it to Aaron at Hydra Head and he said “I don’t give a shit”.  So it went to HH.  I remember talking to one of the BSF dudes through the whole thing, getting permission from them at each step of the way from pulling it to putting it out on HH, and they agreed.
Then we played a Krazy Fest and the Immigrant Sun dude was there still upset,  saying all sorts of hurt feelingsy (yes, i make up words now) type things that weren’t true. I remember lamenting to the BSF dudes  backstage “isn’t that crazy” and their reply was
“Well, Sean, we  didn’t actually hear the conversations you had”, effectively calling me  a liar.
I was pretty hurt and  wrote them off as a bunch of cowards  at that point, more interested in public opinion and their silly boycott of Conquer The World Records (look at their liner notes on  the original 7″).  Our old publisher did their tracks and really built  us up on how rad theirs were and that we had better of done as good a job.  We finally got to listen to them in L.A., and I remember it  going over like a weak fart.  Nothing against them, you can’t always  capture that magic we lucked out on with the guk one, and I don’t  think they really understood us as a band on any level.  Plus their  engineer really built it up to Star Wars Prequal proportions.  My  attitude towards the guys in the band have kinda soured my opinion of  the songs which is unfortunate.  All the songs on it were good, ours  and theirs, but from my perspective, we should have abandoned it  before it started, doing splits with bands without that “bro” factor  shoudn’t be done by us. Period.


This was Jes’s baby, a tribute to his father and early rock.  It was originally going to be all sorts of covers, like “Magic Carpet Ride”,  and ” The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and stuff, but we started with a Zeppelin song.  The grooves felt so natural and good, that we stayed with  Zeppelin
and retooled the whole thing.  The only song I remember having  a problem with was “Black Dog”.
(James) Dewees refused to play the song, as we were going into the hole to record it.  One of the many Coalesce  things that would set me off.  I think Ed talked him into it and we  finished
it.  I remember Matt Pryor coming in and doing those great  high end back ups.  Dude has pipes.  It’s weird to hear, but 90% of  Coalesce fans tell us this is the song that got them into Coalesce.   This record obviously cemented the bluesy riff affair that Coalesce  now has.  I guess in a lot of ways, coalesce would not be anything it  is today, had we not done this record.
I have always cringed at my performance on the singing tracks. Someone’s girlfriend was in the studio and made a stupid face like I was terrible, and whether it was pointed at me or not, it pretty much ruined my confidence.  Singing was very new to me, and I wasn’t  getting any support that I remember.  This was a total lucas move on  my part, but instead of pretending the originals with all their flaws  never happened, i just tacked them on the end as an alternate.  I like  the
newer ones, but I presume most people love the off key ones  because it’s what they have come to know of the record.  It was just a  selfish redemption move on my part that I had the chance to take, and  did.

Black Flag – “Jealous Again” from BLACK ON BLACK

This is from the 2002 session without Nellis (Nathan Ellis), or Jes in the band. It’s well documented that I think we should not have done this  session. 2002 was the height of the Coalesce worship that was  happening on the internet, and my hurt feelings toward Jes, and my  desire to give the fans what they wanted blinded me.  I love Cory (White)’s  solo on this, but it was clear that there was not the same Coalesce  magic we had in the early days, and since 2005.  James didn’t want to  play a lot of beats, and I felt myself in the “keep it together” role  I was in, in the 90’s.  Just a bad vibe.  It was pretty clear that  others opinions of this track matched ours when we were relegated to  the dreaded “…and many others” in the marketing.  Bummer.  we  recorded the Jesus Lizard track, an acoustic, and a Falco song which will  never see the light of day at this session.  Ed should have kicked us  out.

Jesus Lizard – “mouth breather” from PROTECT

This was part of that 2002 session.  I’ve tried to narrow down why  this song is beloved by fans, but the others in the session were left  to be forgotten.  The only thing I can think of, is that the opening  riff is so big, so bad, so overflowing with awesomeness, that no one  can screw it up.

Jav- Were there any covers ever scrapped or stuff you wanted to do and didn’t?

Sean- No, not that I know of.  We’ve been kinda doing a cover for each tour, like in 06 we did Hendrix and Fugazi, and even the Mouth Breather one  (i couldn’t believe it after Jes was calling everyone who came to see  us in 2002,  “Judas” to their face) but we  don’t have any plans to record them.
I don’t speak for the whole  band, but I don’t want to ever record another cover personally. I  guess we did do a cover on the new “OX” lp coming out in 09, but it’s  more of a rewrite of the classic cowboy song “Wild Ox Moan”.  It  starts out guitar, vocals and foot stomping, then we bastardize it  after that.  I guess it’s a cover, but we think of it more as trying  to own it.  There would have to be a pretty amazing cover project to  get us interested I think.

jav- How did you end up doing vocals for The Used?

Sean- Oh yeah, Burt just emailed me one day.  They flew me out, treated me like a king, the works.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the used for whatever reason.  And the dudes were all so cool to me, it just makes it better.  John Feldman was pretty intimidating, but very professional.  He also makes the best coffee you’ve ever tasted.  I remember that trip fondly.  I also remember having long hair and cutting it the day I got back.  I looked like a scumbag.  Every once  in a while I’ll get a call from their old manager when he passes  through town to score some weed for him in kc.  Which is weird because  I didn’t smoke weed with them in L.A. , and don’t know what gave  anyone the impression that I was a drug user or dealer.  Other than  the hair maybe.  I donated it to the cancer kids hair thing.



One Response to “Coalesce: covered in covers”

  1. dupabladaujangblada Says:

    Hi !! I love IT. Where You write more ?

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