Interview With God Forbid
Interview by Lord of the Wasteland
Pics courtesy of godforbid.com
God Forbid has just released one of the best CDs Ive heard in a while, GONE
FOREVER. The band released a teaser E.P late in 2003 called BETTER DAYS and it
was an excellent introduction to God Forbid. It featured a song from each of their four
releases. Comprised of brothers Dallas and Doc Coyle on guitars, John Outcalt
on bass, Corey Pierce on drums and Byron Davis on vocals, God Forbid is an American
metalcore band from New Jersey. Now put away that sneer, because God Forbid isnt
your typical ballcap-wearing, baggy-pant having, downtuned-guitar playing,
microphone-shouting band of meatheads. They mix some thrash elements and clean vocals a la
Shadows Fall with the aggression of hardcore. And these guys can actually play AND sing!
When asked if I wanted to interview the band, I jumped at the chance and was fortunate to
spend half an hour with guitarist Doc Coyle (the bald one of the two brothers
:) ) talking about the new CD, internal conflicts that nearly shattered the group, and the
ever-hot topic of American politics.
Your new CD, GONE FOREVER, doesnít hit stores until February 24th,
but thanks to Century Media, I got a promo copy. Iíve been listening to
it over and over for the last 3 days and I have to say that this is one of
the best CDs Iíve heard this year!
Thanks a lot! I appreciate that.
I was looking around online to see what some other people thought of it and I really
couldnt find very much. Have you seen any reviews for the new record and if so, what
have they been saying?
Theres really not too much. I think Ive maybe seen 4 or 5 reviews?
Were still kind of awaiting some of the major sites to review it but every single
review Ive seen has been very, very good.
Thats great! You must be very happy about that. The last album, DETERMINATION,
had some great buzz about it and this one seems to be heading in that same direction.
Well I think this album is much, much better than the last one. I mean now were
more well-known and its not so much of a surprise. You know, whos this
band? People call us metalcore or whatever and I think the whole
metalcore scene has become over-saturated, so I think its harder for a band of that
genre to really stand out. When people give us a good review, its more of a
testament to the time because I think a lot of great records have come out since our last
album. If our album can hold up to that, thats the true test.
Did you approach the recording of this album any different than DETERMINATION?
Well, we had a different producer work on this album-Eric Rachel-as opposed to Zeuss,
who did the last one. On DETERMINATION, we were all still kind of figuring out what we
were doing songwriting-wise and recording-wise. I dont think we had any specific
goals in mind. This time, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Eric knew the ways to help
us get that and with Colin Richardson mixing, that helped a lot, too. We had a bit more
time to record this time, too. Probably twice as much time for this record, so that helps
Its been 3 years since DETERMINATION was released. What took so long to get
GONE FOREVER out?
We toured for a year and a half. We didnt really write much on the road. I think
the only song we wrote while we were still touring was Force-Fed. Everything
else was written after we got home from touring. It was hard for people to adapt to the
new writing style and the songs we were going for, so it took us a while to really get
comfortable with what we were doing and what we were going for. We had some personal
issues with each other that kind of came to a head that we had to work on. There was a
time when we almost broke up because there was tension within the group but we worked that
out if we were going to move forward. We recorded the album in July, so its been 7
months since we actually recorded it, too. A lot of that has to do with the label wanting
to set it up properly.
I saw you live on The Headbangers Ball Tour here in Vancouver in November.
From what it sounds like, the album was long done by that time?
Yeah, everything was completely done by that time. It was mastered and everything.
Weve been sitting on it for quite a while and weve known how good it was, so
it was kind of frustrating to have to sit back and wait for everyone to hear the record.
We believe in the album and we think that once people actually hear it that theyll
kind of get what were all about. Were not the same band that we were 4 or 5
years ago. We really feel that were a new band and the new album really represents
us in a completely different way than our older material.
You mentioned Force-Fed, which happens to be one of my favorite tracks
from the album. I love the thrashy intro!
Who writes most of the riffs? Is it you or your brother, Dallas?
On this album, I think I was the catalyst. Id say I wrote probably 60 or 70% of
the riffs on the new record. Towards the end, my brother started getting into it. The song
Allegiance, which is on the BETTER DAYS E.P., he wrote that entire song.
He wrote Soul Engraved. He came up with all of the melodic vocal melodies and
such. (Laughs) Hes over here looking at me when I said that I wrote most of the
riffs. Its true, punk! (laughs) After I get off the phone, well have to go
over every riff on the album (laughs).
