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Coliseum - A runaway train
Some time ago I got to review the new album by Coliseum, which was also their debut album. I was impressed by this heavy rock ‘n’ roll hardcore, so I decided to do a mail interview with them. Here are some answers by guitarist/vocalist Ryan Patterson.
 

For the people not familiar with Coliseum, could you please introduce yourselves?

Coliseum is Ryan Patterson, vocals/guitar, Mike Pascal, bass, and Chris Maggio, drums. Our homebase is Louisville, Kentucky.’
 
Your band's name comes from a type of Sunn amplifier, which means you're the second band named after this legendary brand of amps. How would you describe your love for this piece of machinery, and why do you think your music honours its reputation?

‘Not to blaspheme the Sunn, but I'm more of a Marshall man myself, haha... Although I do love Sunn amps and just amps in general. I'm a fan of guitars and guitar equipment, so much so that sometimes I think of myself as more of a guitar fan as a guitar player. We like the name Coliseum for the same reasons I'm sure Sunn chose it as the title of an amplifier – because of the massive, monolithic implications of the word and its history.’
 
You've already done countless tours and shows on your own. Soon you'll embark on a tour with High on Fire, Mono and Panthers what do you expect from this?

‘I expect it to be relaxing, we just have to get on stage and give it our best and not worry about anything else. I can't wait to see these bands play every night, it's going to be an awesome, diverse bill. And I'm sure I'll be in awe each night watching High On Fire level every stage they play.’
 
Before you signed to Relapse, numerous splits and EP's have been released already. Do you expect that in the future Relapse might reissue all this material in one release?

‘I honestly don't know if Relapse will end up doing a reissue of our earlier material, it's not something we've considered yet because we've been so focused on No Salvation. Most of our earlier records are still in print, either on Level-Plane or on my own label Auxiliary, so there's not a need right now... But you never know what the future might bring! I'm sure some type of reissues will occur sooner or later!’
 
How would you describe an average live show from Coliseum?

‘I describe Coliseum live as being a runaway train that's always in danger of coming off the tracks and crashing into flames, yet continues to barrel along at maximum velocity. We play as hard as we possibly can and push ourselves to the limit every night, sometimes I don't know how we keep it together at the shows, but we do...’
 
You are a perfect example of a DIY band, with success. What are the benefits and the downsides of this style of working to Coliseum?

‘We are a DIY band in many respects, but there are of course many, many other bands out there doing it entirely on their own without the support of a massive label like Relapse behind them. So, while we do still handle all our own business, we certainly aren't out waving a flag of DIY and claiming to be the archetype of that ideal. For us, it makes sense to handle our own booking, management, artwork, etc, because we have very specific ideas of how things should be, so we do our best to hold ourselves to those ideas and ethics. We may slip up and make poor decisions at times, or even do things that might end up clashing with our ideals, but we learn from our mistakes and try to do our best. I think the most important things about the DIY ideal are the ideas of community and responsibility for your own actions. We do what we can and what we believe, but we're only human and we fuck up at times too... I guess the downside of handling things yourself is the added stress and the lack of time to relax... Sometimes it's very tempting to hand things over to someone else.’
 
When the band was initiated, the first recordings were made after a few months. Was the music for this band something that was already bubbling inside for some time?

‘Definitely. I've been in a lot of bands over the years, playing a lot of different styles of hardcore & punk, but I wanted to do a new band where I sang and played guitar and played a heavier style of hardcore, with early punk influences. At least four of the songs on the first Coliseum album had been written for quite some time before the band formed and started playing together. Ultimately, I feel like just about every band I've done has pretty much the same set of musical influences, it's just how they manifest themselves that makes the difference. Coliseum certainly started out with a desire to also explore avenues of influence in the realm of Avskum, Motorhead, Discharge, His Hero Is Gone and others, but as time has gone on we've tried to chart more of our own course and not rely too heavily on specific bands as a guide.’
 
Bullshit question, in movies, who do you prefer; Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone? Motivation?

‘Schwarzenegger, without a doubt. Both are horrible, wretched actors, but Arnold has a handful of absolute classic action/sci-fi flicks that cannot be fucked with... Namely, Terminator, Predator, and Total Recall, which are each truly awesome movies in that genre. I did just see Rambo II for the first time recently, and it was pretty damn fun, but Sly has nothing on Arnie.’
 
When can we expect to see a Coliseum tour in Europe?

‘In December 2007! Keep an eye out!’
 
What can we expect from Coliseum in the future?

‘We will continue to tour our asses off as always! I'm sure we'll start working on some other singles or EPs in 2008... Years ago, we had the idea to do three 7"s that were for each member of the band, it would include one new Coliseum song, one cover song picked by that member of the band, then one song that was written and recorded entirely by that member. I think it would be a really cool idea and I hope to accomplish that sometime!
 
Do you have anything to add to this interview?
 
Thank you very much for the interview, this band is our life and we take it very seriously. It means the world to us and we appreciate the support.

Ryan