Coal Chamber

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Coal Chamber
Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber performing in 2012
Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber performing in 2012
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active
  • 1993–2003
  • 2011–2016
Past members
  • Dez Fafara
  • Miguel "Meegs" Rascón
  • Mikey "Bug" Cox
  • Nadja Peulen
  • Rayna Foss
  • Chela Rhea Harper
  • Jon Tor

Coal Chamber was an American nu metal band formed by Dez Fafara and Meegs Rascón in Los Angeles, California in 1993.[1] Prior to Coal Chamber, the two had also created the band She's in Pain, in 1992. Coal Chamber disbanded in 2003 after ten years together, and then reunited from 2011 to 2016. The band's first drummer, Jon Tor, was eventually replaced by Mike Cox. After bass guitarist Rayna Foss joined, the Coal Chamber lineup was complete. They released their debut album, Coal Chamber, in 1997. Chamber Music followed two years later. Their third album, Dark Days, was released in the spring of 2002. The only single from the album was "Fiend".[1] Coal Chamber released one more album, Rivals, in 2015, before disbanding again in 2016.


Formation and early years (1993–1995)[edit]

In late 1994, Dino Cazares of Fear Factory championed a demo tape by Coal Chamber, causing a huge local stir with gigs at The Roxy Theatre and Whisky a Go Go, eventually leading Roadrunner Records to offer the band a contract.[2]

Fafara dropped out quite suddenly due to disagreements with his wife about the band. In the spring of 1995, he reunited with Coal Chamber, which ended his marriage but revitalized the band.[2] With a renewed sense of energy, Coal Chamber was able to regain their deal with Roadrunner by the end of 1995.

Coal Chamber (1996–1998)[edit]

Former bassist Rayna Foss in 1998

In 1996, Coal Chamber played at the first Ozzfest, acquired Mike "Bug" Cox, and recorded their first album, Coal Chamber, which was released on 11 February 1997.[2] The record produced one single and a video, "Loco", directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox. The video was included as an extra after the ending credits of Dee Snider's film Strangeland. The band also recorded an exclusive song for the soundtrack, titled "Not Living".

In 1997, the band toured Europe with Machine Head,[2] Napalm Death, and Skinlab, including a show at the Dynamo Festival in the Netherlands. Coal Chamber also supported Pantera on tour from September through December 1997, along with Anthrax. Also, in 1997 and 1998, the band opened for Megadeth during the Cryptic Writings tour. Their bassist Rayna Foss left after Coal Chamber was released, and was replaced by Nadja Peulen.

Chamber Music (1999–2001)[edit]

Chamber Music was released in 1999. With the commercial success Coal Chamber received with the album, the band toured on headlining and festival tours.[3] The band managed to catch the attention of Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne, who became their manager.

That year, Coal Chamber took part in Insane Clown Posse's Amazing Jeckel Brothers Tour, along with musicians Biohazard, Krayzie Bone, Twiztid, and Mindless Self Indulgence.[4] While Biohazard, Mindless Self Indulgence, Krayzie Bone, and Twiztid were well received by audiences,[4] Coal Chamber was not. Insane Clown Posse fans were not purchasing tickets, as they did not like the band.[4] For the three shows that Coal Chamber played, there were multiple ticket refunds.[4] ICP member Violent J and his brother, Rob, made the decision to eliminate Coal Chamber from the tour; after doing so, there were no ticket refunds for the remaining tour dates.[4] Insane Clown Posse claimed that Coal Chamber had been removed from the tour because of equipment problems, but later revealed the true reason for their actions on The Howard Stern Show on 19 August 1999.[4] On air, Osbourne, who also appeared as a guest, informed Bruce and Utsler that Coal Chamber filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.[5]

Coal Chamber later parted ways over personal and creative differences, a theme which continued within the band, causing them to take a break from touring and resulting in their non-participation in the Tattoo the Earth tour in 2000.

Dark Days/Disbandment (2002–2003)[edit]

The band followed up with their third album, Dark Days, in early 2002, to mixed reviews. Bass guitarist Rayna Foss had left the band to raise her daughter shortly after the album was recorded; she was replaced by Nadja Peulen, who had taken Foss's place during her pregnancy between the first two albums. Foss fell out with frontman Dez Fafara, saying that she and her husband had "found Christ" and would be leaving Coal Chamber for good.

