Interview with Doc Coyle; guitarist of God Forbid
HHM – Any particular meaning behind the name of the band?
Doc – My brother Dallas who used to play guitar came up with the name back in 1997. I think it was just a very cool sounding name for an extreme band. More often than not, metal bands do not have deep meanings behind the name. I think we’re just trying to sound tough and metal, when we’re young especially.
HHM – What brought all of you guys together? friends, family, other artists?
Doc – My brother and I were only 16 and 17 when we met the other guys who were 5 or 6 years older. One of our high school friend’s, John, who we used to draw comic books with saw that we were really into playing guitar. His cousin, Robbie, was jamming with Corey and Byron, and he just hooked us up with each other. We took our little combo amps over to Robbie’s house one saturday afternoon and made some noise in the basement and I guess something just stuck. This was in 1996.
HHM – What song means the most to you, and why?
Doc – Right now, the song “Move On” from the Equilibrium album means the most to me. I wrote the entire song including music and lyrics. The lyrics just touch on a relationship that went back and forth for a couple years and was destroying me in a lot of ways. I was really trying to work through the anger and talk myself into getting past it. I’ve never had a situation where I loved someone so much even though they did some terrible things to me.
HHM – Starting out did you ever think that you would be where you are today?
Doc – I never really thought too far in the future when I was younger. I couldn’t imagine what being an adult was like when I was a kid or being in the “real world”. When I graduated high school, I kind of just went with the flow. I went to college because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. Than the band started to really distinguish itself, and it seemed like we were onto something. So I just went with the flow. I never thought we would make a life out of touring, and do the whole rock n roll thing, and get to meet, tour and become friends with many of my heroes. I really look at many of my accomplishments as things in the past. It’s great that I did them, and I’m proud, but Im really always thinking about the next thing, not the past.
HHM – What are your likes and dislikes about being on tour?
Doc – The best thing about touring is being able to play everyday, especially when people are really connecting to what you’re doing. There’s the kind of accelerated ego boost that goes along with that, that I think a lot of musicians get addicted to and I got off from when I was younger. Lately though, I’ve been more connected to the performance itself. As I become better, it becomes more gratifying. Traveling is cool, and getting to meet people from all over the world, absorb some different cultures. I definitely feel more worldly than the average Joe. I think the the things I dislike about touring is how difficult it has made having a normal, functional relationship. Many women cannot handle it for good reason. Also, I think just being on tour for any longer than a month, you start to go a bit crazy. Maybe you party too much. That takes a toll on your body. I’m getting a little older, and my health has become more of a priority. If I can’t get the right food, enough sleep and exercise, I really start to hate touring. Also, being away from friends and family sucks too.
HHM – Do you spend a lot of time in the bus/van or are you out and about while on tour?
Doc – Bus and van tours are two different worlds. In a bus, you mainly travel when you are sleeping. You can maintain a more normal lifestyle. In a van, you tend to sleep in town, and get up early to drive. so bigger part of your day is spent experiencing the travel and can get very tedious. I think the claustrophobic nature of touring in tight confines causes a lot of tension amongst bands. It’s not the most healthy thing.
HHM – What would you say is the most important thing that keeps you motivated to keep going?
Doc – As long as I feel that the band is relevant in terms of putting out meaningful material, and people care enough where we can sell enough tickets and albums to make a living, than I really enjoy it.
HHM – Where are your favorite states/ cities to play?
Doc – Things tend to become very consistent when you tour for a while. I can’t say any areas are significantly better than others. Obviously, playing NJ is always fun. Texas has it’s own energy. The UK has been very good to us. I would love to go back to Finland, Australia and Japan.
HHM – Are you currently working on any new material?
Doc – Not for God Forbid, but I’ve been working on material for a rock project for the last few years. Hopefully, that will see the light of day in the near future.
HHM – When you were on the same tour as Five Finger Death Punch, and Killswitch Engage did it intimidate you at all, or drive you to want to be in their shoes one day?
Doc – It doesn’t intimidate me one bit. We’ve been playing shows of this size for almost 10 years. I think confidence comes with experience. I don’t even get nervous very often anymore. I am very ambitious. I would like to be at the level of those band’s one day. That’s what I make music for, not for the underground.
HHM – What was it like touring with Gwar? I bet that was quite an experience.
Doc – That seems a little random. That was in 2002. At the time, I wasn’t too familiar outside of seeing them on Beavis and Butthead. It was an event show, the biggest tour we’d been a part of at the time. It was a lot of fun, but I remember we had to work very hard to grab people on the tour. The crowd really wanted to see Gwar, so you had to bring the A game. It made us a better band, better showmen. They are great guys too. Gotta love those Richmond boys. It was a very long tour as well, around 2 months.
HHM – Who would you say are your greatest inspirations in the music industry and why?
