Once upon a time in a galaxy not really all that far away, Luke Pabich (Good Riddance), Jake Desrochers (The Lonely Kings), and Tom Kennedy (Fury 66) started a band together called Coercion 96. But then their other bands started taking up most of their time and Coercion 96 was put on hold. Well, they’re back now along with Papa Roach’s Tony Palermo on drums and just released a 4-song EP called “Exit Wounds”. Here’s an interview with Luke & Jake about the band’s return to form.
PRT: First of all, what made you decide to breathe new life into Coercion 96 20 years down the line?
Luke: We’ve all been living with regret for letting the band fall apart 20 years ago. We wrote killer tunes and had a unique vibe together…it really felt like we were doing something special and different. We’ve all been living with a bit of bitterness for not seeing it through. The decision to get back together and finish what we started has been a cathartic experience for all of us.
Jake: The time gave us a chance to experience our musical lives in so many ways. Bands, tours, shows, genres and life all went by. Coercion 96 stayed put in our hearts. In 96 I could feel a significant force ,but couldnt fully appreciate the value. I had to let the dream go so I could build my other band. It almost made me work harder ! As time wore on the songs never left me. I thought of the other guys and the music of Coercion 96 and realized what a special spark we had lit. I honestly missed it. There was a time I did'nt listen because it hurt too much. When Luke reached out it was a blessing and I felt that it would be foolish not to explore the ideas. We came together and it just clicked. Luke spoke of regret, but I believe now we've achieved some sort of redemption, for ourselves and the music.
PRT: Was it in any way different working together again after such a long period of time? Or did all those years just evaporate the second you plugged in?
Luke: It’s actually been even better. We are all very thankful to have the opportunity to give it another try and we are now mature enough to realize we need to work together as a team and not let our ego’s get the best of us. The soul of the band feels stronger and we all have the same common creative goal.
Jake: Time has a funny way of working on us. After 20 years the vibe remained the same while the players had evolved. We stepped in the studio with hope and were grateful to be part of such a cool project. What we recorded turned out better than we could have imagined . As the tracks came together the spirit of the songs reminded us of the same musical connection we shared 20 years ago.
PRT: The new EP is called “Exit Wounds”, there’s a song called “Crime Scene” and the artwork has this creepy vibe going on. That’s some pretty dark stuff. What were some of your inspirations writing these songs?
Luke: All the guys in the band have an element of darkness to our personalities which is translated in the music we write. We are all deeply rooted in edgy, introspective, heavy music and the songs are an expression of that.
Jake: I felt the music needed to be the catalyst for the lyrics. The chords and riffs guided the words and imagery. A confrontation with darkness and death can bring to light the vunerability of life. I like to sing about topics people are afraid to talk about, but all share. Crime scene tackles anger and reaction in the way the listener gets to reinact the crime. I imagined what it would feel like to commit a heinous crime and ran with it. The other songs deal with a confrontation, or conversation with self.
PRT: I read somewhere that you had twelve songs ready to go back in 1996 and that the tracks on “Exit Wounds” are four of them. Are they still mostly the same songs or are the versions that made the EP completely different from the originals?
Luke: Yeah we had written about 12 songs collectively back in 1996. The 4 songs that are on the EP are 4 of the songs we had written 20 years ago with a bit of revision done to them while we were recording.
Jake: We rewrote songs in the studio ,then layed them down. We came in with solid ideas but were able to work them over wirh our producer Michael Rosen to make them that much stronger.
PRT: Any chance those other eight songs will ever see the light of day as well?
Luke: We hope so! I’m not sure if all 8 songs will make the cut but we would like to eventually record a full length record with some of those songs as well as some new songs.
Jake : We will see how it pans out, the guys have some great newer song ideas that shred too. Im down to record anything viable and rocking.
PRT: There are parts in certain songs that wouldn’t look out of place on a Good Riddance album and obviously hearing Jake sing made me think of the Lonely Kings, but Coercion 96 is very much its own thing. Are you at all worried that Coercion 96 will simply be seen as ‘that other band from members of…’?
Luke: I’m not too concerned with how others view the band as I’m a firm believer that good, sincere music speaks for itself. People are either going to like it or not. What’s more important is that we feel good about what we’ve created…which we do. As far as there being any commonality with Good Riddance I suppose that some of the melodic, guitar octave work has a similar feel as some GR music but other than that I feel the sound is pretty different than all of the other bands we’ve played in.
Jake: The thing with this band is that we all have strong ideas, good taste and hate to sound shitty. So if the songs were lame or we didnt get along this ressurection or the original inception would have never occured. The experience we all draw from is immense and influential, but theres something about Coercion 96 that brought us back. It never left us. The prodigal son had returned and we embraced him.
PRT: All of you have or still are in other bands. What’s the plan with Coercion 96? Do you want to keep this going now?
Luke: Baby steps. Would be great to play some shows, work on new tunes and lead ourselves towards recording a full length album in the future. We are hoping that one opportunity leads to the next.
Jake : I would like to bring it into a reality on stage. I believe that intention is the key to any achievment, and our intention is to see this through.
PRT: Do you have any shows lined up?
Luke: Not at this time…but we are working towards it.
PRT: Last question… if you would have to compare Coercion 96 to a movie, which one would it be and why?
Luke: 1977 Star Wars. An ever unfolding epic exploration of good vs. evil with an interesting cast of characters.
Jake: I would have to say "Goodfellas" . In the movie theres is a connection to the mob lifestyle that reminds me of our connection to the darker edgier music of Coercion 96.