The Scream Queen Interviews Dez Fafara and Jon Miller of DevilDriver!
|Date: April 13, 2009|
You guys have a new CD coming out soon.
Dez: We do. July... I believe 14th or the 21st, I'm not sure yet.
Would you say that Pray For Villains is your best work yet?
Dez: Well... I think we're a band with constant growth. I think, there's two things about us, is we constantly grow, we constantly mature, and we don't sound like anybody else. So that being said, I think everything is the best that we do for ourselves.
Jon: Yeah, it's definitely the best.
Dez: (laughs) Miller! Give it to em!
What are you most excited about for the new album?
Jon: Probably going to countries we haven't been to yet because we're four albums deep and we still haven't made it to Asia yet, which is...you know, Japan is definitely a place I'd like to go for this next record.
Dez: Yeah, Japan. I think it's already online for December.
What do you think your fans are going to love most about your new album?
Jon: Dez's vocals!
Dez: Miller's bass! (laughs)
Jon: No really, Dez's vocals.
Jon: Yeah, Dez is doing stuff he didn't do on the last three records and it's cool, it's different for us. The band has definitely grown and you're going to hear that.
Dez: And growing into maturity is a difficult thing to do, but I think now with a fourth record under our belt, we're starting to come into it. You know, there are two kinds of bands. One that release their best record first and then everything is down hill and others that constantly grow with you and pick up fans and I think that's what DevilDriver is.
What is your most favorite lyric you have written for Pray For Villains?
Dez: You got a favorite? (directed towards Miller)
Jon: Cats in the corner...
Dez: Dogs on the floor, phone keeps ringing, she's beggin for more, she's asking for more.
[Dez and Miller high five]
Dez: That's tight! That was a moment! Good question!
I think it's so cool that you had your son do vocals on The Last Kind Words, how did you come up with wanting him on the album?
Dez: Cause he's just a little rocker man and he wanted to do it. He came after school there and for me, it was kinda cool just to put headphones on him and it was great for the band to let him do that, you know?
Dez: We bought him to the show tonight, You can see, he's got long hair. I turned the corner and I said to him "I couldn't wait to do this." and he goes "what?" I go: "for you to have long hair, turn 11, know metal, and be coming to rock shows with me." and I go "what are you listening to on your iPod?" and he goes:"Judas Priest" I went "oh my" I started to want to bawl right there, you know?
Will there be another guest vocal on your new album?
Dez: No, no...This is just all Devil Driver.
So, nothing with your son on it?
Dez: No, but him and I are talking, I wanna make music for him, I know a few dudes that want to cut some music. So watch out for the next generation of Fafara!
How do you [Dez] balance touring with having a wife and children?
Dez: I bring them out to the gig when possibly I can, otherwise I kiss them goodbye. She has a life of a wife of a sailor. Same with Miller's girlfriend who is the singer of In This Moment, they all understand what we do. We tour, that's what we do. We leave April, we come back right before Christmas.
What was going through your mind when you were instigating and watching the world's largest circle pit at the Download Fest?
Jon: Holy shit!! Basically...Going through our mind was no one's ever tried to do it so why not have Devil Driver pull it off? Because, I personally think we have the best pits in metal.
Dez: It was Miller's idea and the cool thing was to get a slip back from Guinness, just to get something back from them that said "hey, we don't know how to do this."
Jon: Yeah, they said that through scientific data that they couldn't technically measure a circle pit. So, they were like "oh, can't do it" but still I mean, it takes the cake!
Dez: They were worried about the liability!
On the YouTube video of your world record attempt, what did you think of the infamous "Scared Pussy" who climbed up to the column to get away from the pit?
Jon: He was actually a smart pussy!
Dez: (laughs) yes! That's a fuckin great answer! I love that!
DevilDriver has earned an immense amount of respect over the last few years, what are your thoughts and feelings towards that?
Dez: Hard work pays off. That's really it.
The name DevilDriver sounds evil, but really isn't what is your opinion on the people who refuse to listen to your music because of your name and what would you say to them?
