“Sometimes you have to take a step back & realize that fans have been waiting a long time for that show. Maybe they saved all their birthday money to buy a ticket. I don’t take that for granted.” ~ CC
THE CHRISTIAN COMA INTERVIEW:
The third letter of the alphabet is very important to Black Veil Brides fans. Say it twice & you’ve got the drummer of their favorite band, one of the best in rock & roll today. Born Chris Mora, BVB fans know him as Christian Coma, or simply CC. On December 29, 2015, Hayley caught up with CC relaxing in his backyard with his dogs, enjoying a much-deserved break from touring. With his signature grin, his cool, laid back personality & a lot of laughs – CC generously opened up about to Hayley about everything from being on tour to his favorite thing about being a drummer, and an offer he declined in Las Vegas (good thing for BVB fans!) that would have taken his career in a very different direction.
HRU: Hi CC! How are you today?
CC: Doing awesome! How are you?
HRU: Great, thanks! And thanks for taking the time to speak with me today!
CC: No problem!
HRU: I’m really excited for the 5th album, how’s it going?
CC: It’s going great! We go back in the studio on January 11th. It’s pretty much close to being done, as far as writing goes. We may do one or two more songs, but we have enough material for an album. We’ve done three weeks of pre-production, then I’ll go back in & do the drums & they’ll re-track the guitars. But it’s almost completely written. We’ve got some pretty cool stuff!
HRU: Andy said you’re taking more time to record this album. Does it change your process? Is it better?
CC: Well we’ve worked with this producer John Feldman before, so it’s the same process, but a little bit different too. When they went in, Jake & Jinxx were doing the writing & they were slamming songs out. I think they did something like 8 songs in 3 days.
CC: Yeah it was crazy. I wouldn’t say the process is really different now that we have more time. But when inspiration strikes, and you have a great writing team, and we have engineers that help us out, it gets things done a lot quicker, as opposed to us having to run the software ourselves. It came together relatively quickly. But who’s to say what will happen? When we go back in on January 11th, we may have more song ideas. We’re right in the middle of it now, but currently we’re on break.
HRU: Must be nice to have a break!
CC: For sure! I got to spend some time with my dogs, and my family for the holidays.
HRU: Tell me about your dogs….
CC: I have three dogs. Unfortunately I had to put down my grandmother’s dog…
HRU: Aww, I’m sorry about that.
CC: Yeah, that was a couple weeks ago. I have Sasha & Callie, a German Shepard-Golden Retriever mix, and a Border Collie. My pug is Buddha, and he’s super-old. He’s 17 1/2 years old & he doesn’t even look like a pug anymore. He’s inside the house now. He’s slowing down. But I’ll show you one of them. “Hey Sasha, come here! Say HI!”
HRU: (Sasha pops up on the screen) Hi Sasha!!
CC: She’s such a sweetheart…
HRU: She is so cute, glad I got to meet her! When did you fall in love with rock music?
CC: I think the first band I listened to was Green Day, when I was in elementary school & learning to play drums. “Dookie” was out & I was really stoked on them, buying all their Japanese imports & live CDs. I was learning Tre` Cool’s parts & saying “I can do that!”. Then I got into more aggressive metal in middle school & high school. I went to a show at the Hollywood Palladium & it was madness. There were mosh pits everywhere & people were crowd surfing. Ever since I saw that, I was pretty hooked on it.
HRU: What was it about drums that made you want to play?
CC: From an early age, I was always banging on pots & pans. The typical drummer thing, annoying my parents & my family (laughs). And I saw the drumline in school, and instead of banging on pots, I wanted to learn what I was doing.
HRU: You’re the only member of BVB from California. What was it like for you growing up there?
CC: It was exciting. Currently I live in the same area I grew up in. I live just far enough away from the hustle of downtown, where I don’t get the congestion of the LA freeways. It’s not like I was living in Hollywood, seeing celebrities every day. It’s in the suburbs, a quiet, older neighborhood. I’m about 30-40 minutes from Hollywood with no traffic, but with traffic, it could be 3 weeks! (laughing) Ever since I could drive, I would drive myself to auditions & rehearsals, spending all my money on music gear. The good thing is that California is saturated with musicians, so there was never a time when I couldn’t be in a band. I was afraid I wouldn’t meet the right guys to make a career of music, but I’m very fortunate. I met the right guys.
HRU: I’m glad too!
HRU: I’m completely in awe when I watch you play. What is….
