if it’s not real and I don’t feel it, fuck it

DevilDriver

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things in your world? Are you a happy man now that you’ve finished your recording?

Yeah, definitely, and I’ve been home for quite a while with my wife and my children and my dog, so it’s been really nice being at home. But you live with a record for so long, that it’s really cool to share it. And right now of course the public hasn’t really heard it, but a lot of my friends and the press and stuff have. Since I’ve been around for a long time, people would call me and tell me the truth really, and just hearing the reviews of this record has been unbelievable for me. So yeah, it’s been a really great time, and I’m a happy guy right now.

Alright! How are the first reactions from your friends and the people in the industry?

It’s pretty unbelievable. We’ve been getting 10 out of 10’s, and I mean Kerrang called the record a “snarling beast”, and Metal Hammer said it’s up there with our best and brightest work, it’s really just been an incredible time. We’ve had just nothing but extremely positive reviews to not only the lineup change, but the sound of the record and the type of music that we put forth on it, so it’s been great.

I fully agree. I’ve been listening to the record for a whole week now…And really, I love it.

Cool! That means a lot to me man! Look I’m hearing a lot of this, and I mean it makes me so proud, but beyond the feeling of being proud and having pride, I think it’s humbling. Because we put so much work into this record, and we really did want to try to do something different, and sound different than what everybody else is doing nowadays, and we did it. So, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it.

How long have you been working on this record?

I’d say a little over two years, which is a rarity. Bands don’t get that amount of time to work on records, and even then it could be longer. It could be two and a half years. I write daily, and so does Mike. We had the appropriate amount of time and we regrouped as a band and really, really came together with something that I think is phenomenal, and now that I’m hearing people love it, it’s a pleasure hear you know? It makes it a joy to hear music.

That’s always good, yeah. The sound on the album, you already mentioned it, there’s a bit of a different sound this time. What can you tell us about the sound on this record?

Well, if you’re a DevilDriver fan, you know every single DevilDriver record is different. And I think that’s really important. The one thing that bugs me, for lack of a better word, in music is when bands make the same record twice. So if you’re a DevilDriver fan you know that the records one through six are different sounding, but have our signature kind of groove. This one, sonically I think we came up with a guitar tone that was quite different from what other people are doing and different than what we were doing. It has a real kind of low end buzzsaw attack  and then lyrically I really tried to get very poignant with this record. I wanted it to be very literal. Unlike you know… A DevilDriver favorite for people is Clouds over California, but you’ve got to ask me what I’m writing about. You know, are you writing about actual clouds, are you writing about getting stoned, you know?

And this is a different story. This record, lyrically is.. Once you read the lyrics, you know exactly what I’m saying. I mean, even the album title “Trust No One” is very poignant, very right to your face. It’s almost a funny thing, because about two months before I started doing press, I said to my wife you know, just joking around, if anybody asks me what Trust No One means I’m going to hang up, and she started laughing so hard. So I just try to be very poignant. But we came up with a different sound for DevilDriver for sure. I think something that distances ourselves from other bands, and even the sound that we created. I think that’s important, because if art doesn’t grow, it stays the same, it gets stale. Somebody said to me in an interview yesterday well you know, bands should be like Coca Cola, never change your taste, people like you, they want to come back. And I said that’s untrue. I said you just used a sodapop analogy for art, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

That’s really wrong.

Yeah, and I finally got the journalist like to agree with me that what I said was right *laughs*

*laughs* Well… That’s hard with some journalists, yeah.

Yes, you know what I mean? But he was like you know I guess you’re right, and it was after the interview and off the record, we got into a conversation about different bands that have been making the same record their whole career, and I got this guy to kind of change his tune, and tell me the next time a band comes out and kind of does the same thing he’s gonna let them have it, and I was like oh good! I said, that’s good for you!

That should make a more interesting interview in most cases. Definitely. Well, the sound on this record. You already mentioned that every DevilDriver record sounds different, but the enormity of the change between your previous record and this one, is bigger than with any record before that I think, the sound change. And I was wondering if that has to do with the lineup change, and the new guitar player.

