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Reigning kings of the circle pit, DevilDriver know better than anyone how brutal winter can be. On the back of their sixth studio album Winter Kills, DevilDriver, together with deathcore band Whitechapel, has spent the better part of 2014 whipping crowds into a frenzy at sold-out gigs across North America. So now that the snow has melted and spring has sprung Down Under, it’s our turn to come out and play with these two metal giants – after dark.
“The shows we played with Whitechapel in the States were absolutely incredible!” beamed their laid-back lead singer Dez Fafara. “We’re so different from them musically, but our two crowds merging seems to really work. So when I started hearing Australia whispered in my ear, it was a no-brainer for me – I instantly thought, let’s call ’Chapel.”
As well as fitting together musically, Dez revealed that it didn’t take long to become firm friends. “We get along very well with them and our crews get along very well too – you need that on this kind of tour.”
From the outset, however, I can tell that Dez is the kind of guy you’d make friends with easily – and the same goes for the entire band. Despite their imposing appearance, DD are mellow guitar heroes from sunny California.
“I hope you don’t mind, while I’m doing this interview I’m playing with my dogs. It doesn’t get dark here ’til about 8:30 at night this time of year in California – it’s incredible outside right now. I live in the desert near mountains in a very small town where everybody knows your name,” he chuckled. “It looks so beautiful out right now – I’m going to go out with my dogs as soon as this is done.”
It seems that being down-to-earth is a prerequisite to join DevilDriver. “Honestly, ego is for the stage – save it for that. The last thing I’d ever want when I pass on is to be considered a rock star. I consider myself a construction worker that got lucky. Most of the guys in my band will tell you the same thing. They’re all really down-to-earth guys.”
How often do you hear of a band inviting fans backstage for a guitar lesson after a show? Dez tells me it’s something the whole band gets a kick out of. “It’s so cool to see a kid bring his guitar backstage for a lesson. Both of my guitarists give lessons when we’re on the road and now they also do them online. I think it’s excellent. It shows that everyone’s just human and that whole rock star thing doesn’t work. Well, it certainly doesn’t work for me, that’s for sure!
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the stage and the microphone. When the crowd claps and everybody starts going off, that’s it for me. That’s the main reason I do what I do – give me the mike and let me go!”
You heard the man, but be warned – if you want to see Dez and his crew before things get frosty again, this may be your last chance.
“After this run of touring we’re going to shut it down, and I don’t believe we’re going to do anything ’til 2016 at least,” Dez said before adding, “If people haven’t seen Whitechapel, come and check them out. We always have a great time together and this time will be no different. Thanks for getting behind us and we’ll see you at the shows!”
When&Where: Billboard, Melbourne – September 7
By Natalie Rogers