DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara Discusses Coal Chamber Reunion and More
Radio host Full Metal Jackie chatted with DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara over the weekend. Fafara gave Jackie the scoop on the recently announced reunion of his previous band Coal Chamber, who are scheduled to play Australia's Soundwave festival in 2012. In addition, he talked about the latest happenings with DevilDriver. If you missed Full Metal Jackie's show, read the full interview with Dez Fafara here:
What’s up, man?
How are you doing? Thanks for having me.
Coal Chamber announced the re-formation of the band specifically for the Soundwave shows and now that it’s out there, I know this has been sort of in the works and in the planning stages, now that people know about it, how do you feel about this happening?
Unbelievable, full circle. I mean to get those guys back in my life and clean off of hard drugs and want to do shows, it’s incredible, the feeling is incredible and the love had been just incredible as well. I woke up at 4:30 the other morning with my phone ringing off the hook and my Twitter, everything going crazy, it’s so good to see. After all these years, we haven’t played together in 10 years.
It’s going to be 10 years since you guys have performed on stage; has there been any rehearsals yet?
We’re doing all that in January and February and we’re going to be really well rehearsed for it; we’ve been going over the set list and it’s been nothing but fun right now. I mean going back and forth about a setlist with these guys just turns into jokes and hours of emails of jokes and we forget what we’re doing. So you realize that these guys are a big, big part of my life and I don’t even know if I’d be here with DevilDriver for Meegs and Mikey so it’s good to have them back in my life and getting ready to go do Coal Chamber shows.
You’ve always really seemed to distance yourself from Coal Chamber in the press after you started DevilDriver. Ten years later, what made you want to resurrect Coal Chamber and why now?
Well, I distanced myself from it so people can get over it and I could start a new thing obviously, so you don’t just want to keep talking about your ex-girlfriend when you’re dating a new hot girl. That’s the way that it was with DevilDriver and then again too, they had family and people around them so I didn’t want to go in public and say I left them because they were on drugs, this and that. The fact is they’re clean and that being true means that they want to get back together and they want to do music so it’s just really cool.
The questions have always come up from when you started DevilDriver -- those Coal Chamber fans have always still been around and it was an important band that meant a lot to a lot of people.
It seems to be. I mean when you walk away from it, you really don’t know but now that the announcements have been made and all the hype that’s going on it seems like, ”Okay, yeah we were very important.” But you can’t really look at it from the inside you got to be on the outside which is where I am at this point right now, on the outside looking in and I’m having a great time with it.
Is it just going to be live shows or any plans to record new music?
No, none of that right now at all. We just got offered these shows; we talked, we had a long, probably month conversation and said let’s just go do these shows. It’s seven or eight Soundwave shows so just looking forward to that at this point.
How did the guys in DevilDriver react to the news that you’re putting Coal Chamber back together?
You know, it’s funny because when you’re at DevilDriver shows the Coal Chamber guys show up or my DevilDriver guys will call me and say I’m hanging out with Meegs so they know each other, they hang out. I don’t think it was any surprise to them after this long that we were going to get together and at least do some shows. By no means am I putting DevilDriver down for Coal Chamber, I’m just going to go do some shows and then move on.
In all of these years that you’ve been doing DevilDriver, did you ever in the back of your mind say, “You know what at some point I wouldn’t be opposed to putting Coal Chamber back together.”
No, no, for the last 10 years I’ve been, “No, I’m totally opposed to it, it’s never going to happen” but things change, people change, hearts change, moods change and life changes, so you kind of got to go with the flow. And right now it’s making me happy. I do what makes me happy and it’s going to be really cool to sing some of those songs onstage. I miss a lot of those songs, I miss playing ‘Loco’ live to tell you the truth. Meegs came up with DevilDriver in ’09 and we did it in Pasadena and I felt it then, I was like, “Oh man I really miss playing this stuff.”
Is that the only time that you’ve guys have played a Coal Chamber song on stage?
Yes, that’s the only time DevilDriver’s ever done it and it was really cool, they let Meegs come up and Meegs had a great time too and him and I gave a hug. The fans went crazy and at that point that’s when we really started talking like “what do you want to do, do you want to do something” and it took 10 years, it took three years from ’09 just to come to the point we’re at now.
Chela Rhea Harper is going to be on bass, were Rayna (Foss) or Nadja (Peulen) asked to be part of the reunion?
Rayna was not, Rayna has been out of the band for a very long time and we did speak to Nadja, she has other things going and it wasn’t really in the headspace where we were at as a band. We found Chela, she’s Canadian and she’s a bad-ass player, she’s been playing for nearly 12 years, she plays five string and it’s going to be good to have her on bass. She grew up with Coal Chamber, she’s only 26/27 years old, she knows the songs and just hearing her on the phone, the excitement that’s really want I wanted brought to the table. Where Meegs and Mikey and I am right now, we’re really excited so we needed someone that filled that excitement drawer and she did for sure, she’s stoked.
You’re out right now with DevilDriver on the North American Chaos Tour with Arch Enemy, Skeletonwitch and Chthonic. How’s that going so far?
Great, couldn’t be better, we’ve been out for about four weeks and every band is cool, everybody’s getting along. The shows are doing really well, so we thank Arch Enemy for taking us out.
You’ve got a couple records under your belt at this point so what’s the setlist for this tour?
They give us 40 minutes so we try to choose one or two off of each record and just really go quick.
What could we expect after this current run from DevilDriver?
We’re going to come off the road for about 13, 14 days and then we go overseas with Machine Head and Bring Me the Horizon to do all of Europe and all the U.K. and then come home and start right back out again. I believe in late February, right after Coal Chamber does Soundwave, we start back up.
Over the summer, I was in Europe for the first time ever. I had an amazing time and I got to go to Wacken and really got a chance to check out some of the European metal fans, obviously a totally different scene. What’s your take on how DevilDriver is received internationally?
Overseas, we’re received really well, especially Australia and over in the U.K. and Europe in general, but we have our own niche over there as well, yeah the fans are totally different. It’s cool that you got to go over there and see all that and see those kind of festivals. You could see where America took the festival thing from, because they invented it over there, people camp out and they live there for a week it’s enormous and it’s cool.
It was really amazing and what was cool was just the fans; it didn’t matter what rock shirt anybody had on or if anybody had long hair or didn’t have long hair; everyone was just super stoked to be there.
Totally, they’ll go see Prodigy and then they’ll go over and see Metallica. People don’t differentiate over there; they listen to all sorts of music and festivals are like that, they’re all inclusive. They have a rave tent, they have a heavy metal show, they have a side stage with rock, it’s really cool.
Thank you so much for giving me a chance to talk to you, I was just thinking about the fact that I’ve known you for quite some time and my initial station that I started in radio was WSOU in New Jersey many, many moons ago and that’s where I discovered Coal Chamber and saw Coal Chamber many many times. And all the years I’ve been doing my show here and we’ve talked about DevilDriver I’ve never actually really talked to you about Coal Chamber so I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about it and I wish you the best of luck with that reunion as well as the rest of the DevilDriver tour.
I appreciate it and that’s why we called you Jackie, that’s why we called you to give you this interview because for the last 10 years you didn’t hound me on it. So the first person I said, I said you better call Jackie, let’s talk to her.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie talks to Negal of Polish extreme metallers Behemoth. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.