Well, what it really had to do with I believe, is that Mike is a classically trained musician. He has another year to go and he’ll have his masters degree in music. And the whole time Mike was writing with me, his stuff wasn’t really making it to me through other members that were bullying the process a bit. And I found this out only later on down the line and Mark Lewis, our producer said hey man, can you believe this? A whole record of Mike’s stuff, that’s going to be incredible.

And then of course, yeah, we’ve got lineup changes, and this was not a situation where I wanted to replace a guitar player that left me, who really never… You know, not to talk bad about the guy, but he never really contributed. He never wrote one whole song, and in the end, him leaving was a good thing. He was having a lot of inner difficulties and fights with the other members about not contributing. So, you want to replace a guy like that with someone who likes to over-contribute, and Neil came into the band with twelve different songs man! And almost all of them sounded like they could be a DevilDriver track. Like he really understood what we did, and that kind of intuitive behaviour on the part of the musicians was just like a pleasure to be around. And consequently, I will say this, a band that has been around as long as we have, and a new guy comes in, a lot of the times in other bands it’s going to be like “hey buddy, sit back there and shut your mouth for two years, and then we’ll let you in and see what you can do”. It was not the case.

It was very open armed between Mike and I, and when Neil came in with almost 12 tunes… Consequently the song that we released for everybody, Daybreak, is Neil’s song. Well, Neil and Mike, but predominantly Neil. So how often does that get to happen, where a guy that’s so intuitive as a musician, that he knows what we do. It’s like he automatically comes in with the correct paint colors, you know?

Usually when something like that happens, when a guy really matches the band, it’s usually in a submissive kind of role, at least in the first years.

Of course. Yeah, well said. Like okay, I’ll write like you. But no. And here’s something as well I’ve been telling people and a lot of people know, is that I was working on a side project with Neil for almost two years before he joined, because I have wanted to play… I met him, I thought he was a great guy, I wanted to play music with him, and there was no room in DevilDriver obviously because we were all filled up with members. But when it became the opportunity to have him in the band, then it was like oh man, we don’t need to do a solo thing or a side project thing, you can just join DevilDriver. And he was like, what?

Really? *laughs*

Yeah, so it’s been a great time, the vibe. You can feel the vibe on the record man.

I agree. Especially the guitar parts, they really speak, they really jump out on you.

I think these guys did a great job, they really did. I’m not a guitar player, but I can tell you by the sound of my ear, when I got the demos, I was so excited man. I’m very happy.

And how is the new drummer working out?

You know, Okay. Personality wise he is completely the opposite of what I replaced him with, you know? He is such a down to earth, really nice guy. When he came to my house he was like (tiny voice) “hey dude, what’s up bro? how are you bro?” And that was like, I immediately took to him. He’s very Orange County, Southern California, which is where I was born. He has a very Southern Californian attitude, very laid back, but he loves things with groove. He listens to a lot of different styles of music. That really adds to him, but the guy on drums is a fucking beast. For real man. He is one of those real guys, like when you watch him, if you go to his YouTube and watch him live, it’s almost like threatening.

*laughs* Well in a way you have to be that as the drummer of DevilDRIVER.

I think so. *laughs* I think so.

My favorite track on the album is This Deception. I love the vocals on it, and the lyrics on that one, and they have a real sing-along live kind of vibe going on. When you write your tracks, do you have crowd participation in mind, or is it just a happy coincidence?

You know, I’ve never done that. I probably should try. I don’t really think about the crowd when I’m writing.

Really.

No, I don’t. I can’t really. I have to just think about what I want, what I want within the song, what the song needs to say. When I go into the lines, and I go like well I told the story, but I didn’t tell this part of the story, so I’ve gotta put this line here. But I know exactly what you’re saying about that song, and I think it’s going to be a great crowd song.

I think so too!

