In between his constant presence at metal shows and bartending shifts at Brookly metal bar Duffs, God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle is a fixture in and around New York City. Now metal fans in the area will have another opportunity to see him, along with his fellow God Forbid guitarist Matt Wicklund in a new project, Paradise City. The band, which also features Vext frontman Tommy Vext, drummer Moe Watson, and a full time bassist to be determined, is a cover project that is currently playing most Wednesdays at NYC’s Tammany Hall. It’s not your typical cover band though. Given the band’s all-star lineage, the band aims to bring a party rock vibe to New York. We caught up with Coyle to chat about the new project, material they might play, and what’s happening in the land of God Forbid.
So let’s talk about Paradise City. How did it come about?
It came about when a local promoter/DJ/rock scene aficionado Tim “No. 37” Martinez had a cancer benefit for his mother and a bunch of people in the rock scene here played the show. Tommy Vext called me and asked if I would possibly be interested in doing an acoustic set of covers. Me and him had done it once before, where we did an old Divine Heresy song acoustic and then added Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, and Acey Slade played on that. This is going back maybe a year ago. We did like six songs, and I didn’t really want to play guitar by myself, so I asked Matt (Wicklund) from God Forbid if he wanted to play. So he joined up and Acey Slade. I guess people really liked it, and they offered us a residency to play there. Initially, we were going to do an acoustic set, but when we started checking the songs, they sounded so great with the full brunt of distortion and loudness. We were like “we’re just going to upgrade to the full rock band set.” It’s a lot of 90’s stuff. A lot of Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, White Zombie, Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses…stuff like that. Alice in Chains. It’s happening very organically. We’re kind of just figuring it out as we go.
I wanted to put something together like this maybe a year ago. I spoke to Tommy and was like “let’s do an All-Star kind of metal cover band.” I was thinking something a little more metal. Not necessarily because that’s what you do at the start, that’s how you get people to come out to clubs. This thing, we kind of decided to go a little more rock n’ roll just because we actually want to get girls to come out. And get more of a party, kind of fun vibe. Anybody who’s been to Steel Panther in L.A. on Mondays knows the vibe. This is obviously different. We’re obviously not glam metal and that has its own air about it. But we still want to keep it fun and keep it loose. We don’t want to be a Slayer tribute band. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – we obviously love Slayer. That’s a different vibe than we’re going for. We want to have fun, but we want to be a killer, killer band.
Who’s playing bass for you?
Originally, it was going to be Acey playing bass. Acey also plays with Joan Jett and is very busy. It’s a very busy schedule. He brought it Jenncity to split duties, and unfortunately, over the weekend, due to their previous obligations, both of them actually pulled out of the show. So we’re actually having out buddy Steve (Perlmutter) who used to play with Tommy Vext and is now in the band Starkiller is going to do most of the set, and then we got this guy Derek from a band called Utopic. Everything is a moving organism. Things are happening and we’re reacting.
It’s going to happen every Wednesday?
Theoretically. We’re doing tomorrow and next week, and then Tommy is going on Mayhem festival for two weeks, so we’re going to take those two weeks off. Right now, I’m looking at booking a show at Dingbatz in North Jersey. I’m just going to start hitting the grind and trying to get this thing going.
I was going to ask if you were planning on playing out different places?
I want to play all over, man. One of the impetuses behind my original idea for starting something like this – and it kind of happened on its own, but the idea of how you’re in a band, an original band, and you go on tour and you may or may not have a job or anywhere to make money, so I like this idea of starting something that, you can get off the road with your original band and you can make a living playing music and playing music you like. I see sometimes people see this from the outside and they go “Oh, they gave up on making original music” and it’s like ‘No, dude. It’s not “or,” it’s “and.”‘ Everyone involved is still in an original band. We all just love music, and we want to play all the time. We don’t want to play some of the time. I teach guitar during the day, I come out of jams and stuff. God Forbid has a couple shows next month, we’re going to keep playing. Just because you open new doors doesn’t mean other doors shut. I think there’s a disconnect sometimes as information like this comes out as to the perception. It’s like, just shut up. We’re going to play, we’re going to have a lot of fun. If you want to have fun, come on out. If you don’t, stay the fuck home.
I’ve got to ask what the status is with God Forbid.
We took the first six months of the year off after putting out the last record. We put a record out, we toured from March to December. We’re really proud of the record and we did some really cool touring. I can’t really go into detail, but basically a lot of real life stuff happened. It kind of all coalesced at the same time. Everyone kind of needs to tend to their personal affairs. That kind of led to just taking a break from performing. But we have a couple shows coming up. I think the plan right now is that we’re just going to take opportunities as they come. Whether that’s tour or shows. We haven’t really talked about writing anything just because I’m involved with this rock band I’m trying to put together in terms of creative stuff. Matt just started a product with Chris Amott from Arch Enemy called Ghost Ship Octavius so he’s busy with that. John just got married. Other guys just have a lot of things going on. It’s funny. We just took six months off and people are like “Are y’all dead?!?” I mean, Tool takes eight years between albums, and you’re calling me up!?
Are you still on Victory?
They have an option to pick up the next record, and they haven’t informed us whether or they picked up that option or not. That remains to be seen. I imagine if they do pick up the record, they will obviously want us to make an album. That’s what that means. I guess we’re going to have to cross that when it’s a reality. Right now, just staying really, really busy. I’m probably playing guitar now more than I ever have.
That’s got to be good for you though.
It’s great. Especially teaching. I teach at School of Rock in Wayne a couple times a week. I work with young kids on really getting down to the fundamentals. I have no training, so I’m kind of going back to square one with some theory. I’ve just become a much better guitar player. It’s cool. It’s really cool.