Upon first glance, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats seems to be your run-of-the-mill rocker. But each time he raises his head after a staring contest with the bar, Dimitri rearranges his Medusa-like mess of hair and his eyes seem to dig one layer deeper into Dante’s famous pits of Hell.
But, Coats’ eyes aren’t evil in the slightest. In fact, they’re a bit deerish. What makes them so hypnotic and potent is the visible burn in them -- the underlying desire of a musician that knows he’s onto something pure, something genuine.
“We don’t think about our music before we do it,” remarks Coats, speaking mainly about the band’s latest release Fall of the Plastic Empire [V2]. In fact, Dimitri and his bandmates Melanie Campbell (bassist/Dimitri’s girlfriend) and drummer Mike Ambs have somewhat of an Iron Chef approach to their music. “We soak it all up, spit it back out, and however it tastes is the way it is. We don’t examine the ingredients too closely. Throw it all in, stir it up, and there you have it – Burning Brides,” Coats slyly marks, grinning at his latest verbal triumph.
To put a description onto Burning Brides’ sound is like trying to hammer a nail into water. It’s Sonic Youth meets Guns n Roses meets the Beatles meets the Ramones, and so on. Coats summed it up quite well when asked to define his band in five words or less: “dark, beautiful, real, honest and mammoth.”
For no other reason than an easy copout, the media has slapped the ‘garage rock’ tag onto Burning Brides, but Coats refutes that claim. “Our first record is a garage record, only for the fact that it was recorded in a motorcycle garage with our own money.” But don’t expect the same sound when the next album is recorded this summer, he adds. “It won’t sound anything like anything else. The heavier stuff will be even heavier, and the melodic stuff will be even more beautiful.”
Coats and Campbell met up in New York City years back, but after realizing that the costs of living in the Big Apple were too high to pursue their musical dreams, they city-hopped the U.S. until winding up in Philadelphia, where they met Ambs.
Coats is the epitome of what rock music should be. He taught himself to play guitar simply by rocking along to his favorite records, and was seemingly disgusted when questioned if he could write sheet music or his guitar tabs. “No!?!” he scoffed, glancing at me as if I had nine asses stapled to my forehead. "I don’t know anything. I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know what a G-sharp is from anything else."
“You don’t have to be Eddie Van Halen to be a good guitar player. I like Neil Young Much better. Neil Young is so simple and so soulful, if he makes a mistake it’s kind of charming. It’s a little more human, like the way someone speaks. You can be in a band that has three chords and it’s really good music. You just have to have an instinct for it.”
Coats also revels in the rock and roll dream. Going on stage to perform live is compared to “that feeling when you’re by yourself in front of a mirror with a tennis racket playing air guitar.” And when asked about his thoughts just before hitting the stage, Dimitri’s mindstate is quite focused: “Are my amps on? Are the knobs correctly set? Are my pedals plugged in? Do I have a shot of whiskey, and a beer, and a water next to me?” And fear not, he drinks them in that very order. Proper.
Fore more info on Burning Brides, check out www.burningbrides.com