Yeah, I totally agree with you man. Totally. And I love the way that it starts, you know? This deception, it cuts so deep. It just really, it comes right into it. And that song was interesting as well to write. It really kind of came about very very quickly. Very quickly. I mean, once I got the track, I probably wrote that song in like eleven or twelve minutes, and then took a day away from it, and came back again and sliced in some different stuff. Just to make it more interesting. But that that really came together for me, so I’m glad that you like it.

Was it hard to pick a title track for this record? Because there are so many gems on it!

You know, it was. I mean look. Here’s the thing, I really wanted this to be a record that was sequenced so that when you listen to the whole record, you get the vibe that we want, so the sequencing was more of an important factor, rather than the title track. I had wrote the song “Trust No One” and it was like okay, this is the title of the record, or it was the title of the record before the song. Because I had the title “Trust No One” written down somewhere. So, I guess what I’m saying is, I didn’t go into it like writing a title track, I wrote it as a song called “Trust No One” and realized I had wrote in my notes that I wanted for to call different records, I had “Trust No One” in there. So maybe there was something subliminal there.

What was your mindset when you were writing this record? How did you land on this specific title?

I really was in a point of awakening in the last year and a half of my life, a very awakening stage. I’ve been on the road twenty years straight, I came home, I spent a long time with my wife of eightteen years, with my kids, and I started to really realize that I had people in my personal life, in my musical life and my business life that were incredibly negative. They were negative people that would bring me down really hard if I didn’t get rid of them. So what I did was, I made a separation with not only musicians around me, but some people in business as well and some people personally that I’ve been friends with for a very long time. And I said you know, that’s it. And I think the realigning is when you wake up and you say I thought you were this person, but you are that person.

So, the record for me was, what do I have here to offer to people. Am I just going to do another heavy metal record, and I’m not the kind of guy who can talk about like swords in the battle fields you know. I really have to like get into the human nature. So I said what do I have to offer. I thought let’s teach a lesson. Let’s be very literal in the lyrics, and let’s teach a lesson. Let’s teach about forgiveness. Let’s write a song like “For What It’s Worth” about love. What it is to absolutely love. To love someone so absolutely, you would die for them. Let’s talk about “My Night Sky”, what it’s like to be built for the kill. What it’s like to keep your head up, when people try to push your head down, and try to bring negativity around your life, here’s what it’s like to be positive. Let’s talk about “Daybreak”. What it’s like to throw yourself to the future and believe in yourself. Then there’s also songs about letting go. There is also songs about animosity between people.

So I thought that what I had to offer was probably a teaching moment in the fact that, let me lay out all of these things that what it is to be human. All of these trades of what it is to be human. Everything from vengeance, to anger, to love, to betrayal, to hatred, to resurrection. Let’s do that. And let’s put it within 38 minutes and let’s really try to make it poignant and lyrically poignant. I think that’s the job, and now looking back in hindsight, I did it. So I’m very happy.

I can imagine. It worked out really, really well. What is your favorite track on the record, and why?

Well, that changes daily. *laughs*

*laughs* I had the same problem by the way.

Yeah, that’s good. I mean, this record, 38-39 minutes is incredibly short and, again, to the point. Right now “My Night Sky”, I can’t stop listening to that. Now, yesterday it was “This Deception”. So when you brought that song up it was like, me and my wife listened to it three or four times yesterday. So yeah, it changes daily right now. It’s not a bad problem to have, right?

Definitely not. It’s a luxury problem. It’s a modern human problem. Have you given any thoughts to which songs you will be performing live?

Right now we’re going to do Daybreak and My Night Sky because we’re going on support, but when we go on headlining, we will probably play at least four or five of these songs, and I would think that This Deception is probably one of them. We will have to see. Those kind of things are a band decision. Obviously I run the band and I’m in charge of the band, but it has to be a democracy or it doesn’t feel right. So I get with the guys and we decide, the five of us, what we’re going to do, you know?

You’ve gotta be happy as a group to do what you do.

