MetalMouth.net: DEVILDRIVER is a touring machine; you are literally always on the road. Is this still as important to you as your early days with COAL CHAMBER? Is it still as important to see the fans go crazy for your music?
Dez: Yeah! And these shows, particularly where it’s been just mental, we’ve only had one or two nights that haven’t sold out. I feed off the crowd. There was a guy interviewing me a couple of days ago and he said, “You command the crowd and you tell ’em what to do,” and actually, no, it’s the other way around. If the crowd are going off, they’re gonna command my reaction, so it’s not my actions, but my reaction to what is going on. It’s a cool thing, man, when you can play music and move people, when you don’t just wanna stand their with a beer in your hand, you wanna drop that and your girlfriend’s hand and get in the pit. That’s kinda something special, and I feel we’ve got that right now.
MetalMouth.net: You’ve been in two bands now that have defined their respective genres: DEVILDRIVER and groove metal and COAL CHAMBER was a whole beast of its own. What do you think the secret was to the success of these bands? Timing?
Dez: Well, everything in life is timing. There are no coincidences, it’s always timing. But also it goes back to your previous question, if you make art for yourself or if you don’t,just go for it where the scene is. When COAL CHAMBER first started, there was no scene around us. Eventually we got labelled into a scene, and there was a scene after years. I think if you just do what you do, people will see the honesty in it. And I’m a hardworking cat, so people know I’m just out there playing three shows and having five days off. I’m out there playing shows and I love music and I love playing shows. You can see it on my face when I go on stage, you know. My microphone, to me, is everything!
MetalMouth.net: Dez, you’ve personally embraced social media, especially Twitter and Instagram. Do you believe social media is important in connecting with your fans?
Dez: It’s important to me, for me. I’m a real recluse, man! I’m a hermit. I don’t go out afterwards. You will rarely find me out at a bar and I don’t do the strip club or the backstage thing. I like to hang with a very close group of friends that I know in each town. It’s hard. People don’t really get to meet me unless they catch me from the bus to the stage or there’s a meet-and-greet. So the way you can connect is social media. I would have loved that when I was younger. Ozzy [Osbourne] posting stuff or whatever and if you go on my Instagram you can see how I live… my home and my dogs and different esoteric things I’m into. I post Freemasonry stuff and all sorts of things and I think it’s important that people get some more of you than just the stage and just the music then they can tie into you a little more. They can see that, “Oh, this guy is just like me.” And I’ve said it a million times: I’m just a bricklayer that got lucky.
MetalMouth.net: It’s good for people to see the life you have and where you live…
Dez: All of it, man, all of it. Me and my kids hanging out, or my dogs. And I’m a very normal cat at home. I live in a very normal environment, I have a very normal life at home and people need to see that, and on the road as well, I keep to myself. If it’s not the shows, I’m on the bus.
MetalMouth.net: The future of the music industry looks somewhat bleak, I can’t deny it. Metal always seems to get the raw end of the deal. With things like piracy rife, where do you see the industry going from here and in your mind how can it evolve?
Dez: Anything underground gets a raw deal. Punk rock, blues and metal suffers because there’s a lot of pop. Well, I don’t know. You do need a machine to get to a certain level, and that machine is a record label that hires other people. Or gets people like you here for interviews and such. Should we be able to replace that with the artist doing that then maybe the labels will go away, I’ve no idea. As of now, I don’t make money off of records, we make our money off of touring and you guys coming to buy a t-shirt. Everything else is put into the studio and making a quality record. So you don’t get a piece of shit that we made in our garage. So we can hire a producer and that is what the music from the label quantifies into. I guess the short answer — no one knows what is gonna happen. Until it does. When I was coming up, I have gold records because people bought records. Now if you sell 100,000 records, then you’re like a superstar, you know? Well, I’m like, cool, change the plaque then, ’cause I want the plaque!
MetalMouth.net: The record sales are counted against what music was selling in the Eighties, it seems..
Dez: Right on, man! It’s not all about the album sales though. Are people coming to the shows? Are they digging what you’re doing? Is the Internet lighting up with people who have gratitude in their hearts for the music that you make? OK, cool. You’re doing your job.
Read the entire interview at MetalMouth.net.