Latest release: Winter Kills (Roadrunner/Warner)
It’s a warm day in Atlanta when DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara takes the time out from a gruelling touring schedule to have a brief chat about their upcoming Australian visit, the band’s second this year.
“We haven’t had a headliner down there for about three years so I think it’s about time to bring DevilDriver down,” he says, “and we’re bringing a great package so we’re very excited about it.”
The self-confessed Australophile was last here with the Soundwave festival, a show they’ve made something of a habit of appearing at. Joining DevilDriver this time will be Whitechapel one of the bands that was forced to cancel from the carnival.
“I heard that the singer’s grandfather had passed away, so I totally understand that,” Fafara says, an honest assessment from a man who has cancelled tours for family reasons himself. “Of course you’re going to pull out of touring for your family. So it’s gonna be good for them. We’ve been on tour with them for about five weeks.”
Of those five weeks, with one left to run at the time of this interview, only three have been non-show days, and they were spent in the van. That’s one seriously hard slog. For Dez Fafara, it’s the DevilDriver way: “We’re really working hard and showing the rest of the bands how we like to do it”, he says, and the dividends have been rewarding.
“The album has really been received so well and it charted very high all over the world, and that’s something special – we really appreciate that.”
Winter Kills was the fourth out of six DevilDriver albums to chart in Australia, where its debut at #14 was the highest of any market. Fafara isn’t about to let himself or his band rest on their collective laurels or bask in their success for too long, either. He plans to have them all back into album mode as soon as they arrive home from their three-date jaunt here.
“All the tours that we’ve done on this record have been great, they’ve been successful, so we’re kind of capping off by coming down to Australia and once we’ve done that we’re going to shut it down for the year and maybe go into the studio and see what we’ve got.”
A prolific and voluminous writer, Fafara’s mind is always brimming with material. Not for him is the modern trend that sees bands leaving gulfs of years between recording and releasing.
“There’s no reason to make people wait three to four and a half years for a record, man,” he says. “Certainly when I was younger, you got a record a year or something. That’s what we like to do, every two and a half years we like to release. So you’ve gotta write. You’ve gotta be very prolific.”
Having been out front of two major bands in the past two decades, Dez Fafara knows what it takes to keep himself in the public eye.
“I look at it this way – I have children at home, they’re going to high school for four years, so say in the first year they find your band, they fall in love with them and then they don’t get another record until they’re almost out of high school then I think that’s pretty ridiculous. That’s really how I look at it, and it’s the same from every standpoint – the hard-working construction worker who’s listening to our stuff every day. Is he gonna wait three years for something new? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem right.”
DevilDriver tours in September with Whitechapel:
5/9: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD
6/9: HiFi Bar, Sydney NSW (Lic. A/A)
7/9: 170 Russell St, Melbourne VIC