You’ve gotta be happy as a group, everyone has got to be happy. The crew’s gotta be having a good time, the band, everybody. Otherwise it doesn’t fire on all cylinders, and it’s wide that there have been some member changes you know. I refuse to tour anymore with 3:30 in the morning late at night fights because someone has got alcohol in them and they’ve got questions or whatever. It’s just not gonna happen anymore in my life. And you know man, look it’s got to be said that I know a hundred bands, and they all tour together, and they fucking hate each other.

It happens, yeah *laughs*

I mean, why do that to your life. Why do that to the music. I mean, it shows on the albums, it shows backstage, it shows live. You can tell you guys hate each other, and you’re going through the motions to make the money. And I refuse to do that. Like in life, if it’s not real and I don’t feel it, fuck it. I’m not involved.

That’s a great quote. Yeah. I think I might put that on top of the article!

*laughs* I love it.  Very cool. I mean, there’s also a saying that I’ve always had and it’s like don’t compromise the vibe. For anything. Just don’t compromise the vibe. If you’re not playing with the right people, don’t compromise the vibe, because the music will fall short.

That’s another great quote. I see what you mean, and I agree. Where it comes to your creative process, how does that generally work for you. How does a DevilDriver song get born?

Well, I write daily, but seldom does that stuff make it. So i have thirty or forty books of lyrics that have never even made it to songs.

Wow.

Yeah, so what happens is, I’ve got to feel it. I’ve got to hear the music and I’ve got to feel it. And once I get two or three demos I go okay. This is the right track. These songs are the right track. Keep writing. Now I can’t really write a record like “Trust No One” until I have eight or nine tunes, so I feel the body of work, so I know what I’ve got to do to encompass all the songs, and I can take different chorus ideas and plant them where I think I need to. And around those chorus ideas, I build the tracks.

So I say okay, if I have a chorus like “Trust No One”, I just go back and go, what do the verses need to say. Like what does the midsection need to say to make you understand what I’m saying in the chorus. That’s how I write. Then I do voice tracks on my phone, I sing it to the record on my phone, and I send it them to the guys. They come back to me, and we go back and forward on different aspects of arrangements, you know? Like maybe this needs to be shorter here, and they’ll say like “yeah, we thought you would put a lyric in right here in the midsection”. And I say oh, I thought that was open for a solo right there . “No no, we think you need to be there”. Okay, I’ll write something right now and send it to you guys.

So it’s a very collaborative process, especially with these new members who are open to collaboration, were prior members were much more a, you know, I’m writing this. Well I, there is no I. You always hear how there’s no I in team, but I don’t even listen to that, I say there is no fucking I in band.

It really sounds like a dynamic process.

Yeah, there’s no I in band. It has to be like everybody has got to be firing on all levels and bringing in the beauty man, like you can’t have somebody going like well, this is my song I’m writing. It’s like, what? Like you’re writing it for us. You’re writing it for me, which means it’s ours, so you need to fucking back the fuck off from your little artistic moment, you know?

I love that approach. Usually it’s like somebody comes with a complete idea, and you work around that. But this sounds like a really building block kind of approach.

Especially on this record, especially with this new project. I mean, these new members, which feels like a new project to me, I want this to be almost like the first record of a new start. And that’s what it sounds like to me. So I personally can’t wait to write more with these guys. We wrote 22 songs, I wish you could have heard the 10 that we didn’t record. They were fucking phenomenal. So, I don’t know where it’s going to go in the future, but I think it’s going to be absolutely stunning. Because these guys are on a new path, to a new sound, and I don’t know how many times you say that in heavy metal. Probably not many. And I only get the idol feedback from people that makes me say those things, because I’m living with it in a bubble. I can’t record the record and go “this is a new sound”. You’ve got to wait until you do fifty interviews, and everybody goes “this is a new sound”. Then you tell a guy like you “this is a new sound”.

I agree. Well, I can tell you, it’s a new sound *laughs*.

Very cool I’m glad you like it man.

Yes. It was a really refreshing listen, inbetween a lot of different albums I have on my desk, it jumps out.

Cool man, I appreciate that. I mean, refreshing, that’s a real good word bro.

It is, yeah.

It is man, especially with a guy like me who has like 20+ years, on a seventh record, you know?

Not many bands can say that.

Well, I feel proud, thank you.

Coming to the artwork of the new record, who did that? It really looks awesome. The wolf in the sheep skin.

Well, we hired a guy through management. He’s just an incredible artist and he kind of asked me what is this record about. And I told him I’m thinking about calling it “Trust No One”, and I said all those things. I said it’s very literal. It goes through the complex human emotions that everybody experiences in their life from betrayal to love, and he goes, huh, what do you have in mind. And I sent him like five or six screenshots of different artwork that I had seen that had like wolves in sheep’s clothing. And so we kind of came up with our own. He was like what happens if the wolf is like zipping himself out of the sheep. I said that is exactly what I want. Something modern.

You know, everybody has heard that, the wolf in sheep's clothing, but until you see that artwork you really don’t think about taking a look at that. A person you just let into your life a month and a half ago, and you’re telling him all your private moments because you think they are really good friends. It makes you start to think.

People are layered.

Yeah, you’ve got to think of the layers of humanity. Anyway, that artwork speaks to me and I hope it speaks to a lot of people. DevilDriver usually just uses the cross, something pretty metal, you know? A skull, some horns, whatever. Because I really want you to just focus on the cross of confusion that we’ve branded for so long. But for me this record needed to speak entirely through not only the artwork outside, but the inside. And I think they go together real well.

Yes. It looks like something different from the album cover on. As soon as you look at the cover, it’s already different.

This is a point in time where I and the band, we want to distance ourselves from everybody. It’s time to do that. To fully distance ourselves from all these little scenes that are going on, everything that’s maybe even popular right now. It’s like, let’s do something completely opposite, let’s do our own thing. And we’ve been doing that all along, but on this record it really shines through. Now, is that a magical moment that we will never capture again? Or is this a start of a new beginning and the next two-three records from now are going to be fucking brilliant? I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. Well, I do have a crystal ball, and I do have tarot cards, but I have not asked them lately. You know what I mean? *laughs*

*laughs* Yeah. It might well be the first notes of a new tune.

All I do know is when you do art , I paint, my wife paints, we sculpt, we do all sorts of art. And it can be the same thing with a painting. You can do a painting and then people will walk in the house and go “I love that, that’s incredible”. And you’re like oh cool. I’ve been painting this for six months and I thought it was cool but I had no idea that people on the outer shell of the of the art would take to it so hard. That’s what’s happening with Trust No One.

Where it comes to the current state of the world. The wars, the politics and the religions. What’s your mindset in the current world?

Ehm, huh. This will take hours man. *laughs* I mean, yeah. I have some philosophical believes that I don’t know still stand right. First of all I think there’s no place for organized religion in this world right now. I think it’s brought people down and brought wars, and segregated people more than race has. More than creed, race, place of birth. I think it’s a terrible thing that’s been placed on humanity. So that’s the first thing. I think organized religion is starting to get beat. I think people are starting to realize that this is just man made shit to hold you down, and there is such beauty in this world that has nothing to do with what is written in most of those books around the world, that segregate people. That’s the first thing.

Usually it’s not about believes, it’s about power.

It’s about beauty. It’s about light. It’s about the God source within is. To be kind and good to one another. It’s about, that when you see someone fall down, you reach them to help them up. It’s not about pass the collection plate, build the biggest church on the biggest corner, make sure you go every sunday or you’re going to hell. I mean, it’s not. It’s not about creeds, raping little boys and then getting shoved under the rug about it. It has nothing to do with any of that, and we have gotten so far from the God source, that we are drifting as a people. And if we don’t come back to what is the source of God, the source of goodness, this world is going to shit because of it.

It really is.

