Attika 7’s Rusty Coones talks about music and appearing in “Sons of Anarchy”

Rusty Coones is the guitarist and founding member of the band Attika 7. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Rusty recently about the band’s formation and his upcoming appearance on season 5 of Sons of Anarchy.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what made you want to form the band?
Rusty Coones: It was not planned at all. In 1999 I caught a Federal case for conspiracy to distribute a listed chemical. But before all of that I had played guitar since I was around the age of 9 and took lessons into my teens where I learned to read and write music. I had songs structures in my head and even though I wasn’t playing in bands I still loved music. When I went into prison I spent a lot of time in solitary confinement. When you’re inside you spend a lot of time getting in your own head. The first few years I was in there I read a lot of books and wrote a lot for my website I had a lot of follows worldwide and though it’s not currently active the site is still up. I was in the metropolitan detention center in Los Angeles about 2 years before I received my sentence. I was then sent to a prison Oregon. While there I was working out with weights 5 days a week. Right by where the weights were was a music room. If you signed up for that program you had to actively participate with a group. I would walk past that room everyday and I just became really inspired. I ended up going in and began playing with a band that was already there. They played mostly blues, rock. The first day I was there I asked if I could bring in a song I had written. They were very receptive to that. We got to go in that room twice a week and each time I would bring new songs. Most of the songs at that time had that blues, rock sound. A couple months later there was a riot in the yard resulting in a bunch of us being sent to other prisons. I ended up at a prison in Texas. When you’re shipped to a new place you have to spend a certain amount of time in confinement before you can go in to the yard. 3 days after being released in to the yard I was playing a concert in front of 1,800 inmates. It was all songs I had written. That material was all blues, rock. During this time I started experimenting with drop tunings. When you’re playing in that dropped key there are some real sweet spots on the fret board. I wrote 32 songs while I was there. I still have all of my notes. When I got out it was my goal to assemble the best band of musicians I could to start a band with. There have been a few different lineups of the band since I started. Evan Seinfeld and I joined up about a year ago when I was looking for a fill in singer. Evan became hooked on the songs and he and I started working together. We re-worked some songs and wrote new material which is what makes up “Blood of my Enemies”.

AL: What was your song writing process like being allowed only limited resources for short periods of time?
RC: 90% of the songs that I write the riffs and music are done first. From there is usually when I start on the lyrics. As soon as they let me out in to the yard I would go grab a little box guitar and start working on my riffs. Once I got them dialed in and they were in my head I would go back to my cell and write line by line the verses, choruses and such. Every song that I wrote was never given a title. The songs named themselves by the time they were done. The first few lines of a song are always the most difficult for me. Once I have those, stuff just starts flowing.

AL: I assume a lot of the material was written about the situations you were encountering each day?
RC: Some of the songs for instance “Serial Killer” was written in the words of a serial killer. I of course am not a serial killer. I was in my cell and went really deep in to my imagination so I could get to a dark enough place to allow me to write like that. It was kind of like when an actor gets in to character before performing a role. I was around a few people in prison that were possessed pretty heavy so it wasn’t too hard to come up with this type of material. Some of the other songs are about being on the inside and what you have to do to adapt.

AL: How have the recent lineup changes helped the band progress?
RC: The band is a little different now. Tony Campos is a great bassist as is Scott our new bassist. Scott has more of a Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath style where Tony is a serious metal player that is very precise. I think that with the way the songs are now Scott learned to play the songs the way Tony played them. Scott didn’t get to put a lot of his flavor in yet but, I can see this is going to be a lot of fun. Scott loves to run around and play riffs. I love that type of feeling. Scotts playing is bringing a really cool flavor to the band. We want this band to be timeless and we aren’t trying to be trendy. Evan is melodic in his approach which I think only adds to that timeless feel we are looking for. We are not trying to sound like anyone or anything else. Whether that’s good or not that’s the way things ended up. These songs were written in a vacuum. At the time I didn’t have any music to listen to. I just had to draw from what was in my head. I had all these little pieces floating around of things I liked. I developed my own style from that.

AL: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming appearance on “Sons of Anarchy?
RC: I have already shot 2 episodes and in the coming weeks I will be shooting some more. I am really excited to be a part of the show. I play a character by the name of Quinn who is the president of the Nomads motorcycle club. There have been talks of this character since season 1 but this will be the first time he comes out of the shadows. It’s going to be really interesting.

AL: How did you first get involved with the show?
RC: Kurt Sutter is a very smart guy. When he started the show he really immersed himself in the outlaw biker culture. He learned everything he could learn. When he was looking to learn he wanted to learn from the best so he came to us. (Coones is the founder of the Orange County Chapter of the Hells Angels.)Kurt’s research paid off and he has a lot of really good people around him. The show is a dramatic television show. There has to be some dramatic elements to keep people watching. If anyone tuning in is saying certain things are “bullshit” it’s TV! It’s supposed to be entertaining. You don’t turn on the television to watch actual everyday realism. Yes the show has some realistic elements but there’s entertainment factors combined into that. I am honored to be a part of the show.

AL: Were there any aspects of the shoots so far that have been difficult?
RC: This show has been the most professional production that I have ever been a part of. There are stunt people and fight choreographers that cross every t and dot every i. Everything is very organized. Things like the fighting and such were second nature. (Laughs)

AL: What other projects do you have in the works?
RC: Attika 7 is waiting for the last few things to be completed for our U.S tour. The band is also doing a West Coast tour that will be announced in the near future. I have some television things in works as well however I can’t really say anything just yet about that. Things should be quite interesting.


