STONE VENGEANCE are one of the very first bands of the well-known Bay Area thrash sound, next to EXODUS, TESTAMENT, POSSESSED, MEGADETH, ABATOIR and METALLICA. Although the band never really made it to the top, they still got the recognition they deserved so much for pioneering more than twenty-five years in the metal scene - something they keep on doing today. This fact, and the release of their album "Here Lies STONE VENGEANCE…..1987" made me decide to have a long talk with band leader Mike Coffey (who also formed STONE VENGEANCE). I mailed him a bunch of questions, which he gladly answered. STONE VENGEANCE - one of the few bands, who are faithfull to their roots and their (huge) fanbase.
When did STONE VENGEANCE get together as a band and how did you actually meet up?
Michael Coffey: “I started the band twenty-five years ago in 1978. My first drummer says 1977, but I like to stick to 1978. I was fifteen years old, and I had known Anthony Starks a few years before the band was started. I was like a big brother to him. He lived across the street from me, with his grandparents. I was twelve years old at that time, and he was eight years old. Years later in 1978 when I decided to start the band, me and the other guys all went to Woodron Wilson High School in San Francisco, The name of the school has changed a few year ago. We were all the same age of fifteen years, and when Anthony heard I was starting a band, he asked me if he could join. I did'nt want to let him join at first, because he was only 11 years old, but he was really enthusiastic, so I let him join. He played the trumpet, but I did'nt care I just wanted to rock!!! After five drummers, I hired Darren Tompkins in 1983. Anthony knew he could play, from seeing him at school, and he told me about him.”
Who was in the first line up of STONE VENGEANCE, or has the line up always stayed the same over the years?
“I started the band as a five piece, I really wanted two guitars, but the guys that I had just didn't want to practice enough as far as I'm concerned.I had a guitar player named Darryl, after him, a guy named Jay. The first bass players name was Johnathan Anderson. The first drummers name was Randy Anderson, after him Authur, Argo, Willie, Roderick and finally Darren. The band has had the same line up since 1983.”
Did any of the members of STONE VENGEANCE play in other bands before they joined STONE VENGEANCE?
“Darren used to play in R&B bands. I got him and Anthony into hardrock and metal!”
Who came up with the name of the band and why did you choose for STONE VENGEANCE eventually?
“I came up with the name. It just fit the music for me. It took a few weeks to come up with it, from researching the meanings of both words, then making them one. In those days you had to have a powerful name, and live up to it!”
Who are the biggest influences of the band and of each band member individually?
“Well for this band, I influenced the guys with my influences. I bought all the music, and whatever I liked I would turn Anthony on to it. My list of influences is a long one, so here's a few: IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, AC/DC, VENOM, RAVEN, VAN HALEN, BEATLES, ROLLING STONES, LED ZEPPELIN, JIMI HENDRIX, BLIND BLAKE, ROBERT JOHNSON, BLACK SABBATH, OZZY, MERCYFUL FATE, MANOWAR, SCORPIONS, Y&T, DISCHARGE, CHUCK BERRY, TED NUGENT, BOSTON, JOURNEY, SAXON, RUSH, MOTORHEAD, CAT STEVENS, GRAND FUNK, THIN LIZZY, JAMES TAYLOR, ACCEPT, LOUDNESS, BAD COMPANY, FREE, HEART, BADFINGER, TROGGS, ELLIOTT FISK, STEVE MILLER BAND and many more!”
Did you guys have any music or singing lessons, or did you teach yourself how to play your instruments in front of a mirror?
“No, none of us had any lessons, but to me that is not such a good thing, because it made it a lot harder for me. I didn't know anything about the guitar, so it took me longer to learn. So yeah, I learned to play in front of a mirror, or by listening to records. When I would see someone who was really good on the guitar , it looked so confusing to me, that I could not pick up anything by just watching them in those days. When my first bass player left the band, I got Anthony on the bass and started showing him how to practice drills that I made up on my nineteen US Dollar acoustic guitar.”
