The ‘record album, release album, tour album’ cycle is more than just a series of motions for DevilDriver – since 2003, it’s been their way of life.
Without fail, the band has released an album every two years, up to and including 2013 effort Winter Kills. The Californians have a devotion that has been unshakeable to date, so it may come as a shock that the band’s forthcoming East Coast tour could be the last time fans see DevilDriver… for a little while, at least.
“I think what’s happening within the camp is that we say, ‘If the music’s there, let’s do it’,” says Dez Fafara, the band’s lead vocalist and primary lyricist. “‘If it’s not, let’s not’. We can only guess or surmise as we’re writing where we’re at in the process.
All I can say is that the cycle is ending here – there is not going to be another album two years after Winter Kills. We’re laying low all of next year and probably 2016 as well. The next DevilDriver record could come out in 2016. It could come out later. Even still, we’re writing. I’m writing every day, and I know the other guys are, too. There are about four or five killer tunes in the mix there. So we’ll see what happens, but don’t expect anything for a while.”
It’s suggested that if any band deserves a break from the wear and tear of touring, it’s DevilDriver. This is a sentiment that Fafara himself is all too quick to agree with. “I’ll tell you what, we’ve been on the road for 12 years,” he says, the weight of those words not lost on him and the husk in his tone confirming that he’s not bullshitting.
“In those 12 years, we’ve put out six records; all of them different, and all of them received really well. We tour harder than any other band on the planet. We just did a two-month tour of the States with only three days off – and those were driving days. That said, we’re coming toward the end of the road. We need to get back to basics, hang out with our families… we need to chill out for a minute.”
Last year also saw Fafara back on the road with his original band, Coal Chamber, who reformed in 2011. Although he is adamant about not looking to the past and doing things for the sake of retrospect or nostalgia, many questioned his motives in reviving a group whose heyday had long gone and were seemingly ripe for a nostalgic market.
“In a lot of ways, it was about looking forward for me,” says Fafara. “We’d all mended our ways, and Meegs (Rascon, guitar) had hit me up with some new Coal Chamber songs. It made sense for me – for us – to go out on tour. We took it around the world, and it was so well received. Here in the States, we were playing to thousands of people a night. It was incredible.
“It’s funny, because this question came up with my wife. She asked me, ‘Honestly, when was the last time you even listened to a Coal Chamber song?’ I couldn’t even tell you. It might be 15 years. I didn’t even have to listen to the record when we started rehearsing – I mean, I know the songs, I wrote them. So it’s all about forging forward.”