And look at what’s driving, let’s go to politics in the world in general. Look what’s driving the terrorism. Not only do we have to look closer at these people that are essentially cowards, but they join together in bands. Why do they do this? Well, because they live in impoverished areas, they have no future, they can’t get jobs, they are raised in an ideal and are given an ideology of hate since they were small, and they feel it all the way to their mid youth. And they’re getting involved in these acts of terrorism. And it’s terrible. Now what’s bringing that? Religion! Ah, our old culprit again. Come on back to it, come swing all the way around, and there it is again. Religion. It’s terrible! You know, you go to politics, even in the middle east. You go to Israel, you go to Palestine. What’s dividing people? Ooh. Religion. Our old friend religion. The division bell that keeps ringing over humanity is organized religion. We need to put that thing down. It needs to be done. So people I think are starting to awaken. There’s a great awakening. I know there is in the US, there’s a great awakening, and I think it’s going to happen, where people have this great awakening and they start seeing these things that they’ve been taught since childhood to be false. I don’t believe in the bunny rabbit. I’m not going to believe that some person, who by the way is basically white and blue eyed, Jesus right, who if there was a real Jesus, which there probably was a character, was not white and blue eyed. He died on the cross for our sins, I mean it’s a terrible fallacy that’s placed upon us.

Now I think the political thing right now, there are some good leaders around the world for sure, we have to just see what’s going to happen. THere’s war everywhere, there’s poverty everywhere you go, and I know here in the United States, there’s a lot going on here. We just had a terrorist attack no more than 20 minutes from my house recently in Riverside, California. That was brought on by? Oh. Religion. So, those are my feelings on that matter. I think the state of the world, there’s so much beauty. People just need to wake up and try to share love man. Just a little more.

The reason I asked this, the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of the new record, “Trust No One”, it immediately took me to politics and religion, in my head.

Right, well, I don’t know what they are saying in your country, but here it’s all over the news. Everywhere you go there’s signs, if you see something, say something. Well that’s very reminiscent of Nazi Germany to me.

Yeah. Absolutely.

And people go along with it. Oh yeah, if you see something, say something. That could be a terrorist. That could be this. And of course, I mean, if you see somebody like planting a bomb, go say something, you know what I mean? *laughs* But this whole thing about tattling on your neighbour, it’s a very sketchy thing that’s happening.

I think it’s just another factor that’s being used to control the general public, it’s fear.

Control man, control. And I have a feeling that within 20 years this whole world will be a police state.

It might be. I don’t hope so.

You won’t be able to get on an airplane without a retina scan. You won’t be able to get into a food store without a chip or a retina scan, they won’t even let you in. Because they’ve got to check your funds first. Like I mean, I’m telling you, I don’t see it going well. But this here comes from an old hippy mentality. I was raised by hippies. I live up in the mountains in the desert already. I live in a very small town, but my dream is to even get smaller and go up into the mountains of northern California, and live on a farm way way from everybody, where I have twenty dogs and guns. And that’s because the fear that that police state is going to come to me, come to my family, come to my children. I will never let that happen.

It’s a very scary thought.

Nah, I mean, I’m a freemason, and we talk a lot about this in freemasonry. We have a lot of discussions regarding this subject, and what it is to be a patriot, and what it is to live free. And I’m going to live free as long as I can. But let’s see what happens in the world. For now man, I’m just a heavy metal musician, and if I can affect the world in a small way between interviews, and give somebody some strength and some empowerment with a record with lyrics that empower you, I’m doing my small drop in the bucket to do better. So there you go.

Thats a great attitude. You mentioned that you wrote a lot more songs than you released on this album. How much do you have ready for B-sides and special releases?

We narrowed it down to twelve songs and that’s it. We’ve got the ten tracks on the records and the two extra B-sides, and that’s all. Now that’s not because the other songs weren’t good or didn’t make it, that’s because we a. Didn’t have time and b. Didn’t have the money to keep working on them, and couldn’t record all of them. That also brings me to this, that I talked to the label about doing a double record. I mean, I have bucket lists in my life you know? And that would be one of them. To do a double record. To have the amount of time, and be capable of releasing, let’s say twentyfour songs at once. That would be incredible. We will see what happens in the future.