You released a new album very recently, an album that contains the very early recordings of STONE VENGEANCE dating from 1985 and 1987. Were there so many people interested in the older stuff, that is much more direct and powerful (I hope you don’t mind me saying so), than your more recent material?
“Well, I was very suprised that so many people worldwide like those older recordings. Yes, I think a lot of people feel the same way you do about the vinyl release. Rob Preston at Doomed Planet and his staff did an excellent job! I had to find old pictures that I had not seen in years, and recordings that I had forgot. But Rob knew people would be interested. He like you, likes the raw sound of the early stuff. We just went for it! That record gives you the attitude we had at the time: metal was in our blood!!! That record is pure mayhem!! I think the difference in our more recent recordings, has to do with the engineers we work with, the place, and gear used in the recording process, the place where it's pressed or duplicated, and how much time is put into mixing and mastering. That makes a lot of difference in recording to me.”
The songs on this album are too good to be true. All the songs can be found back on your debut album “To Kill Evil”, that was released in 1998. You definitely cut down on the enormous power, that these songs originally had. Why was that?
“Thank you! When I produced the recording, it was done on an eight rack recording machine, and also the company that duplicated it, altered the power and output in the master we gave them. The engineer on that recording is an old friend of mine; Happy Sanchez and he was not happy with the way it sounded when it came back from the duplicator, he noticed the slight difference in the sound. I like it though. The recording on vinyl that you like, was recorded on a sixteen track, two inch tape machine. So that makes a big difference also.”
The album “To Kill Evil” was released independently. Couldn’t you find a suitable record label or did you want to have control in your own hands?
“I had to take control! No one would help us. The only few record deals we were offered, were such a rip-off, I had to turn them down. The contracts reminded me of the way LITTLE RICHARD and CHUCK BERRY got robbed in the 1950's. No bull! They were that bad! After that time, we were tied to a multi-million dollar corporation in Hayward, CA. I can't mention the name anymore, because I don't want to hurt their reputation. I'm not angry for so many wasted years with them anymore. I Ieft that company, because they were trying to sell us to the major labels, but I was telling them to go to the meetings with the independent labels, who were interested in us, but they kept missing those meetings, and nothing was getting done.”
How’s the reaction of the press towards “To Kill Evil”?
“I have not yet read a bad review of it. So far, so good!”
Did you also get any negative response and how do you deal with that in general? After all, you have been working very hard to create a product that is very special to you, and people can slam it down in no time with bad critics.
“Very good question! I have read two negative responses to "The Angel" CD, which were stupid, and just plain ignorant! First of all, if I were a music critic, I would never review music I didn't like. Why waste the space, if you don't like it? Also I usually will listen to a record at least three times before I review it, because I know it was not recorded overnight, so as a respect to the musicians work, I would not rush to judge it. Third, most people don't know what they like, they like what they know! what I mean is, if you like KISS for example, and all critics have bands that they like, and they tend to judge music they have never heard, by what they have heard and enjoy. So here's how music should be judged.... Can the band play or not? Are they making music? If they are and you don't like it, then that's called Nitpicking! Not a fair review. Don't be closed minded. A lot of bands have their own sound, and just because I have not heard it before, doesn't mean it's not good. Some bands sell millions of records, crack cocaine sells every year by the billions, That doesn't make it good!”
On the inlay of the album “Here Lies STONE VENGEANCE 1987”, you dedicate the song “To Kill Evil” to the late Cliff Burton of TRAUMA and METALLICA fame. Did you actually meet this legendary bass player in the early days? And if you did, what was he like as a person?
