DEVILDRIVER's Dez Fafara: Metal & Country Are Saying The Same Thing – "Fuck Pop Music"
DevilDriver's Dez Fafara has never really been one to give two fiddlers fucks about popular opinion. Perhaps then it should come as little surprise that he'd be just the type of ballsy frontman to up-the-ante of creative output, by throwing down a covers album of outlaw country tunes, with an all-star lineup of guests to boot.
Speaking with Metal Injection, Fafara shared that from an early age, music creativity was something he valued highly, with the outlaws of country music – a far shade from the barf worthy Luke Bryan's and Florida Georgia Line's of today – being of particular influence.
"I was a music fan. I was a kid who came home from school and got into my parents record collection instead of playing with my friends or watching cartoons. I literally did live in front of the record player for years and years through school. They had everything from The Doors and Steppenwolf to Willie Nelson. I got exposed to outlaw country at a young age. Much like a youth, I kind of picked up more on the more violent form of music, metal and punk rock and stuff like that. Since I've got a wide rapor of music I love, I've never been embarrassed of any sort. I love it all. Lyrics for country music are so poignant to me, they're real and they're poignant. That's always why those songs kind of scored me as a kid up until now."
Outlaws 'til the End, Vol. 1 drops on July 6th through Napalm Records, and sees Fafara and co. tackle some of the all-time great outlaws and rogues of country like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and George Jones. What's more, Fafara reached out to a legitimately badass all-star group of collaborators, including Lamb of God's Randy Blythe and Mark Morton, Lee Ving of Fear, Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists, and more curious, yet awesome collaborations with Hank William III, John Carter Cash and Ana Cristina Cash.
"When I first had the idea I said I wanted to do a few guests only," Fafara explains. "I said I don't want to do this without Hank, I don't want to do this without Randy and I would love to work with Lee Ving. He's one of my punk rock heroes, an icon, and I say it in many interviews, the first time I ran away from home I was wearing a Fear shirt. I want to work with that cat, it was a big deal.
"They all started coming in and it was fantastic. The guest list for myself is very humbling, and I'm just so appreciative of all the artists on this and the talent that have combined themselves with this record. I think working with Hank is something I've always wanted to do. We've been friends for nearly 25 years. Then working with John Carter Cash and Ana Cash at the Cash Cabin was an immense opportunity for me to fulfill a bucket list."
And while the link between country and metal may raise the eyebrows of more than a few of our Metal Injection faithful, the outlaws of 'old country' have been long respected by many modern musicians for the same fuck you attitude that many metal bands proudly champion today.
"It's all saying the same thing man, FUCK POP MUSIC. I've been saying that my whole life," Fafara says. "If I've ever crossed over to any radio or pop world it was done on my terms … I never wrote for that beast or wrote for that machine and to any of those guys, fuck you. What they're really saying is I'm listening to my own music, doing my own thing, and I'm not following the status quo. These are reasons to attach yourself to these kind of artists, whether you listen to metal, punk or whatever. You've got to realize that these guys were the real deal. I wore a Johnny Cash shirt on stage for 10 years straight. I took a lot of heat for it in the press, because I was wearing a country shirt on stage. I don't give a fuck. That guy, for me is a legitimate outlaw. Him and Lemmy side by side, look at it."
Fafara himself has made no secret of the fact that DeviDriver are looking to stay busier moving forward. The band are set to hit the studio in June to begin work on a double album, with Fafara standing by his belief that artists in todays frantic cycle need to stay busy to stay relevant.
"I believe musicians nowadays need to be timely. There's no need to wait three or four years between records. What you're seeing is bands wait three or four years and if they do put out a record that's panned by the press and by the fans, what are they going to do? If they wait another three or four years their career is going to be over and if they go back in and record and release an album a few weeks later, fans are going to know that last record didn't do well and now they have to make it up and get back in and record. What we want to do is keep on what we've been doing and release a record every two years and keep up. However, we don't want to compromise the art and we want to make sure that what we give is 110 per cent."
While there are no definitive plans as of press time for an album release show or tour surrounding Outlaws, Fafara says a small run of dates with the key players and collaborators would be a massive achievement, if tackled correctly of course.
"This thing was not built to play live, but eventually we're going to put some songs in and going to have to see. It's really meant to be played with the players, so what I'd like to do is when everyone is off tour I'd like to get all the singers in one bus and the crew in another and I'd like to go and do four or five shows. Nashville, New York, L.A., possibly Vegas and somewhere in Texas, and film it, and get it really done right. For us to just go out and do these tunes without the guests wouldn't serve it the proper justice."