Does Byron write his own lyrics?
This time around, we actually split it up. Anything that went on with the record was
really a collaborative experience. On our past records, we just let everyone do what they
wanted to do. This time around, it couldnt be like that. Every single note, every
EVERYTHING had to be scrutinized. If it wasnt good enough, we went
in a different direction because it just had to be good, you know? But he definitely
contributed to the lyrics as well as Dallas and myself. We really wanted the lyrics to
represent everyones views in the band. They needed to speak to people on a broader
level and be more specific.
One of the lyrics that really stood out is from Washed-Out World, where
you ask, What does the future hold? Is God Forbid politically-minded, if
thats what youre asking in that song?
Well, that song is actually written about the end of the world and the destruction of
the Earth. Heat boiling over and earthquakes destroying everything. Its kind of an
apocalyptic song. I think Byron wrote the lyrics to that one. My brother might have
contributed a little. I dont remember off-hand. I think lyrics take a life of their
own because they have a meaning for people and how you take them in and apply them to
yourself. I think they can mean whatever you want them to mean.
Who is, Antihero about?
George Bush! Yeah, that song is about the whole war situation and how much hate we have
for our current president-A LOT!! Were just waiting for the next election so we can
get him out of office. I think most people realize that hes a really bad president
who shouldnt even be in office because he wasnt even elected, but thats
another story (laughs).
Its not looking too good for him right now either, is it?
I hope not. Hes really just terrible. Hes done a lot of band things for
this country. We shouldnt be at war. War is not good! He calls himself a war
president! WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?! I mean, grown people do not go around
getting in fights when we walk down the street! That just doesnt make sense to walk
up and hit somebody but it makes sense if you fly 5,000 miles away and kill people who you
dont even know? Its barbaric and its an ancient concept. Hopefully, we
can get beyond that and move on. If not, then we are doomed.
Getting back to the songs, who plays the piano intro to Judge The Blood?
It was Mike Pinnella, the keyboard player from Symphony X.
Really? How did you get involved with him?
They live right around here. He and my brother also worked at a guitar center together.
Theres keyboards on a few of the songs actually. Washed-Out World has
some, Precious Lie, Force-Fed in spots and Gone
Forever, too. He just kind of helped us out for a couple of hours and did that
stuff. He didnt even know much about the group at first, either. He just came in as
a favor to us and hes one of the craziest musicians Ive ever seen in my life!
Were punk rockers compared to guys like that! All those guys could probably have
instructional videos. Not us!
I read that youve done a video for Better Days. What is happening
in the video?
Theres a storyline going through one week in this one individuals life and
what he goes through. His feelings of depression, anger and sadness. The footage of the
band is taken from stuff we did in Philadelphia with my brother and I on top of a
building. Theres stuff with Byron in the subway. Its really cool! We did a lot
of location stuff, which is kind of different because usually its just the band in
one room but we got out and did some scenes with us in different environments. We did it
on 16mm film for pretty cheap but it came out really good. I havent seen it on the
TV, yet. Just on the computer, but for what we spent on it, it came out really good. It
doesnt look like everyones video. It will premiere on February 28th at 10:00
PM on The Headbangers Ball. Do you get the same channel in Canada?
We get MTV Canada but you have to pay extra for it and other than the hour a week of
metal, its complete shit, so I dont get it. We do get a show called Loud on
MuchMusic that is a half hour of metal a week on Saturday nights. I imagine theyll
be playing the video on there soon, too.
Oh cool. I hope so.
The BETTER DAYS E.P. came out and was priced at $3.00, which is a steal! Why did
Century Media put it out for so cheap? They cant possibly be making any money for
The main reason behind that was to tide people over who had really been waiting for
something from us because it had been such a long time. It got people familiar with what
the new material was like and also if someone had never heard of the band, it kind of
gives a brief history of us. Theres songs from every release weve done and it
also has an unreleased song called Allegiance that is exclusive to the E.P..
If youre a big fan, youll feel like youre getting something extra. I
didnt even want the E.P. to come out! I just wanted the album to come out but I
think its a good idea just to keep your name out there and have a presence until the
new record comes out. My opinion is that, yeah, there is one song that isnt on the
new album but I dont think its representative of what the album really is.
Id just be afraid that if someone heard it and didnt like it then they
wouldnt get the album.
One of the older songs, Mind Eraser, doesnt even sound like the
same band as you are today, in my opinion.
