These are truly sad times in the world of drums. Following the recent deaths of Rush’s Neil Peart and Cream drummer Ginger Baker, we’ve now also lost Reed Mullin, founding drummer of Corrosion Of Conformity.
As previously reported here at Stargazed Magazine, Corrosion Of Conformity celebrated the return of Down guitarist Pepper Keenan with the release of their 10th studio album, “No Cross No Crown”, in January of 2018.
This was followed by tour where they focused on songs from 1994’s “Deliverance”, their first studio album with Keenan as frontman, including the hits “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds”. Keenan joined the band as guitarist in 1989, making his first lead vocal appearance on the single “Vote with a Bullet”.
The story of Corrosion Of Conformity goes back to 1982 when the band was formed in Raleigh, North Carolina by drummer Reed Mullin, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman. While only Weatherman has remained a constant member throughout the years, Mullin played with C.O.C. from 1982 until 2001, when he first left due to a back injury. Mullin re-joined the band in 2010, first performing with the trio line-up that recorded their second studio album, 1985’s “Animosity”. Mullin, Dean and Weatherman released a self-titled album in 2012 followed by 2014’s “IX” before Keenan returned from Down, the supergroup formed in 1991 with Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and members of Eyehategod and Crowbar.
C.O.C. announced letting go of Reed Mullin on June 6, 2016, when a prolonged battle with alcohol addiction resulted in a seizure before a concert on their tour with Lamb of God and Clutch. Mullin soon returned to the drum stool, however, and remained with the band until his death on January 27, 2020. His bandmates confirmed his passing on social media, saying: “Reed, It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a friend, a brother and pioneer. Love and condolences to the family, friends and fans who will miss you and thanks for the music”.
Mullin died at the age of 53 and has now been replaced by John Green, the band’s roadie who also stepped in for numerous shows in 2019. Mullin played on all studio albums by Corrosion of Conformity except 2005’s “In the Arms of God”, on which Stanton Moore (of the New Orleans jam band Galactic) played drums. The live album “Live Volume” (2001) featured Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod, Crowbar, Down, Superjoint Ritual) on drums.
The drummer of Swedish post-hardcore punk band Refused, David Sandström, wrote that “the way he played the toms in the intro to “Damned for all time” off of “Blind”, where he placed the snares and the hihats, the fucking pocket he’s in throughout that entire take, well, if there’s anyone out there who thinks that I have a certain style or flair, go have a listen to old Reed Mullin and you’ll hear a bonafide original just loving that drumset to death. The joy in his playing is rare, extraordinary, it’s how everyone should feel about playing music. Fucking Reed Mullin. Not exactly a lightweight.”
William Reed Mullin was born in Raleigh, N.C. on February 12, 1966. He began playing drums as a teenager after receiving a “sparkly pawn-shop drum kit” for Christmas. After some basic tutelage from his friend Woody Weatherman, the duo founded Corrosion of Conformity as a hardcore punk act shortly after that. They were influenced by heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Judas Priest, as well as by hardcore groups like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Discharge, and Germs.
Formed in February of 1982, the band No Labels also featured Mullin and Weatherman. By the end of 1982, No Labels had recorded a blistering 15-song demo, which was released in its entirety on the seminal NC tape compilation “No Core”. In addition to the tracks by No Labels, “No Core” also featured tracks by the bands Colcor and No Rock Stars aswell as 16 tracks by Corrosion Of Conformity. The “No Core” tape featured no less than 44 songs in less than 46 minutes. Punk!
Tracks from a second demo session with No Labels – “the Jayne Doe tape” – made it on several national compilations released by labels like Mystic Records and Paul Mahern’s Affirmation. No Labels was also included on No Core Records next NC compilation, the 1983 7″ EP “Why Are We Here?”. No Labels faded away by 1984, by the time that Eric Eycke become singer for C.O.C. Together they recorded the hardcore punk-oriented 20-track 1984 debut “Eye for an Eye”.
In 1985, Reed Mullin also acted as executive producer on the album “I Heard A Scream” by Subculture, a punk/hardcore band from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
C.O.C. went through several lineups – some without Dean – with serveral different singers. Following the studio albums “Eye for an Eye” (1984) and “Animosity” (1985), the band’s 1987 EP, “Technocracy” featured the hectic crossover thrash musicianship of COC with a cleaner vocal style than they had in the past.
“Blind” (1991) found them gravitating towards a sludge/groove metal sound. It was also the first COC album to receive mainstream attention, with the video for “Vote with a Bullet” receiving airplay on MTV and the album cracking the Billboard Heatseekers chart in early 1992.
This eventuallly attracted the attention of Columbia Records, who signed the band in 1993. Incorporating stoner and southern rock influences, Corrosion of Conformity found even more success with “Deliverance” (1994) and “Wiseblood” (1996), Corrosion of Conformity’s highest-charting album in the United States.
Following the commercial failure of “America’s Volume Dealer” (released by Sanctuary Records in 2000), however, Mullin left the band in 2001. Following his departure, Mullin worked on several other projects, including power pop band Brown and the hardcore band Man Will Destroy Himself. The latter released the album “Comsume…Be Silent…Die” on Extremely Baked Records in 2002.
Following one studio album without Mullin, Corrosion of Conformity went on hiatus from 2006 to June 2010, while Pepper recorded and toured with Down. During 2009 and 2010, Reed Mullin occasionally performed with Karl Agell (lead vocalist for C.O.C from 1989-93) and others as “COC-Blind”, playing the “Blind” album. Reed Mullin and Mike Dean along with Jason Browning also toured in a new band called Righteous Fool, releasing a self-titled single on Southern Lord Records. On May 12, 2010, Blabbermouth.net reported that the “Animosity” lineup of Corrosion of Conformity was reuniting and working on a new album.
Following two albums with C.O.C. as a trio, Mullin co-founded the hardcore punk supergroup Teenage Time Killers in 2014 with COC bandmate Mike Dean and My Ruin guitarist Mick Murphy. Teenage Time Killers signed with Rise Records and released their debut album “Greatest Hits Vol. 1” in 2015. Recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, the album also featured Grohl and Pat Smear of The Foo Fighters, Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O))), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), vocalists Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) and Corey Taylor (Stone Sour, Slipknot), Bad Religion guitarist Brian Baker and former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri.
Released in 2018, “No Cross No Crown” by Corrosion Of Conformity was the final album to feature Reed Mullin.
Rest in peace!
Reed Mullin discography:
1982: V/A – No Core (15 demos by No Labels + 16 demos by Corrosion Of Conformity)
1983: V/A – Why Are We Here? (split-EP with 2 tracks by No Labels and 3 tracks by C.O.C.)
1984: Corrosion Of Conformity – Eye For An Eye
1985: Corrosion Of Conformity – Animosity
1987: Corrosion Of Conformity – Technocracy (EP)
1989: Corrosion Of Conformity – Six Songs with Mike Singing 1985 (EP)
1991: Corrosion Of Conformity – Blind
1994: Corrosion Of Conformity – Deliverance
1996: Corrosion Of Conformity – Wiseblood
2000: Corrosion Of Conformity – America’s Volume Dealer
2002: Man Will Destroy Himself – Comsume…Be Silent…Die
2010: Righteous Fool – Righteous Fool (7″)
2010: Corrosion Of Conformity – Your Tomorrow Parts 1 & 2 (EP)
2012: Corrosion Of Conformity – Megalodon (EP)
2012: Corrosion Of Conformity – Corrosion Of Conformity
2014: Corrosion Of Conformity – IX
2015: Teenage Time Killers – Greatest Hits Vol. 1
2018: Corrosion Of Conformity – No Cross No Crown