FOTM – Chris Coyle

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Chris Coyle grew up in sleepy, small town Woodinville, WA, but now resides three hours south in (a much more urban) Portland, OR. He used to be associate editor at Transworld Snowboarding magazine and was a co-creator of Thrasher magazine’s King of the Road. He has also raced in the Baja 1000! Today, though, Chris has given up the skateboarding, snowboarding and off-road racing life for the equally entertaining rock ‘n roll lifestyle. As (rock band) Red Fang’s tour manager, he is responsible for – well, scheduling their tours. His favorite city so far? Lisbon, Portugal. In addition to creating logical tours, he also sells Red Fang merch, blogs about the band, photographs the shows, drives the gear truck and more. Chris made it a point to tell me that (and I quote): “My mom says I’m real handsome.” I tried to reach her for confirmation, but she was unavailable for comment. I suppose we’ll just need to take his word for it. Handsome or not, here are Chris Coyle’s desert island choices…

OLM: The desert island question: if you could take the collected works of five artists, who would the five be?

Chris Coyle: Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Booker T and the MGs, The Funk Brothers and Neil Young.

OLM: Old school. I love it! Not to mention just how collectively huge that catalog is. Let’s talk about the mighty Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio-fronted Sabbath? Why?

CC: That’s apples and oranges, man! You can’t think of those as the same band; they’re not. I love them both in separate ways. But if I had to choose, I gotta go with Ozzy. There are a couple Ian Gillan jams, but most likely I would use those CDs to try and flag down planes.

OLM: Why does Black Sabbath make your desert island five?

CC: Why?! Listen to Black Sabbath (the first album), Paranoid, Masters Of Reality and Vol. 4. Then ask me that question. That’s like asking why is beer delicious? …because it just fuckin’ is!

OLM: Do you remember when (and how) you were introduced to them?

CC: My Dad gave me Paranoid on cassette, which is funny since he HATES Sabbath. I had just gotten my first taste of hard rock/ metal when my older cousin gave me a one of those crappy CVS cheap tapes with [Def Leppard’s] High ‘n’ Dry on one side and [Mötley Crüe’s] Too Fast For Love on the other. My dad was like, “If you want to listen to that style of music, you gotta know where it came from” and handed me two tapes: Led Zeppelin II and Paranoid. FUCK! Led Zeppelin! How the hell did I not put them on my list? Blowing it. Interview’s ruined.

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OLM: Have you had the pleasure of witnessing the Sabs live? If so, did the live show live up to your expectations?

CC: No. I had a real bad experience the first time I saw a reunion show (not going to name names) but ever since I won’t go. I’m terrified of having them blow it and then having that stuck in my head for all of eternity instead of what I have already in my head. A ton of my friends went and said it was great, though…

I should have gone.

Blowing it again.

OLM: What Black Sabbath songs and/or albums stand out for you as the cream of the crop?

CC: First album, first track: Black Sabbath. Could you imagine it’s 1970 everything is pretty poppy and all about peace and love…you put that album on for the first time and hear the rain, followed by the bells and then that first riff just punches you straight in the nards? That is some of the heaviest shit ever written.

OLM: What are your thoughts on their most recent release (and first studio album with Ozzy in 35 years), 2013’s 13?

CC: I’ll be honest. I have only listened to it once. See my answer about the live shows…

OLM: Let’s talk about your main gig, working with Red Fang. How did you end up working with the band?

CC: I’ll give you the short version. I lived with John [Sherman – drummer] and David [Sullivan – guitarist] years ago when they were in a band with Bryan [Giles – guitar/vocals] called Party Time. Party Time broke up, Bryan moved to San Diego, John and David started playing with Aaron [Beam – bass/vocals]. In the meantime I was in a band called Portals with Erik Olson (Lord Dying – guitar/vocals), Andy Forgash (Danava – guitar) and our good friend Bobcat. Bryan moved back to Portland and Red Fang formed. They wanted to do a west coast tour, so we teamed up and went out. Portals broke up a little while later and the Red Fang boys asked me if I wanted to go out with them and slang some T-shirts. The band grew and I went from just selling shirts to tour managing. Seven years later, here I am.

OLM: You’ve now worked hundreds of Red Fang shows. Are you tired of hearing ‘Prehistoric Dog’ yet?

CC: Surprisingly, no.

OLM: What’s your favorite aspect of the job?

CC: Getting to eat fast food guilt free.

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OLM: Enough talk about music. What else do you like to do when not working, Chris?

CC: Play pinball. Actually Bryan and I have a pinball crew here in Portland called the Whiskey Dicks. If you are ever in Portland and see the initials WDX in a pinball machine, that’s one of our crew. There are actually a couple of crews in town: Crazy Flipper Fingers (CFF) is the OG gang in town and there is Out Of Order (OOO) who have been around forever, too. We are kind of the new kids in town, but we hold our own.

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