How Kiss Inspired Big Business’ Own ‘God of Thunder,’ Coady Willis
Big Business drummer Coady Willis credits an extremely cool uncle and a borrowed copy of Kiss' Alive II for jump-starting his music career.
Willis is joined in the inventive two-piece hard rock band by bassist and vocalist Jared Warren. Next month Big Business will release their sixth album, The Beast You Are, via Joyful Noise Recordings. You can hear an exclusive premiere of "Time and Heat" from the new record below.
"When I was really young, my uncle was a firefighter and a drummer," Willis recalls. "One of my earliest memories is that he had this blue sparkle Ludwig drum set, and he sat me behind it, and I thought it was so cool. From that point, I knew that someday I would play drums."
The same seemingly awesome uncle also gifted Willis with a Walkman, which soon led to the youngster learning about Peter Criss. "I raided my stepdad’s tape collection. The first thing that grabbed me, just because it was the scariest to look at, was Kiss Alive II. The song ‘God of Thunder,’ I listened to that one over and over and over again. So, I was into Kiss. Judas Priest, I really loved; Twisted Sister, Ratt's Out of the Cellar.'"
Listen to Big Business Perform 'Time and Heat'
The influence of a different classic rock era shines through on Big Business's new song "Time and Heat." "[Jared's] been messing around with a mellotron pedal," Willis explains. "The Mellotron is a '60s, '70s keyboard that uses prerecorded tape strips of an orchestra. So you hit the key and it plays that tape strip, so it sounds like an orchestra is playing. Led Zeppelin used it a lot. But this is just like a pedal that he plays through, so his normal bass signal is coming through the amps – but with the mellotron effect blended in."
"It’s one of my favorites on the record; it’s a slow-burner. It’s nice to have a shift in the pacing of everything. It’s not a breakneck, blasty song. We’ve been playing it live on the last tour. It’s really fun to play. I think we wanted to do a song that was a little more groove oriented, had some space, kind of a different pacing than most of our other songs. Jared came up with the riff for that one. I think he wrote it kind of around that Mellotron riff. I think it came out really awesome."
Willis and Warren also spent nearly a decade as members of a two-drummer, four-piece lineup of the Melvins, releasing three albums and an EP with the group during their tenure.
So, did Willis ever get the chance to actually play "God of Thunder?" “By myself, sure! Not with any band, but I got to play Kiss songs with the Melvins. We did 'Goin’ Blind' on a couple of tours.”
The Beast You Are comes out on April 12. You can catch Big Business on tour with Sleep starting May 27 in Las Vegas, Nev., and concluding June 18 in Miami, Fla.