Getting a hold of all three of the young Cote siblings was easy; they hang out together all the time. We figured that mellow, sweet Anthony Cote was going to be the easiest to talk to. He had a beer like he wanted and played guitar for us.
But it didn’t make him easy to talk to, necessarily.
What is your name?
Does anyone call you Tony, though?
“Oh, my Uncle Orlando does, but he’s the only one who gets to”
You look like you could beat up anyone else who called you that.
“I’d never, but I don’t really like it as a nickname. It doesn’t fit me.”
Do you know why you were named that?
“Well, you know, you’re not in a real Italian-American family until you have an Anthony.”
How Italian are you, though?
“Actually, not that much.”
So who got the shaft?
“I know my mum’s top choices were all Old Testament kinds of names, since she was Jewish.”
Dad won, got it.
(This is Andrea’s son after all. I can already guess some of the things I’ll hear)
“No, I know he’ll come up if you’re interviewing me. Might as well prepare myself for it, because I’ve never been ‘ready’ to talk about him.”
Here’s something happier: are you in a relationship?
“I just proposed.”
Will you let her choose names?
“I already did. Our daughter’s named Elissa, but I’ll admit that I love it too.”
Oh wow, you look too sweet to be living in sin.
“I know.” (He blushes, it’s adorable) “My family made me propose. I kind of didn’t even plan on marrying. It sounded like a waste of time.”
But why not? Your family’s rich enough to throw a dozen weddings in a year.
“I don’t like parties much. I’m always the guy who’s in the corner with a beer.”
I’m sure way lonelier people have gotten married.
“It’s true. But I’ve felt married to Suraya for too long anyways. We needed to get serious way too fast because of our son. So it took just a few months for us to move in together and think about the future. I had to. And I’m glad I gave up any other dreams.”
…so what’s your son’s name?
“Oh, Ari. He just turned six.”
Who chose the name?
“Sorry, that was me. I get to name our next kid too…we thought it’d be cool to trade it off.”
Stop being a Mary Sue! (rarely do I ask this question, huh. Anthony’s not putting anyone up on a pedestal though, not even himself)
Do you have a picture of your family?
“Tons. I want memories of them forever and for my kids to keep them too.”
“Worth the effort of getting two kids to look at the camera.”
Which one has you eye color?
“Ari, but no one doesn’t fit in. We’re all brown-eyed in this family.” (Anthony’s eyes are clearly a rich honey-brown)
Ever consider contacts?
“Fuck, there was this one band. I’m still reeling over it.”
Sounds juicy though.
“I don’t want to gossip.”
This is a private interview, I promise.
“I mean, it was juicy. It was a black metal band and I was the only guy who could tremolo pick fast enough? I don’t even know. I liked the corpse paint but they made me put in blue contacts for shows too, which was weird but I did it. Now I finally look at the audience, and some of those shirts and jack patches are questionable. Lots of iron crosses and nods to Odinism.”
“I quit fast. Why even hire me? No matter how you look at me, I’m either one group you hate or another. I was dating a Nigerian girl at the time too. It was so bizarre, but the other two guys swore it was just their audience, not them.”
Did they make you dye your hair blonde too?
“Fuck, thankfully not. I take good care of my hair.”
It looks really soft.
“Thanks. I always have kids trying to pet it when I pick Ari up from school.”
And you let them?
“Of course I do. They’re kids.”
Any family members besides Andrea?
“There’s my two younger siblings.”
Do you get along?
“Always. We never fought at kids. They’re not that much younger than me, so I just treat them like friends. Our mum made sure of that.”
She sounds like a saint.
“She might not have been the Catholic one…but I hope she is.”
And it’s just your fiancée and Ari and Elissa, right?
Oh, how about pets?
“I almost forgot too.”
Names and pictures please.
“Here’s Elissa and Ragtime. I adopted him from a bandmate after my dad died.”
(I’ll admit: I squealed a little)
Oh my god…how do you even keep a golden retriever in the city?”
“Most of the time now, I’m a stay at home dad. The kids love going on walks too and seeing all the doggies at the park.”
That’s cool, I guess. Now, is there something you don’t like? Or are you too sweet to hate?
“I don’t have enemies. I never try to make them, anyways.”
That’s probably for the better.
“I mean, if I have to use that word, I hate jealousy. Everyone feels it but it’s such a nasty state of mind. I’ve seen it tear my family apart in tons of ways. So I don’t try to be jealous…just hurt a lot.”
“And I hate music elitists too.”
So is music the only thing you like to do, or are there other hobbies?
“I don’t have time for anything else, and music might not be my regular job. But it’s still my job.”
But if you had any more time, what would you do?
“Well, I’m right in the middle of booking a trip to Australia for my honeymoon. I figured that Suri and I can enjoy one vacation without the kids, and I always wanted to try surfing.”
Have you ever hurt anyone in any way before?