That is not even the right version of the song. We re-recorded Mind Eraser
when we did DETERMINATION. It had a better recording and the label put the wrong version
on the E.P.. It would have made it a lot better and worthwhile because it would have been
a rare version of the song that no one had. I was really pissed off about it, but
theres nothing I can do about it now.
Reject The Sickness has a volume increase about halfway through that
seemed strange. Was that supposed to be there?
Honestly, I think they completely messed up that master. I think I know what
youre talking about, though.
Yeah, about a minute and a half into the song, it starts getting steadily louder!
I dont know what happened with that E.P.. They let us approve everything except
the actual music when they put it out.
So the band didnt even pick the older songs that were used?
I picked the songs and I sent an e-mail to my manager to tell him what to put on there,
but between the time I sent out those instructions and when the E.P. came out, there was
about 4 months time and they just put it out without verifying that they had the right
things! They just did and see what happened? Im not saying nothing! Hopefully if
they repress the E.P. theyll put the right versions on there.
The covers for both the E.P. and GONE FOREVER are pretty cool. I see where
youre headed with the crow as representing death and standing over the grave. Who
was it that designed them and did they do both covers?
Yes, it was Travis Smith. Hes done covers for Nevermore, Opeth, Strapping Young
Lad, Skinlab and Soilwork. I had the concept for the back of the E.P. with the snowglobe.
Now its kind of the general idea and he kind of took that and ran with it with the
help of Tom Bejgrowicz who was our original A&R guy at Century Media. He did the art
coordination. The album cover art basically represents the same landscape as the E.P., but
years and years later. On the back cover, the bird is actually flying away, so its
supposed to give you some kind of feeling of hope. I think it really catches what the
album sounds like.
There were three instrumentals on DETERMINATION but none on GONE FOREVER. Why did
you decide to drop that?
There was one instrumental that I wrote but we ended up running out of time. It
wasnt that long. Its just this really cool guitar harmony thing. Were
actually going to play it live on our upcoming tour, but its not on the record,
which I think is kind of cool because it will be something that people have never heard.
In a way Im kind of happy that there are no instrumentals on the album because now,
everyones doing instrumentals! We had instrumentals on REJECT THE SICKNESS and
DETERMINATION but now Shadows Fall has instrumentals on their albums. I really like doing
instrumentals but I think it was cool for us to do something a little different this time.
Theres an instrumental version of Better Days thats going to
be on a Sony Playstation II videogame. How did you get involved in that project?
The person who worked at the company for the game just happened to hear the song and
called Century Media. We really had nothing to do with it. I cant wait to get the
game and check it out!
GONE FOREVER is coming out in Japan. Have you guys actually toured over there
This is our first release in Japan. Japan didnt pick up DETERMINATION, which was
actually a big disappointment for us. Theyre very specific about their metal and
what they like, so I think this album will do really well over there. Metal is huge over
there! Its such a different world so Im hoping it works out. Toy Factory is
the big label there that all the metal bands are on and this is going to be on Toy
Are there any plans to tour in Japan?
Im sure we will, but theres nothing planned right now. Were still
working on locking up some of these U.S. tours first and then well try. Youve
got to start at home and work your way out!
Youre starting a tour next week with Walls of Jericho. Who else is on that
Blood Has Been Shed and Full Blown Chaos.
And will God Forbid be headlining?
Yes we will. Blood Has Been Shed actually features Howard from Killswitch Engage.
Thats his side band. Theyre pretty damn amazing themselves. Theyve been
around for a long time. This should be a really good tour because Walls of Jerichos
new record comes out the same day as ours does and they havent toured in the last
few years. They actually broke up for awhile and got back together. Were a little
nervous because were headlining and we havent really done that before, but
youve got to do it sometime (laughs). I think with the strength of the new record we
should do pretty good. After that, were doing a week with Chimera in the Midwest and
then we continue headlining for another 4 or 5 weeks with Walls of Jericho and 36
Crazyfists. Theyre originally from Alaska but they live in Portland. Were good
friends with those guys.
Will you be heading up to Canada at all?
Um, I dont know! Besides Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, we havent played
there. I dont even know what the middle of Canada is like.
If youve been to North Dakota, its the same thing: Farms and wheatfields
as far as the eye can see!
Oh yeah. You can stand on the west side of the prairies and see a thousand miles
east with nothing in between! I lived there for 20 years, so I know what Im talking
So the shows probably wont be too big, huh?
Well you know, they dont get a lot of shows there and the people are starved
for heavy music, so when the bands do actually go there, theres huge turnouts!
nobody ever goes there!