Doc – Slash is probably my biggest inspiration. I love his work ethic. He just wants to play. He does it for the right reasons, and the success comes after the fact. He’s also my guitar hero, and I try to emulate some of his melodic lead playing. Dave Grohl is a big inspiration as well. I think his motivations are the right way to approach this whole thing and he experiences real joy through creating and performing. He also may be the best rock songwriter of the last 15 years or so. His consistency is staggering.
HHM – Out of all of your tours you have been on, who did you enjoy sharing the stage with the most, and why?
Doc – The first band would probably be Machine Head. We got to do 4 months with them in 2004. They were one of my favorite bands coming up, so it was kind of surreal. Than I became very close with them as people and that has been very special to me. Also, watching their professionalism was really informative. They do things the right way. The 2nd band would be Metallica. I got to tour with them when I was filling in for Lamb of God. Metallica is my favorite band of all time. I watched them every night. They were the best guys ever. That was a dream come true.
HHM – What was the most humbling moment of your career?
Doc – Definitely the Lamb of God gig. Filling Mark’s shoes was a very difficult job. I busted my ass, but I was the most nervous I’d ever been. As soon as I went out there, it was fine, but you don’t want to fuck up a big time gig like that.
HHM – Who are a couple bands that you haven’t toured with but would like to?
Doc – At The Gates, Alice In Chains, Deftones, Muse, Tool.
HHM – What are your favorite things to do in your down time?
Doc – My favorite thing to do is play and watch basketball. I’m a bit obsessed. I wrote an NBA blog for Metalsucks.net this past year. I’m a comedy podcast junkie as well. I listen to Joe Rogan, Bill Burr, Jay Mohr, The Champs. That stuff is really fascinating to me. World culture and issues at large are things that interest me. Religion, politics, philosophy, history, science, etc. I’m always absorbing whatever I can online.
HHM – What is your best advice for new bands starting out who look up to you?
Doc – The only thing I can say is to try and have a unique voice. To me, heavy music is suffering from an originality deficit. There hasn’t been a band to set the world on fire like a Slipknot or a Rammstein or even a Killswitch in a while. Everything seems to be focused on subgenre. Also, bands need to not be in such a huge rush to tour. Don’t bankrupt yourself just because you think it will be awesome in Toledo. It will not be awesome, you will lose money to get “exposure” by playing in front of 15 people at a bar. Build your name a bit.
HHM – What are you currently listening to the most?
Doc – I’ve been obsessed with Skrillex Bangarang EP. Also AWOLNATION, M83, the last Kanye West album is really cool. I just heard that. I’ve been wearing out the new Muse singles. I’m psyched for that album. I’m on the hunt for new music. Different sounding stuff. I’m looking for new influences.
HHM – Anything else you would like to say to your fans reading this?
Doc – Thank you for your support. Please follow me on twitter @doc4bid
Interview by Harley Hughes – HHM
Building up a following in the late 1990s by touring with bands such as GWAR, Nile, Cradle of Filth and Candiria, God Forbid’s first full album Reject the Sickness was released by 9 Volt Records in 1999. This album received heavy rotation from WSOU-FM in the New York City area and the band was subsequently signed to Century Media Records, releasing the album Determination in 2001. They playe
d on the MTV2 Headbangers Ball tour with Shadows Fall and Lamb of God.
In 2004, they released Gone Forever, which along with a slot on Ozzfest’s second-stage, increased their profile considerably. The next year, they released IV: Constitution of Treason, a concept album about the end of the world. It was their first album to enter the Billboard 200, debuting at number 118. In 2005 and 2006, they supported Trivium on their UK tour along with Mendeed and Bloodsimple. In late 2006 and early 2007, they headlined the Chains of Humanity tour.
In 2006, God Forbid’s “To the Fallen Hero” won the Independent Music Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Song. They released a DVD on June 10, 2008, and their fifth studio album, Earthsblood, was released on February 24, 2009, and landed at number 110 on the Billboard 200. God Forbid toured across the United States and Canada in the No Fear Energy Music Tour featuring Lamb of God and others in April.
In March 2009, Dallas Coyle left the band. His replacement for the upcoming tour was named as former Darkest Hour guitarist Kris Norris. He was later replaced by Matt Wicklund. In July 2009, God Forbid participated in the Rockstar Mayhem Festival along with Trivium, Bullet for My Valentine, Cannibal Corpse, All That Remains, Slayer, Marilyn Manson and many others.
In April 2010, the band issued an update that they started work on a new album. The new album is titled Equilibrium and was released on March 26, 2012.
From July 13 – August 28, 2012, God Forbid will take part in Metal Hammer’s “Trespass America Festival” headlined by Five Finger Death Punch with additional support from Battlecross, Emmure, Pop Evil, Trivium and Killswitch Engage.