Chocolate Zulu is not just a cake. Orange Cones are not just for traffic. These are just some of the groups David "Munro" Coutant has worked with on Best Policy Recordings.
Munro joined Best Policy at its inception, performing with Chocolate Zulu, an acoustic power pop trio based in Monrovia, California in 2005. In 2006 he moved to Atlanta, where he recorded the Up From Here album, and recorded with a group called Irreplaceable Specimen. He also played bass for Atlanta's TX/RX throughout 2007, including a trip to SxSW in Austin, Texas. In 2008, back in Los Angeles, Munro rejoined Chocolate Zulu bassist Jaysson Black and brought in drummer David Martinez to form Orange Cones. The Cones recorded one CD, grandiosely titled Masterpieces of Entertainment, and played throughout the Southern California area.
Occasionally known by the name Adry 5, Munro also worked with groups 13 Knots and Gitane Demone. Last year he made some appearances with the band Reverse.
Lately Munro has been writing music for upcoming projects, and discussing writing a musical with his wife, Emily Madewell-Coutant.
Orange Cones happened just before the birth of your daughter. How has that changed your world? How does it affect your music career?
Wow. Yeah, it's changed everything. I think that's the way it should be, though. I think it's important to make your family the highest priority. I don't play out as much as I did, that's for sure. Writing takes a lot more time.
Speaking of writing, do you have some material for a new album? Is there something in the works?
I don't have a specific plan right now for a new album, but I do have a few songs ready to go, and a few more in the works.
Tell us more about this musical.
My wife has a lot of great stories, and she has a knack for drama. I don't know exactly what the story would be, but I imagine it would be loosely autobiographical. I've been playing a lot of piano, and I would like to play around with some orchestrations, bringing in a range of instruments and styles. And the tattoo on my thigh reminds me to "keep music evil," so it will have some sort of edge to it.
We've recently noticed that Chocolate Zulu has been performing fairly well on the SoundClick Rock Unplugged chart. The song Dizzy is at #16 today, and two other tracks have peaked at #11.
Yeah, that's interesting. I didn't know about that until recently. It's nice to know that it's getting out there and that people are hearing it. I put a lot into most of those songs. Dizzy, for example, was written about when I was having seizures and I didn't know it. It was just before I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Garden [in My Mind] was written long before that, and listening to it always takes me to that place I envisioned, that garden, in my mind.
The Orange Cones tracks were just added, and Allen H, the first track on the album, debuted at #9. That's probably a little exciting.
Yes, well I expected that the Cones tracks might have a broader appeal than the CZ stuff, because it has the full rock band thing, with the electric guitar and drum kit. Chocolate Zulu was extremely simple, minimal instrumentation, with just acoustic guitar and bass, with a single hand drum. Orange Cones was a more complex undertaking that was maybe more in touch with popular styles.
You've said before that you felt Masterpieces of Entertainment was "never finished." Tell us about that. What did you have in mind?
When we recorded those tracks, it was the three of us in the studio, and we recorded the backing tracks together, all at once. I think I overdubbed some rhythm guitar, and we put down the vocals after, but we never added a melody track, like a lead guitar or an organ or something. It doesn't feel complete. I asked John Reynolds (of Reverse) to put down some tracks over the songs, just whatever he felt. He's a talented multi-instrumentalist, so he might add guitar, keyboard, accordion; you just never know. He has moved to Las Vegas and is working on funding his film, Jesus Conquers the Zombie Nazis from Outer Space in the Year 3000: The Musical
, and I know it's going to be a while before he has time to work on Cones tracks.
Are you planning on collaborating with Reynolds on the musical you're conceiving?
I wouldn't rule it out. He has a lot of talent and drive. But so far, no. With him in Vegas, and the very early stages that our project is in, I haven't lined up any collaborators outside the two of us. I think the content will help determine who the best people to work with will be.
Do you think the story will be as far-reaching as the Jesus show?
Maybe you want to interview John if you're that into his show.
Okay, we'll come back to that. You said the story would be "loosely autobiographical." What would that story involve?
Well, it will basically be my wife's side of the story of how we met, and how our relationship progressed over the years. We met when I was playing in 13 Knots with my brother. She was one of Xena's best friends. She used to bring tacos to our practices. We've had a lot of twists and turns since then. I would be in charge of writing the music, and she would mostly write the story and, I'm assuming, the lyrics. I would help with a second perspective, some fact-checking, and squeezing her words into my rhythms.
Do you have plans to form another group to play live shows?
I've been in talks about joining a couple of groups for live gigs. Evad of The Factory Superstars
was in 13 Knots, and he and I have worked together a couple of times since then. We are talking about doing another project together. Jeromy of Train Track Studios
and I have worked together off and on since the late '80s. He was the drummer in my first band, V.D. We've also been talking about working in a gigging band. I was in a car accident a few months ago, and we just have one car now, so I don't have the freedom to go play whenever, wherever. Emily is getting ready to start on a new career as an art teacher, and we're still waiting for things to settle down so we can address some issues, one by one. I do hope to form a new band of my own. I don't know if I will have a lineup to record the upcoming album, or if I will just multitrack it all like I did with Up From Here
What are some of your most memorable performances?
Let's see, the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig, 1998. That was one of the biggest crowds I've played to. I played bass for Gitane Demone, who was promoting her Am I Wrong?
album at the time. That was huge. Other than that, playing the Red Bull stage at SxSW with TX/RX was cool, though I don't remember too much. Then I'd have to say the final Chocolate Zulu gig, when Rubenhold walked off stage. He had said something like, "I'm too drunk, I can't do this" and he took my drum and left. He's much better suited to his current group, Eye the Enemy
. Big change from CZ to this. My appearances at Eddie's Attic [Atlanta] are also very memorable to me. That was a really cool environment, and a great opportunity.
Is there anything else you'd like to add, that you would like our readers to know?
Well, for those who aren't acquainted with my tracks or my style, I encourage people to check out some of the many free downloads available across most of the music sharing platforms, like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, ReverbNation, SoundClick, and YouTube. And I'm excited about the Best Policy website launching! This should be a good opportunity for truly independent artists like me to get some exposure, to let people know what they're about. It seems like it's been a long time coming!
Some of us are a little behind the times, but it's never too late! Good luck with your future projects, and we'll see you around.