For a band that didn’t have a sacred demo tape to pass out to record company executives, Southern California’s Rule 62 sure commanded a lot of attention.
Singer Brian Coakley likens the big-label genuflections to “a feeding frenzy.”
“We had a tape, but we didn’t like it, so no one got to hear it,” Coakley said recently. “The first label who became interested in us was Geffen. They came in and we did a little showcase at a rehearsal studio, and they offered us a deal.
“Then Trauma became interested, and we did the same thing for them, a showcase. They kept saying, ‘Do you have a tape?’ and we’d say no. Then we decided, ‘Screw these rehearsal studio gigs.’ They were so sterile.”
So many other labels wanted to hear the new talk of the town in Los Angeles – Epic, Capitol, Elektra, Atlantic, WORK, Maverick – that the rock quartet set up shop at the Dragonfly and played once a week at 7:30 p.m. sharp. Each gig was packed with industry people. A few weeks later, the group narrowed down its wish list to Capitol, WORK and Maverick. By then, they already had a demo, financed by one of the labels.
“Capitol and WORK hesitated for like a day,” Coakley said. “Guy Oseary (at Maverick) called us and said he had one of the songs stuck in his head, ‘Believed,’ and he wanted to meet with us. (Label head) Freddy DeMann says, ‘We want you; whatever you want, you got it.’ “
On July 29, Rule 62 got what it wanted, its self-titled debut, produced by Ron Saint-Germain (Soundgarden, 311, Tool). Coakley, guitarist Jon Goodell, bassist Eric Banks and drummer Johnny Knight rewarded Maverick’s faith in them with a thoughtful and infectious album. Tracks such as “Drown” (the first single), “Maybe I Will” and “She Sells” form a palatable package.
It has been a long time coming for Coakley, formerly of the indie rock group Cadillac Tramps.
“The end of Cadillac Tramps was painful,” he said. “We weren’t getting along, even though things were going well. We had a deal with Epic on the table, and we still broke up. When things didn’t happen right away, for like a year, it was tough.
“There were no shows, nothing happening, and there were lots of offers to get back together with Cadillac Tramps, which I knew would be a bad deal. I mean, you have to stick to your principles. If you break up for a certain reason, then money’s not a reason to get back together.”
Coakley made the wise choice, formed Rule 62 and set a specific goal: to record an “album,” not three singles and filler.
“I think one of the problems is that most people aren’t aware of what they’re doing or that they don’t seek other opinions,” he said. “A lot of bands actually believe all the songs on their record are good, but they’re not all good. I’ve always made an effort to make sure every song recorded is a good song. I write an incredible amount of songs, and I could never shirk on any one of them.”
BWF (before we forget): Rule 62 reigns on the Web @ www.rule62.com.
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