DevilDriver's Dez Fafara: "I'm mentally and physically fitter these days!"

We caught up with Dez as DevilDriver prepare to head down under again...

DevilDriver don’t stop. Since the release of their sixth, and most successful, record, Winter Kills, in August last year, the band have been more or less constantly on tour, including one stop off already down under this year for a stint on the Soundwave 2014 bill. So when Metal as Fuck catches up with avuncular frontman Dez Fafara he’s sitting on the sofa in his lounge room for the first time in a long time, just enjoying some down time.

“This is the first time off I’ve had in an American summer for, like, eleven years!” he enthuses, sounding for all the world like someone completely unfazed by such a stat. Surely that sort of road work gets a bit wearying on the bones? Notwithstanding that immense tour of metal duty, you’ve been doing this, in total, as part of both Coal Chamber and DD, for twenty years now? “Not really… for a start I’m in much better shape – physically and mentally – than I was back in the day. So I’m here now, on my sofa with a Doberman and a Rottweiler on top of me taking a bit of time out before it all starts again! Also now, you know I’m a husband and a father, my responsibilities and priorities have changed over the years".

Any particular highlights stand out from this year’s touring? “The best thing has been having a great band like Whitechapel out touring with us! It has been such a pleasure touring with them; I personally selected them as a band to tour with; they aren’t a band like Devildriver, but our fans really took to them, like their fans did to us. We’d do meet and greets after the shows and Whitechapel’s fans would come up to us and say ‘we’d never heard you before but you were great!’, so it’s been really great.”

It’s interesting you thought about that divide between various the factions of metal. It’s seeming to me like that factionalism is getting worse and worse? “You know, DevilDriver has always seemed to be able to straddle all that tribal bullshit you get in metal; We’ll go out with Whitechapel, next thing you know we’ll be out with the Cancer Bats. It’s cool that we seem to be able to tour with whoever we like without those kind of problems”.

And you’re bringing Whitechapel down to Australia too. It must be great when you get along with your touring partners, much less stressful? “It is, but what’s been great too on this tour has been the way the crews have bonded. The two crews have gotten along great, going out every night – they’re like a gang of pirates! I love that”.

The Australian run is only three shows – it’s a hell of a long way to come for three shows only! Are you planning any r & r down here or are you literally getting in and getting out? “No, we’ll be getting in the day before, so we’ll have time to get fully charged before the shows, and we’ll be leaving straight after. So it’s straight in and straight out, yes! I’m from California, and going to Australia is like coming home for me anyway. I can get up and go surfing before soundcheck if I want to, you know? I'd have loved to do some vacationing there but it's better for me to get home and do some househusbanding!”

After Australia you’re committed to play Slipknot’s Knotfest, then your gig diary is free. Is that the last show you’ll play as part of the touring cycle for Winter Kills? “It will be the last thing we do for this album, yes.”

And then straight back in writing the follow up to WK? “Yes, but I don’t think we’ll have a 2015 deadline for it. We’re looking at bringing it out in 2016, which will mean a gap of about two and a half years between albums. I usually like to do an album every two years, but we’ll leave it a little longer this time.”

Two and a half years is probably stretching the patience of some fans these days, isn’t it? “It is, but after having our highest charting record, with our sixth album, I think we can afford to take a little bit longer and have a little bit of a bigger break this time round.”

Your version of Sail has really taken off, hasn’t it? Are you thinking you might do some other left-of-centre covers when you come to record the next record? How did Sail come about? “I was sitting in the car with my wife and kids… it was like what is this song? I’ve had ADHD all my life, so the words said something to me.  I loved it, and Aaron Bruno, the guy from the band Awolnation, he wrote the song and loves our version so it’s all good. As for covers, you know we did the song Black Soul Choir by 16 Horsepower  on the Beast record which was like a bluegrass song, so we’re definitely open to crazy stuff!”

And getting back to the upcoming tour, what kind of set can we expect from the band? Will it be much the same as the set you’ve been playing in North America recently? “It’ll be a completely new set for our Australian audience, though there’ll be some similarities to the US set. But we’ll be playing a few new songs from the last album that Audiences in Australia won’t have heard us play before. Both bands have got a seventy minute set, so that’s plenty of time to blast it out!”

It certainly is. Any final word for our readers? “We can’t wait to see you all in September. Make sure you come out to the shows!”

 

 DevilDriver & Whitechapel Australian Tour 2014

Friday 5th September – Brisbane, Hi-Fi (18+)

Tickets: www.thehifi.com.au

 

Saturday 6th September – Sydney, Hi-Fi (Licensed All Ages)

Tickets: www.thehifi.com.au

 

Sunday 7th September – Melbourne, 170 Russell (18+)

Tickets: www.oztix.com.au | www.170russell.com