Coal Chamber was an American nu metal band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1993. Prior to Coal Chamber, Dez Fafara and Meegs Rascón formed the band She's In Pain in 1992. The two decided to create Coal Chamber. They disbanded in 2003 after ten years together, and then reunited from 2011 to 2016. Their first drummer, Jon Tor, was eventually replaced by Mike Cox (who beat out his older brother for the spot). After bass guitarist Rayna Foss joined, the Coal Chamber lineup was complete.
In 1997, their first album Coal Chamber was released. The album produced one single and a video, "Loco". The video was also added as an extra after the ending credits of Dee Snider's film Strangeland. The band also recorded an exclusive song for the soundtrack titled "Not Living".
Chamber Music followed two years later. Between the two releases and after the band's tour with the metal act Sevendust, bass guitarist Rayna Foss married Sevendust's drummer Morgan Rose and became pregnant, necessitating another bass guitar player on tour, a role filled by Nadja Peulen.
Foss came back for the recording of Coal Chamber's third album, but left after the studio sessions to raise her daughter. Dark Days was released in spring 2002. Their only single and video was for the track "Fiend".
Formation and early years (1993–1995)
In late 1994, Dino Cazares of Fear Factory championed a demo tape by Coal Chamber, causing a huge local stir with gigs at The Roxy Theatre and Whisky A Go Go, eventually leading Roadrunner Records to offer the band a contract.
Fafara dropped out of the band quite suddenly due to disagreements with his wife about the band. In spring 1995, Dez reunited with Coal Chamber, which ended his marriage but revitalized the band. With a renewed sense of energy, Coal Chamber was able to regain their deal with Roadrunner by the end of 1995.
Coal Chamber (1996–1998)
In 1996, Coal Chamber played in the first Ozzfest, acquired Mike "Bug" Cox, and recorded their first album, Coal Chamber, released on February 11, 1997. Nathan "Karma" Cox directed their first video, "Loco".
In 1997, Coal Chamber toured Europe with Machine Head, Napalm Death, and Skinlab, including a show at the Dynamo Festival in the Netherlands. Coal Chamber also supported Pantera on tour from September through December 1997, along with Anthrax. Also, in 1997 and 1998, Coal Chamber opened for Megadeth during the Cryptic Writings tour.
Chamber Music (1999–2001)
Chamber Music was released in 1999. With the bit of commercial success Coal Chamber received after Chamber Music, the band toured on headlining and festival tours. The band managed to catch the attention of Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne who became their manager.
That year, Coal Chamber took part in Insane Clown Posse's Amazing Jeckel Brothers Tour, along with musicians Biohazard, Krayzie Bone, Twiztid, and Mindless Self Indulgence. While Biohazard, Mindless Self Indulgence, Krayzie Bone, and Twiztid were well received by audiences, Coal Chamber was not. Insane Clown Posse fans were not purchasing tickets, as they did not like Coal Chamber. For the three shows that Coal Chamber played, there were multiple ticket refunds. ICP member Violent J and his brother, Rob, made the decision to eliminate Coal Chamber from the tour; after doing so, there were no ticket refunds for the remaining tour dates. Insane Clown Posse claimed that Coal Chamber had been removed from the tour because of equipment problems, but later revealed the true reason for their actions on The Howard Stern Show, which aired August 19, 1999. On air Osbourne, who also appeared as a guest, informed Bruce and Utsler that Coal Chamber filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.
Coal Chamber later parted ways over personal and creative differences, a theme which continued within the band causing them to take a break from touring and resulting in their non-participation in the Tattoo the Earth tour in 2000.
Dark Days/Disbandment (2002–2003)
The band followed up with their third album Dark Days in early 2002 to mixed reviews. Bass guitarist Rayna Foss had left the band to raise her daughter shortly after the album was recorded; she was replaced by Nadja Peulen who had taken Foss's place during her pregnancy between the first two albums. Rayna fell out with frontman Dez Fafara, saying that she and her husband had "found Christ" and would be leaving Coal Chamber for good.
In May 2002, it was announced that Coal Chamber had broken up after an on-stage altercation between Fafara and Rascón during a show in Lubbock, Texas. They had been fighting verbally before the show and continued to fight on-stage with Rascón hitting Fafara in the head with the headstock of his guitar. Fafara announced "This is the last Coal Chamber show ever!" and stormed offstage. The band attempted to continue the show with Rascón singing vocals but soon stopped the show altogether. Cox demolished his drumkit before storming offstage. The band managed to patch things up long enough for an appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly and a summer tour with American Head Charge, Lollipop Lust Kill and Medication. These were the last shows the band played.
In October 2002, Cox was fired after several personal disputes with both Fafara and Rascón. The official release on the Coal Chamber website stated that the band was looking for a new drummer, although all band activities had come to a halt.
In late summer 2003, a compilation album titled Giving the Devil His Due was released which included several demo tracks submitted by the band prior to their signing with Roadrunner Records in 1997, along with several alternative studio recordings and remixes of various tracks from their previous albums. Coal Chamber officially called it a day in 2003, shortly after lead vocalist Fafara continued with his new band DevilDriver (formerly known as Deathride).
After the break-up (2003–2010)
In August 2004, Roadrunner Records released The Best Of Coal Chamber. In June 2005, Fafara stated that Coal Chamber's break was permanent and it would not be reforming. He has also described a reformation as "like repeating the 4th grade again".
Fafara continued as vocalist of the metal band DevilDriver, recording seven albums: DevilDriver, The Fury of Our Maker's Hand, The Last Kind Words, Pray for Villains, Beast, Winter Kills, and Trust No One. He is the only member of Coal Chamber to release an album after the disbandment. Bass guitarist Nadja Puelen created the T-shirt company CruelTees, sold online and through stores such as Hot Topic. After taking two years off to recover from a car accident, drummer Mikey "Bug" Cox joined forces with his longtime friend and Orgy member Jay Gordon - and the producer of Coal Chamber's first album - to form Machine Gun Orchestra. Guitarist Meegs Rascón formed the rock band Glass Piñata, previously known as “Piñata”. The group released a few demos on their website, and faced several line-up changes before eventually disbanding. Following Glass Piñata, Rascón joined the Orange County rock/electro band NEO GEO in mid-2009, although he later left the band in 2010.
Fafara and Rascón settled their differences on October 24, 2008, with Rascón joining DevilDriver on stage at the Glasshouse in Pomona, California, to play "Loco". Fafara said that they had settled their disputes.
In September 2009, it was announced that Peulen and Cox had joined forces to form a currently unnamed band. They were seeking a vocalist and guitarist to complete the lineup.
In September 2010, Rascón and Cox joined together in a post-punk band called We Are The Riot.
Reformation, Rivals and permanent disbandment (2011–2017)
In September 2011, Fafara, Cox and Rascón officially reformed the band with bass guitarist Chela Rhea Harper, to play the Soundwave shows in Australia. In October 2012, Fafara stated that the band were "taking it slow", partly due to his commitments with DevilDriver, but also revealed that the band had begun writing new material. The band later performed at Download 2013 and toured with Sevendust, Lacuna Coil and Stolen Babies, with performances at Rock Am Ring, Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel and Nova Rock festival.
Nadja Peulen officially reunited with the band in October 2013, and the band signed to Napalm Records the following year, as they continued to work on a new album. The album's recording was completed in December 2014. In February 2015, Coal Chamber revealed that the album's title was Rivals. They premiered the song "I.O.U. Nothing" online in March, and released a lyric video for "Suffer in Silence" which features Al Jourgensen the following month. The album was released on May 19, 2015, and is their first studio album in 13 years, as well as their first to be released by Napalm Records.
In May 2016, Dez Fafara confirmed during an interview with Blunt magazine that Coal Chamber is on indefinite hiatus, stating that due to the current success of his other band DevilDriver with their seventh album Trust No One, Coal Chamber "has no place in my life whatsoever at this point." In June 2017, Fafara explained that he would start performing Coal Chamber songs with DevilDriver, coming to the realization that Coal Chamber would probably never tour or make music ever again. He then went on to say that the band is "done forever". In July 2018, Fafara officially announced that Coal Chamber is not coming back.
Musical style and influences
Coal Chamber have been categorized as nu metal, alternative metal, and gothic metal. Coal Chamber's self-titled album is a nu metal album. Elements of hip hop and heavy metal are featured throughout the album. Coal Chamber's second album Chamber Music is a nu metal album with elements of genres such as gothic rock, industrial, and electronic music.
Coal Chamber's influences include Bad Brains, Metallica, Duran Duran, Fear Factory, The Cure, Machine Head, and Jane's Addiction.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
|Giving the Devil His Due||August 19, 2003||Roadrunner|
|The Best of Coal Chamber||August 9, 2004|
|The Complete Roadrunner Collection (1997-2003)||March 12, 2013|
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1999||"Not Living"||—||—||Chamber Music|
|"Shock the Monkey"
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
|1999||"Shock the Monkey"
|2002||"Fiend"||P. R. Brown|