Dez: Oh...Because they have Christian beliefs? We have a lot of uplifting lyrics, man. We are an extremely positive band and we bring people up, we uplift people, man.
Jon: All positive. Target will sell the record, Walmart won't, so I guess it's a brick wall.
Dez: There you go, but if Walmart would actually know what we're about and the name means to drive away evil, they'd probably start selling our shit, you know? And if they heard the kids that come up to me and Miller and everyone say "your music has given me the music to go on in my life, to get me through hard times" That's enough for me, I don't' care who sells it, if we get one or two of those, I'm good.
That must be so amazing to hear someone say that!
Dez: It's amazing, man. And we can all attest to that, it's amazing.
I've heard a lot of vocalist say that they feel like they're on fire while they're recording or performing, can you describe to me that "on fire" feeling?
Dez: Out of my mind, don't talk to me, I've got business.
I'm sure you [Jon] experience that, in a different way, being the bassist, right?
Jon: Everybody get the fuck out of the room and give me a beer, I got to loosen up.
Dez: Yeah, we both get kind of wound up, tight.
Jon: People with eyes over your shoulder -- I don't want it, it's a personal, private moment, get out. But Dez is different, cause Dez, like... All of the last records Dez wanted everyone in there to watch and do vocals so he could vibe off of it and be like "oh, is this cool? is this cool?" This last one, Pray For Villains, Logan (producer) was like "everybody out, just me and Dez" and Anahstasia was there a couple times.
Dez: Yeah, it was just me and Logan and my wife was there a couple times.
Jon: But it was all business this time around.
Dez: Yeah, it was all business. Well that's cause I did that record without a drop of alcohol in me. I sang, and that for me was hitting the mic with nothing to hide behind. Now from what I hear back, I should always record like that! (laughs)
You [Dez] like to write a lot and you stated in another interview that you have written hundreds of songs that probably will never be used... Do you think or would you consider publishing a book or something with your unused lyrics?
Dez: Yeah, when the time comes. But I write, like to our songs even, I write two songs to each song, so that leaves left overs. Yeah, I'd consider it. It would turn out more like prose or poetry than if it's not put to music.
That would be cool.
Dez: Yeah, it would be fun for me to do. I haven't had time to do any of that. My wife's been compiling that and she's come up with 450 so far and she still has books to go through. So we'll see, you know?
So you are obviously a huge fan of Pantera, what is your favorite album?
Dez: Everyone's going to kill me for this, but it's Reinventing the Steel. It's the best! What's your favorite?
Jon: Far Beyond Driven
So, what about your favorite song?
Dez: God, that's--
Jon: I like, Use My Third Arm
Dez: I like Suicide Note Part One and Part Two, I like that kind of stuff. To see a band jump out of their skin and do something cool.
Jon: Yeah, Suicide Note Part One is one of the coolest songs.
Dez: Yeah, it's out of the realm, you know?
Jon: Very cool.
What is your favorite lyric from Pantera, Down, or Superjoint and how do you relate to it?
Dez: I don't know, that's a good one. And that's a lot of bands to cover right there. (laughs)
It could be either or, so pick one!
Jon: (starts singing) Most regular people would say, it's hard! And any street-wise son of a bitch know, don't fuck with this!
Dez: Yeah, I'll go with that!
Jon: It's the best.
Dez: I'll go with this, that's good. (starts singing) And a street-wise son of a bitch knows!
Jon: Don't fuck with this!
Dez: Yeah I got that, that's good, that's good!
What exactly did you do for Phil Anselmo's side project, Viking Crown?
Dez: Ummm.. Down in his basement, I sang black metal and learned how to sing! (laughs) I took a course in how to fuckin do it right! (laughs)
You listen to a variety of different types of music as well, what do you think of people who listen to one type and one type only?
Dez: They're lyin!
Jon: People that listen to one type of music --
Dez: Are boring!
Jon: They're losing out on everything on life because closing your mind to anything in life is going to keep you trapped and scared.