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Chris Cornell Appearing on Relativity’s “Machine Gun Preacher” Soundtrack

Relativity Music Group to Release Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Relativity’s Machine Gun Preacher, Featuring Lead Track

 “The Keeper” Written & Performed by Chris Cornell

Score composed by Asche & Spencer

Soundtrack available September 20th, 2011

 (Beverly Hills, Calif.) August 29, 2011– Relativity Music Group is pleased to announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack for Golden-Globe® nominee Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher, featuring the original song and lead track “The Keeper,” written and performed by Grammy®-award winning musician Chris Cornell and co-produced by Alain Johannes (Great Expectations) and Chris Cornell. Machine Gun Preacher stars Gerard Butler and is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to help the children of East Africa.

“The Keeper” will premiere on Chris Cornell’s website ( today giving fans the chance to “Donate to Download” to Sam Childers’ Angels of East Africa charity for the first 24 hours; the charity is dedicated to the rescue, restoration and enablement of children caught in the crossfire of the Lord’s Resistance Army – a rebel military group in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan. On Tuesday, August 30th the song will be available for sale on iTunes®.

Forster said, “We were thrilled when Chris wrote this beautiful and heartfelt song for us. The first time I heard ‘The Keeper,’ I immediately saw it in the movie.  Chris was able to articulate the essence of Sam’s story.”

The Machine Gun Preacher soundtrack features 15 score cues performed and composed by acclaimed musical group Asche & Spencer (Monster’s Ball) and accompanied by a 60-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. The symphony was recorded in a historic facility outside Vienna Austria in the town of Bratislava. Vladimir Martinka conducted the session which was orchestrated by Sean McMahon & David Shephard.

The soundtrack will be available both physically at music retail stores and digitally at iTunes® on Tuesday, September 20th. On the physical version of the Machine Gun Preacher soundtrack, “The Keeper” will appear in two forms featuring an extended version of the song as it appears in the film. On the iTunes® version of the soundtrack, the original demo of “The Keeper” will be featured as a bonus track.

Machine Gun Preacher will be released by Relativity Media in New York and Los Angeles on September 23rd and will expand markets in the weeks to follow.

Click here hear the song by “The Keeper” by Chris Cornell:
Chris Cornell – The Keeper by chriscornell

For additional information on the film, please visit:



Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to East Africa.  Shocked by the mayhem in Sudan, Childers becomes a crusader for hundreds of refugee children. Inspired to create a safe haven for the multitudes fleeing enslavement by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, he restores peace to their lives and eventually his own.  Directed and produced by DGA and Golden Globe®-nominee Marc Forster (Finding NeverlandMonster’s Ball) and written by Jason Keller (Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project), the film stars Gerard Butler (300) in a tour de force performance, alongside a powerful ensemble cast including Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Oscar®-nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Madeline Carroll (The Spy Next Door) and breakout actor Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo). Producing are Relativity’s Robbie Brenner, Safady Entertainment’s Gary Safady and Craig Chapman, and GG Filmz’s Deborah Giarratana.


Relativity Music Group was formed in 2009 under the leadership of Happy Walters, President of Music and Rogue Sports.  Over the past two years, the music division has provided music supervision, music publishing catalogues and soundtrack services for films produced and/or financed by Relativity Media and other major Hollywood studios, including such titles

as: Bridesmaids, Beginners, Dear John, Repo Men, Couples Retreat, A Single Man, Love Happens, Biutiful, The Adjustment Bureau, Zombieland, Brothers, 30 Rock, A Perfect Getaway, Limitless, The Fighter and many others.

Looking ahead, Relativity Music Group will release the following soundtracks in 2011 including: The Debt, Hanna, Like Crazy and Immortals.

Relativity Music Group plans to release 15-20 soundtracks per year via its licensing and distribution agreement with ADA/Warner Music Group.


Chris Cornell is a rock icon whose music career has spanned more than two decades as a multi-Grammy® award-winning musician, universally-acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist. An innovator and trailblazer of the 90’s grunge movement, Cornell seduced audiences with his richly melodic voice as the frontman for the Seattle band Soundgarden. Later, celebrated side project Temple of the Dog brought Cornell together with Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder. Cornell also collaborated with three other musical pioneers from rap-rock’s Rage Against the Machine to create the multi-platinum supergroup Audioslave. Cornell has seen success in his solo career with the release of “Euphoria Morning” and his latest solo release “Scream.” Cornell’s offerings in music have also segued to cinema. Having contributed solo songs to movie soundtracks from Great Expectations (“Sunshower”) to Mission Impossible II (“Mission 2000”), he became the first American male singer to write the theme song for the James Bond franchise with “You Know My Name” in Casino Royale.


Asche & Spencer is one of the leading theatrical and commercial scoring companies in the United States with studios in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, founded by composer/creative director Thad Spencer and former member of the alternative-country sensation The Jayhawks. Asche & Spencer’s well-chosen collaborations include Marc Forster’s Oscar®-winning film Monster’s Ball, and critically-acclaimed Stay. Asche & Spencer also worked on the Oscar®-nominated documentary War Dance directed by Sean Fine and The Onion Movie.


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