DEVILDRIVER/COAL CHAMBER frontman Dez Fafara was interviewed on the May 18-20 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: Tell us what Dez has been up to?
Dez: Well, we’ve been traveling, DEVILDRIVER‘s been traveling. We’ve been workin’, having a good time, traveling the world.
Full Metal Jackie: DEVILDRIVER have really figured out how to make albums that aren’t alike but still have continuity. Generally, what’s the initial spark? What was the starting point for the new music that you’re working on now?
Dez: I think it’s important for a band to keep their signature sound but yet move forward with some kind of evolution. So, for us, the spark starts with a few tunes and then we find the sound of where the record’s gonna go. We’re kind of in that process now, we’re writing a bunch right now because we’re gonna have a new record out probably the end of 2013, so when you do find that, you find three or four tunes and the signature sound, and you start running with it.
Full Metal Jackie: What could you tell us about those couple of tunes that you guys have in the works right now?
Dez: They’re groovy and they’re hooky and they’re fun and we really like ’em so far. So we’ll just keep moving forward.
Full Metal Jackie: You’re writing for the next album, you’re touring and you’re shopping for a record label for the first time in 16 years. What’s the plus and minus of business and creativity overlapping like that?
Dez: I think you have to separate business and creativity totally. The business is one thing, we’ll put that to bed, we got a lot of labels that are interested, we’re lookin’ for passion in them and we found it in several partners. So we’ll see who we’re gonna team up with, but as far as creativity — really, you just gotta get down and dirty with it. You got to start writing riffs every day, which is what we’re doin’ and start pickin’ them out and start deciding what’s going to stick and what’s not.
Full Metal Jackie: You were just talking earlier about the COAL CHAMBER shows, how did they make you think about where you want to take DEVILDRIVER next?
Dez: You know what?! It’s two separate monsters, man, two separate animals, COAL CHAMBER and DEVILDRIVER, so nothing really affects it that way. I know where DEVILDRIVER needs to go and I think the rest of the band does as well. We need to just keep moving forward with evolutions, keep our signature sound, but give something that’s going to be impressive, something that’s going to be different. We never want to make the same record twice. I think it’s very important to move forward as an artist.
Full Metal Jackie: You obviously did the Metal Alliance tour in the States. What was your experience like on that tour?
Dez: Oh, absolutely killer! [There were] almost seven or eight bands [on the bill], I think — it was the WRETCHED, IMPENDING DOOM, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, JOB FOR A COWBOY, DYING FETUS, THE FACELESS and us, and I think the fans got their money’s worth. It was a great tour, everybody was hanging out, a lot of the shows were sold out, which was killer to see.
Full Metal Jackie: Let’s talk about your bandmates for a minute. When you see Jonathan [Miller] and Aaron‘s [Patrick] health issues firsthand, do you pause for thought and kind of knock on wood that you’ve managed to stay healthy in such a grueling business and lifestyle?
Dez: Yeah, I mean, everybody tries to keep themselves healthy. It was a shame what happened with Aaron; he’s the healthiest guy, straight edge, works out every day, the guy’s a hulk of a man. To see him go down was a bummer. Then Jon Miller, he went down on his own accord — drugs and alcohol — so for me, I just try to keep myself sane and keep myself healthy and look on the positive side. I enjoy what I’m doin’ and it’s a lot of fun to me, but you still gotta realize the rigors of the road can get to you.
Full Metal Jackie: You’ve been a musician and in bands for how long now?
Dez: For my whole life. I mean, ever since I was probably 14 of 15, I started to join bands. I was really into punk rock when I was a kid — a lot of BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS, GERMS; stuff like that — as well as psychobilly. I was in several psychobilly bands — I love that aspect of it up ’til now. I just keep moving forward with different stuff.
Full Metal Jackie: Do you feel like you were hanging mostly with the punk kids or the metal kids or both?
Dez: Man, when I was growin’ up, everybody was hanging out together. There were all mixing, but I have a lot of punk rock in me and that still stays true to this day.
Full Metal Jackie: Do you find you ever bust out punk record when you’re looking to find inspiration and write new tunes?
Dez: I do, definitely. We listen to a lot of punk rock in the back lounge of the bus. It’s a good warm-up for a good show, but as far as I’m concerned, you could put on BLACK FLAG, you could put on MOTÖRHEAD, and it all has the same feeling if it’s aggressive music, it’s aggressive music.
Full Metal Jackie: I know you have a busy touring schedule. What do you think the timeline will be for the new record?
Dez: You know, I don’t know. We’re gonna try end of 2013, beginning of 2014, but I haven’t had a break since ’95 and DEVILDRIVER hasn’t had a break in 10 years, so we’re taking our first nine months off in late July. I think that’s gonna be an important time for us to get all of our business together with the label, get writing and get back out on some grueling touring because we definitely got some of that coming up.
Full Metal Jackie: I think you guys definitely deserve a break; it’s a good thing. I think sometimes when there’s too much of, “Okay, we’re going to tour from this to this and then we’re going to write from this to this.” How do you determine when the creativity comes out of you. I feel like it must be a lot of pressure to be told when that creativity has to be delivered.
Dez: It can be, but we don’t let it get to us, I mean, we write on the road; I try to write lyrics every day that I wake up. We’re not gonna rush this next record; it’s gonna be a very critical record for us with the new label. We’re gonna take our time and when the music is there, it’s there for us, so that’s why we’ve had records out every two years so far, ’cause the music has just been there. Now we’re gonna take out time, we’re gonna refine, re-establish our sound, and then try to come up with something really killer for you.
Full Metal Jackie: When you say you’re constantly writing lyrics, are you sitting there with a notepad next to your bed or are you memo iPhone messaging yourself?
Dez: It’s iPhone messages and I probably have about 240 of them, so I’m well ready for when they start bringin’ me tunes, let me tell ya. If you get up every single day and try to write a line or a word or something that’s going to evoke a feeling and emotion or start the beginnings of a song, you’ll find in the end that you’re going to be well prepared and that’s where I’m at right now. So as they’re bringing me songs I’m already starting to write.
Full Metal Jackie: You should start a blog and post your song lyrics for the day.
Dez: I think that’s a great idea, actually. I should. I’ll start tweetin’ them out.