“No, but I’ve started to understand my siblings a lot more. I’d never call them bad people but…”
“You know what, I don’t want to demonize their anger. I might not approach life like they do, but they were both hurt far more than me. And it’s my fault because I didn’t help them until it was too late.”
But have you been hurt?
“Like anyone, but wondering if I could have stopped it is worse. No one expected me to ever do that, though. They just think I’m big, sweet Anthony.”
That seems true though.
“It’s not easy.”
What was the worst thing to happen t you, outside of that?
“…it’s a tie.”
“There was when I broke up with Ezinne, and when Suraya met my stepmum.”
Sounds juicy…I mean…rough.
“I wish I was the kind of person to think that, in hindsight.”
But you’re not telling me any details.
(I turn my tape recorder off) Just for a complete image of you, that’s why.
“You better keep that damn thing off.”
“I’ve only had two real girlfriends in my life, and I still feel bad about my first one.”
“It was the Nigerian girl, Ezinne. We dated from 15 to 21? I thought it was meant to last. She had a beautiful voice and we didn’t care that neither of our families liked us together. She was a bit of a bipolar mess but I didn’t care, I was so fucking into her. We talked about having a baby, and I was even about to propose, and then I woke up one day and she was…gone.”
Missing or dead?
“No, she’s still alive. She’s called me only once after and it was…that’s what hurt the most. It was right when my dad was dying, and it was to say that he took advantage of her, multiple times.”
“I was livid, but not at her. I already had Suraya and Ari then and had…I got over it years before. But I yelled at dad in hospice. That was the only time I wanted to kill someone, and the only thing that stopped me was that he was dying already. I couldn’t see straight, I started drinking more, I almost ruined things with Suraya. I finally knew the monster he could be.”
I’m so sorry.
“And the second one was about Thu…my stepmum, you know? She’s a sickly little mess but I used to care for her.”
Ah yes…that makes a lot of sense now.
“Something happened because we were best friends, and before I met Suraya, I kept thinking that maybe Thu could change her ways and leave my dad and…you know. We did everything together for a bit. I did everything to make her happy, even when it hurt. Like, I helped plan her wedding. We were in a band together. I at least expected a lifelong friendship from her. Our kids could grow up together. She said I was like the brother she never had.”
…wait, she called your fiancée–
“Yeah, she calls Suraya a ‘camera slut’ a lot, like it matters to me.”
Why does she even do that?
“Well, Suraya was a camgirl and did pin-up shoots sometimes. It’s not like I was a customer but I knew it all from the start. It didn’t matter one bit. And I just think that Thu was reaching for insults. She’d hate Suraya no matter what her job was, or how she looked, or when I met her.”
Yeah, it was about your family instead, right?
“She attacked Suraya with a broom over it when they first met. It was a really difficult time for Thu, but that wasn’t an excuse.”
Oh, was it after she lost her baby?
“And the funny thing is…I didn’t feel ready for one after Jacob died either. How could I? He was my brother. I didn’t want to accept that fate could do such a horrible thing either. And I put up with so much of Thu’s bullshit after it. I let her try and accuse my siblings of poisoning him and dragging them through court. I let her act out and gobble up pills and ruin herself further and further because, fuck, it wasn’t hurting me! And I felt like a fool when it finally did. She almost killed my son because she didn’t want me to be happier than her.”
What a hypocrite.
“I know…no one in this family has the partners anyone likes. That much needs to change. No one should feel like an alien with their in-laws. Suraya’s dad feels more like my own than Andrea ever did.”
Did he ever hurt you directly?
“I know the thing with Ezinne felt like that, but really…he didn’t. It’s so damn weird. I don’t think he loved anyone but Thu, but there was this way he treated me. Like there was something about a kid who had nothing in common with him that he briefly respected. I even remember nice things he used to say to me about my music. I used to think that Thu ruined him, but then I learned that dad was always that way. It was the worst kind of pill to swallow.”
In regards to Thu, she sounds like she was ruined first.
“Oh, totally. Just like everyone else he was with. I enabled her and let all that happen because I felt horrible about it, but she’s kept herself in this deep hole for years now. She was going to be there with or without me, and she’ll never claw her way out.”
But you were friends.
“I took care of her because I saw so much potential in her…that should make me feel bad.”
Would you kill anyone involved if you had the chance?
“It’s a hard answer.”
What kind of animal are you? Prey?
“I think an elephant.”
Name your worst weaknesses.
“I’m still trying to not let Thu be mine.”
You sound like you’re doing a good job.
“Maybe in general it’s taking care of people. I hover over my kids but it’s just a bad habit of mine.”
Maybe you can blame Thu for that.
“Yeah, I can.”
On the flip side, do you look up to anyone at all?
“Well, this answer will make me feel bad.”
“I have trouble looking up to my own family now, but I have this band poster in my room. Ever hear of Epileptic Lullaby?”
Great band, but I never got to see them in concert when Luc was still alive.
“I did once. I still look up to them and stuff and hope that Luc is proud of his teenage fanboy…even Suraya thinks it’s funny that I do.”
And now you’re on the inside of rock, just like him.
“And just like him, I’ll be inside and strumming my guitar until the day I die.”
What did you think of the rumors of his sexual deviancy?
“Rude, he’s dead.”
Can’t say that I didn’t soak up all that gossip.
“Even back when he was alive, it just sounded like things he and his wife both consensually did. Look, I was thirteen when I was hanging out with my Uncle Gian and helping him with chores, and I accidentally found his…anal forceps. Horrible stuff then, but then I became and adult and figured he just had bizarre tastes. Plenty of functioning adults do.“
But are you straight and vanilla?
“Suraya keeps joking that I get hard a lot faster when she’s pregnant. I don’t know if it actually means anything…pregnancy is just a very good look for her.”
Did you study music?
“I actually skipped high school to study classical guitar. It’s why I still use my fingers when I can.”
Ever want to marry and have kids one day? (I hope his wedding and any new kids are as perfect as can be) Do you have fangirls or boys?
“Mostly crazy fangirls. I thought I’d avoid them by sticking to the local music scene instead.”
Who’s the worst?
“I successfully got a restraining order against one nurse. She always got front row at my concerts and tried sneaking into the band van a few times. As long as I never have to go to Immaculate Mary General, I’m safe at last.”
Are you afraid?
“Not much. In all fairness, I’m pretty sure she grew out of it.”
What are you afraid of, then?
“Before I had kids, I’d have a much different answer.”
“My sister didn’t come forward to me about my dad until I said I was having a girl. She doesn’t cry in front of me much but I ended up joining in. I realized my worst fear was something that could have happened if my dad survived. Even if I tried to cut him out of my life, he was that much of a predator. And it doesn’t even matter that he’s dead. Now I’m on the lookout whenever I’m out with the kids.”
To be fair, I wouldn’t mess with a man like you.
“I think that’s saved my ass a lot.”
What do you usually wear to look so tough?
“Even if I was short, no one trusts men with long hair. They’re all creeps or hippies or metalheads, but I at least trust metalheads.”
On a happier note, what’s one food that tempts you?
“My mum would hate me for this, by the way.”
What is it, a ham sandwich? Shrimp scampi?
“Those too, but it’s really Lebanese pastries. She baked a lot but if she was still alive, I’d still betray her and grab ma’amoul or Lebanese baklava instead.”
Right…Suraya’s Lebanese, isn’t she?
“She barely got to remember the place, but yes. There was some unrest and both her parents got jobs over here anyways, after her sister was born.”
But who makes the pastries?
“She has quite a lot of extended family and close friends out here. If it’s not her cousin Allison, it’s someone else. They’d have a lot of family breathing down their necks if they couldn’t get their sweet fix.”
Am I annoying you?
“I’m an introvert.”
Maybe this was a bad idea then, but it’s not over!
“No, you’re very nice and I think I needed to talk about some of this anyways.”
Are you still upper-class?
“Yes, but I’m currently trying to spend as little of my money as possible.”
While renting in this city?
“It’s the Spice District. Not really the highest rent prices in Sabier City, but Suraya disagrees.”
Would you ever move out?
“I inherited one house from my dad, so we’ll see. I might even do it after our third baby, since we’ll run out of bedrooms. I’m just so used to the minimal lifestyle, though. I’m sure everyone else will be happy to have a yard and a swimming pool, but I’ll have to get used to it again.”
How many friends do you have?
“Plenty, but I’ll be bothered by ones I never even knew I had if I move to that house.”
What are your thoughts on pie?
“It’s fine, but I liked it more before I met Suraya.”
“I don’t like that it’s beer. Especially Belgian ones.”
What’s your favorite place?
“I like Grandpa Aubrey’s beach house in Brindleton Bay. I actually like that town a lot. It wouldn’t work well for my jobs but if I went back on my promise and retired from music, I’d retire there.”
Is it because it’s quiet?
“That and the lobster rolls.”
Are you interested in anyone else?
“Are you reading off a paper?”
(I try my best to put it away)
That was a stupid question. I just have it for others.
“That’s fine. But if I lost Suraya, I’d have trouble looking for love again. I started off skeptical about our future, but if there’s one upside to everything that happened to me, it was meeting her. She’s incredible, neither of us could adapt to anything else anyways.”
What is the one thing you want to do the most with her?
“Oh, wow, tough question.”
Having eight kids with her doesn’t count, by the way.
“Damn, you stole my answer.”
What about the outdoors?
“There’s plenty I’d like to see, though I’m not really passionate about it. My mum loved to travel but I don’t think she passed it on to us.”
Would you rather swim in a lake or the ocean?
“Definitely the ocean.”
What’s your type? (He likes them short) Any fetishes? (I love knowing already that Anthony is into fucking his pregnant girlfriend)
Camping or indoors?
“I’m up for either. Maybe I should try something like camping. For once, I feel like I’m living my life.”