“Yes! I talked with him at 3 different times. Actually I have met all the guys in METALLICA, except for Dave Mustaine, and Jason Newsted. I first met Cliff at The Record Vault in San Francisco in 1983 with the rest of the band. Kirk Hammett was the new guy then. I have nothing bad to say about any them, they were all down to earth cool guys! Cliff was very cool!!! I remember Lars was hanging out with us at a club called The Stone in San Francisco. We were playing a show that night with SLAYER and TROUBLE in 1984. We were sharing a dressing room with TROUBLE, and Lars told me they had signed to Electra records. I was happy for him. One reason I respect Lars, and James is because in 1983 or 84 at the Mabuhay Gardens club, DISCHARGE was playing that night. I spoke to James, who was very cool, and humble earlier that evening, then later he and Lars were right up front slamming to DISCHARGE who had taken the stage. The slamming was ferocious! Lars and James were the only long haired guys in the pit kicking ass!!! That's when I knew they were for real! The next time I spoke to Cliff was at Wes Robinsons’ Day On The Dirt Metalfest at Aquatic Park in Berkeley, CA. 1984. A few days later, I saw him at The Record Vault. I congratulated him on signing to Electra and that's when he told me he really liked our music, especially our song "To Kill Evil". He saw us play it at the festival. Cliff just didn't act like a rock star. He was down to earth and very cool!”
What do you think of the METALLICA sound nowadays, and what do you think of the fact they changed their sound so much over the years? Is it innovation or is it a stab in the back of their old fans?
“Well, METALLICA have certainly paid their dues! One thing I can say about the new music is, at least they can play! It's still rock & roll, but with a name like METALLICA, I don't think their older fans believe they are living up to that name. For me, I like the first three records the most.”
Okay, back to STONE VENGEANCE now. Why did you record “Foxy Lady” on your debut album? What’s so special about the song, or the man JIMI HENDRIX, that you covered this song?
“I was not good enough, nor did I have the knowledge about the guitar in my early years to appreciate just how good Jimi Hendrix was! I was influenced early on, more by BOSTON, TED NUGENT and AC/DC. A friend of mine, named Dan Davis, used to say I reminded him of Jimi and a few people at shows would say that, but I didn't like it back then, because I felt people were just thinkingw because I'm black, and play rock that this is just a HENDRIX clone. Then I had this real strange dream about Jimi. In this dream I was at a small club watching Jimi play, after the show, a friend of mine said, why don't you go meet him, so in the dream I went up to Jimi and told him how much I enjoyed the performance, he smiled, then I asked when will you be playing again, he shrugged his shoulders as to say, he didn't know. Right then I knew I was dreaming, because It came to me in the dream that Jimi was dead, so how could he tell me when his next performance was! Well, I know a little about interpretation of dreams, and when a person that has died comes to you in a dream, that dream is to be taken seriously, especially if the person that's dead speaks to you. Jimi did not speak, but his body movement told me enough to know that I should pay more attention to this man. So when I awoke, I went to my friend Dan and borrowed his JIMI HENDRIX biography and started to study the man. After a dream like that, wouldn't you? I really like how powerful that song sounds, especially the intro. As I got better on the guitar, I was able to see how ahead of time and great HENDRIX really was.”
Let me take a closer look at your live shows, if I may. Can you name a few bands, you’ve shared the stage with over the years. I believe that EXODUS was only just one of them?
“Well, here are a few: BLUE CHEER, SLAYER, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, VIOLENCE, FORBIDDEN, ANVIL, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, BLIND ILLUSION, ZNOWHITE, DEATH ANGEL, HIRAX, WHIPLASH, LAAZ ROCKIT, VICIOUS RUMORS, GBH, DRI, POSSESSED, DEATH, LIZZY BORDEN, TROUBLE and many more…..”
Do you stick to your own written material only during your live gigs, or do you also play some covers during your shows? Which covers do you play? I know you played “I Don’t Know” (OZZY OSBOURNE) on one of the video tapes for example.
“We love to play a cover or two at our live shows. We have played live, songs by; VENOM "Black Metal", "Angel Dust"; VAN HALEN "Ain't Talkin ‘Bout Love"; BEATLES "Day Tripper"; IRON MAIDEN "Killers", "Wrathchild"; LED ZEPPELIN "Stairway To Heaven"; RAVEN "Inquisitor"; OZZY "I Don't Know"; JIMI HENDRIX "Foxy Lady"; TROGGS "Wild Thing" and a lot of others over the years.”
