Jimmy Coup speaks out – Interview with Jimmy Coup former guitarist of AWK

May 10th, 2010  |  Published in Features

]by Jeff Brinn / Schwegweb.com

Jimmy Coup is no stranger to the world of rock. Before slinging lead guitar with Andrew W. K., Jimmy fronted his own band The Coup De Grace for 10 years plus. We caught up with Jimmy on the set of the new HBO series “]Deadwood”], where he is rumored to have a small role. We spoke to him about life in AWK, what’s now, and what’s next.

Schwegweb: Okay, first up, did you quit or were you fired from AWK?
Jimmy Coup: Technically, I was fired.

Did you ever feel like a part of AWK or more like a gun for hire?

I was definitely an integral part of AWK. I gave everything of myself for that first record and marathon tour. Not just singing all over the place, but I also took care of Andy so he could make the best record possible. We couldn’t wait to finish so we could get out on tour-and neither of us had even met the rest of the band yet! Andy was like racehorse and I felt like I was watching over a winner. I got us to the gym on a regular basis, cooked us healthy meals every day, made sure he got a little fresh air and sunshine, and when needed made him laugh. And I helped him communicate his ideas with the other people involved in that record and tour-which was possibly the most work of all! But on the second record, I was asked to do nothing. I was like, huh? What happened? Needless to say, I found it difficult to get motivated to jump, kick, cheer, and believe in the whole thing after that. I naturally felt like I lost an important connection with it all. So maybe I was just a hired gun all along, and I was the last one to know.

Big changes over two albums?
Well, yeah, but we all change, right? When I met Andy, I was painting houses. Then along came this guy and this music, and my life changed. He was something of a savior to me. And I was the loving, infinitely helpful, philosophical-not to mention stadium rock ready!-big brother that he needed.

Do you think he was threatened by you?
I was just trying to do the best I could to make this thing work. But his new record is called “]The Wolf”] and we all know there can only be one alpha male in any wolf pack…

So you were too much of an alpha male?
No way! I know being a good leader is not easy, and making a good record is only half the battle. Both Donald Tardy (AWK drummer) and myself kept our own bands to together for many, many years. It takes talent to inspire your troops to fight for you when times are tough. Go see the film “]Master And Commander”]. Those guys were hungry, thirsty, cold, and facing a superior enemy, but they loved their leader and believed in him, a lot like what being in a band should be.

So what went wrong?

Good question. I think as things went along and the AWK thing started to succeed, Andy started feeling pressure from everywhere, which is normal in this business. I have never seen anybody work so hard on the details, but he just would not share the burden. And if you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you know that the person with all the pressure eventually feels like he’s doing all the work, that’s when the problems begin.

Okay, enough about AWK.
Thank you!

What can we expect next from JIMMY COUP?
I’m gearing up to make two records. The first is actually one I’ve been fighting to make for years, with my brothers THE COUP DE GRACE. It’s going to be a FULL ON METAL RECORD unlike any seen in years-and I’ve got the crew to do it. Steve Wresh and I started The Coup De Grace together many years ago and his guitar sound and attitude is the backbone of this band. Mark Chaussee, who was in Fight and Danzig, is the most killer lead player I’ve ever known. And Brett Degendoffer, this guy is a new father-of TRIPLETS-and drums like a freight train. We have to tell him when to stop or he just keeps going! Needless to say, it’s gonna have lots and lots of guitars, killing double leads, cool tough vocals and hit hard. All the shit I love! And it just happens to be the music THE COUP DE GRACE does best.

And the other?
This one is a dream I’ve kept hidden for a while. It’s a collaboration with a band from Japan called The Lizzy Boys. I love Thin Lizzy so much I’m almost out of my mind, and when I met these guys at the Vibe for Philo (a concert held every Jan 4 in Dublin to commemorate Phil Lynott’s death) I knew I had found guys just as crazy about it all as I was. We were bros right away and we communicated through glasses of Guinness and Lizzy lyrics. Our mutual love of Thin Lizzy will manifest itself into a record of original material.

Do you still talk to Donald of Obituary fame?
Yes, he is a one of a kind guy, always very kind to me.

Do you think it’s hard for somebody of Donald’s talent to get pumped up to play in AWK?

I think you’d have to ask Donald that one. Will you ask Donald to play on your new metal album? I think he’s got his plate full. A lot of people are looking to him to make things happen for Obituary in the future, so there’s no time really. But I do hope we’ll go see each other play. You go from playing with the drummer of Obituary to appearing on the new Mandy Moore album.

How does that work?

John Fields, who is one of my good friends, produced her new album. He tries to include me on his projects whenever I can be useful.

Any last comments?
Well, I hope my being honest does not hurt anyone’s feelings. AWK has some of the coolest, most fun loving fans in the world and I thank everybody who ever came to see us rock. I hope to see you all again!

In the meantime, check out www.jimmycouprocks.com and www.thecoupdegrace.com. I’m posting a bunch of cool stuff up there soon. And in the near future, I’m gonna give away all of my rare AWK stuff like bootleg t-shirts from Europe, posters, laminates, anything an AWK fan would love to have. And to the band and crew of AWK-UP THE IRONS MATES!

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