Coliseum's new EP Parasites drops today via Temporary Residence. Listen to it here first and follow along as vocalist/guitarist Ryan Patterson breaks down the release, track by track.
“One Last Night”
We recorded four of the songs on Parasites with J. Robbins at Inner Ear Studio in DC on a day off from tour last year. These were the first songs we’d written after House With A Curse, so inspiration was running high. After being pegged a “d-beat” band (the punk drum beat made famous by Discharge) for so many years, we had somewhat intentionally not written any songs like that on House With A Curse. For “One Last Night” we brought it back, with more of a laid back groove. After the fake-out funky opening, we kick it in and eventually get around to a rock breakdown totally inspired by the Constantines (one of my favorite bands over the last decade). The working title was “Post-Apocalyptic Love Song,” it’s about humanity sucking the Earth dry and who you’d spent your last night with before the whole thing goes up in flames.
“Waiting (Too Late)”
Since we were recording at Inner Ear I figured we might as well throw in a big nod to Fugazi; some of the music in “Waiting” is directly inspired by “Public Witness Program.” In the end, no matter what we do it always ends up sounding like us and the nods to other bands that seem obvious to me are usually completely lost on almost everyone else. J. Robbins lends his incredible voice on some backing vocals, it’s always awesome to hear one of the voices that inspired me on one of our songs. I completely blew my voice out on tour and it made for some (hopefully endearing) cracked vocals on the choruses. All in all, this is probably among top five or six best songs we’ve written.
“The Fiery Eye”
This was a slightly controversial omission from the House With A Curse sessions. It seemed too “weird” at the time, but it’s probably one of the most interesting songs we’ve ever done. I think it was actually the first song I wrote when we started working on songs for HWAC but the last one we learned as a band, just days before we entered the studio. All of the instruments fit together in such a strange way but we managed to pull it off and it’s one of my favorite songs. Great backing vocals from Carrie Neumayer of Second Story Man and a crucial space echo suggestion on the vocals at the end by Kevin Ratterman.
“Ghost Of God”
This was the last song we recorded for the EP. We felt like we needed an eighth song to round things out so we recorded this one in Louisville almost a year after the Inner Ear session, even though it was written at the same time as the others. One thing Coliseum never really does is get loose, we’re precise almost to a fault at times. On “Ghost Of God” we manage to let things breathe a bit more than normal and space out a bit before the big ending riff. The song was recorded at a DIY studio in Louisville so you can really hear us all playing live in the room together; it’s a cool vibe. This one ended up reminding me of Guided By Voices a little.
“The Big Baby”
The third new song we wrote for the Inner Ear sessions. This one was inspired by Dinosaur Jr.’s “The Little Baby” so I figured we might as well go all the way and make it an unofficial sequel, complete with mumbled vocals giving way to howled shouts in the chorus. I name drop our roadie Jason “Bark Rogers” Barker who was there with us. Mike wraps it up asking, “Do you wanna play a show?,” a question we ask each other each night on stage right before we hit the first note. Luckily, none of us has replied “no” yet.
“Gone With The Pope”
This song is named after and pays tribute to the best movie I’ve never seen, Gone With The Pope. Do yourself a favor and check out gonewiththepope.com. This was an outtake from House With A Curse, a straight up solid hardcore punk jam with my best attempt at a Dr. Know / Bad Brains-style guitar solo.
“Blood Of The Beasts”
An unabashed tribute to the Misfits' Earth AD, complete with feedback behind the entire song and (somewhat) murky production. Lyrically it’s inspired by another film, named after Georges Franju’s 1949 documentary Le Sang De Betes about the slaughterhouses and suburbs of Paris. Continuing with the “parasites” theme, it's about mankind sucking the world dry, seeing every living thing as his to destroy and consume. The last of the House With A Curse outtakes.
“Give Up And Drive”
The final song from the batch recorded at Inner Ear, this is actually a new version of a song from our first LP. We’d been talking about recording “Give Up And Drive” again for quite a while, our first album has been out of print for years and we’ve played this song at nearly every single show over the last eight years. It’s become an enduring anthem for the band. Looking back, it kind of set the stage for what we’ve done since then with its dark melodic approach, discordant chords, heavy riffs, and big dynamics. I didn’t know it then, but lyrically it’s come to encompass much of what the band has been about as well… Long drives, hard questions, looking for answers, and finding solace in the music. alt