Bayou City

Corrosion of Conformity Bring Their 35 Years Of Metal To Houston

Corrosion of Conformity keep up the heavy sounds they've become known for.
Corrosion of Conformity keep up the heavy sounds they've become known for. Photo by Dean Karr

Corrosion Of Conformity have been around for 35 years, but you wouldn't know that by catching them perform. Minus a six year hiatus, bassist and metal legend Mike Dean has been with the band for 30 of those years, performing their intense music nightly.

"I don't really have any regrets, though I do regret that I missed playing on Blind because it's so classic rock. Our trajectory as a band, it's been a good one. Technically what we do now is different than what we did we when began, it's the same in a lot of ways though. It's funny to see many bands today use thrash as their jump off point."

The current world of streaming has dried up a lot of physical sales, keeping bands like C.O.C. out on the road for long periods of time. Though Dean says that's kind of always been the case. "It's probably that way, but even 20 years ago you had to still go out a lot. Touring is everyone's revenue stream. When you go see Queens of The Stone Age and ask yourself, why are shirts 50 bucks, it's cause' that's where the band's real money is at."

Dean is just as legendary as the rest of the band. His chops and presence landed him on the Probot project with Dave Grohl. "He reached out to me cause' he was trying to curate a collection of hardcore and metal guys that he appreciated. That project was cool, me, Wino, Lee Dorrian, Eric Wagner; I was happy to be asked. A little while later, this two inch tape shows up and I took a listen. It was really about 15 minutes of work and that's it."

Much has been said about the early days of Corrosion of Conformity, their thrash sound that was eventually abandoned for a heavier metal sound.  No Cross No Crown is their latest release.  "Well, you know, I'd like to say that we're calculated, but we aren't," Dean says. "When we got back together, we did the Animosity stuff. We looked back at that time when punk rockers would critique us, and we were pulling from that for IX. But, we also were looking to a little band called Black Sabbath with a little (Judas) Priest thrown in.

"To me, the original Priest records are more impactful than guys tuning down to A. Priest has always been one of those bands for me, where I tried to pretend that I wasn't a fan when I always was. I tried to act like I was smarter than that, but they've always been a guilty pleasure. This new one, a song like "The Luddite," it was the last song we'd written, and we tracked it as we went cause' we knew we were onto something. Pepper coming back made this record different without sabotaging everything from before."

Keeping things simple without mixing it up too much is how most bands that have been around this long tour, and the same can be said about C.O.C.  "I keep all of my gear simple, I have my original rig and now a satellite rig as well. So, the Mesa head and the SVT cabinet on one side, then a 1975 SVT rig I bought from a guy in the North Carolina woods. If you've toured the world and played these festivals, you just know to steer from boutique pedals and stick to ubiquitous gear. On those expensive pedals, I look at them like a drill. What will the $1,500 drill do that the cheap Walmart one won't do, they both make a hole.

"Now our live show when we're opening for someone, is just two new songs alongside 30 years of material. So "Wolf Named Crow" and "The Luddite," stuff from Wiseblood and Deliverance, it's the pressure to play familiar tunes while getting the new stuff out there too."

You can stream the entire Corrosion Of Conformity catalog on all platforms, or order No Cross No Crown on multiple formats and bundles directly from Nuclear Blast Records. Corrosion Of Conformity will set the big room at White Oak Music Hall a blaze when they return to Houston on August 17. The all ages show will also feature sets from Mothership and Heavy Temple. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets $25.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.