Dez: Yeah, totally, that's what I think. I mean, me and Miller, we're so ecliptic! I listen to everything, man. And Miller's like --
Jon: And jam this! (motions to the music playing in the background, which I believe was Bob Marley) It's not metal.
Dez: Yeah, it's soul. We listen to everything, man. It keeps us rounded, you know? It keeps Devil Driver growing. Lets get heavier, lets get more distorted and fast! --It's like how boring!
Jon: Yeah, it's like eating the same cereal every day, you got to balance it out.
Dez: Well said! ...What's your [Jon] favorite cereal?
Jon: Probably... Honey Bunches of Oats.
Dez: I like Corn Pops! (laughs)
You are quite a history buff from what I've read.
What is the most intriguing thing you've come across through history?
Dez: The Sumerian culture. The Assyrian's...Real ancient cultures fascinate me because all of the stuff that is buried and hidden from us now that are text that they have, they actually have, that they're not releasing. All the books of the Bible, all the books, all the religious books, they're hiding. I love that! I love history, some day I'd love to be a history major, but right now, I'm rockin! I could watch the history channel, like all night.
Are there any historical events or references that inspired some of your lyrics for the new album?
Dez: Hmmmm... (pauses) Nope, nothing historic. This album is not that, it's much more personal... I didn't go to any place that wasn't extremely personal. Historical is too detached for me.
You also love wine, so which is your favorite type?
Dez: Anything that's red! (laughs) My doberman is red, my wife's got red hair, my best friend's got red hair. I think there's something going on there with the red.
What about you [Jon], do you like wine as well?
Jon: Yeah. I like um... Coor's Light in a can!
Jon: Really, I do!
Dez: It's straight out rock n' roll!
What has been your "now I've seen it all moment" from touring the world?
Dez: Oh God, I have so many of those... A guy playing the didgeridoo, that so impressed all of us.
Jon: That was half way across the earth and we were taken back by that.
Dez: I was lost by that. Man, it was so good!
Living in Southern California, which has a very large metal scene, which bands out here do you think will make an impression in heavy metal?
Dez:I don't know any local bands right now, I'm too out of the scene. I live up in Santa Barbara,I isolate myself, I go on tour and I come back home. So I'm not that with what's going on in LA right now. I know Snot is here in LA and they're not signed yet, so that's the one band that should be signed immediately.
So what do you [Jon] think?
Jon: Bands who are going to make an impression?
Yeah, who are in the Southern California area...
Dez: Who aren't signed.
Jon: Who aren't signed? Um...
Dez: I had a hard time with that too... (long pause)
Dez: Not familiar enough with the locals here, at this point.
Last question... In October 2008, you said that you and Meegs had settled your differences..Could there be a possible chance of a Coal Chamber reunion?
Dez: You know, I don't think so. Meegs is actually here tonight, they're all here. I don't think so, the way we talked about it was just to bury our hatched and once that was buried, it was like, there was no need to go on to keep on making music. We understand what we did and who we are as friends, so I think, I don't think so. Plus I'm really wrapped up with DevilDriver and I'm going to be touring with DevilDriver for ten years straight. So, I'm not going to have any time.
Not even for one reunion show?
Dez: No, we've had a talk about that, and we just don't know, you know. Sometimes it's just best to leave things lying dead. You can revisit them as friends, you know? I mean, I listened to Coal Chamber about a week ago and it was fun. It was good to see where I came from. But, these guys, in my band now, as friends and as players, have inspired me to crazy goals, man. You know what I mean? I got off of hard alcohol, I'm fuckin focused. I got a band behind me that is killer. So now there's nothing that can touch it. I don't' want to fuck that up by diverting my attention to anything but DevilDriver. I mean, on the side, I play Native American flute, and that's hardly going to mess with DevilDriver. (laughs)
That concludes my interview, thank you so much!
Dez: Thank you for having us! Enjoy the show.
Jon: Hey...Actually there is one band who's not signed...Ona!
Dez: Oh shit!
Jon: From Santa Barbara.
Dez: Yep, Ona, O-N-A.
Jon: They're awesome!
Dez: They're incredible, they're incredible.