What’s the metal scene like in San Francisco? Are there enough clubs to play these days, and can we still talk about a Bay Area scene, like in the mid-eighties?
“The metal scene here is not like it was in the 80's. Clubs open and close all the time. There is not a lot of support for the scene, but that may change in the near future.”
I guess, that you must have an awfull lot of fun during your gigs and tours. Maybe you can share some of these precious, funny, hilarious and unforgettable stories with our readers?
“I have so much to worry about preparing for a show, that the only fun I remember is part of the performance, and even when I'm onstage, I pay attention to all of instruments, and try to make sure the sound, and the band is tight.”
Any gigs, you won’t easily forget?
“Yes, we were playing a show at Ruthies Inn with EXODUS and POSSESSED in 1984, and the guys from METALLICA were in the audience. There was about 800 or 900 people packed in the club, and when I dedicated "To Kill Evil" to Cliff Burton & METALLICA the whole place cheered. I had no idea that many of their fans were in the place, it was very loud! I remember when EXODUS was onstage Paul Bailoff (R.I.P.) said to the crowd, that this show was going to go down in history! He was right.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the instruments and the gear, that you use? Is there anything special about it why you like to use it?
“I use Marshall tube amps. They are a big part of my guitar tone, but not all of it. I have done research and studied the equiptment we use for years. I also collect old audio tubes for my amps. I know a lot about audio tubes. I can make a 1990's JCM 900 Marshall sound close to a 1960's Marshall. Anthony uses Ampeg Bass equipment. Darren uses a custom built drum set. I like Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul style guitars. “
The latest album you have released (besides “Here Lies STONE VENGEANCE 1987”) and which contained old material only, is “The Angel”. Can you point out the biggest differences between “To Kill Evil” and “The Angel” to us?
“ "To Kill Evil" is very raw sounding. We were a lot younger, wilder. "The Angel" is more controlled and refined in some places, and wild & crazy in other areas of the CD. I wanted the audience to hear what we were doing a little better on "The Angel". “
How did this second album sell, and how were the reactions on this release?
“The overall response to "The Angel" has been really good! We are getting new fans all the time! Which makes me feel pretty good!”
“The Angel” shows a bit more variation in styles, comparing to “To Kill Evil”, that captured the more thrashy sound of the early days of the band. I hear a touch of MOTHERS FINEST and JIMI HENDRIX, when I listen to this album. Do you agree with me?
“If you hear HENDRIX in my music thank you, but I'm not that good yet. I am still learning this instrument. Now the only thing I have ever heard about MOTHERS FINEST is the name. I don't think I have ever heard their music.”
Mike, you wrote nearly all lyrics for STONE VENGEANCE. Can you tell us a bit more about your writing process in general? And what are the lyrcis about?
“When I write a song, I let the music guide me. I try to be honest in what I write. I usually start with the music first, then whatever the music or riff brings to mind, I write the lyrics to try and sound like the music. For example when I wrote the song "pain" the music and lyrics mirror each other. That is one of my goals... to make the lyrics and music one!”
I feel, there’s a positive message in some of the songs of STONE VENGEANCE. Do you guys have a religious background somehow?
“When you hear our music, you are listening to our thoughts. We write what we have experienced, seen, or imagined. About religion, we are certainly God fearing, but on the other hand, we wrote a song about prostitution, called "The Stroll". So yes I believe in God, and I try to treat people the way I desire them to treat me. But I don't believe too much in orgainized religion. Wicked people go to church all the time! So I judge a man by his conscious deeds! Not his religion. When a song makes me feel spiritual I write about God. If I feel war, I write about that. I respect the intelligence of my audience, and I am trying to be a true artist bearing my naked soul in our music, if it's good or bad, it's stays honest!”
After the release of “The Angel”, it became a bit quiet around STONE VENGEANCE and it lasted about three years to come up with an album, that is full of ‘old material’ as a matter of fact. When can the fans expect any new material of STONE VENGEANCE?
“We are going to start recording a new album this year. We will release it early 2004.”
What can we expect from the new material? Can you give us a few titles already and what (musical) direction will you be heading in the future?
“The new recording will be a mixture of metal and hardrock. No bullshit, just pure Marshall amp powered rock!!! I have written a song, called "Hades", that’s very heavy and a song for you and all the true metal warriors worldwide. The title is a phrase I made famous, called "Keep Rockin Hard". This will be a record with me and Anthony splitting the song writing 50/50. On "The Angel" I wrote about 70% and Anthony wrote 30%. We also allow Darren's input also. The direction of this recording will be pure old school! I do not follow trends, just Bellbottoms and Marshalls!”
The material on “Here Lies STONE VENGEANCE 1987” is kind of old maybe, but it really shreds you to pieces. I have a copy on green vinyl here, which is hand numbered and limited to five hundred copies. Is the coloured version of the album only limited or is the ‘normal version’ limited, too? Are there any other colours available than green, by the way?
“Thank you! Rob Preston told me half (250) black vinyl and 250 green.”
How did you get in touch with the people of Doomed Planet Records in Fremont, California, who released this album?
“I have known Rob Preston for a few years before he asked me about putting the old music out on vinyl. We met at a show called Metal Rendezvous about six years ago with STONE VENGEANCE, LORD SLOUGH FEG and BROCAS HELM. He felt our music was important and should be preserved for other collectors. He did a great job!”
Can we expect a further cooperation with this label in the near future?
“Maybe. Only time will tell…”
Who made the magnificent artwork for the front cover of the album?
“The original was done by a high school friend of mine named Marcus Williams. The updated version you see on the vinyl release was done by Rob Preston's girlfriend and his staff. The cover for the "To Kill Evil" CD was done by Marcus also, over fifteen years ago. I like it because it reminds me of old comic book type art.”
Is the album also released on CD, or did you only bring it out on vinyl?
“It's only on vinyl at this time.”
Do you prefer vinyl above CDs? In other words: are you a vinyl collector or did you switch on to CDs completely like many people?
“I'm not a collector, but I have more cassettes and vinyl than CDs. I just got into CDs about five years ago.”
If you are a vinyl collector. Please tell us a bit more about your collection. What are your most vauluable records, or the rarest items that you have in your collection?
“No, I'm not a vinyl collector, but I have audio tubes from the 1940's and 50's. I play them in my Marshall amps for my listening pleasure.”
What’s the next step on the ladder of success for STONE VENGEANCE?
“We are making plans to come to perform in Europe and Japan next year. Also Rob Grohl from the Milwaukee Metal Fest invited us to do the first Florida Metal Fest in March 2004. I also received an e-mail from someone at the Wacken Open Air festival and the Headbanger Open Air in mighty Germany! We'll see what happens.”
When can we expect you over for some shows in Europe? We definitely want to check you out over here!!
“We want to see all of you also. Ask all the promoters you know to contact us!!!”
You are very loyal to your fans… How important are your fans for you?
“We are fans of the music also and we respect our listeners. So we feel the music is just as important to them as it is to us. I always keep the fans in mind, when I write a song.”
You already recorded some live shows, and some hilarious extra shots (the exploding tiger!) to show the fans, what STONE VENGEANCE is all about. A good way to promote the band, in my opinion. Have you ever thought about making a videoclip for one of your songs?
“Oh yeah, we will probably be putting some video footage on the website in the future. I have a lot of video footage of the band, some my assistant shot, and some, that bootleggers sent to me.”
STONE VENGEANCE exists for twenty-five long years now already. What’s the biggest success, you have archieved over the years?
“I think just surviving for 1/4 century, twenty-five years is a success in itself! We have proved that we are not a novelty, we are for real, and it has been hard!!! Just being a black metal band has put us on a limb, and when you're on a limb all it takes is for someone to throw a stone to knock you off. But we have developed a thick skin now, so to speak. Twenty-five years can make you pretty strong! Another success is that at this time we are playing better than ever! We have enough gear that I have collected over the years, (sometimes working sixteen hours a day), to play an arena! I believe in doing my own work, and working hard! I have achieved most of my goals that I set back in 1978. We have lived through alcoholism, seeing friends die, murders, heartbreak, drug addictions, poverty, frequent disappointments, infidelity, depression, isolation, frustration and more.”