What does usually happen to your written material that doesn’t make it to the album? Does it get saved up for the next one?

Yeah, they kind of get labeled A, B, C. Meaning, A, incredible, go back to it. B, you can go take parts and pieces and rebuild the car, and C, neh, you may want to take a look at it for continuity state, but you won’t want to rewrite it or use it. And out of the fifteen, I think about fifteen extra songs, we had like three we thought were kind of C or even C-. The rest were all like A’s and B’s. Like, come back to this, come back to this, definitely take riffs from this one. I think we’ve got a lot already done that’s incredible for a next record, but we will start rewriting all over again and not go back to this. It will probably come to like song nine or ten when we open up that file and go like what in these ABC’s should we take over to this record. Because I don’t want the next record to be a continuation of this record, or we won’t continue to develop our sound. We would make the same record twice, which is what I said I’ll never do.

Exactly. A new project should be a fresh start, artwise as well. How do you compare your work with Coal Chamber with your work in DevilDriver, I’ve always loved the contrast between those two projects.

Thank you. I think that Coal Chamber is a much different monster. It’s a dark, goth, heavier thing. The take on that is very simplistic, yet sonically very different from anything I’ve heard ever. And then you move to Devildriver, it’s just just an all out saw where we really try to groove, be very technical. It definitely is not as simple as Coal Chamber, yet they are both as pure as each other. But they have nothing to do with each other whatsoever. Somebody said to me, the new Coal Chamber record has a lot of DevilDriver in it, and I said you’re hearing my voice, obviously, but I don’t think you can ever get that the other way around. Like oh, there’s a lot of Coal Chamber in DevilDriver, that can never happen.

I was wondering, what it would sound like if you would cover a Coal Chamber song with DevilDriver.

Oh God. I would love to redo Loco with DevilDriver. I think it would be the most furious thing ever. But we can’t really do that. You can’t do it, you know? It’s just something you can not do. Really.

So that’s a big no-no, covering yourself? *laughs*

I don’t know, it’s like putting radishes on a hamburger. You just can’t do it. You just don’t do it, you know what I mean? You just don’t do it! You will be like why did you put radishes on my hamburger?

*laughs* I like that analogy.

Yeah, you can’t do it. You cannot do it. I don’t think that… I hate the word fans, that sucks. It’s almost like, it’s rock stars and fans. Those two words, I fucking hate them, but like, the people that listen to my music, they would hear that, you know? And I don’t want to disappoint anybody, I’ve got to give it to them pure. And at least I’m giving it to you like it’s not the same shit over again. Like with DevilDriver, we’re always trying to move forward, and make a different sound, and really come up on something different.

I’ve seen  you play live shows since your first album, I know the energy you guys bring to the stage, but how would you describe a DevilDriver show to someone who has never seen you play live yet?

Well if you’ve ever seen an old school punk band, you’re going to see the energy of that in DevilDriver. Yes, we’re a metal band, but you’re going to see like, insane energy. And I think it has to be like that. It’s almost has to be like confrontive. I think it should be an onslaught when you come on stage, and if it’s not, then everybody is missing something. The musicians are missing something, the audience is missing something. That’s the way I think about it.

My first ever circle pit was during a DevilDriver show at the Graspop festival. It was insane!

Oooh. I love it! How fantastic. You know man, we’re not doing Graspop this year, we’re playing something kind of nearby, but there’s rarely a festival for me, that is as good as that. There’s a few around the world that are as good as that, and I think that Graspop is so well run. The artists are so well taken care of, the fans of music are so well taken care of. They don’t have to walk like 5,000 miles to another stage to catch a band, it’s just run so well. I hope to be there next year with DevilDriver. I know for sure it’s one of my favorite festivals, and let’s face it. We have those moments that where the pits and stuff, they’re just incredible. So, I’m looking forward to it.

Yeah, the show I saw there that I mentioned was in one of the tents and the circle pit went all around to the back, around all the pillars, fucking epic! You know how to make a crowd move man.