CC: Hold on, Hayley! There’s a big helicopter flying over!
(they wait through the noise, laughing)
CC: Sorry! I thought it was going to land on me!
HRU: No problem! What’s the best thing about being a drummer?
CC: Definitely not hauling around the gear, that sucks! (laughing) I guess the best thing about being a drummer is having the best seat for the show, every single night. I get to see the crowd, and that’s more exciting than anything. Also I get to watch Jinxx run around like a madman onstage! That’s another one of my favorite things. He always cracks me up! Watching my friends perform, having a stationary seat, those are some of the best things. Another great thing is that I can change things up. I can do some fun things, and drummers can get away it. Guitars can’t change the melody of the song, but I can change things up & push myself to the limit. And I guess another thing is – I get to beat the crap out of stuff all day (grinning). That’s pretty fun too!
HRU: It sounds like fun!
CC: Yeah, whenever you’re having a bad day, it’s therapeutic to make a lot of noise, pound stuff until you break a sweat, then you feel a lot better afterwards.
HRU: How did you get the name Christian Coma? Where did that start?
CC: I was in a previous band where I was going by my real name, and they just started calling me Chris Coma. I don’t know why. Maybe because I love to sleep so much! (laughing) But when I got into Black Veil Brides, it just transferred over. They asked me if I wanted a stage name & I told them my friends were calling me Chris Coma. They said “How about Christian Coma?” I said “That’s fine, I’m not really into religion, why don’t I just go by CC? Make it easier”. I could imagine just signing CC on things, that would be so easy!
HRU: I never thought of that!
CC: Well I messed it up a little. I started signing Coma on things, so now every album cycle, I add something new to my signature. There’s a lot of stuff on Ebay that’s not authentic. And I feel bad because I’ll see a fan got something for Christmas, and they will think it was signed by me, and it’s not my signature. I don’t want people to get ripped off, so now my signature is the most super-extravagant of anyone’s in the band! When we do signings, everyone is waiting on me at this point. But we sign thousands of things, so I’ll add little dots or halos or something. I haven’t thought about what I’ll add this album cycle.
HRU: Maybe take something away?
CC: Yeah, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll modify it.
HRU: Mark Pitts told me you’re a great rapper. He said you make up amazing rhymes on the spot. Tell me about that!
CC: It started at an early age. I’m a fan of different styles of music – dance music, rap, metal, rock. I’ve gotten into some country, because of Ashley. And I used to get drunk & party, and I would rap. I got pretty decent. Once I was with a buddy at a convention in Las Vegas, he had a booth there, and a famous rapper came. He started rapping. I think I was 19 or 20 at the time. And I got on the microphone, and I completely destroyed this guy! I was a skinny little metal kid & he was a multi-millionaire with diamond & gold teeth, big chain around his neck. His manager offered me a record deal on the spot.
HRU: Oh my God, he did?!
CC: Yeah! He said he’d sign me for $50,000. I knew he was trying to take advantage of me. I’m like, I want to be a drummer, I don’t want to rap, so I declined. Now I do it either when I’m hammered, or I’m just bored & want to make people laugh, like when I’m bar-hopping, I’ll rap in Ubers just to crack up the drivers. But I don’t really do it too much anymore.
HRU: Can you make up a rap right now on the spot? Or do you have to be drunk?
CC: (laughing) I have to be drunk, or it has to be dark or something! It’s before lunch, I don’t have much brain fuel yet.
HRU: Haha, that’s ok! What is touring like for you? Some musicians say it’s fun, some say it’s hard….
CC: To be honest, it depends on the tour. Warped Tour is pretty grueling. It’s hot, and you’re crammed in a tour bus. But then it’s great to play for that many fans in a day. Also I make hundreds of friends. It’s like Rock & Roll Summer Camp. So there are positives & negatives to everything. This last tour to South America, I ended up getting a hand injury. It was tendonitis in my left hand, and every time I would play, my hand would get swollen. That wasn’t fun. But traveling all over the world is fun. It really depends on the tour. For example, touring in Europe or Canada or Russia in winter. You can’t spend time with the fans after the show, or you’ll get hypothermia! It’s also hard not being able to eat what you want. I’ll be in England, like “I really want some Taco Bell, or Chipotle!” (laughs). But meeting the fans is exciting. It’s an exciting lifestyle. Every single night is a big rock show. And we’ll get in a zone with our rituals… Jake & Jinxx have their rituals, I’ll start doing some stretches. We’ll get in a zone with our daily routines… but sometimes you have to take a step back & realize that fans have been waiting a long time for that show. Maybe they saved all their birthday money to buy a ticket. I don’t take that for granted. It has its ups & downs, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else but tour, and make music.
