This is the only interview i have of Rayna so far, so enjoy!
It's two days before the kickoff date of the Ozzfest (at the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia) and I'm waiting for a phone call from Rayna, the bassist from Coal Chamber, who will be on the second stage at that show. I have to admit, after hearing Coal Chamber's album and seeing their pictures, I expected her to be like some really tough, hard-as-nails biker-chick or something. Well, that image could not have been further from the truth. She was very un-threatening, polite and, well, just really gosh-darn nice.
Interviwer: So what's up?
Rayna: Well, we're doing a show here tonight in New York and then Saturday we're going down to Virginia for the first show of the Ozzfest
Interviewer: Since Coal Chamber is still relatively new on the scene, how about a brief history of the band.
Rayna: We've been together...our anniversary will be this July - 3 years. We got signed about a year ago...our [first] record came out three months ago. We're from L.A. About two years ago we were ready to get signed and then Dez left the band for a while due to relationship problems...so we broke up for about 8 months. We got back together, we got signed by Roadrunner, and here we are.
Interviewer: So its kind of like a Coal Chamber "reunion" then?
Rayna: Yeah. Kind of.
Interviewer: And what about the name of the band?
Rayna: Well its not really that much of an exciting story. Right before I joined, they were called Coal. Dez liked the name and Meegs [wanted to change the name] to Chamber. They both liked the names so we put them together like peanut butter and jelly and...there you go.
Interviewer: How did you get into playing bass?
Rayna: Well I always listed to music...all kinds of stuff, but I haven't really been playing the bass that long, maybe like for about three years...about six months before I joined the band. One of my main influences has been tap dancing.
Rayna: Does that make sense?
Interviewer: Well tap dancing is a rhythm-oriented kind of thing.
Rayna: I danced my whole life and I was a dance teacher before. I never planned on being a bass player in a band. I was at a party and I was sitting there kind of bored and I saw this thing in a closet, and it looked like a guitar, and I was like "Is that a guitar?" and [my friend] said "It's a bass guitar...you can check it out." And was just like messing around, I didn't know what I was doing. He was like "I don't ever play it, you can have it." And this was like six months before I joined the band. So I took it home and played around with it. I worked with Dez's ex-wife and when they were looking for a new bass player, she told Dez "I have a friend at work who plays the bass," and I really didn't. So he called up...said to come down and audition. So I said "fuck it" and did it, and I got it. Eight days later I played my first show.
Interviewer: Do you think get treated differently by people in the industry because you're a "chick"?
Rayna: If I think of it, maybe so. But if I get any negative or derogatory comments, I just let it go right over me. Most people, after they get to know me, they treat me [as an equal]...I'm treated like one of the guys, especially by the band...they're like my brothers.
Interviewer: And you said that you listened to a lot of different types of music while growing up. What was the first concert you ever went to?
Rayna: I think it was, and you're probably gonna laugh...the Bangles and Cyndi Lauper.
Interviewer: Yeah, I can see heavy influences of both of those in Coal Chamber's music.
Interviewer: How have the crowds been reacting to you, seeing you for the first time?
Rayna: We toured with Downset before the album was released. Those shows went really well. We had great crowd response. The kids hadn't even heard our music before and they were already pitting halfway through the first song...it was really great. And then...we got on the Danzig tour and we got such a great crowd response. I was so happy, it gave me goosebumps.
Interviewer: A lot of music critics compare you to Korn, or label Coal Chamber as "White Zombie wanna-be's". Do you have a response to that?
Rayna: Yeah. that doesn't bother me. When a new band comes out, you have to be compared to somebody, to describe the band. I'd rather be compared with Korn or White Zombie than compared to Oasis or Bush or something like that. But once you hear the album, you're gonna realize that we have our own style. It's a compliment to me. I love Korn.
Interviewer: Ozzfest kicks off this weekend. Will this be the biggest crowd you've ever played to?
Rayna: Uh-huh. Oh we did play the Dynamo Festival. That was like...80,000 or something.
Interviewer: Were you nervous?
Rayna: Uh-huh. I had to pee like 10 times [before we went on stage]. They're like "Where are you going?" and I'm like, "I gotta pee," and they're like, "Hurry up, the intro's on."
Interviewer: What's next for the band after the Ozzfest tour?
Rayna: I don't know. It's a surprise...(laughs)...for me too.
Interviewer: Is there anything that you, personally, would like to say?
Rayna: Yes. And I have to stress this. If you like the record, you have to come see the live show. You have to. Because it brings everything into perspective...that's what its all about.