Burning Brides with the Explosion at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Tuesday (August 17), 9 pm. $12.50. 416-532-1598. Rating: NNNNN
Dimitri Coats isn't one to beat around the bush. Right from the start of our conversation, the Burning Brides frontman is quick to say he's not impressed by some irreverent questions. It has less to do with the questions than with the mood he's in, thanks to a harsh encounter with a Seattle radio personality on the day of a show in the rainy cyber-city. "This asshole radio DJ kept asking personal questions about me and Melanie's (Daniels, the Brides' bassist) relationship, which isn't going so well right now, and he just wouldn't let up. The thing is, the radio station was putting on our show that night, so I couldn't even be like, 'Fuck you.' So I'm in no mood for anything today.
"I pride myself on being true to my emotions at all times. That's me. That's why our songs are all over the place. Normally, I'd be cracking jokes, but you caught me at a bad time."
The band is still in the midst of touring their newest release, Leave No Ashes, released on V2 records. The songs on this sophomore effort are indeed all over the place, although for the most part they share very definite characteristics, combining a new-rock post-Y2K alternative sound with a big sound, emotional lyrics and an underground grit that the band probably owes to its early days touring with high-energy, lower-profile acts like Zen Gorilla and the Catheters.
"On the one hand, we have total creative control, and V2 puts us in some good situations. But playing the game with radio, doing all the things you have to do - we like to refer to it as kissing babies. It kinda makes you feel like selling out at times, but it's stuff you have to do.
"It's hard to get exposure these days. I mean, a lot of bands are getting their big break by having their songs in commercials, which is pretty weird considering that 10 years ago that would have been extremely frowned upon. It isn't something we'd be interested in doing, but we do live in a time when it's very hard to sell records. Getting played on the radio is a big deal. You have to go talk to these fucking assholes."
"We're all going through some personal shit right now, probably because of how focused we have to be with the band. It consumes our entire lives. It can suffocate your personal life pretty quickly if you're not careful. It can be hard to think long-term when you're dealing with all this bullshit day to day and moment to moment."
Coats doesn't miss Philadelphia.
"It's where everything happened for us, and it's where everything started to go wrong for us, so I just don't really care to be there right now. There were two years there when you could walk into any club in town and know everybody, and there was great shit going on, lots of drugs, lots of parties. But ultimately it was the beginning of the end, because people died, people got fucked up, people ended up not doing anything.
"And whenever we went back, it'd be depressing. People either changed for the worse or weren't doing anything with their lives, getting fatter and more fucked up."
Beyond the hardship, Coats still has good things to say about the band, particularly about former Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis, who joined the band in 2001.
"Jason is great, one of the best rock drummers out there right now. He goes the distance, works really hard and is loyal. We all believe in this band, even if we're in a bad mood. The music always carries us through somehow."