HRU: Do you ever forget where you are? Do you wake up & say “What am I in?”
CC: All the time! I’ll wake up & not even know what day it is. But then I think, it doesn’t even matter, tomorrow will be the same! I don’t take it for granted, it’s just the routine. And going back to your previous question – what’s a good thing about being a drummer? I don’t have to know! Andy has to stand up there, and say…
HRU: “Good night, Seattle!”
CC: Exactly! Andy has a great memory. He’ll remember things about the last time we were in that particular city, like if fans got engaged at a show or something.
HRU: Really? They get engaged?
CC: That happens a lot more than you would think! Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of where you are, when you’re in the middle of it. But it’s easier if I have friends or family that I have to tell about a show, I’ll have to keep track so I can tell them. But I try to do my best at every show, whether it’s Omaha, Nebraska, or Houston, Texas, I want to give it my best.
HRU: We know you like to joke around & have fun. One of my favorite videos is the one with the remote-controlled toilet. Was that your idea or Jake’s?
CC: I think we were in the UK… Andy & Ashley were off doing press or something, and the rest of us were opening gifts from the fans in our dressing rooms. I got a remote-controlled toilet & I said “This is awesome!” And every day we get stuff served to us at the venues like veggie trays, and deli meats, beer, water, things like that… I said we should pour some beer in the toilet, make it look like urine, ride it around the venue. Jake said he wanted to film it, and I said yeah! The doors just opened for the venue & fans were coming in. I don’t separate myself from the fans, I’m a music fan myself. I think of myself as a regular guy, not like I’m this big rock star or anything. Then I’ll get swarmed & say “Oh shit, I forgot!!” Excuse my language. (laughing) But this time I went out, and no one paid attention. I was driving this little toilet around. People were laughing, and some said “Wait.. is that..? No it can’t be him”. By the time they realized, I was already back in the dressing room. That’s another fun thing about touring, doing stupid things to make ourselves laugh & getting a kick out of it.
HRU: I thought it was so funny that people didn’t even know it was you….
CC: Oh yeah! I was at a doctor’s appointment for my hand the other day, I was in the waiting room with a friend. The friend texted me, “There’s a Black Veil fan in the waiting room”, and she pointed – there was this kid all decked out in Black Veil stuff. I didn’t know if I should say hi or not! I didn’t end up saying anything, but the next day we were driving to a restaurant… we were taking a left & this girl on the street stopped & waved us to go. She had a Black Veil shirt on, and I said “I like your shirt”, and she got it! She was like “Oh my God!”, she started laughing.
HRU: How’s your hand doing now?
CC: It’s doing ok. I’m a little worried about touring, that it’s going to act up, but I’ve been doing stretches, putting heat on it. I haven’t had any pain in a while.
HRU: That’s good!
CC: That’s really good.
HRU: BVB4 is incredible, how did it feel to win the AP Album of the Year?
CC: I didn’t think we were going to win. I’m incredibly honored & humbled by that. I had so much fun recording that album because Bob Rock is an idol of mine. He’s a multi-platinum producer. It was an honor working with him. I have to get a bigger shelf now, I have all the Kerrang Awards, I have to fit the AP award on there…
HRU: Not a bad problem to have!
CC: Not at all! (laughing)
HRU: I knew you were going to win because every song on that album is amazing.
CC: Thank you!
HRU: What are some of your favorite things to do in your downtime?
CC: Usually annoy my dogs (laughing)! And my family – my mom & dad – I try to spend as much time with them as I can. Just take it easy. When I tour, I’m out every night & talking to people, so when I’m home I like to cook, relax & spend time with family. I like to catch up with friends, go out to dinner. I switch back into regular-person mode, as opposed to being the entertainer. I watch Netflix, and hang out with the dogs.
HRU: Jake said the same kind of thing when I asked him this question.
CC: He’s the same way as I am. I see his dogs all the time, and sometimes Jake & I go bowling, or I see Jinxx. Andy has been busy with his solo stuff, so I haven’t seen him as much, but I do hang out with the band.
HRU: CC, thanks for spending all this time with me today. I know your fans will love reading more about you. Best of luck with the new album, and I’ll see you on the next tour!
CC: Thanks so much, pleasure meeting you!