INTERVIEW: February 2009: by LUCY HELL for MYSTERY ISLAND MUSIC
LUCY: For our readers not yet familiar with the most wicked awesome guitar cases in the world—please give a little background on how Coffin Case came to be.
JONNY: Being a guitar player I was always looking for something unique to define my style. In the late 80s I needed a guitar case for my main guitar and went into my garage and started mapping out the coffin design. I bought some wood and some velvet and constructed the first Coffin Case. I gigged around with that case for a few years and I always had people ask “where did you get that case?” I decided to go back into the garage and handcraft some really nice coffin cases out of exotic woods and cast sterling silver hardware to mount on the cases. Soon after that I was taking meetings with Keith Richards, Slash, Billy Idol, Billy Gibbons and making them high end Custom Coffins. I then applied for patents and trademarks for the coffin designs and started making the affordable consumer line that you now see worldwide.
LUCY: What’s the most unusual custom design you’ve made?
JONNY: I had a meeting with Keith Richards and he asked me “can you make one big enough for Mick?” I made a custom coffin for Slash with his “snake in a top hat” logo. The logo was 20 ounces of sterling silver and very challenging to create.
LUCY: Sounds awesome. Do you still have the first Coffin Case you designed?
JONNY: Yes I do! It is in my warehouse and it’s a constant reminder how far this has come. I truly feel lucky to be an artist creating cool product for fellow musicians.
LUCY: What kind of guitar do you play and why?
JONNY: I have a band called The Death Riders www.myspace.com/thedeathriders It’s me and Blasko (Rob Zombie and Ozzy’s bassest). We have a unique sound blending clean “surf guitar” against heavy rhythms. It’s very Quentin Tarantino sounding. We do a lot of film and TV licensing. We keep trying to book shows but our schedules are way too busy. I play vintage Fender telecasters and Gibson hollow body guitars and use my own home made effects.
LUCY: How did the gorgeous Masuimi Max get involved with Coffin Case? We really can’t think of a better way to sell merch than to have hot chicks display the goods. Why mess with the classics.
JONNY: Masuimi Max is a big part of the Coffin Killing Crew. I have known and worked with Masuimi for about 5 years. We were introduced through a mutual friend and we were fast friends. She has a spark and shines like no other. Masuimi is the real deal. We are planning more promotion in 2009 with some very special things to be announced. To be continued....
LUCY: How does one become a Coffin Girl? Do you have a favorite? Come on, Jonny, kiss and tell.
JONNY: Oh, you’re putting me on the spot! It’s very important that they love music and are truly a part of our subculture. I can’t tell you how hard these girls work to raise the bar on our marketing campaigns. Cassia Coffin has been instrumental in developing Coffin Girl promotions in all 50 states. We’re based in LA and have our Los Angeles Crew involved in monthly events such as concerts, fashion shows and conventions. We work with a lot of companies to cross promote brands that compliment Coffin. Last month was the NAMM music convention and Coffin had Alice Cooper headline our fashion show to 1500 lucky guests. We are now gearing up for the Fangoria horror convention coming soon to LA.
Oh yeah, I’ve got to mention our international models Vikki Blows and the Fuel Girls from the UK. We have a lot of international accounts and we’ve been growing in the global market. We’ve got Coffin Girls in Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Canada, Brazil, China and many more places around the world. These girls proudly represent the Coffin brand and their country. If any girls are interested they can email us at myspace.com/coffincase or firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s hear from you!!
LUCY: Tell us about the Coffin Case Killers movie, looks super fantastic.
JONNY: This is a promotional trailer that we’ll be filming in the next few months. It takes place in the desert with 4 of our hottest models. They’re traveling down the highway dropping in on seedy strip joints and bars raising hell. There’s also a secret buried out in the desert that they are searching for. I can’t reveal too much! Look for more info coming soon!
LUCY: I saw a picture of Creatures from the Coffin. Is that a real comic book we can buy? Hope so.
JONNY: Creatures from the Coffin is our catalog. Although we have had discussions with publishers and we work with ALL the great horror comic artists. This is something you may see in the near future. We also have the official Vampira license. Maila “Vampira” Nurmi was the first Queen of Horror in 1954. She was a friend of mine and I secured licensing rights to her Vampira character. I will be releasing a very special line of officially licensed Vampira products later this fall. Vintage Horror!!
LUCY: Explain “Batula” please.
JONNY: The Batula is our new guitar effects pedal shaped like a bat! It’s the first in the series Bat Pedals. The Batula is a vintage sounding fuzz pedal. The Batavia is the second pedal, which has an octave fuzz sound.
Batula definition: The name "Batula" is somewhat of a hybrid Sanskrit word, meaning roughly "divinely inspired insanity."
LUCY: Tell us about the Coffin Case Fashion Show. Was that a one time thing or an ongoing event?
JONNY: The Coffin fashion shows have become somewhat legendary. We have been doing shows in between bands in LA for 5 years now. We have also coordinated shows in Austin for SXSW and in Chicago. Our Halloween Fashion event is always a crowd pleaser. A few years ago we had the Cramps headline our Halloween show. People were going crazy! Long live the Cramps!
LUCY: What is your favorite band or musician you have created a case for?
JONNY: I have been lucky to work with the legends. From Keith to Johnny Cash, to Johnny Depp to Slayer. They are all so great and I feel honored they recognize and respect Coffin. We also are VERY focused on NEW talent. If I see a band working hard and supporting the Coffin brand I support them in every way I can. We have been working with kid punk bands like The Diffs and kid rock bands like Jett Stream. We support young talent!!
LUCY: That's so cool. We love supporting retro punk bands here on the Island, as well as newer/younger acts coming up.
What about your latest invention in terms of effects pedals, the BDFX-1 Blood Drive?
JONNY: The Blood Drive is an overdrive pedal that was designed by me and manufactured in the USA by Dunlop/MXR. It is a coffin shaped effects pedal that produces a dark overdriven sound. It was our first pedal on the market and a lot of people are using it. We did a glossy video with John 5 test-driving the Blood Drive on his new CD. You can see it on our myspace page.
LUCY: What haven’t you been asked about your kickass company that you would like to be asked?
JONNY: This year we diversified into the video market with gig bags and cases for Guitar Hero and Rock Band. We launched a collector series of KISS, OZZY and Adicts gig bags shaped like a coffin. We are also going to be featured on the air on an upcoming reality show in June. It’s behind the scenes of a Coffin Girl photo shoot. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much, Jonny!
COFFIN CASE MYSPACE
“Jonny Coffin Interview" by Lucy Hell.
Edited/formatted by Bradley Mason Hamlin. © 2009 by Mystery Island Publications. Published: 02.22.09.
All rights reserved.
All pictures of Coffin Case, Coffin Girls, or Coffin Case products from the collection of Jonny Coffin.
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