In May 2002, it was announced that Coal Chamber had broken up after an on-stage altercation between Fafara and Rascón during a show in Lubbock, Texas. They had been fighting verbally before the show and continued to fight on-stage, with Rascón hitting Fafara in the head with the headstock of his guitar. Fafara announced "This is the last Coal Chamber show ever!", and stormed offstage. The band attempted to continue the show with Rascón singing vocals, but soon stopped the show altogether. Cox demolished his drumkit before storming offstage. The band managed to patch things up long enough for an appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly and a summer tour with American Head Charge, Lollipop Lust Kill, and Medication. These were the last shows they played.

In October 2002, Cox was fired after several personal disputes with both Fafara and Rascón. The official release on the Coal Chamber website stated that the band was looking for a new drummer, although all band activities had come to a halt.

In late summer 2003, a compilation album titled Giving the Devil His Due was released, which included several demo tracks submitted by the band prior to their signing with Roadrunner Records in 1997, along with several alternative studio recordings and remixes of various tracks from their previous albums. Coal Chamber officially called it a day in 2003; Fafara continued with his new band DevilDriver (formerly known as Deathride).

After the breakup (2003–2010)[edit]

In August 2004, Roadrunner Records released The Best of Coal Chamber. In June 2005, Fafara stated that Coal Chamber's break was permanent and they would not be reforming. He also described a reformation as "like repeating the 4th grade again".[citation needed]

Fafara continued as vocalist of the metal band DevilDriver, recording seven albums: DevilDriver, The Fury of Our Maker's Hand, The Last Kind Words, Pray for Villains, Beast, Winter Kills, and Trust No One. He is the only member of Coal Chamber to release an album after the disbandment. Bass guitarist Nadja Puelen created the t-shirt company CruelTees. After taking two years off to recover from a car accident, drummer Mikey "Bug" Cox joined forces with his longtime friend and Orgy member Jay Gordon - and the producer of Coal Chamber's first album - to form Machine Gun Orchestra. Guitarist Meegs Rascón formed the rock band Glass Piñata, previously known as Piñata. The group released a few demos on their website, and faced several line-up changes before eventually disbanding. Following Glass Piñata, Rascón joined the Orange County rock/electro band NEO GEO in mid-2009, although he later left the band in 2010.[citation needed]

Fafara and Rascón settled their differences on 24 October 2008, with Rascón joining DevilDriver on stage at the Glasshouse in Pomona, California, to play "Loco".[citation needed]

In September 2009, it was announced that Peulen and Cox had joined forces to form an unnamed band.[6] They were seeking a vocalist and guitarist to complete the lineup.

In September 2010, Rascón and Cox joined together in a post-punk band called We Are the Riot.[7]

Reformation, Rivals, and second disbandment (2011–2017)[edit]

Coal Chamber in 2012

In September 2011, Fafara, Cox, and Rascón officially reformed the band with bass guitarist Chela Rhea Harper, to play the Soundwave festival in Australia. In October 2012, Fafara stated that the band were "taking it slow", partly due to his commitments with DevilDriver, but he also revealed that they had begun writing new material.[8] The band later performed at Download 2013 and toured with Sevendust, Lacuna Coil, and Stolen Babies, with performances at Rock Am Ring, Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel,[9] and Nova Rock festival.[10]

Nadja Peulen officially reunited with the band in October 2013, and they signed to Napalm Records the following year, as they continued to work on a new album.[11] This was completed in December 2014. In February 2015, Coal Chamber revealed that the album's title was Rivals. They premiered the song "I.O.U. Nothing" online in March, and released a lyric video for "Suffer in Silence", which features Al Jourgensen, the following month. The album was released on 19 May 2015, and was their first studio album in 13 years, as well as their first to be released by Napalm Records.[12]

