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* Rayna *

Tap Dancing, The Bangles and Ozzfest:

An interview with Rayna from Coal Chamber

L.A., California's Coal Chamber is the latest
 in a growing number of bands
whose style can be characterized as a heavy, 
tuned-down hybrid of metal and
punk rock. In avoiding both the cartoonish imagery
 of White Zombie and the
sheer crassness of Korn, Coal Chamber stands out 
from the crowd because,
unlike many of their contemporaries, they're not 
trying to emulate those bands
who have already established a level of success
 in this genre, but are, instead,
trying to develop their own identity. 

The buzz generated by this band was sufficient 
enough to land them a spot on
the second stage at this summer's Ozzfest '97 
tour. Two days before the kickoff
date (at the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia) I'm 
hanging out waiting for a phone call
from their bassist, Rayna. I have to admit,
 after hearing Coal Chamber's album
and seeing their pictures, I expected her
 to be like some really tough,
hard-as-nails biker-chick or something. Well, 
that image could not have been
further from the truth. She was very un-threatening, 
polite and, well, just really
gosh-darn nice. 

Since Coal Chamber is still relatively new on the
 scene, how about a brief
history of the band. 

We've been together...our anniversary will be this
 July - 3 years. We got signed
about a year ago...our [first] record came out three
 months ago. We're from
L.A. About two years ago we were ready to get signed
 and then Dez [vocalist]
left the band for a while due to relationship we broke up for about
8 months. We got back together, we got signed by
 Roadrunner, and here we

So its kind of like a Coal Chamber "reunion" then? 

Yeah. Kind of. 

And what about the name of the band? 

Well its not really that much of an exciting story. 
Right before I called Coal. Dez liked the name and 
Meegs [guitarist] wanted to change the namejoined,
they were

to Chamber. They both liked the names so we put 
them together like peanut
butter and jelly and...there you go. 

How did you get into playing bass? 

Well I always listed to music...all kinds of stuff, 
but I haven't really been playing
the bass that long, maybe like for about three years
...about six months before I
joined the band. One of my main influences has been
 tap dancing. 


Does that make sense?

Well tap dancing is a rhythm-oriented kind of thing. 

I danced my whole life and I was a dance teacher before.
 I never planned on
being a bass player in a band. I was at a party and 
I was sitting there kind of
bored and I saw this thing in a closet, and it looked like
 a guitar, and I was like
"Is that a guitar?" and [my friend] said "It's a bass guitar...
you can check it out."
And was just like messing around, I didn't know what I was
 doing. He was like
"I don't ever play it, you can have it." And this was 
like six months before I
joined the band. So I took it home and played around with
 it. I worked with
Dez's ex-wife and when they were looking for a new bass 
player, she told Dez "I
have a friend at work who plays the bass," and I really 
didn't. So he called
up...said to come down and audition. So I said "fuck it" 
and did it, and I got it.
Eight days later I played my first show. 

Do you think you get treated differently by people in
 the industry because
you're a "chick"? 

If I think of it, maybe so. But if I get any negative or
 derogatory comments, I
just let it go right over me. Most people, after they get 
to know me, they treat me
[as an equal]...I'm treated like one of the guys, 
 by the band...they're
like my brothers. 

And you said that you listened to a lot of different types
 of music while
growing up. What was the first concert you ever went 

I think it was, and you're probably gonna laugh...the Bangles and Cyndi Lauper. 

Yeah, I can see heavy influences of both of those in Coal Chamber's music. 


How have the crowds been reacting to you, seeing you for the first time? 

We toured with Downset before the album was released. Those 
shows went
really well. We had great crowd response. The kids hadn't even 
heard our music
before and they were already pitting halfway through the first was really
great. And then...we got on the Danzig tour and we got such 
a great crowd
response. I was so happy, it gave me goosebumps. 

A lot of music critics compare you to Korn, or label Coal 
Chamber as
"White Zombie wanna-be's". Do you have a response to that? 

Yeah. that doesn't bother me. When a new band comes out, 
you have to be
compared to somebody, to describe the band. I'd rather be 
compared with Korn
or White Zombie than compared to Oasis or Bush or something
 like that. But
once you hear the album, you're gonna realize that we have 
our own style. It's a
compliment to me. I love Korn. 

Were the crowds at Ozzfest the biggest that you had ever
 played to? 

Uh-huh. Oh we did play the Dynamo Festival. That was like...
80,000 or

Were you nervous? 

Uh-huh. I had to pee like 10 times [before we went on stage].
 They're like
"Where are you going?" and I'm like, "I gotta pee," and 
they're like, "Hurry up,
the intro's on." 

What's next for the band? 

I don't know. It's a surprise...(laughs)...
for me too. 

Is there anything that you, personally, would like
 to say? 

Yes. And I have to stress this. If you like the record,
 you have to come see the
live show. You have to. Because it brings everything
 into perspective...that's
what its all about.