Fueled off of a love for watching cheesy horror and science fiction flicks from the ‘50s, and insects, the 20-something rockabilly trio Coffin Fly has created their own lane on the gridlocked highway that aspiring bands travel, as they happily cruise along in a ‘90s station wagon with an electric upright bass and washboard.
The band will detour to the Young Bean Coffee Shop for a free concert tonight.
Love the Bean
When you’re Coffin Fly, playing twice at the popular Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia is cool, just not cool enough to top the experience of performing at the Young Bean, said 21-year-old frontman “Fatt” Matt DeDonato, of Claymont. Despite playing shows at other popular venues like Northern Delaware’s Mojo Main, DeDonato – a rather slim fellow who sports rolled up checkered shirts with cuffed jeans, boots and slicked back hair – maintains that no other spot compares to Clayton’s best-kept secret.
“The Young Bean is our favorite place to play,” said DeDonato, who added tonight’s gig would mark the band’s fifth time at the spot, since their debut in April of 2011.
IF YOU GO
WHAT Coffin Fly
WHEN 6 p.m., Friday, March 30
WHERE Young Bean Coffee Shop, 314 Main Street, Clayton
INFO theyoungbean.com or call 653-3674
The guys are so fond of the Young Bean due to the incredible turnout they received at their debut.
“First time we got stuck in a lot of traffic and we were really late,” he said. “But when we got there, the whole town was packed into that place. The whole town was waiting for us.”
Since then, Young Bean patrons have continued to pack the venue whenever the gang’s in town, hooking them up with enough gas money in tips to at least get them back to Northern Delaware.
What’s in a name?
The moniker Coffin Fly derives from a fly of the same name “that lays its eggs in human caucuses,’’ said DeDonato, who was inspired to use the name after thumbing through an insect book and discovering the creepy creature.
From larva to ‘Fly’
The origins of Coffin Fly trace back to December of 2009. DeDonato was a freshman studying hospitality at the University of Delaware. Needing directions to one of his classes, then stranger, now bassist, Gerrod “Screaming G” Mozeik helped guide him to his destination. Shortly thereafter, Mozeik and DeDonato found themselves traveling together to Philadelphia to see a show by the death metal band Obituary.
Page 2 of 2 - Having taught himself to play guitar (from watching videos on YouTube) since he couldn’t bring his drum set to college, DeDonato – who learned to sing from listening to famed singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and grew up fascinated with ‘50s era films and tunes – suggested the pair start up a rockabilly band, with Mozeik, of Newark, playing bass guitar, in which he’d later upgrade to an electric upright bass.
In addition, DeDonato’s pal and former bandmate Cheyenne Scherer (formerly known as Bryan) – who played guitar with him in the hardcore punk band Enslaved Masons, while DeDonato played drums in the band – came onboard to play drums, under the tutelage of DeDonato, finalizing the makeup of Coffin Fly, or so they thought.
About six months in, Scherer left the group. He moved to Georgia and underwent a sex change operation. Recognizing the band had a void, Cheyenne’s brother, Eric “Irk,” of Bear, expressed interest in filling his brother’s shoes, yet he didn’t know a thing about drums. Similar to Cheyenne, DeDonato showed him the ropes. He even introduced Eric to the washboard, an instrument the crew has also incorporated into their music.
‘Sounds cheesy but it’s true’
Being the group’s songwriter, DeDonato says he draws mostly from B movies like “Robot Monster” (featuring “a guy in a guerilla suit with a space helmet on”) and what critics consider to be the worst movie ever made in “Planet 9 From Outer Space” (“the sets are totally fake and the acting is less than poor”) to construct a fair share of their eerie songs, which include themes of “wearing someone’s skin” in the tune “My Favorite Hanger,” to “Inbred Woman,” a song spotlighting the number of inbred families in the state.
DeDonato is self-aware that he’s a peculiar individual. But it doesn’t faze him.
“If you’ve met me, you’d understand a lot of my thoughts and views are much different than any human would conceive,” he said. “It sounds cheesy but it’s true.”