In May 2016, Fafara confirmed during an interview with Blunt magazine that Coal Chamber was on indefinite hiatus, stating that due to the current success of his other band DevilDriver, Coal Chamber "has no place in my life whatsoever at this point."[13] In June 2017, Fafara explained that he would start performing Coal Chamber songs with DevilDriver, coming to the realization that Coal Chamber would probably never tour or make music ever again.[14] He then went on to say that the band is "done forever".[15] In July 2018, Fafara officially announced that Coal Chamber was not coming back.[16] In 2020, Fafara spoke about the band's status during an interview with Metal Hammer. When asked about a possible reunion, Fafara stated: "I'm not gonna say no, because we've all spoken", adding, "The main thing for me is that the relationship is all good after numerous fallouts in the beginning and after some stuff went horribly wrong when we got back together to release [2015 comeback album] Rivals. The vibe in that camp is very cool at the moment, and we all have each other's backs. I wouldn't put it past us, but right now I'm definitely concentrating on Devildriver".[17]

Musical style, influences, and legacy[edit]

Coal Chamber have been categorized as nu metal,[18][19][20][21] alternative metal,[1][12] gothic metal,[22][23] rap metal,[24] and hard rock.[25] Their self-titled album falls into the first category.[26] Elements of hip hop and heavy metal are featured throughout the album.[27] Coal Chamber's second album, Chamber Music, is also mainly nu metal,[1] with elements of other genres such as gothic rock,[1] industrial, and electronic music.[28]

The band's influences include Bad Brains, Metallica, Duran Duran, Fear Factory, The Cure, Bauhaus,[29] Machine Head, and Jane's Addiction.[30][31]

Coal Chamber is considered to be one of the bands that defined the nu metal sound. Alternative Press wrote, "Nü metal would never have left the starting gates if it weren't for the achievements of Coal Chamber. Established in 1993, the L.A. outfit expertly weaved frantic hip-hop-infused vocal rhythms between chugging guitars like they always belonged together. Dez Fafara's predecessor to DevilDriver established the no-nonsense side of nü metal that bridged the gap between straight-up heavy metal and goring industrial set to an infectious tempo. "Loco" and "Fiend" paved the way for the darker side of nü metal to step into the limelight beyond the lifespan of Coal Chamber themselves."[32]

Revolver magazine talked about the impact of the band's self-titled debut: "Coal Chamber may have looked more like industrial goths at the warehouse rave than nu-metal moshers in the Ozzfest pit, but don't judge a coal by its chamber. Led by future DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara, the L.A. band's 1997 self-titled debut rages somewhere between the rabbit-like springiness of Korn, the ragged grooves of Sepultura and the apoplectic rap-metal tantrums that would become Slipknot's calling card a couple years down the pike. "Loco" is the hit, but other cuts like "Oddity" and "Big Truck" will scratch that itch for the genre's heavier, more confrontational early days."[33]

Band members[edit]



Coal Chamber discography
Studio albums4
Compilation albums3
Music videos4

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Top Heat[35] AUS
1997 Coal Chamber 10 17 101 67 1 122 44 76 US: Gold[43]
1999 Chamber Music
  • Released: September 7, 1999
  • Label: Roadrunner
22 1 29 18 70 70 49 22 21
2002 Dark Days
  • Released: May 7, 2002
  • Label: Roadrunner
34 3 61 45 69 61 1 1 43
2015 Rivals
  • Released: May 19, 2015
  • Label: Napalm
82 5 90 22 1 1 12 100 77
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Date Label
Giving the Devil His Due 19 August 2003 Roadrunner
The Best of Coal Chamber 9 August 2004
The Complete Roadrunner Collection (1997–2003) 12 March 2013


Year Song Peak chart positions Album

1997 "Loco" 80 Coal Chamber
"Big Truck"
1998 "Sway"
1999 "Not Living" Chamber Music
"Shock the Monkey"
(featuring Ozzy Osbourne)
26 83
"Tyler's Song"
2002 "Fiend" Dark Days
2015 "I.O.U. Nothing" Rivals
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Director(s)
1997 "Loco" Nathan Cox
1999 "Shock the Monkey"
(featuring Ozzy Osbourne)
Dean Karr
2002 "Fiend" P. R. Brown
2015 "I.O.U. Nothing"