I know Hatebreed played up there, but theyve also sold 250,000 records. To be
able to do a tour like that, you have to have very large drawing power. If you can draw
2,000 people in New York, then you can probably do a Canadian tour (laughs). Wed
certainly be happy to do a Canadian tour if one was ever handed to us though.
How did you end up on The Headbangers Ball tour? When I saw the Vancouver
show, you were the first band on and everybody seemed pretty into you guys.
That tour was amazing! You saw it
there were probably 1,000 people at that show!
It was like that pretty much every night. The shows were packed and we had really, really
responsive crowds. For us, I think Vancouver was a pretty tame show because wed
never played there. Thats pretty much how we built up our entire fan base was
through touring and being in places several times and playing with other bands and
stealing some of their fans. We hadnt toured in a while. It was probably a year
before that in some of those places. I think there are a lot of newer metal bands that
kind of went into this style. There are a lot of people who were into nu-metal that are
finally getting into REAL metal bands, so I think it was a new audience for us. Right now,
were working on getting on Ozzfest. If we can lock that up, that would a huge help.
Theyre getting some big names on Ozzfest this year! The last couple of years
were kind of weak.
Yeah, theres Judas Priest, Slayer, Dimmu Borgir, Slipknot, Hatebreed, Lamb of
This year, they have REAL metal bands that people actually care about, so it
will be interesting to see the draws they get without Linkin Park or P.O.D. on there. They
sell 5 million records but well see if that affects the actual attendance of the
shows. I guess they feel with Ozzy, Priest and Slayer, they can do it!
I was just reading somewhere today that Ozzys got a dozen doctors that he
needs to bring on tour with him because of that accident he had a couple months ago, but
its a real testimony to the mans determination to come out on the road again.
Yeah, I cant believe hes going to do it. I thought they would cancel it for
sure, or at least he would cancel and they would let Priest headline or something.
Hopefully Ill be able to see all that stuff from on the tour and not as a paying
customer (laughs)! I think this is the type of tour that makes bands, you know? It lifts
your status. After you do Ozzfest and youre in this band that people know and say,
WHOA! They did Ozzfest. They must be a top band! With the record just out,
too, I think that will elevate our status. Gotta see what happens (laughs)!
God Forbid was involved in a Guns n Roses tribute album awhile back. How did
you get involved with that and what track are you doing?
We did Out Ta Get Me. We did that this past summer while we were doing
pre-production for GONE FOREVER. It was fun! We went in and recorded the song in a day.
Its really raw but it actually came out pretty good. Im pleased with it. We
really had to get into that rock n roll mode because we cant really play Guns
n Roses like a metal band. We had some fun, had a couple beers and turned up some
Gn R (laughs)! Theyre definitely one of my favorite bands of all time.
Thats the reason I play guitar today!
Really! That was actually my next question
who are your guitar influences?
Starting off with Slash, theres Metallica, Megadeth, Marty Friedman, Randy
Rhoads, Dimebag from Pantera, Chuck Schuldiner from Death, Carcass, At the Gates,
Meshuggah. A lot of great players! Its cool to be finally be in these guitar
magazines, too. Its really weird because youre in the same magazines that you
were reading as a little kid!
Where did you get the nickname, Doc from?
I got it from my brother when we were little. I dont even know what it means. He
just started calling me Doc and it kind of stuck. Everyone calls me
Doc, even my parents. My grandmother
What is it like working with your brother in the same band?
Well, were best friends and worst enemies. Well fight like its
nobodys business. Theres no one that can piss me off more than him and
theres no one that can piss him off more than me. Its kind of like a Dr.
Jekyll & Mr. Hyde act. People either find us really annoying or really amusing?
What are you listening to right now? Any CDs stand out from the pack?
Coheed & Cambria, The Darkness record, The new Walls of Jericho album. I usually
listen to older stuff.
Alright, Doc. Thats all the questions I have for you today. It was a pleasure
talking to you and thanks for taking the time to talk to Metal Rules! Good luck with GONE
FOREVER and the summer tours, man!
Thanks. Are you going to be reviewing the album for Metal Rules?
Yeah Ive been listening to it like crazy. The review should be up the first or
second week of March.
OK! That sounds very cool. Take care, Sean.
Thanks to George at Century Media for setting up the interview and rushing me the
promo in time!
Read my review of GONE FOREVER here:
Read my review of the BETTER DAYS E.P. here:
Band Website: www.godforbid.com
Label Website: www.centurymedia.com