Brian Fair is one of the most recognizable people in all of metal. With his six-foot plus dreadlocks and his manic performing style he has made a lot of noise at the front man of popular band SHADOWS FALL. While the band is enjoying some downtime between albums and tours he has started side project more geared towards thrash and the old hardcore punk of his youth. DEATH RAY VISION is made up of members of some other prominent Massachusetts metal bands and local personalities and best of all they are doing it all D.I.Y. and throwback in every possible way. We caught up with Brian right after the band’s set, only their fifth show as a band.
Brian and DEATH RAY VISION at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival this April.
MAA: How did DEATH RAY VISION come together?
BF: Mike D (of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE fame) had some songs that were kind of, more in the old hardcore punk rock kind of style. Nothing he can work into KILLSWITCH. He just hit me up and said ‘hey man I’m tinkering around with these tunes, would you want to jam out on them?’ He and I have a lot of history between us from the OVERCAST days. And I heard the tunes and I was totally into it. We were like ‘who are we gonna get to play guitar?’ And we went right back to the OVERCAST days and grabbed Pete (Cortese of OVERCAST/KsE/SEEMLESS). Colin Conway came in on drums and he is a local guy we’ve known forever. Zack (Wells, of Born of Fire Records/events) was kinda the last one to fall in. Every band sounds better with two guitarists! Zack is the local promoter/metal dude. He worked out perfect! And here we are! It happened real fast. It went from an idea to a record in a few months so it was pretty crazy how quick everything came together.
MAA: You guys played a brand new song tonight that is not on Get Lost or Get Dead. Does that mean you have a full length in the works?
BF: We’re not sure if we are going to record a second EP and then release them together or wait until we have enough material for a full length. We are just taking it as it comes trying to take it super slow with DEATH RAY. Everyone’s schedules are so hectic: me with SHADOWS, Mike with KILLSWITCH, Pete has two kids and everyone is running around doing a million things. So we’re trying not to really put too much pressure on ourselves. We’re working on a bunch of things and trying to do things in small chunks. We have a bunch of tunes and if we have enough, we’ll do a full length. And in this day and age people’s attention spans are so short maybe the best thing to do is little EP’s anyway. (laughs) Who knows if you even need a CD anymore. I’d love to have a CD or the vinyl in my hands though, but even if we just release it ourselves on the internet. We’ve being doing everything super D.I.Y. No labels, no managers , no lawyers, no bullshit. It’s kind of awesome. We have to do a lot more work, but at least we know we are getting it done for ourselves. And we’re trying to keep it that way until it gets to be too big someday. Which would only be a good thing!
Dreadlocks of doom!
MAA: How do you guys work from across the country?
BF: I’m in St. Louis these days. Honestly I’ve been splitting my time between St. Louis and here (Boston). I’ve been coming back every other month. Pete will record a demo and send it to me. I have a home studio where I can lay down ideas and send it back. Getting together is the tough part. For this show I haven’t played with them since the last show (laughs). So lucky for me they rehearse once or twice a week and I get to play the lazy singer who doesn’t carry any equipment and jumps around and yells a bunch. We are taking the band seriously enough that we want to balance it to make it work.
MAA: I understand SHADOWS FALL is writing a new record as we speak. What is the progress on that and when can we expect a release date?
BF: We’ve got ten instrumental songs right now and I have vocals for six or seven done. We’re gonna write one or two more. It looks like August for the studio. It was gonna be July, but Matt (Bachand) just joined TIMES OF GRACE on bass and is headed to Europe and that kind of pushed things back one month. And we hate to rush a recording and we’d rather go in when we are really prepared. So we’re looking for August, get out on the road in sometime in the fall and put the record out early in 2012. In a perfect world, that’s the plan.
MAA: One of my favorite memories of you is from the SHADOWS FALL tour opening for THE HAUNTED and DAMAGEPLAN. I saw that show in New York City about a week before DIMEBAG DARRELL was murdered. Other than the obvious stuff about the tragic night of his death, can you share any memories of the tour and memories of DIME?
BF: Oh there are so many. He was the best dude ever. And that tour without a doubt will always be our favorite tour. Coz I mean we grew up as huge PANTERA fans. Anybody who played in a metal band did. It blew my mind. The lasting thing about my time with Dime is this: This is a guy been to the top of the mountain, he was in the biggest band in the world at one point or at least the biggest band in metal. Platinum records, millions and millions of dollars, but the most down to earth dude I’ve ever seen. He was only in DAMAGEPLAN because he loved to be on stage. He loved to play rock n roll and metal. He was pushing his own gear, he didn’t have a guitar tech by the end. And at lot times you know when you are in a band people try to buy you beers and stuff because your in their favorite band. And he would say “Man, you worked hard all day. I got plastic for miles. The bar tab is on me!” And he’d buy everyone drinks and sign everything and just hang out with everyone. He really showed me that you can’t take anything for granted. and it’s all about the fans. Enjoy the life and don’t complain. All these people always complain. People are like “I didn’t get the right beer or I didn’t get something on my rider” and he was like “Fuck that! Man, we are the luckiest dudes in the world.”
BF: Another thing that he did too many times that I loved was we always had these clocks on our tour bus. And Dime would be hanging out with us and his tour manager would come on the bus and say “Dime it’s time to go” and Dime would grab the clock and just punch it, breaking it into pieces. Dime was like (imitating his voice) “Fuck you! Now you don’t know what fucking time it is! Don’t tell me what time it is!” And we had to go through four or five clocks for our bus on that tour (laughs). He would smash them and then always buy us a new one the next day. By the end of the tour everyone was such good friends. At the end of a tour usually pranks happen the last night, but on this tour they happened the last two weeks!
(Special thanks to Brian Fair, DEATH RAY VISION and Aaron Pepelis of Return to the Pit for the photos.)
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes