Coven are considered for the very first band, that brought to light occult and satanic themes. Pre Black Sabbath. They released an LP back in very early 1969 called "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls". We spoke with Rick Durrett, who joined the band right after the LP was out and was part of the band while touring and so on.
Coven was for sure one of the most interesting bands especially for seekers of something unknown I'm really glad, that in this interview we will mostly talk about the background of Coven, but first I want to ask you where were you born and what were some influences at the very beginning?
I was born in Nashville, TN. My influences were jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, A number of R&B artists like Solomon Burke, BB and Freddie King, Bo Diddley, James Brown. Too many more to name.
I know some members of Coven were in The Magic Lanterns. How about you?
No, I joined them later.
Where did you guys met and who got an idea to start the band Coven?
We met in Indianapolis where I was working with my psychedelic band, The Cardboard Bachs.
Was there a satanic concept behind at the very beginning of the band?
I wasn't with Coven at the very beginning, but they were just interested in the occult.
Tell us what are some early memories from rehearsing together in the basement or wherever you started playing together?
We rehearsed in an old warehouse that was unheated and would have to take breaks occasionally and run down the street to the diner and wrap our hands around a cup of coffee then go back and rehearse some more. That memory sticks out the most.
Who was the leader? Did you all contribute songs or how did you make new material?
Jinx and Steve started the band originally, but we all had a say in things and wrote songs mostly together.
Before you were signed up, did you play any shows and speak in between songs about "satanism"?
How did you got signed up by Mercury Records?
The band called me after they were already signed and needed a keyboard player. Bill Traut of Dunwich productions in Chicago saw the band and signed them to management and he got the deal as I understand it.
Where did you recorded 'Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls'?
I joined right after it was recorded. I believe they did that in Chicago.
Was there any concept to it?
While the group was actually just into the occult, management and Mercury thought it would be a great idea to go satanic.
I'm really interested in the concerts you did. How did they look like. I heard you did some really intense stuff. Would you like to tell us more?
We had our stage lit by candlelight, the B-3 was draped like an altar with a skull, candles and a chalice on it. We wore black, purple or red, some of us wore capes as well. Our roadie hung on a cross behind us and didn’t move. At the end of the show jinx would give the benediction of the Black mass, the roadie would come down off the cross. The cross was on a pivot, so they would invert it and walk off stage hand in hand.
How did the audience react to your spoken words between the songs?
There were a few shows where there wasn’t a sound as they were shocked. Most applauded.
Were you all satanist or were you interested in any other occult things or was this just for the music?
No. Coven was really against religion of any kind and were into the occult.
With who all did you play concerts?
There were so many it’s hard to recall all of them. We did shows with Cream, The Yardbirds, Black Sabbath, Mitch Ryder to name a few. We were paired with Alice Cooper a lot for road shows.
What can you say about your second and third album?
I thought they were good, but I had left the group at that time.
There was some similarities with Coven and Black Sabbath, but you were a whole year before them…
There weren't really any similarities that I can think of. They just had a dark name. They freaked out when they saw our show.
Why did you choose the name 'Coven'?
The name seemed to fit the group because we were more than a band.
Did you live together? Did you do any rituals?
We lived together and did rituals from time to time for different reasons.
What currently occupies your life?
I’m still playing some. Mostly weekend things close to home. Coven had a reunion a few years ago that was great. We would all still love to play together, but some of us live in different cities and such.
Thanks a lot for taking your time. Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Just mainly to be yourself. Do what you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
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