'Sons of Anarchy': Kim Coates, a k a Tig, Talks Bikes, Shakespeare and What Scares Him
N ext week, I've got a syndicated feature story coming out on FX's biker-gang drama "Sons of Anarchy," which has its season premiere tonight (Sept. 7), featuring guest star Hal Holbrook.
But in the meantime, here's a Q&A with one of the SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) members, Canadian-born, Shakespearean-trained actor Kim Coates (who's now a proud American citizen).
Q: You play Tig, sergeant-at-arms for an outlaw motorcycle club. Do you actually ride?
A: I've been riding my whole life. I don't have a bike right now. I had two Kawasakis growing up, a 650 CSR and a 750. But I always had some Harleys from buddies that I rode in the '80s. Then I totaled mine in '86, promised my wife that I'd never buy another one, and now here we are.
Q: Last season, Tig and Gemma (Katey Sagal), wife of club president Clay (Ron Perlman), nearly had a full-on sexual encounter. How did you feel about that?
A: I didn't want to do the scene at all, and Kurt (Sutter, the series' creator and Sagal's husband) said to me, "The biker world is an incestuous place. It's sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. They're brothers. S--- happens." They're two people, just two people. They love each other, not love each other as in a lover, but love as in protection. And I'm Clay's right-hand guy. It just happened, and we ended it.
Q: Sutter has often said the show is inspired by Shakespeare's "Hamlet," but which of the Bard's many characters do you think is closest to Tig?
A: He'd be Banquo (from "Macbeth"). Metaphorically -- I'm only speaking for myself -- the whole "Hamlet" thing is exactly where this has begun and perhaps will end up, but in the middle, there's so much stuff going on in this biker world. There are so many elements of "Richard III," "The Godfather," seriously.
It's funny you should say that, because I saw my good buddy Colm Feore, he did "Macbeth" last summer at Stratford. He was great.
Q: You've also worked on the stage, including at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. I thought stage actors were never supposed to say "Macbeth" out loud and instead would refer to it as "The Scottish Play."
A: Oh, yeah, we're not on stage. We're not in the green room or somewhere in a theater. I would never do that there, but here (on location in the backyard of a house near Santa Clarita, Calif.), you bet I can.
Q: Will you go back to the stage?
A: It was fantastic (seeing Feore), and I got the bug back in my head. It has scared me, to tell you the truth. It's been so long since I played those massive parts on stage. My daughters have yet to see their dad on stage. They're 20 and 16 right now -- and they will, and I will.
I keep getting asked. I always say no, because I don't want to let "Sons of Anarchy" down, which is six months out of the year. But I'm ready. It's going to happen, sooner than later.