And maybe you can tell us a bit more about your biggest disappointment over these years?
“There are many, but I'll say this... It has been very disappointing to work so hard to help build the San Francisco metal scene and support it, and get so little appreciation in our own town. We would play shows in 1984 and see these young kids in the crowd watching us, by 1986 they were getting record deals, and we got left in the underground, but then we are still here supporting the scene, and they are not. I 'm not so very angry anymore because we believe in what we are doing, and we never follow trends. We are more metal than many of the bands that claimed to be metal!! We are not having a reunion, we have stayed on the job through good times, and bad times. We never broke up!”
Twenty-five years of STONE VENGEANCE also calls for a celebration maybe. Are you planning to do something special for this ocassion?
“Yeah, we will put out a new CD! If I don't get an offer from a decent label who's fair, I'll put it out on my own again. I would rather do it myself than to be ripped off. Also to come to Europe finally to perform. So have all European promoters contact me.”
Are there any goals, you still want to archieve in your musical career?
“Yes, I want to be able to weave words and music into one fabric. Also to take our music around the globe.”
Are you professional musicians, or do each of you have a daily job besides being musicians? If yes, isn’t it difficult to combine?
“I wish I could just make a living off of our music! No, we still have to work day and night jobs, to support this band. At first it was supported by myself only, because the other guys were still in school. Now I have more help. But I have sacrificed the most over these years, and still do so.”
Do you have any hobbies or interests besides playing music in a band?
“Yes, and not enough time in a day to indulge. I am a licensed pyrotechnics operator, I study electronics, physics, history, religion, occult, tube audio and I’m collecting audio tubes.”
How important is the Internet for a band like STONE VENGEANCE?
“Very important! We can reach a lot more people faster. The great thing though, is the fact that we already had a worldwide underground name before the internet, which makes it even better. We have over 257,000 visitors to our site. So yes, the internet is like having a twenty-four hour advertisment for your band. I love it!!”
What’s your most favorite STONE VENGEANCE song and why?
“Well, right now "The Angel". I'm proud of that song, because I wrote it in the mid- 80's, and didn't change a thing in it. It sounds like the mid 80's the way I wanted it to. I didn't care how long it took, I wanted that song to open the second STONE VENGEANCE recording when I wrote that song. I wasn't even thinking about CDs, I was still thinking vinyl. So it's a promise I kept to myself.”
We are a metal magazine from The Netherlands. What do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have lots of tulips and windmills here?
“First of all, some of the finest audio tubes ever produced came from your country! Philips, Amperex and others. Also The Netherlands, as far back as the mid 1980's, have always treated us very good. I had boxes full of letters (before the internet) from your great country. The fans from your country are very intelligent and literate. That's why anytime I am contacted from The Netherlands, I respond! We love you guys!!!”
If I was the president, I would/ would not have started the war against Saddam Hussein…….
“I believe you. You're a good person. Science teaches us that nature has a way of balancing things out. For example... in electric current from a battery, or DC (direct current) the electrons travel from negative to positive until the electrons balance themselves and no more current flows, then we say the battery is discharged or dead, because there are now just as many electrons on the positive battery terminal as the negative terminal from where the flow started. Just like water seeks its own level or balance. It is madness for man to make war with man, because as long as you fight someone with a brain, the mind will always figure out a way to defend itself. Nature always figuers out a way to even the score. It's called balance. That's what my song "Law" on “The Angel” is about. The very atomic stucture of the universe is held together by positive and negative atoms, but in balance. So you see, negative can only rule for a short time before nature balances itself again.”
What is the last great joke you’ve heard?
“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.”
