By Sara Josephine
The Machinehead/Devil Driver show at House of Blues in Chicago began with many twists and turns and my interview with Dez was looking more and more difficult to come by. My tickets for the show never made it to will call so I had roadies and managers telling me I could only do the interview then I would be ďescorted outĒ. But my night in shining armor, wearing a Motorhead shirt, sporting long black hair and a tribal tattoo on his chin came to my rescue. Dez is what every interviewer hopes for when trying to get truthful information about a band or music in general. Dez turned my whole night around by being open and honest about himself, his band, and the tour. He- and only he- pulled strings allowing me to sit and enjoy the sold out rock show after the interview. Dez proved himself as a real person in a world where ego precedes human compassion, and Iím proud to call him my friend.
DEZ: (talking to manager) Hey, dim those lights over there. Thank you.
SJ: Alright, I want to start talking about the new album first.
SJ: It seems with this album that musically you guys have gotten to know each other better. I mean, it sounds tighterÖ. Do you agree with that?
DEZ: DEFINITLY. Definitely. I think any band should have a growth, ya know what I mean? And I think we definitely grew on this one. Plus we had a member change. And since the conception of Devil Driver thereíve been so many member changes because dudes donít really know if they can tour like we tour. I think right now the whole band- with this album-- this is solidified without a doubt. Everybodyís got their sea-legs on.
SJ: Who was your producer for this album?
DEZ: We used Colin Richardson- who is amazing. I mean, heís done so many things. I think the stamp of a great producer is that he can put his mark on your album without making you sound like him. He further defined us. He took the guitar sound and he took the drum sound and he just defined what weíve got now. And we just said we wanted to be different man-- we wanted to step it up- and he really helped with that.
SJ: Why are you always touring with Machinehead? Isnít this your 6th or 7th tour with them?
DEZ: (laughs) Well, Devil Driver has never toured with Machinehead
SJ: Well, how about you personallyÖ.
DEZ: Well, weíre on the same label and we like each other. But, in the beginning Machinehead took Coal Chamber over to Europe and subsequently broke Coal Chamber in Europe because of it. And then over here (the States) Coal Chamber took Machinehead out, and now Machinehead is taking Devil Driver out. I mean, itís a good time when you know people and you know what their about. I just think itís a good tour- a good package- so we keep getting together.
SJ: What was the writing process for this new album, The Fury of our Makerís Hand? Are you a part of writing the music, or do you write the lyrics only?
DEZ: I write all the lyrics- but I do a lot of the arrangement. And I definitely have a say so in the music. I mean, they can bring me 30 songs, and I may narrow it down to only 9 or 10- that we really want to work on, so I have a big hand in that. I also say, Ďhey, this riff in this song is way better than this, letís get it together.í But my boys got a handle on that- they work really hard on that. If they need any help arranging then itís just salt and pepper that Iíll give them.
SJ: Well, the arrangement was absolutely beautiful. Itís really technical. Who are your major influences?
DEZ: I think youíd have to ask these guys. Jeff! (Dez has guitar player come over) This is my lead guitar player, Jeff. Jeff, who are your major influences guitar-wise?
JEFF: Just anything from old school Metallica to Slayer to Sepultura, to Lamb of God and Machinehead. Just a bunch of bands- Pantera, obviously- SuperjointÖ so much stuff. You just listen to everything and then subconsciously take it in or shut it out.
DEZ: I mean the thing with this band is that there are so many varied influences. I mean I listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Satyricon, so youíre just thrown into a world of that. Same thing with these guys (points to other D.D. members). What I think this band has thatís really cool is everybody plays guitar. So on the record, my drummer and my bass player laid a lot of the guitar work. So everybody was in their doing their thing, so youíre getting a lot of different flavors. Because one guy doesnít play the same riff the same way. These guys, what they do is pick who can play the best riff the best way and they let that person lay it down- which I think is so so coolóthat itís democratic like that.
SJ: How are the new songs live? How is the response to them?
DEZ: Good. We do ĎHold back the Dayí and a song called ĎDriving Down the Darknessí and weíve also been doing an ĎAce of Spadesí as well. Phil from Machinehead has been getting up every night jamming it with us- itís been a good time.
SJ: Lyrically, whatís the new album about?
SJ: Who are your vocal influences? Because you have such a unique vocal style.
DEZ: Style-wise, obviously I love Lemmy from Motorhead. And an old band from New York called the Crumb Suckers- who was a massive influence on me vocally and if you listen to it, you can hear it. And then lyrically, itís the blues. Iím like attached to the blues- I listen to the blues all day longÖ itís the devilís music. Johnny Cash, stuff like that- all the story tellers.
SJ: So, are you having fun on tour?
DEZ: Iím having a GREAT time. Iím getting ready to dive into a bottle of wine right now! I canít believe your boy didnít show up!! Iím gonna fuckiní strangle him! (He means the illusive Alex Zander, an old friend of Dez) Sold out and heís not even here!!Posted by Alex Zander at June 14, 2005 02:20 PM