Corrosion of Conformity’s 1994 album “Deliverance” is one that every self-respecting metalhead should own, because it represents the band’s organic transition from hardcore upstarts to Southern-fried sludge metal masters capable of stealing the show on any given night. Promoting guitarist Pepper Keenan to lead singer catalyzed the band’s brusque, Sabbath-esque tendencies and forced the mainstream to finally latch onto something that the rest of us already knew: That the North Carolina foursome was one of the most criminally underrated bands of its era.
Fast-forward to 2016 and the classic lineup of vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan, lead guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin has reformed with plans of throttling every festival stage from Schaghticoke to Derbyshire. I caught up with drummer and founding member Reed Mullin recently to discuss the reunion as well as when we can expect new music from the band, which is what the fans have been clamoring for since the deal with Nuclear Blast was inked. If you need something to hold you over until Corrosion of Conformity plays the Rock ‘N Derby on May 20, perhaps this interview will do the trick.
David Hens: What made you guys decide to get the “Deliverance” lineup back together?
Reed Mullin: It was a really gradual reunion, because Pepper and I were talking about it for a while and he’s always had a great quality to his voice that made his transition to frontman feel natural for us. Our 1991 record “Blind” was kind of doomy and most of our early stuff was hardcore/punk based, but, by the time “Deliverance” came around, our sound had developed into a more traditional metal vibe. There was no decision or anything like that. It was more of a reflection of where we were as a band at that point and how we evolved. Pepper’s lyrics are seriously in-your-face and, when you listen to a song like “Albatross,” I mean, who doesn’t love that? Last year, we wanted to test the waters and see what the reaction to the reunion would be, but also how we got along, because it was the first time the four of us played together in a long time.
DH: Do you feel as if you’re even tighter as a band than you were in the beginning?
RM: Definitely. I’ll take it a step further and say that we’re even better than we were only a year ago. It’s like night and day, really. We don’t have to overthink things anymore, we control the tempos, and we’re not always counting off before a song. Everyone over at Nuclear Blast is quite thrilled about us getting back together and our next album will be released on their label, which is exciting for us and the fans who have been waiting to see what our next project will sound like. It won’t be ready for a while, but I think it will definitely be an album of the highest quality.
DH: You’re currently touring with Lamb of God and Clutch. How have things been going so far?
RM: That’s a bad ass lineup right there. Things have been great, because there’s no hassle and all three bands shatter expectations. We’re all potent in our own way and there’s enough of a variety to keep fans of all three satisfied. I looked out into the crowd the other night and it was like a popcorn popper with people flying all over the place, so we’re definitely loving it. Randy (Blythe) has been a fan of us since the 1980s and he also contributed to the Teenage Time Killers project I did a while back. He told me a story one time about how he and a gang of his buddies were heading to a show in his mom’s stationwagon. He was sitting in the backseat hollering along to one of our songs on cassette when some punk rock chick they were riding with told him he had a good voice, which was the first time anyone ever told him that.
DH: Teenage Time Killers was an interesting side project that a lot of people wish to see more of. Do you have any plans to continue on with that?
RM: We’d love to take it on the road, but it would be difficult to coordinate a schedule in which everyone would be available. Quite a few people sang on that record, so we’ve discussed the possibility of going out with a few singers at a time, but nothing has been finalized. Randy contributed to that record as did Neil Fallon, Corey Taylor, Jello Biafra and Dave Grohl, so it’s definitely something we’d like to do again in the future.
DH: When can we expect new material from Corrosion of Conformity?
RM: Pepper and I have come up with some good ideas and riffs for a couple tracks, but it’s still very early in the process. We’ve never really written while on the road before, which is something we’re trying to do here and there on this tour. We’re trying to strike a delicate balance between touring and writing, so we’re not looking to rush the proceedings.
Corrosion of Conformity will play Friday, May 20 as a part of the Rock ‘N Derby in Schaghticoke, NY.