Kim Coates photographed by Tommy Garcia
By Marissa Baecker
There isn’t much about Kim Coates professional life that you can’t learn with the click of a button. Such is the life of a celebrity in today’s technological world. However, when I got talking to Kim on the phone, I didn’t hear a celebrity but rather a humble, grateful, down to earth, Saskatchewan farm boy living large and lovin’ it.
Don’t know who Kim Coates is? Let me refresh your memory. He is a Saskatoon, SK native who discovered a passion for the arts during his time in university.
“I miss the people of Saskatchewan,” he said.
His acting credits are numerous and those ice blue/green eyes a familiar sight on screen and stage. However, it is his role as Alexander ‘Tig’ Traber – the off-centre biker and Sergeant at Arms of SAMCRO in Kurt Sutter’s FX television series, Sons of Anarchy, that seems to have solidified his name in lights.
Ryan Hurst and Kim Coates in SONS OF ANARCHY
As an actor, to commit yourself to a seven year contract and build a character having only been offered the very beginnings of a story, is a career gamble and one that Coates reflects on, “The power of television I never understood and when I committed to SOA, it was a commitment which I have never done.”
Having become addicted to the series myself, I can’t imagine any other actor who could have played this role, brought the character to life and made him so real in such a way that allowed us to watch his family trials and tribulations unfold in ways that we couldn’t even imagine and see it as that family’s normal.
Kim Coates as Alex ‘Tig’ Trager and Walton Goggins as Venus Van Dam
Take for instance the introduction in 2012 of transgender character Venus Van Dam played by Walton Goggins. Step aside Caitlyn Jenner – it was SOA creator Kurt Sutter who brought transgender women to the forefront. He wrote this character into the show, make her desirable, treated her with respect and built the relationship with Coates’ character TIG and Coates made it normal.
“TIG..,” said Coates, “like all of us leads on that brilliant show, wasn’t written for all the time. But when Sutter did write for TIG I got the best stuff. If I wanted it to be easy or to just hit my mark I would have done CSI Saskatoon. The TIG / Venus stuff was incredibly hard to do. Challenging. Emotional. And thank Christ, Sutter gave that arc to TIG. No one else in that club would have been believable. TIG became the moral compass of the club in a way. Right till the end of that epic tale.”
During our banter I asked Coates to tell me something that I couldn’t find on the internet. Tell me something about Kim Coates that fans might not know. After a brief moment of silence he responded, “I’m not TIG. All parts that you play, you need to pull from who you are so parts of me are drawn into the character but I am not that guy.”
Kim is a husband for the past 31 years to “Diana, my rock, who lets me go, and then reels me back in and lets me go again and reels me back in.” He is a father of “two beautiful daughters.” He loves the Okanagan, likes to golf and run but could do without the compression socks.
Sons of Anarchy may have wrapped the final ride, 95 episodes over seven years – but Coates has always been behind the bars – in the dirt since age 9 and “I got a job at Safeway when I was 15 and I bought a purple Kawaski but once I got on a Harley-Davidson, I haven’t looked back.” He continues making philanthropic appearances raising money for charity at just about every motorcycle event he is invited to because “As Paul Newman once said . . . That is the way we all should be.”
You can meet Kim Coates and fellow actor Theo Rossi this Saturday, August 15 at Konquer Customs on McCurdy where proceeds of the event will go to Okanagan charity Kids Care. You can get tickets at Konquer and enjoy an adult evening of music and fun.