Rich Howells

VIDEO: ‘Hunger Strike’ covered by Cold, Crobot, Breaking Benjamin, Candlebox, Lifer, and Earshot members in quarantine

VIDEO: ‘Hunger Strike’ covered by Cold, Crobot, Breaking Benjamin, Candlebox, Lifer, and Earshot members in quarantine
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Nick Coyle, a solo artist from Berwick as well as the singer of Wilkes-Barre nu metal band Lifer and guitarist/backing vocalist of Cold, is back with a new entry in his all-star “Corona Sessions” series, this time bringing in even more local artists for a quarantine jam with past and present members of Crobot, Breaking Benjamin, Candlebox, Earshot, Black Label Society, Black Star Riders, and Walking with Lions.

Today, Coyle debuted a cover of Temple of the Dog’s biggest song, “Hunger Strike,” featuring himself and Brandon Yeagley (Crobot singer) of Pottsville on vocals, Chris Bishop (Crobot guitarist) of Pottsville and Aaron Fink (Lifer/Earshot/ex-Breaking Benjamin guitarist) of Wilkes-Barre on guitars, Brian Quinn (Candlebox lead guitarist) of Pittston on acoustic guitar, Adam Kury (Candlebox) on bass, and Chad Szeliga (Black Star Riders/Walking with Lions/ex-Breaking Benjamin and Black Label Society drummer) of Shavertown on drums, who is randomly dressed as Freddy Krueger for some reason.

Recording safely from home, Coyle explained that his mission for the ongoing project is to “bring artists together despite social distancing and offer fans a sense of inclusiveness during these troubling times.”

“The only good thing that has come out of this whole COVID-19 shutdown is that now musicians who may have never have had the opportunity to collaborate before now have the time to do so,” Coyle said in a press release.

Temple of the Dog was a Seattle grunge rock supergroup with members of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mother Love Bone, including Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder on vocals. Released as the lead single on their platinum-selling self-titled and only album, “Hunger Strike” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1991.

The mostly local lineup of musicians chose “Hunger Strike” not only because of its importance to the 1990s music scene and the impact it had on each of them as artists, but because of the relevance it still has today.

“‘Hunger Strike’ is one of those songs that will always be relevant,” Coyle noted. “That’s the genius of Chris Cornell. His music and lyrics are timeless.”

In April, Coyle recruited Quinn, Fink, Szeliga, Johnny Nova (Cold guitarist) of Wilkes-Barre, Lindsay Manfredi (Cold bassist), and Geno Lenardo (ex-Filter guitarist and songwriter) for a cover of Filter’s hit song “Take a Picture” that kicked off Corona Sessions.

“I’ve always loved ‘Take a Picture’ and was originally thinking of doing a duo acoustic version with just me and Geno of Filter,” Coyle said.

“Lindsay, our bassist in Cold, is staying with Geno during this lockdown and wanted to be a part of it too, so then I thought, ‘Who else do I know that would be into playing on this?’ So I reached out to Chad to see if he wanted to play drums, hit up my guitarist in Lifer, Aaron, to play keyboards, and my old friend Brian Quinn from Candlebox to play acoustic guitar. And then I asked my good friend and bandmate in Cold Johnny Nova to play electric guitar. Luckily, everyone was into it and excited to be a part of it. I am grateful that these guys – and gal – wanted to be a part of my crazy vision!”

Yeagley recently participated in some other collaboration videos with Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, and Suicidal Tendencies bassist Roberto “Ra” Diaz, covering Rush songs like “Freewill” and “Red Barchetta.”

Fink has joined chart-topping hard rock band Earshot along with bassist John Novak, who was the vocalist/guitarist of Wilkes-Barre alternative rockers Down to Six and currently plays in Fink’s solo band. Last month, the band’s new lineup released Earshot’s first single in five years, reinventing the Grammy Award-winning Alanis Morissette hit “Uninvited.”

Both Cold and Candlebox were scheduled to head out on extensive tours earlier this year, but they were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cold is currently supporting their latest release, “The Things We Can’t Stop,” on Napalm Records, which Coyle co-wrote with vocalist Scooter Ward as well as co-produced and mixed. Candlebox is promoting their forthcoming album, scheduled for release later this year. It will be their second record with Brian Quinn on guitar.

While stuck in quarantine, Lifer was also able to finish up and release their first new song in 18 years, “The Start of Something Else,” and Coyle quickly followed it up with his cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” as well as his own original solo track, “I Can’t Figure It Out:”

See NEPA Scene’s review and photos of Lifer’s 2018 reunion show here, photos from their 2019 concert at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre here, and watch Episode 76 of the NEPA Scene Podcast, where Coyle and Fink discuss their formation and early connections to Breaking Benjamin, the burgeoning local music scene at the time, their big break on MTV, Lifer’s breakup and later reformation as Stardog Champion, revisiting Lifer’s music all these years later, and more, below: