Take it from Dez Fafara; do not take shortcuts, do not miss out on life, and absolutely do not take anything for granted.
"I feel blessed, man. I've got a real humble attitude. I always have about life, but even more so now. And I'm so grateful. I'm so appreciative of every day," Fafara shared in a candid sit down with Metal Injection.
"I literally, before I go to bed at night, say thank you for the breaths that I took today. And when I wake up before I grab my phone and do business, like most people just reach over and grab their phone, I say to the universe, 'thank you so much for today.' You know, just taking a breath today is great. Let's see what happens for the rest of the day."
Fafara has good reason to have a glass half full mentality. The longtime front man for groove metal luminaries DevilDriver and nu-metal fixture Coal Chamber has been forthcoming with his brush with death in the form with a severe bout of COVID-19, one that almost put one of metal's iron men down for the count permanently.
"The pandemic hit and shut everybody down. And then in late 2021 I contracted COVID and almost died," he recounts, explaining that his severe up-close-and-personal brush with the pandemic not only derailed DevilDriver's momentum, but almost proved personally fatal.
"I don't want to waste any time in life because of where I was, on death's door, literally. You know, when you get taken out of your car by a guy in Hazmat and he's like, 'take this one first' and I'm looking around like, 'what the fuck are you talking about?' Like, I'm a monster, dude. I'm a beast. What? Okay? And I fall into the dude's arms and in a hazmat suit and he takes me into the fucking makeshift hospital.
"I mean, there's something you have to say about don't waste time. Tell the people around you that you love them. Go out and do what you want to do now. Don't put off going to Palm Springs until next week because there may be no next week.
"That's why I had to take all of 2022 off. It left me with heart problems. I couldn't even walk across the street to get my mail. It really fucked me up. I went from walking one block to two blocks. I bought a treadmill. I was getting on the treadmill. Now I could do a mile walk. Now I can run five miles. Now I could run five miles with a sauna suit on, run five miles with the sauna suit on and sing the set.
"Then I told my wife, now book it, because I have 110% tattooed on my left knuckles. And if I can't do it like that on stage, I'm out. I'd rather leave a good corpse and say, see you later."
Rehabbed and resurrected in mind, body and spirit, Dez is back in fighting shape, recently finishing off a run of co-headlining dates with DevilDriver and Cradle of Filth, with reunion performances alongside Coal Chamber set for this spring and summer, with all hands reconnecting during Dez's health-scare in 2021.
"So I was saying goodbye to my family. And this is going to address the Coal Chamber thing as well, right? So Anahstasia [Dez's wife] actually called the Coal Chamber guys. She was calling everybody around me going, 'hey, you know, we don't know if Dez is going to make it. You know, he's living downstairs right now. He can't even navigate the stairs. You might want to say you love him. We don't know if it's going to be done' right? So the Coal Chamber guys called me every single day and checked on me for like a year, man."
DevilDriver drops part two of their ambitious double album Dealing With Demons Volume II on May 12, an inward facing process which Fafara touted as cathartic and therapeutic.
"I think it's important to be introspective at this point in my life, at this point in my career … I don't want to use the word, but I'll use it because it's kind of overused, but it was extremely cathartic," he explained of the double-album.
"For me, I needed to tackle some things. It doesn't matter if you're a grocery store worker or you're a singer in a band, you're dealing with things, you're dealing with demons on a daily basis.
"Whether it be the person who stabs you in the back or your own inner demons, any temptations that you could possibly mention, which there are many out there. And especially in my business, I think it was important to kind of go inward and get some view on not only myself but things around me. And I think that's what dealing with demons is about."
It's full speed ahead in the Fafara camp, with a pair of juggernaut touring entities, successful managerial business and label, and soon to be released two book autobiography, which Dez teases will, in typical fashion, pull no punches.
"I've got an autobiography that's getting ready to come out sometime between June and August that's already done and in the can. It's a two book deal. My youth all the way through Coal Chamber, which is an insane ride. People can start to really get to know who I am. I mean, I ran away from home early. I slept under bridges, I stole food, I went to jail. I mean, my ride is insane."
Fafara offers up some sage parting thoughts from an artist who has been through the ringer and back again, coming out whole on the other side. Scored, scarred, battle tested and proven, fully assured having finally dealt with his demons.
"I think in life don't waste time, man. You got somebody you want to tell you love, do it. You got somewhere you want to go, do it. Because tomorrow could be it," he shares with confidence, adding with a grin. "And yeah, I'm living my life to stomp on it right now bro."
DevilDriver's Dealing With Demons Volume II is available May 12 through Napalm Records! Catch Dez Fafara alongside Coal Chamber on The Psychotherapy Sessions with Mudvayne, Nonpoint, Gwar, and Butcher Babies. Get your tickets here.
7/20 West Palm Beach, FL @iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
7/21 Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/23 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
7/25 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
7/26 Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
7/28 Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
7/29 Camden, NJ @ Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
7/30 Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
8/1 Syracuse, NY @ St Joseph's Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
8/2 Burgettstown, PA @ The Pavilion at Star Lake
8/4 Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
8/5 Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8/6 Clarkston, MI @ Pine Knob Music Theatre
8/8 Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Music Center
8/9 Peoria, IL @ Peoria Civic Center
8/12 Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion
8/13 The Woodlands, TX @The Cynthia Woods Pavilion
8/15 Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
8/16 Phoenix, AZ @Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre
8/17 Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre
8/19 Concord, CA @ Concord Pavillion
8/20 Reno,NV @ Grand Theatre
8/22 Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
8/23 Ridgefield, WA @ RV Inn Style Resort Amphitheater
8/25 Salt Lake City, UT @USANA Amphitheatre
8/26 Englewood, CO @ Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre