Known as one of the most brutal and beloved metal bands of all time, DevilDriver have made quite a name for themselves in the extreme, underground circuit. Now the band’s eclectic style and taste for other genres is culminating with the release of its newest outlaw country covers album, entitled Outlaws ‘til the End, Vol. 1, which becomes available on July 6. Featuring an assortment of guest appearances and special cameos, DevilDriver really pulled off something special with this record. In addition to a lifelong love for metal and music of all kinds, the band also has a special place in their hearts for cannabis. Fafara also is former vocalist of beloved ’90s nu metal band, Coal Chamber. CULTURE spoke to vocalist Dez Fafara about the new record, music and the powers of cannabis.
How do you feel that your music, and metal, have changed over the years?
Music is a constantly evolving, shifting genre. What was not cool becomes cool again, and vice versa. My music in particular has changed over the years as my influences either changed or one came to the forefront more than others. Since I listen to a very broad variety of music, I don’t really have just one style of music that I do; metal, blues, goth and punk all have a place in what I do and what I’ve done. I have as much in common with The Germs as I do Black Sabbath or Hank Williams Sr. or Bauhaus. So it’s fair to say that it’s ever-changing after 20+ years in the game.
Who are some of your biggest influences, and who are some of the bands you are listening to today?
The biggest influences for me are not vocalists in particular or bands. It’s more genres that affected me. Anything underground, reggae, the blues, punk rock (not pop punk), heavy metal, black metal, gothic, classic rock–all of these genres are why I make music and all of them factor slightly into what I do in my art.
“I smoke from the time I wake to the time I go to bed. I’ve suffered all my life from ADHD and was on meds for years when I was young . . . until I found marijuana. I’ve never written a song not under the influence, and it’s essential for allowing the brain’s hemispheres to open up and be creative.”
What are your plans right now as far as touring or recording?
Regarding touring, we are slowing down this year to focus on Outlaws ‘til the End: Vol. 1, our Outlaw country covers record out on July 6. then we enter pre-production on May 16 to start recording in June and July. In February 2019 we will record vocals for more releases. Get ready to get a ton of music from DevilDriver!
What are you most happy about with this recent record?
The fact that what we’ve done has not been done in the way we’ve done it, with guests etc. taking outlaw country and metaling it up heavy. Working with cats like Randy Blythe or Mark Morton from Lamb of God or Lee Ving from Fear, not to mention John Carter Cash, was just the highlight of an already long career and was truly fucking fun! I’m humble they all joined on.
How has cannabis impacted your life or creative process?
I smoke from the time I wake to the time I go to bed. I’ve suffered all my life from ADHD and was on meds for years when I was young . . . until I found marijuana. I’ve never written a song not under the influence, and it’s essential for allowing the brain’s hemispheres to open up and be creative.
How do you work cannabis into your music or art?
When I think of cannabis not being a part of my art or my music I can’t see a future. It’s everything to me; I sit down somewhere quiet with a fat joint and proceed to allow the creative side to come about, and it often does and right away. Perfect for “writers block,” it’ll help you think out of the box.
How do you feel about legalization so far? What could be done better or differently?
Let’s truly see where this is going. I believe if it cuts down on jail time for cannabis users then I’m all for it. As someone who went to jail for cannabis and did time, that’s truly what I want to see out of it. That and the funding of the arts back in schools again through the surplus of money the crop makes.
What is your favorite strain or cannabis product?
Indica–give me a good Jet Fuel or Alien OG grown proper! That’s all I need. I also eat 200 mil a night for sleep and pain relief. All of those years on airplanes and tour buses ruined my back [laughs].
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Cannabis culture is all I’ve been about since 1982. Thinking back to when it was highly illegal and your life could get fucked up by merely being in its presence, it’s crazy what a long way we’ve come . . . and we still have such a long way to go for total legalization. I’m proud to represent a life-saving miracle plant that should have a place in everyone’s life, truly.
Band Name: DevilDriver
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Upcoming Album: Outlaws ‘til the End, Vol. 1