What do you think would have happened, when STONE VENGEANCE did not consist of three coloured musicians. Would your career have been any different then? In other words: did you ever witness any negative result of the fact that you guys have a coloured skin. (This was a difficult question to ask you maybe, but please see it as a chance to respond to any kind of discrimination, you may have witnessed in the past or present by certain people who don’t use their brains, if they have any!)
“Thank you for your honesty. I respect an honest person. Good question. Years ago, I would get letters from record companies that had heard our music, but had no idea we were black. They would be very enthusiastic. They would request a press kit with a picture and when I would send the press kit with the picture they would lose interest. This happened so much that I would make a xerox copy of our picture and send it to companies who contacted us before I would waste time and money sending a press kit. So if they were still interested after seeing the picture I would proceed from there. So being black has not helped us, but I don't want to be successful for being black anyway, because that novelty would wear off. I knew It would be hard for us from the start! I'm not blind about racism! In the USA, racism is actually institutionalized. As little children they teach us in school that we as black people are the devil! Look at it: angel food cake is white, devils food cake is dark, Black Friday, Prince Of Darkness, blacklist, black market, black balled (black balls meaning mine, that's why the lynchers would castrate the blackmale), blackmail (blackmale meaning me) this is from slavery, and if you're black this teaching crushes the mind of black children from the start at a young age. That is why poor MICHAEL JACKSON looks the way he does. It's not his fault, he is just another victum of racism. Being taught that black is negative. With this teaching in America, I'm not at all surprised that my people were slaves to America for 310 years! Three centuries from the year 1555 to 1865 that's a long time to mess over a people! We are not free today, we are actually a nation within a nation. We are not yet free. Freedom means independence, and to be independent you must have land and a flag. Without those two things you will forever be subjected to the owner of the land you are in. With all that said, then it is easy to see a hard time for us. but I'm not going to stop just because some people don't like it. If they don't like us because we are black, well, that says a lot more about them than it does about us. What kind of a person would listen to music, like it, and then force themselves to not like it because of how the musicians look? That person is an unjust person, and I would not want them as a fan anyway. Those are the type of people who have the world spiraling to its doom today. But in the end... The grave will make us all equal!”
What are your future plans?
“To continue for about ten more years, then retire to my own personal hobbies, and interest.”
Do you have any personal messages for our the readers of Headache magazine?
“Keep rockin’ hard!!! We hope to see you all very soon!”
The last words are for you, Mike……
“Thank you for a very good interview. The questions were very interesting and I'm glad you like our music because we make it for people like yourself. We will continue to make pure bones bare, stripped down, honest hard rockin metal music! After twenty-five years why change?, it has been a pleasure. STONE VENGEANCE is not hard to figure out, it's simple....we have heard, and seen some great bands....VAN HALEN, VENOM, IRON MAIDEN, MANOWAR, THE SCORPIONS, and so many more. All we are doing is trying to give people the same enjoyment we have recieved from our heroes and if METALLICA's Cliff Burton, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Mike Muir, Eric and the guys from TESTAMENT, Jeff and POSSESSED, LAAZ ROCKIT, ANVIL, Paul Bailoff and EXODUS, MOTORHEAD, who saw us at The Mabuhay Gardens in 1984, Ron Quintana of Metal Mania maagzine, Ray Dorsey of Chaos Realm, my old friend Juergen Hegewald of Hellion Records, all the staff at the legendary Record Vault, David Denny of the STEVE MILLER BAND, Rob Preston of Doomed Planet Records, Wes Robinson of Ruthiess Inn, GBH, Dave Lombardo of SLAYER, TROUBLE, VICIOUS RUMORS, Katon from HIRAX, and so many more great people have appreciated our music, why should I care what a "johnny come lately" critic has to say about our music? When they can sacrifice, and give twenty-five years of their life to rock & roll the way we have, then I well seriously entertain their opinion.
Sincerely, your friend Michael Coffey.
Visit their website at: WWW.STONEVENGEANCE.COM
Interview by: Toine van Poorten, published in Headache magazine, NL - March/April 2004.