Kerry McCoy (musician)

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Kerry McCoy
Kerry McCoy performing with Deafheaven in 2013.jpg
McCoy performing with Deafheaven in 2013
Background information
OriginYuma, Arizona, United States
GenresBlackgaze,[1][2] black metal, shoegazing, post-rock, post-metal, grindcore
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass
Years active2006–present
Associated actsDeafheaven, Rise of Caligula

Kerry McCoy (born January 26, 1988) is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist of San Francisco-based blackgaze band Deafheaven.


McCoy is a native of Yuma, Arizona, and lived in Port Hueneme, Oxnard and Stockton, California, before moving to Modesto at age 10. He started playing guitar at age 11 and got his first electric guitar at age 13. Playing with various bands since he was 13,[3] McCoy met future bandmate George Clarke in 9th grade, after he complimented Clarke's Slayer t-shirt.[4] Clarke further introduced McCoy, who was a fan of Dead Kennedys, to extreme metal music.[5] The two eventually shared a mutual interest in black metal.[6]

From 2006 to 2011, McCoy and Clarke were the members of Modesto-based grindcore band Rise of Caligula. McCoy played bass with the band and Clarke was the vocalist. Following the disbandment of Rise of Caligula, Clarke and McCoy moved to San Francisco and formed Deafheaven in February 2010. The duo recorded an untitled demo album in April 2010 at Atomic Garden Studios[7] with Jack Shirley for about US$500, which they could not afford at the time.[8] As McCoy did not own an electric guitar or amp at the time, he wrote the demo with an acoustic guitar and recorded with equipment borrowed from the studio.[8]

In 2010, Deafheaven became a five-piece with the addition of bassist Derek Prine, guitarist Nick Bassett and drummer Trevor Deschryver. At the same year, the band signed to Deathwish, Inc. and released their debut album Roads to Judah in 2011.[7] Following a series of international touring and the release of a split EP with Bosse-de-Nage, Deafheaven released their sophomore album, Sunbather in 2013. The album, written solely by Clarke and McCoy,[9] was critically acclaimed.

In 2014, McCoy was featured on the seventh episode of Guitar Power, a guitar-focused web series presented by Matt Sweeney.[3][10]


McCoy's guitar playing incorporates influences from various genres atypical of traditional black metal sound, including shoegaze, dream pop, post-rock and indie rock.[3][11][12] According to Jonah Bayer of Vice, McCoy "takes simple melodies and raising them to stratospheric heights through his use of effects and dynamics." His guitar sound is also described as "Kevin Shields meets Immortal and manages to be bone-crushingly heavy without being overly complicated."[13] McCoy's music also features clean melodic passages and reverse delay drone pieces.[5]

McCoy's style was compared to those of Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Johnny Marr of The Smiths, whom he credits as influences.[14]

McCoy is also a fan of hip hop music.[5]


With Deafheaven
With Rise of Caligula
  • Libretto EP (2008)
  • Parading from Heaven's Descent (2009)
Other collaborations
  • Antwon - "In Dark Denim" (ft. Kerry McCoy)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Brockman, Daniel (November 10, 2014). "Kerry McCoy Gives Black Metal a Jangling New Tune". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Richards, Kathleen. "Getting Up-Close and Uncomfortable with Deafheaven". East Bay Express. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Hayter, David (June 1, 2014). "The Deafheaven Interview: Making The Album Of The Year". Guitar Planet. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (February 27, 2014). "Deafheaven turns pain into gain". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Harris, Chris (February 12, 2011). "Deafheaven Debut Disc Due April 26". Gun Shy Assassin. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Interview: Deafheaven's George Clark & Kerry McCoy". Invisible Oranges. June 12, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  9. ^ Glaser, Anthony (March 11, 2013). "Interview: Deafheaven". National Underground. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Rettig, James (November 11, 2014). "Watch Deafheaven's Kerry McCoy Demonstrate His Guitar Techniques For Matt Sweeney". Stereogum. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Matt (February 13, 2014). "Deafheaven's strain of black metal annoys purists but finds favor in unlikely places". Nashville Scene. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  12. ^ Ratliff, Ben (June 14, 2013). "Flute, Church Organ, African Drums and Rock Guitar". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Bayer, Jonah. "Underrated But Great: Guitar Players You Need To Know About". Noisey Vice. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  14. ^ Stosuy, Brandon (May 29, 2013). "Show No Mercy: Deafheaven". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 23, 2014.

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