Metal Army had the pleasure of catching up with Dez Fafara of DEVILDRIVER. The band recently headlined the second annual Metal Alliance tour. Keeping up a busy touring clip, the band has done almost non-stop touring since the release of Beast last year. Added to the fact that Dez stays busy with other projects including a brief reunion of COAL CHAMBER in Australia, made for an enlightening and spirited discussion.
MAA: Beast came out last year and you have been touring non-stop. Have you had time to reflect on the success of the album?
DF: No, not really. But the fact it came out in the Top 30 on the Billboard 200 with no radio airplay and no real push is amazing, especially for our heaviest record. We were in Australia at the time when it came out, it came out top ten # 9 over there so incredible. And I’m not a numbers guy, I just now took myself off of Soundscan, I don’t even care to see it. But man, it shows you that hard work pays off.
MAA: Why is important to you to keep the band changing and evolving?
DF: First of all you gotta evolve to stay one step ahead of the genre they’re trying to pin on you. Plus we were only together about six months before we got out our first record deal, so every single record is gonna keep manifesting itself in a different way and keep evolving. In the same way The Fury of Our Makers Hand is way different then The Last Kind Words, is waaaay different from Pray for Villains & Beast is way different then those. I think its just us growing and mentoring each other into really honing our sound. I mean I just heard a couple of riffs for what were writing now and its a cut above what they’ve done since. So we’ll really see where things are going, but it’s important to evolve man, it’s important. Writing is all we do. All I do when I’m home, I do music. When I’m on the road, I do music. I write. That’s what I do.
MAA: Where you you get all of your lyrical and thematic inspirations from?
DF: Pray for villains: I wrote from a third person story point and I’ve never done that. It was really fun. But when they gave me the music for Beast I was going through a really tough time in my life man. My family was displaced from the wildfires. It was a really nuts time. I had to leave the recording process, which is something I’ve never done. I’m a control freak, man. I had to leave and just say ‘Look when its done recording, I’ll come in and do my thing.’ So what I think you got is a point of view of where I was at in life. You got this volatile, visceral, ‘I’ll kick you in the face if you do this again’ kinda feel. So that came from where I was at, Beast was at a point in time where I was at. That’s what Beast is about.
MAA: How do you manage long stretches on the road, away from your family?
DF: I have a good woman. I have a great wife that understands what I do. She’s the rock behind everything I do. I’ve got great kids that understand what I do. And without support you can’t do this kinda touring. So it’s very important to have that support at home. And I’m lucky that I do.
MAA: How do you put a set list together after five albums?
DF: When we headline, we do about seventeen, eighteen tracks its a little easier. When we get forty minutes and we can maybe put in eight or nine tunes depending on what we do. That’s harder to choose from. We try to get one or two from each record, if we can. We try to keep the momentum going. I’m not a huge talker. If you get to say even sixty seconds of stuff, you’re lucky! (laughs)
MAA: You guys have done some cool covers lately? What was that like?
DF: We got the opportunity to do “Holier Than Thou” by METALLICA for Metal Hammer and we jumped at the chance. We went in and put a DEVILDRIVER theme and spin on it and really made it out own. And I’m just so happy to kick that songs’ ass, it was a good time and I drove into L.A. I was there a couple hours, laid it down and when I heard it back later that night the sent it back to me on the computer I was like ‘Ok man, this sounds like it’s gonna be good.’ So we hope people enjoy it. I hope it gets back to METALLICA. We’ve toured with everybody from PANTERA to BLACK SABBATH and never toured with METALLICA. Well, I take that back. We did some Sonisphere dates with them, but not a proper METALLICA tour. I’d like to think at this point in my career, I’d love to tour with them even for just a couple of weeks. I’d love for them to see DEVILDRIVER and have us be on their radar.
MAA: You are a guy that always stays busy with projects. How do you keep it all in perspective?
DF: I do music. I come from COAL CHAMBER. I’m in DEVILDRIVER now, I also do HIGH DESSERT MOON which is a Native American project. I have a thing going with Mark Morton of LAMB OF GOD (BORN OF THE STORM).We’ve got 14 tracks. It’s like a thing that’s kinda like (SOUNDGARDEN’s) Badmotorfinger meets TROUBLE. It’s crazy. But the songs are incredible! I love music and that’s what I do. You have to allow yourself the time to do it because life is short.
MAA: “Life is short!’ That’s a great way to end this. Thanks for time Dez!
DF: Always great to see you. Thanks bro!
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes