An Interview with Fred Coury of Cinderella

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Fred Coury, Cinderella drummer performs as the band opens for the Scorpions at the Thomas & Mack Center August 3, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada

I’ve always been a fan of 80s music. Be it Pop, Thrash, Punk, Ska, and of course, Hair Metal.

Hair Metal is an interesting genre. It’s a little bit Metal, a bit Classic Rock, and a whole lot Glam. I personally love Hair Metal. It’s a true snapshot of the times, and the era that was the truly singular 1980s.

Having said that, there were a whole lot of Hair Metal bands that came out and blew up between say 1985 and 1990. Yes, that was the sweet spot for this genre, and I love all of it. Fred Coury was the hard-hitting drummer for one of the biggest bands of this era, Cinderella.

I am sure you all remember Cinderella for their multi-platinum albums, Night Songs, and Long Cold Winter. There may not be a single song that defines 80s Hair Metal, and Glam more so than “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).”

As time wore on, and trends changed, and Cinderella’s second act was geared more toward Blues, and Hard Rock. All good stuff.

Today, I’ve got Fred Coury “with us.” He’s a truly talented, and multi-faceted guy. In addition to having drummed for Ozzy Osbourne, Posion, Guns ‘N’ Roses, and Night Ranger, these days he’s composing for TV, film as well as the LA King’s, and the Portland Trailblazers (he is the creator of their sonic identities).

Fred’s stamp on popular music across the genres, and now sports is incredibly deep. He’s responsible for many earworms, and for that, we can be thankful. If you would like to learn more about Cinderella, you can head to their site here, and if you’d like to check out what Fred has going on, here is a link to his site as well. I’ve said enough for now. Cheers.

Andrew:
Fred, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. How are you? What have you been doing to pass the time?

Fred:
Thanks for having me. I’ve been lucky enough to have been working throughout the entire pandemic. I started the show Almost Paradise at the beginning, and that kept me busy. Now the NBA is back, and I’ve been busy with the Trailblazers.

Andrew:
How did you get into music? What are your musical origins?

Fred:
My Dad was a violinist, and my Mom a pianist. I started playing violin at age five. Added trumpet at age ten, and Drums at age twelve.

Andrew:
As a drummer, who are some of your biggest influences? Did you find it challenging to develop your own unique sound and persona, or did it come naturally to you?

Fred:
I’m inspired by every drummer I hear. Sounds cliché, but it’s true.

Fred Coury, Cinderella - M3 Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD (2010)

Andrew:
In the mid-80s, you played with Ozzy Osbourne. How did you get that gig, and what was it like working with Ozzy?

Fred:
I was accepted to Berklee in Boston for violin. It was much more difficult to get accepted into that school back then. I had to audition and did it with violin. Right after orientation, I got a phone call from Mike Varney telling me that I had an audition for Ozzy. I went to the Dean of the school, who at the time was Lee Berk, and told him about it. He encouraged me to go for it and explained what a cattle call was. Anyway, long story longer, I was the first runner up (Randy Castillo was the choice but had a broken leg), and I was in England a couple of weeks later rehearsing with Bob Daisley, Jake E Lee, and Ozzy for the Ultimate Sin record. Randy cut his cast off a few weeks later and claimed the gig that was ultimately his, to begin with. He and I remained close friends until his untimely passing. Ozzy was a true pro though, and through. Elegant, witty, ridiculously funny, and incredibly talented. I loved every second of it.

Andrew:
You were the drummer for Cinderella from 1986-1991, and then again from 1996-2017. How did you get the gig?

Fred:
Eric Singer told me about the gig and encouraged me to audition. I sent in a cassette, and as far as everyone knew, according to Circus magazine, I was the drummer for Ozzy. That, and Eric’s endorsement undoubtedly helped me score an audition. They asked me to learn four songs in a week. I called them the next day and said I was ready. They questioned me and asked if I’d learned all four songs in a day. I answered, “No, I learned all 10.” I guess my violin training came in handy. [Laughs].

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the Hair Metal, and Glam era a bit. What an interesting, and singular era of music. What was it like being in such a huge band during that crazy time in music history?

Fred:
No one who didn’t live it could ever comprehend it so I won’t bother. But.it was great.

Fred Coury, Cinderella

Andrew:
In 1991, you left Cinderella and formed a new band called Arcade with Stephen Pearcy of Ratt. What led to you leaving Cinderella? Looking back, what are your thoughts on Arcade? I really enjoyed both albums the group put out, Arcade and A/2.