Right! Well, I think it’s important, you know? The music that I listen to, it could be anything right? And I really realize that the stuff that I listen to , it’s like why do you like Satyricon? Well, because it’s got a groove. It makes you move. Why do I like James Brown? It’s like, because he makes you move. Everything I listen to has like a move, a shape to it. And if bands don’t do that for me, I don’t dig it. Why do I like AC/DC? Because it makes you want to dance! And that’s always been something with me, that if it falls short, which, I’ve got to be honest man, a lot of metal for me… I listen to it because obviously I’m in the industry and I have to have my ear to the ground and I’ve gotta know every new band, which I do. Every older band and what they’re doing, and I listen to their records. But a lot of the stuff that I hear, it’s so straight metal, that it like has no bounce, it has no feel, it has no groove. It has nothing that makes you want to slide in and out of the groove, and I think that for me is very important.

(at this point he warns his wife that it’s about to begin raining, and she might want to let the dogs out)

We’ve got like seven days of rain coming, and I film a video tomorrow, and a video on saturday, so we’re gearing up pretty hard. We start rehearsals on the 18th, the first show is on the 28th, and I just want to come out devastating bro, you know what I’m saying?

So you’re going to record a music video now?

Yeah, we’re going to record a music video on friday and saturday, and it’s going to be some pretty incredible stuff. It’s not just going to be a band in a warehouse jamming. We’ve got some crazy video directors and people that are working with us now. We’ve got just incredible sets that they’ve built. There’s going to be snakes, and goats, and you know, they’re dumping everybody in black water, they’re doing crazy stuff. I love the visual arts, even though that is dying for bands. It’s like they’re glad to put out a lyric video, but I’m so old school, I believe you need to see some kind of video art with a band. So we’re really going to make our best effort on this next video, to really show people something different and something clever. It’s going to be very esoteric based, because of my knowledge of books and the esoteric, etcetera. Like I said in an email yesterday, he said to me, do you like working with snakes? And I said, if they don’t mind working with me *laughs*

*laughs* that’s pretty important where it comes to snakes, absolutely. What is your year going to look like, tour wise? Where can we see you live?

I start April, May, part of June in the United States, I come over at the end of June to Europe, and the UK we do shows with Ministry. Then we come back here to the United States. I’m planning either fall time this year or the beginning of next year to come over and headline all through Europe, so that’s going to be very important to us, but we’re stepping out right now with Hatebreed in the United States. I think it’s a fair play after being gone three years, going out with that band, but it’s going to be great to step out and headline with these guys.

It’s another great band, I’m talking to them later this month! They also have a great album out.

Yeah, great guys. Tell Jamey I said hello! Absolutely one of the nicest guys in the industry.

I keep hearing that! Well, if you’re ever around Holland again, do let us know and I’ll definitely come see you.

Yeah, if you ever see us around Holland, come on in. I mean, I love the country man. It’s a very green country, people are very green conscious, obviously your marijuana laws agree with me. I think it’s a beautiful country. The people always have been very kind, and people in Holland have a great smile. There’s something about being in Holland on a summer day, and everybody is riding around on their bikes, I mean how can you have a care in the world, really.

Well, we don’t have that many really nice summer days here, so when we have them, we really smile *laughs*

I don’t know, I mean I’ve been there on some beautiful days. I’ve also been there on some real rainy, wet, cold days, but I’ve had wonderful times. So tell everybody I said hello and if you see that I’m near by just hit me up. And you’ve got my Skype number now so you can always text me to say hey man I’m 30 minutes away from you, you’re in Holland tonight, and I’ll come on down. We’ll smoke a joint!

*laughs* Awesome. I guess that leaves us with only one last question: do you have any last words for our readers?

Thank you for over 20 years of music man. I’ve cut my teeth in Holland, in the UK, like those are the places that accepted Coal Chamber first, and it means a great deal to me.

Awesome! This was a great interview. Thank you very much to talking to us! Metal On Loud!

See you soon!

Randy Gerritse