The Coffis Brothers

SFSTATION: The Coffis Brothers’ West Coast October Shows

How does one describe The Coffis Brothers? They’re like if Tom Petty was a little more folksy, a little more easy going, and threw in some more harmonies. Brothers Kellen and Jamie Coffis, who formed the initial Coffis Brothers band, are the primary singers and soul of this band and they’ve got shows coming up all over the West Coast, where they’ll be playing in three different formats: as The Coffis Brothers, The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men, and as the backing band for Tim Bluhm (of The Mother Hips). I first saw the Coffis Brothers last spring, where they opened up the night for Bluhm, then jumped back on stage as his backers. I was struck by their beautiful harmonies, warm energy and unique feel.

Between sets last spring I talked with a couple of the Coffis members–including the boys’ father, who I couldn’t help but see what shakin’ a real tail feather during those tunes–and we reconnected with them this fall in the midst of their busy tour schedule.

SF Station (SFS): Back at The Chapel, Kellen said that a lot of interviews were kind of the same ol’ thing, that he wished people would ask other questions like, what’d you have for breakfast? So I gotta ask: what’d you have for breakfast this morning? Do you ever take things like protein or fiber into account when planning a meal or does it just happen willy nilly?

Kellen Coffis (KC): We had an early morning today so I haven’t had a proper breakfast but I did grab a banana before heading out the door. I’m hoping that will hold me over for a while. I think when we’re traveling and have only eaten burritos for several consecutive meals you start looking a little bit harder at the salads on the menu. Overall though, we’re all pretty willy nilly when planning meals. Hoping we’ve got a few more years before we’ve gotta really start worrying about that.

SFS: Do you feel more connected to coffee because of your name, and do people ever confuse you with said beverage?

KC: We’ve heard almost every iteration of our name now. Most commonly people say “Cofus” but we’ve also heard “Cofeefee” and “Kufus” but it’s actually pronounced like “coughis.” Somehow I never got on board with coffee. We’ve got some coffee addicts in the band but I don’t ever drink it and my brother is probably second least dependent on it so I guess the Coffis thing didn’t really make a connection for us.

SFS: In more seriousness–how’s it playing with Tim? He seems like the sweetest guy–do you collaborate much as his backing band or is he more of a directional figure? What do you guys get up to when you’re not playing? Do you go to the zoo or something between shows?

KC: We’ve had the best time playing with Tim. We’ve been a fan of Tim since we started the band so having him produce our record was a really big deal for us but becoming his band is sorta surreal. It’s all happened in a really organic way and he makes it very easy for us. We all get along really well and he’s become a good friend. We really don’t have enough good things about Tim and our experiences with him in this last year. Traveling with him has been a blast. Whereas we always seem to beat ourselves up driving nonstop, Tim always likes to look for something fun to do to fill out the days so we’ve gone skiing with him, gone on hikes and jumped in the ocean. As far as zoos go, my girlfriend is a marine mammal trainer at Discover Kingdom so we took a tour and met a bunch of pinnipeds. Before we left Tim made us go on a few roller coasters, too.

SFS: We really loved “Better Days” and I believe “Love of Mine” was the first song I heard and I teared up. Very beautiful. That’s not really a question but just …if that triggers an insight, we’d love to hear it.

KC: Thanks for the kind words. A few times we’ve been asked to play those songs for weddings and that always feels special to hear that our songs mean so much to some people.

SFS: Does your dad–the dancing machine–play music as well?

KC: Our dad does not play music but my mom does. She’s a lifelong singer and musician and got my brother and I singing early on.

SFS: What’s on the horizon for you? Working on a new album, on Tim’s same label? Tell us about what you’ve got in the works.

KC: Early this year we began work on a new full length Coffis Brothers album with Tim at the helm as producer. We’re looking at releasing it early next year. And as I mentioned before, we recently started playing as Tim’s band so that’s been a new thing. We’ve played about ten shows so far and it’s going really good so we’re looking forward to doing more of that in 2020.

Stay tuned for their forthcoming album, which has a touch of that Tim Bluhm magic. The Coffis Brothers say they hope to get back up to the city soon and we say, it’s only rock n roll but we like it.

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