Fred:
Sometimes, tastes and ideas change. Musically and personally. It was time to check out other opportunities. I’d known Steven for a long time and called, and said I was out. He quit Ratt ten minutes later, and we had a deal on Sony/Epic a month later. It was a great band, and we made some great music together. I still speak to the Cinderella guys, and Stephen regularly. After all, we’re the luckiest people on the planet.

Andrew:
In 1996, you rejoined Cinderella, and remained until 2017 when the band went on hiatus. What led to you rejoining the band? How was the second time around different from the first?

Fred:
I was living in Nashville at the time. The rest of the band was in Philly. One of their friends had passed away, and they wanted to play a benefit concert and asked if I’d be part of it. Of course, I accepted. From the first note we played in rehearsal, it just felt perfect like it always had, and the rest just happened naturally. The second time was different only in the mutual respect that we had for each other. We’d always respected each other’s talents, but this time, we’d seen what we were each capable of outside the restraints of one band. We were now playing with our favorite people to play with.

Andrew:
Piggybacking onto my last question, Cinderella went on hiatus in 2017. There are rumors that the band may not regroup at all. Is that true, or can we hope for another reunion in the future?

Fred:
Probably not. We are all very busy and happy. We did it, it was great. Once upon a…

Fred Coury, Cinderella drummer performs as the band opens for the Scorpions at the Thomas & Mack Center August 3, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Andrew:
Over the years, you have a history of filling in for some pretty notable drummers, Randy Castillo in 1985, Steven Adler in 1987, and Rikki Rockett in 2009. What are your thoughts on being a gun for hire, so to speak?

Fred:
Don’t forget Kelly Keagy in 2017. It’s the best! I’ve played all of these guys’ songs, and parts when I was in cover bands, and now I get to play the same songs with the real bands in front of thousands of fans! I was just the luckiest fan. It’s mind-blowing. I even got to sing Kelly’s, and Tommy Shaw’s parts with Night Ranger!

Andrew:
My understanding is that these days, you’re doing a lot of composition work for both TV and sports, and have scored all four seasons of The Night Shift, the opening for The Wall, and you’ve even created the goal song for the Los Angeles Kings. How did you get into composition? What spurred on that interest?

Fred:
It all started with the LA Kings. I heard their music at Staples Center, and it was the same as every other team. So, I wrote a piece that I thought would be perfect for the team, and after pounding on the same door with the same piece of music for three years, I finally got a contract from Luc Robitaille to create a sonic logo for the team. He had a real vision for what he wanted. This 2021 season I will start my twelfth year with the Kings. During my first year, I was attending scoring for Film/TV classes at UCLA, and after three years of that, I completed the Film/TV composition program with Berklee. The NHL was a perfect blend of Classical and Rock, and it worked perfectly. It’s pretty tricky writing emotion for an arena that also has to translate to TV, and radio seamlessly but I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve gotten used to it, and it’s a lot of fun. I also do the same type of Sonic Branding for the Portland Trailblazers, and that’s a different kind of music with the same parameters. I guess I provide the in-game energy for the teams. Television is the big daddy of them all. So incredibly fun, but extremely stressful at the same time. I’ve done quite a few shows, and can’t wait to start my next one.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what’s the state of the music industry these days? In a world dominated by social media, and big business, can artists really even get ahead anymore? What needs to change?

Fred:
It’s a different business with a different set of rules. You have to wear every hat these days. Flyering in the 80s is now ads on social media.

A Cinderella Story - Fred Coury Interview | TPRS.com

Andrew:
All musical possibilities aside, what other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Fred:
Music is my life. Always has been. I’m passionate about rescuing animals and have close ties to Big Love Animal Rescue. Lisa does incredible work. If anyone would like to help, they can donate at: https://bigloveanimalrescue.org/. Adopt. Don’t shop!

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Fred:
I love the sound of vinyl, but I’m all digital at the moment.

Andrew:
Once COVID-19 calms down, what’s next for you as an artist and in general?

Fred:
The same as I’m doing now — TV/Film/Sports music. I just love what I do, and I’m grateful to be able to do it.

Andrew:
What types of drums, cymbals, and hardware are you using these days?

Fred:
I play DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Promark Sticks, RokTempo.

Andrew:
Last question. You’ve been at it a long time, and hopefully still have many more years to go. What are some of your fondest, and proudest memories as a musician?

Fred:
There are so many. Playing The Spectrum in Philly, Madison Square Garden, The Forum…the list goes on. I’m just so happy that I got to do that back then, and that I get to do what I’m doing now.

Fred Coury - IMDb

Interested in checking out Fred Coury on the drums? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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