When you run a musical e-zine for several years, you encounter gems along the way. And a few of those gems are rough stones when you first see them but are polished along the way until they reach their most beautiful version.
I encountered John Coffey for the first time attending the Peacedog Festival in 2010. Back then, I enjoyed their performance, but the music just wasn’t really something that stuck. Their debut album Vanity wasn’t bad, but I still think it fades in comparison to their later work: the Bright Companions and The Great News albums, and their latest No Home For Thee EP.
The current formation, with Christopher van Teilingen on lead guitars and David Achter De Molen on vocals, has clearly played into that development, but also their collaboration with musical heroes like producer Pelle Gunnerfeldt (The Hives and Refused), and Matt Goldman (Underoath and The Chariot) played a huge role.
Over the scope of seven years, their sound has matured, making them one of the most popular contemporary Dutch rock bands. That David caught a beer and went viral, is not a defining moment for John Coffey, it’s an illustrative moment; a true testimony of the great dynamic and vibrancy the band has displayed every single time we’ve seen them.
With CULTURESHOCK, we’ve reviewed several of their albums, encountered them on several shows, did an interview with them, recorded what is still one of my favourite Pop-Up Songs backstage at Christmas Rock Night, and even had guitarist Alfred as a guest writer describing his first performance at Groezrock.
Recently, they announced a break. In a video post the next day, they clarified the reasons: they had been working super hard for several years and needed some breathing space to venture into new challenges. We sincerely hope that it’s just a Thrice-like hiatus. If you’re in Europe this summer, do yourself a favour and get to a show of John Coffey. You want to share it their legacy!