Formed in the summer of 1985, the ‘Nails started out with Gra on bass, Toby on drums, Tony on vocals and Humungus on vocals and guitar. The band quickly went from strength to strength and played about 10 shows before being offered a gig at the notorious Klubfoot, and then by releasing two tracks on the infamous Stompin’ at the Klubfoot series of albums.
This resulted in Toby joining the Meteors on drums. His replacement in the Coffin Nails was Dave Ward, one of the bands loyal followers from the beginning.
The next loss to the band came when Tony announced he was moving to the North of England. Good vocalists being difficult to find, drummer Dave stepped in and took over as singer, while Smurf replaced him on drums. Now the line up was stronger than ever!
After brief negotiations in early 1987, Nervous Records offered to release the band’s debut album, Ein Bier Bitte. A huge European tour was organised to promote the release, and both the tour and the album were huge successes.
Everything was going well until February 1988 when Dave Ward’s untimely departure left the band singer-less. That was until Humungus, the band’s guitarist, stepped forward and found that his vocal talents and stage presence made him the ideal front-man for the band. So impressed were Link Records – a hugely successful alternative label – that a new record deal was offered and Fistful Of Burgers, the band’s second studio album, was released at the end of 1988.
A steady flow of gigs continued, mainly on the continent, until 1989 when Gra left to concentrate on his metal band. A replacement was found in the form of Scott ‘Mad Man’ Milsom, a young double bass player. This gave the band a new lease of life and a totally new sound.
This really was a period of changing band members. Smurf left to play in a Ska band and was replaced by Fraddy for a short period during which Live & Rockin was recorded and released on Link Records at the end of 1989.
Gigs continued, but a day before a major German festival Fraddy rang the other band members to say he couldn’t play the gig.
There was only one answer: Nasser Bouzida, drummer of the popular SKA band The Loafers and long-time friend of Scott, was recruited. Nasser learned the set by listening to the band on his personal stereo on the journey to the festival. Against all odds, it proved to be one the band’s best concerts ever!
With Nasser still on drums, the band returned to Nervous Records to record their fourth and definitely best album so far, Who’s He? The album was released in 1991 to universal acclaim. This led to a huge tour of Europe and the band becoming a headline act at several festivals. The band continued gigging for a couple of years until 1993 when, although never officially splitting up, Humungus and Scott became heavily involved in other projects for a few years.
You can’t keep a good thing down for long and 1996 saw the return of band with a vengeance. ‘Grandpa’ Neil Fisher joined on drums and Scott switched to electric bass. Europe was now more eager than ever to see the band perform, and gigs flooded in.
Nasser then returned briefly in 1997 and a brand new album Wreckers Yard, was released on the up and coming Greystone Records. Nasser was busy in other bands so Pip joined on drums for live shows to promote the album. Again, regular live dates in mainland Europe followed until 2001 when another new album was recorded.
Their sixth album was titled Out For The Weekend and again featured Nasser, who was prised away from his own projects. Mad Man Scott played both electric and double bass.
A wide range of musical influences led to an eclectic mix of styles yet all with the Coffin Nails unmistakable trademarks of high energy and humour. Now, with Clive Cornwall on drums, a European tour was organised at the end of 2001. The album was officially released on Greystone in the spring of 2002.
With founder member Humungus, Mad Man Scott (bass player for over 14 years), and their new drummer Clive, the bands line up finally seemed settled. The Coffin Nails early albums had brought them gigs all across Europe, but these albums had also sold well in Japan and the USA. Increasingly there were demands for new material, particularly from the growing scene in America.
So in 2003, the band went back into the studio and Hard As Nails was recorded and released, again on Greystone Records. This album saw the band returning somewhat to its roots. The album is in places darker and faster than ever before, whilst retaining the touches of humour that the band has become synonymous with.
A German tour followed, a one off show in Sweden, UK concerts (including the huge Wasted Festival and Speedfreaks Ball).
In 2004, Cherry Red / Anagram Records added to their ‘Psychobilly Collectors Series’ by putting together a Coffin Nails ‘best of’ album entitled Lets Wreck – The Gravest Hits. The album, covering the bands history from their debut (Ein Bier Bitte) to their lastest album (Hard As Nails), also includes a great collection of old and new photo’s (some exclusive to this compilation).
As predicted gig offers came from the USA. The bands first American shows were in California in 2005, then New York and back to California in 2006.
2007 started with an appearance at the ‘Satanic Stomp’ festival in Speyer, Germany (where the band were joined on stage by the legendary Nigel Lewis – ex Meteors), and gigs included a headline show at a national UK Scooter Rally.
2008 and the band played for the first time in Italy and returned after many years to one of Europe’s best festivals ‘Just For Fun’ in Spain. The year ended with a mini-tour of Germany and supporting Batmobile at the infamous Dingwalls venue in London. Song writing got underway with a new studio album in mind.
2009 has been a very busy year for the band, playing concerts across the UK, the Satanic Stomp in Germany, ‘You Only Live Once’ festival in France, a headline show in Bremen and their first show in Finland. Clive leaves the band and Kris Rock-It joins on drums. A brand new album The Dead Don’t Get Older is released to rapturous reviews and even receives airplay on BBC Radio 1’s Punk Show with Mike Davies.