by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Bobby Reeves, Tim Fluckey, Ed Faris, Dave DeRoo & Kris Kohls)
It’s not uncommon for people to come into MMA from other athletic endeavors. Kickboxers, wrestlers, and even football players have all made their way into this sport, some with better luck than others.
So, when someone who has had the opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people steps into MMA, no one would give much of a second thought, unless that person came not from sports, but rather from the world of music.
Such is the case for Kris Kohls, drummer for the rock band Adema, an outfit that has sold an impressive total of more than two-and-a-half million records worldwide since their debut in 2001.
If Khols’ name and/or Adema sound familiar, the odds are, if you’ve been to a UFC event over the last couple of years you would have inevitably heard their songs blasting over the speakers during breaks in action, as well as being used as entrance music for such notable fighters as the soon-to-be-returning-to-action Nate Quarry.
For his own part, Kris took the title line from the band’s 2005 song “Enter the Cage” to heart as he himself stepped into the MMA arena for the Gladiator Challenge that year.
Now, after stabilizing the band’s line-up, Khols and Adema return to the music fray with their new album, Kill the Headlights, and as Kris himself told MMAWeekly recently, a return for him to the MMA mix will be fallowing along in the not too distant future.
MMAWeekly: Kris, since we first profiled you back in 2005, what kinds of reaction have you and Adema received from the MMA community?
Kris Kohls: I saw a positive reaction in a huge way having our songs affiliated with the UFC. It did nothing but positive things for us. Basically, when I went places to train I noticed more and more fighters and fans are familiar with our band now. And, in my eyes it’s a great thing, because I love both music and MMA, and it’s cool to be recognized basically for my love of those two arts.
MMAWeekly: So, the MMA fans have taken a liking to Adema, huh?
Kris Khols: Definitely, we have new fans for sure from the MMA community. I think that when they find out about us, just by hearing our songs at a UFC or from a friend in the MMA community, or however they hear it, and they find out that I actually train as an MMA fighter as well, they like it even more. [Laughs]
MMAWeekly: Having trained in BJJ for quite a while, and having stepped into the MMA arena yourself, do you notice any guys wanting to come into the gym and see if the rock star really has game?
Kris Kohls: I do, yeah. [Laughs] Here and there I’ve definitely had that happen, you know, they come in and go, “That’s that guy from Adema, let’s go get him.” [Laughs] They’ll try just a little extra hard to get me to tap just so they can say they tapped the guy from Adema. [Laughs]
MMAWeekly: The last time we talked to you was just prior to your first MMA fight for the Gladiator Challenge event in November of 2005. What did you learn from having gone from being a fan, to training, to finally getting a chance to fight?
Kris Kohls: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve played drums in front of 70,000 people, and fighting in that little cage in front of a couple thousand people was the most intense adrenaline rush I’ve ever had. It was awesome, and I can’t wait to get in there again.
Before that fight, I had just predominantly had three or four years of jiu-jitsu and I was confident that was enough – but it’s not – not anymore. Pretty much every fighter nowadays is well-rounded – they can strike, wrestle, ground and pound, do jiu-jitsu, and I have to learn all those things as well – which I have. I’ve implemented those into my game, and basically that fight just showed me that I needed to broaden my horizons as far as MMA goes.
MMAWeekly: I understand you’ve started training at the North County Fight Club with a couple of UFC veterans?
Kris Kohls: Yeah, Jason Lambert is there; I get to train with him quite a bit and Eddie Sanchez as well. They’ve both – being awesome strikers, well-rounded fighters – have helped me tremendously. Especially with my striking, standing up and sparring with those guys, you always get better. [Laughs] I’m just fortunate that they’re training me how to go in that cage, kick some butt and get a win. I’m going to get my first win in my next fight; I’m excited about it and ready to go.
MMAWeekly: I know you’re very busy with the business of being a professional musician, along with your training, so, having said that, when do you think you’d like to get back in there and fight again?
Kris Kohls: Well, I’ve been offered a few fights over this last year, but, obviously, scheduling becomes an issue. Eventually it will work out, the right day will come up and we’re looking for that day right now. Pretty much I just got off a two month tour, I have a couple weeks off and then I have to go back on tour, so, there’s nothing locked in right now, but there will be, and you’ll definitely be seeing me fighting again soon.
MMAWeekly: Recently the band added two new members, singer Bobby Reeves and guitarist Ed Faris [rounding out the Adema line-up with drummer Khols, guitarist Tim Fluckey and bassist Dave DeRoo], what did they think of all this when they first joined Adema?
Kris Kohls: They weren’t really too familiar with it or weren’t really MMA fans, but now they’ve got a really good base of what it’s about, and they’re both fans now of MMA. It took them a while to get used to the fact that it’s a huge part of my life. You know, I would be warming up for shows, throwing punches, simulating knees, sprawling out and stuff, and they’re like, “What in the hell is this guy doing?” [Laughs] They were tripping out at first, but now it’s okay.
MMAWeekly: All right, let’s talk about the band’s newly released album, Kill the Headlights, what can fans expect to hear this time around from the new line-up?
Kris Kohls: It’s much heavier than the last record [Planets]. There are a few softer songs, like the last record, but there’re some way-heavier songs this time. There’s a song, “Waiting for Daylight”, that is super-heavy and it’s the song I’m going to come out to for my next fight; I love that song.
I’d say it’s a mix of our first record [Adema] and a tad of the third record [Planets] musically. But we kind of went back towards the sound of the first record, that heavy sound that Adema fans like. We’re basically a hard rock band – and that’s what we do. It’s got that hard rock sound and it’s our best record by far, no doubt. We’re glad to be playing the songs every night and doing our thing.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time, Kris; it’s greatly appreciated. Is there anything you want to say as we head out?
Kris Kohls: I just want to thank MMAWeekly, and everybody that’s supported me in MMA, as well as the band. We’re going to keep doing our thing and entertain the fans out there, no doubt. Check out the Adema MySpace page [www.myspace.com/adema]; our tour schedule is on there, you can get in contact with us or me directly, you can check out the new single, “Cold and Jaded”, and get the record, Kill the Headlights, out on Immortal Records.