Fred Coury, Drummer, Cinderella
Interview by Lonn M. Friend for The Rockstar Remedy
I am a perfectionist with high expectations. But it’s easy to give 110 percent when you absolutely love what you do. Sometimes I truly can’t believe that I get to do what I do for a living. But specifically, yes, Sound checks do get weary and trying. I am not a fan of the sound check. In fact, I loathe them. At the same time, I’ve never got through the mindset of “I really don’t want to play those songs again.” Because the reaction from the crowds, who are singing the words to “Somebody Save Me,” or “Don’t Know What You Got ‘til It’s Gone,” it makes it easy to give it your all. I don’t think Cinderella has ever given less than 100 percent ever in a performance. Never phoned it in. I personally have to because it translates to the studio and production work I do outside the concert stage. It’s all about word of mouth and therefore, I have to be the best it can be. It’s not really perfectionism. I believe I coined a new term for my condition – A.T.D.D. – Attention to Detail Disorder. It’s really annoying. And real. C.C. Deville from Poison once told me – and I’ve heard it elsewhere in the creative community with respect to a piece of art – you never finish a mix. You abandon it.
Sleep deprivation. How do I rally? Well, I was taking naps for a while and then someone said, “You’re like a 70 year old man!” My ego was bruised so I had to stay up. But now, I do try to take naps. Got one in at the studio yesterday. If I’m tired, I just let me body do what it’s supposed to do. When touring Europe, it hits me hard. The jet lag and time change really get to me. First couple of days of a European leg I’m a complete mess. After that, I turn to Benadryl. But I do have a cup of herbal tea every night. I like Sleepy Time tea. I had some pretty severe stress doing corporate gigs awhile back and just could not sleep. Like two hours a night. So I tried valerian root. Didn’t work. And codeine cough syrup. That was like being on speed. I then turned to Ambien, which made me dizzy. Ultimately, Tylenol PM helped. I did it for two weeks, slept great, and then just stopped. Didn’t get hooked. Was okay. Sleep deprivation has never made me more creative, a mad genius, no; I just turn into a jerk.
A positive attitude has made a difference in my career. Being grateful comes easy to me because just look around and see some of your friends maybe or people in general in this crazy business that are not working, struggling through rough times, and knowing that all of this can be taken away in a second. My sense of gratitude comes from growing up with the Good Book. I grew up reading the Bible. Still do. I’m partial to Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Put all your burdens on God.
Crazy food requests on the rider? Oh yeah, these days it’s gluten free and dairy free. Plain hummus, Tabasco, various gluten free items excluding anything made by Glutino because, well, they’re stuff just doesn’t taste great. I’ve tried a lot of their products but most aren’t tasty.
I went gluten free a few years ago. Was always getting C-T scans on my stomach for these abdominal pains that no doctor could figure out. I had friends who were physicians. “Hey, can you give me an MRI?” And they’d say, “Sure, Fred, come in.” They’d do the tests and the results were the same. “You’re clear.” But I was still having pains. Finally, Jon Levin, Dokken’s guitar player, said that his dad had been going to the same doctor for years at Cedar’s Sinai. And he’d been going a long time too. This doc was in his 70s. I asked for more imaging tests, x-rays. He said, no, why don’t you try eliminating gluten from your diet. Literally, in two or three days, I was fine. My stomach never felt better. Dairy is brutal to me, but only cow’s dairy. I’m okay with dairy from goats or sheep.
Coffee and a prayer before each gig is an important ritual. I disappear from the rest of the band about an hour before set time and just get by myself, especially if there are wives, kids or family and friends around the guys. I go to the tour manager and say, “It’s time.” He kicks everyone out. It used to be coffee, cigarette and a prayer but I eliminated the nicotine. Well, Amy, my wife was responsible for that. She insisted that I stop smoking. The Patch did the trick. Anyway, my ritual is being by myself. I take a shower – yes beforehand, I am the best smelling guy on stage, even splash on cologne like I was going to work, because I am! – (Laughs), get dressed, have coffee, turn on some music and open the Book to read a couple passages. I love Proverbs because they just seem to work for everything. I also get a daily text affirmation, Biblical paragraphs sent to my smart phone. It gives nice sense of presence, removes the fear, good energy. What they say is true, the bigger your worry list the smaller your faith. When I meditate on that, I think, yeah, I can do anything. I used to jog on tour. Whenever we were out with Poison, I’d run with C.C. He’d go for hours but not so much part of my practice at home. But I do read the Bible on and off the road, a little each day.
I have three recipes, three dishes I like to prepare. One is gluten free pancakes. I throw a whole bunch of coconut shreds in it. Grill the cakes in coconut butter and coconut oil. I do a great Lebanese fried egg fried in olive oil and very thick. Comes from my heritage. My father and uncle used to make these eggs. The secret is to get the oil so hot; it’s almost on fire. I crack the egg in the oil and it almost soufflés. Amy says they’re good but probably carcinogenic (laughs). The third dish, which is only cooked when my wife is out of town, is tuna in hot oil. Basically, you put the oil in pan, open a can of nice albacore tuna, empty the water, and dump into the hot pan. Throw in some Tabasco. No difference between that and grilled Ahi – except its tuna chunks. You can put it on eggs, which is really good for the morning. Or add some green beans for lunch or dinner. Worcestershire sauce adds a nice flavor while grilling the tuna, too. It smells up the house but tastes fantastic.
My family is from Lebanon and somewhere down the ancestral line on my father’s side there is a relation to the poet, Khalil Gibran.