DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara Talks Ozzfest History, ‘Trust No One,’ Hatebreed Tour + More
It's been quite the year for DevilDriver, as they've supported their new album Trust No One, unleashed some memorable songs with "Daybreak" and "My Night Sky," toured extensively with Hatebreed and Devil You Know and have something special in the works as 2016 winds to a close. During the band's recent stop at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, we had a chance to chat for a few minutes with vocalist and DevilDriver founder Dez Fafara, and he spoke about his Ozzfest history, the Trust No One album, their tour with Hatebreed and even teased a special project that's coming up. Check out the chat below.
You just played your set and rave reviews have been coming back to the press area. Tell me about what it was like to play this event and what it means to be part of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest.
We had a killer set, an insane crowd and obviously one of the biggest pits of the day. The thing is, I've played Ozzfest more than anybody, except Ozzy, and Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed's got me beat by one because he went to Japan. I have to tell you it's the best festival ever made and run. When they brought it here to the United States it was amazing. To come back today, I played in '97, this is unreal and I'm so thankful and very grateful.
You have a great new album out, Trust No One. Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do going into recording?
You know, I think with DevilDriver, it's always the same thing. Let's groove. Let's do what we do and make sure that we keep ourselves on our own path. And when I started to hear the demos, I knew that that was true. When the record came out, it was our highest debut, No. 16, on the charts and to be on the Billboard charts without Active Radio play is a big deal. It shows you have the fan base and I would say that in a business, the heavy business, to have a record come out and shoot that many units in the first week, it just shows that hard work pays off.
And then you have something like this [Ozzfest]. When I say how many people have seen DevilDriver, almost everybody put their hand up. And then I asked how many people had never seen us, and it was like, "Wow." Look at that. Welcome to the family.
And you have a couple of new guys in the band, not so new now. But how did their additions affect what you have done with the album and touring?
Well, many of the bands playing on Ozzfest have different players in them and after a period of time, certain things change. The guys with me are really cool, man, and the vibes are extremely brotherly. We all love the music more than anything else. We don't talk about anything else but the music and whatever comes along from that is a great thing. But it's a family unit in the band right now and I'm thankful to the guys that were with me in the past. But it was time to move on and time to step it up for me and I certainly did that with the players that we've put in.
Loving "Daybreak" off the new album. If you want to talk about where that comes from …
Well, how often is it that a new member comes in a band and writes a song? Usually they've got to sit down for about three years before they speak up. But "Daybreak" was primarily written by Neal [Tiemann], my new guitar player. People don't know this but Neil and I were jamming for about three years before he joined the band in several side projects that we have recorded on the down low that people never knew about. So when the opportunity came to work with him in this, he was up for it. I was up for it. And he primarily wrote "Daybreak" and that song broke out huge. And then we released "My Night Sky" and got two great videos for that, as well, and the vibe has just been real cool, real cool man. We're a California band. We bring the groove and we bring it heavy live and it's been good and it's been fun.
And you're on this great tour with Hatebreed and Devil You Know …
Yes sir. Well, we went out and did several weeks and it went so well and I went to Jasta and said, "Dude, let's continue this." I remember when one tour got together with a band and they toured the year together and it's not like that now. You go from one tour to another every eight weeks or so, and I said, "Man, we've got to carry this on. And if it works even better, we can take it overseas as well." And he hit me back and Jamey said, "You're right." I love the Hatebreed guys. Each and every one of them is a great guy and they're a family unit just like us, so touring with them has been a great pleasure.
What does the rest of the year hold for DevilDriver?
We're gonna continue to tour with Hatebreed and come off the road a day before Halloween. We're going to take November and December off and go into the studio and do something very special. We're going to record something real special. It's not a new record, well, not a new original record, but something really special.
Anything you can share?
Something VERY special. [Sings], "Lord I quit the drinking, smoking, and the honky tonk life."
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