koffin

Michigan’s The Koffin Kats are playing two Arizona shows this week. (Picks & Spokes Photography/Submitted)

The Koffin Kats started its career playing simple punk songs. As time went on, they wrote more complex tunes. Now, according to upright bassist/vocalist Zac “Vic” Victor, it’s time to return to form.

“We’ve really been actively trying to go back to our old sound,” he said. “Sometimes when bands hit a certain point in their career, they go in a weird direction. But we were looking back on the albums that made us popular and using them as inspiration for the music we write.”

That’s exactly what Victor did. He looked over The Koffin Kats’ 20 years of recording and considered the best bits of it. Victor has heard.

“Some people say, ‘I like the new stuff better’ while others say they like the original stuff better,” Victor said.

The Koffin Kats are taking that into consideration and including their favorite elements into the new material. Victor explained it’s an easy move for The Koffin Kats.

“It’s fun because we don’t have to think as hard,” he said with a laugh. “It went from writing simple songs to, as we progressed and hit it big, we tried to get a little more intricate. That ship has sailed. We don’t worry about getting on MTV. I think that ship has sailed, too, for a lot of rock ‘n’ roll bands as it is.

“We’re just trying to write music that our fans will appreciate. Another reason we’re writing and releasing new material is to say we’re still out here. We’re constantly touring, but if you’re touring and not releasing music, things can get kind of stale.”

At The Koffin Kats’ live shows, they like to bring a good time—new music or not.

“Right now, we’re not touring on any new music, per se,” he said. “That’s going to be next year. But we’re definitely going to perform a different setlist than last time. We’re going to have a good time.”

Among the new material is a song called “Ride Like Hell,” which will be coupled with an animated video. Metallica collaborator Squindo is doing the artwork.

“He’s been a friend/fan of the band for a long time,” he said. “It’s cool that we get to work with him. Hopefully, it’ll be out before the end of the year. We didn’t give him a hard deadline. I’m finishing up the rough mixes of the song now.”

The Koffin Kats are celebrating their 20th anniversary soon. Victor said he stays passionate because, frankly, he doesn’t have any other choice.

“It’s something that’s pretty much been a part of my life and my bandmates’ lives for two decades now,” Victor said.

“We’ve been so heavily into it and our lives have revolved around this band so much, it would be weird for it not to exist in our lives. We set up our lives when we were young to try to do this for a living. For a while we were paying the bills with rock ‘n’ roll.”

As they’ve aged and had families, real life took over. Now they work for an irrigation company in suburban Detroit owned by their merchandise manager.

“We have regular jobs, but we get out as much as we can,” he said.

“The merch guy owns the company we work for. We have a very good balance. It allows us to tour quite often. In the summertime, we don’t tour as extensively in the summertime. That’s when the ground isn’t frozen here in Michigan. When the ground is frozen, it’s too cold to work outside, that’s when we start hitting the road. That’s one of the reasons we keep doing it and we’re able to keep doing it.”