  1. ^ a b c d e "Coal Chamber Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 102. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  3. ^ "COAL CHAMBER: MATURING AT THE TOP OF THE HEAP". Chart Attack, 1999. Story By Alex Ristic
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bruce, Joseph; Echlin, Hobey (August 2003). "Buried Alive". In Nathan Fostey (ed.). ICP: Behind the Paint (second ed.). Royal Oak, Michigan: Psychopathic Records. pp. 444–455. ISBN 0-9741846-0-8.
  5. ^ Fischer, Blair R (20 August 1999). "Insane Clown Posse and Sharon Osbourne Battle on Howard Stern Radio Show". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  6. ^ " - Former Coal Chamber members rejoin forced in new project". 9 September 2009. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  7. ^ " - Former COAL CHAMBER Members Rejoin Forces In WE ARE THE RIOT". 9 September 2010. Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Reunited COAL CHAMBER Has Commenced Writing New Material, Says Singer DEZ FAFARA". 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Poster | Graspop Metal Meeting 2014" (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  10. ^ "NOVAROCK - ArtistPage". Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Reunited Coal Chamber To Record New Album". Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Coal Chamber To Release 'Rivals' Album In May". Blabbermouth. 12 February 2015.
  13. ^ "DEZ FAFARA: 'COAL CHAMBER Has No Place In My Life Whatsoever At This Point'". 18 May 2016.
  14. ^ "DEZ FAFARA Says COAL CHAMBER Will Probably Never Tour Or Make Music Again". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  15. ^ "DEZ FAFARA Believes COAL CHAMBER Is 'Done Forever'". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  16. ^ "DEZ FAFARA says COAL CHAMBER Is Not Coming Back". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  17. ^ Cooperpublished, Ali (7 December 2020). "DevilDriver's Dez Fafara: 'I'm not gonna say no to a new Coal Chamber album'". loudersound.
  18. ^ Sergeant D (29 September 2010). "What is UR Favorite Classic Nu-Metal Band??". MetalSucks. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  19. ^ Aznar, Thierry (2015). "Chapitre 14: 2013". Hard Rock & Heavy Metal : 40 années de purgatoire (in French). Vol. 3. Camion Blanc. ISBN 978-2-35779-689-8.
  20. ^ "Coal Chamber: Dark Days". CMJ New Music Report. 71 (758): 15. 15 April 2002. ISSN 0890-0795.
  21. ^ Udo, Tommy (2002). Brave Nu World. Sanctuary Publishing. pp. 139, 197–99. ISBN 1-86074-415-X.
  22. ^ Michael Smith (9 April 2015). "Music Matters: Rhythm is key for Coal Chamber guitarist". Pensacola News Journal.
  23. ^ "THE WIZARD OF OZZFEST". SPIN. Vol. 16, no. 8. 2000. p. 108. ISSN 0886-3032.
  24. ^ "Linkin Park\'s Debut Album \'Hybrid Theory\' Turns 20". 23 October 2020.
  25. ^ "'Dark Days' Ahead: Coal Chamber on the Road". Billboard. July 2002.
  26. ^ Weinstein, Deena (2015). Rock'n America: A Social and Cultural History. University of Toronto Press. (January 27th, 2015)
  27. ^ Kastle Waserman (16 April 2000). "Coal Chamber: They've Lived a Little". Los Angeles Times.
  28. ^ Steve Huey. "Chamber Music - Coal Chamber". Allmusic.
  29. ^ "Coal Chamber's Dez Fafara Says 'Nu Metal' Bands Broke New Musical Ground". 19 April 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  30. ^ Teitz, Alex (1 April 2000). "Rayna Foss-Rose, Coal Chamber". FEMMUSIC. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Interview With Mike "Bug" Cox". November 1999. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  32. ^ "20 artists who defined the sound of nü metal from past to present". Alternative Press Magazine. 21 July 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  33. ^ "20 Essential Nu-Metal Albums". Revolver. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Coal Chamber Album & Song Chart History". Billboard.
  35. ^ Coal Chamber Awards at Allmusic
  36. ^ "Discography Coal Chamber".
  37. ^ "Discography Coal Chamber".
  38. ^ "Discographie Coal Chamber" (in French).
  39. ^ "Coal Chamber > Longplay-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  40. ^ "Discografie Coal Chamber" (in Dutch).
  41. ^ "Discography Coal Chamber".
  42. ^ a b "Chart Log UK: Chris C. - CZR". Zobbel.
  43. ^ "RIAA Search". Recording Industry Association of America.
  44. ^ "Coal Chamber". AllMusic.

External links[edit]