DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara: ‘I’m not gonna say no to a new Coal Chamber album’

Dez Fafara of DevilDriver and Coal Chamber
(Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

While the rest of the music industry waits out a pandemic to discover its fate, Devildriver frontma Dez Fafara is busier than ever. While juggling work for his own label, Oracle Records, and preparing the world for the release of the first part ofa double Devildriver record, Dealing With Demons Vol.1, he squeezed in a few moments to answer queries sent in by you guys, from bringing back Coal Chamber make-up to Devildriver’s plans for world domination. Step aside, coronavirus…

Metal Hammer line break

Did you feel a bit silly having to slap on spooky make-up again for the Coal Chamber reunion? Brendan Smith (email)

“No, I loved it to be honest with you! I’m a gothic punk rock kid that only found heavy metal because I found Motörhead. I love it violent and aggressive, and all those things that go along with what metal is, which is why I got into metal. Otherwise, I’m a punk rock kid so that lends itself to eyeliner and all the other shit. Now I look at what’s popular right now, looking at some of the bands out there, it looks like they could be taking from what Coal Chamber did. I see Avatar and think, ‘Thank god we did what we did back in the day or maybe there would be no ground breaking open for a band like that.’ Which is me giving accolades actually, not saying if we never did that, you’d never have a band. I’m saying that back in the day when we broke that out, there were only a few bands doing it. When the harsh critics got the gold records thrown at them, they understood we were doing something right!”

In a brawl, I’ve never lost. And I’ve had my nose broken three times.

Dez Fafara

What have you been writing about for the new Devildriver album? Jo Bersden (email)
“The reason why it’s called Dealing With Demons and the reason I needed a double record to do this was that I’m moving in a different direction lyrically in the future, and before I do, I have gotta get some things off my chest. Invariably they are things I’ve written about my whole life; I’m writing about my demons and society’s demons and society’s ills as well. The first single, Keep Away From Me, is about me being terribly agoraphobic. I’ve been socially distancing my whole life, I don’t do well in crowds, I’m not gonna show up to your Grammy awards party. If you invite me somewhere where there’s a bunch of people I don’t know, there’s a chance I’ll tell you I’ll be there but be prepared for me to call you an hour or two before to tell you I can’t find my car keys. Iona represents society’s ills and people who enjoy a certain kind of horror. Horror to me is Dracula, The Mummy, ghosts, what’s around the corner, the shadow in the background. Somehow, somewhere it became slashers – for example, the guy who says The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is his favourite movie. He plainly killed 15 women and skinned them in that movie – why would you gravitate to that? Why do people run home every night to watch CSI or murder porn TV? I’m asking about that… what has triggered society to make that their favourite thing? Nest Of Vipers is about how people and their loyalty are easily bought. There’s a chorus that says, ‘She sleeps with bones beside her / She sleeps in a nest of vipers’, and that’s about how women can be bought and sold – and that’s not prostitution, I’m talking loyalty.”


(Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

Who’s the toughest motherfucker in the heavy metal scene? (You can’t say yourself!) James Richardson (email)

“I would never say me! Who’s the toughest motherfucker? What is ‘tough’? Is ‘tough’ the guy who can survive 30 years in the music industry or is it the guy who can walk into a bar and beat everybody’s ass? I don’t know how to answer that. All I can say is this: in a brawl, I’ve never lost and my nose has been broken three times.”

What would be your one piece of advice to a young band? Cat Olah (email)

“Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Play in your local town until you sell out your local club, get all your social medias online, get a YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc. Don’t get caught up in the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll thing – get caught up in the rock’n’roll thing and the rest will come. Really pay attention to your craft, that’s what I’d say.”

Will there ever be a new Coal Chamber album? Joe Cadec (Facebook)

“I’m not gonna say no because we’ve all spoken. Mikey [Cox, drums] is running a very large general contracting company at this moment, Meegs [Rascón, guitars] is doing something in another band for the moment, Nadja [Peulen, bass] is waiting. The main thing for me is that the relationship is all good after numerous fallouts in the beginning and after some stuff went horribly wrong when we got back together to release Rivals. The vibe in that camp is very cool at the moment and we all have each other’s backs. During [Dez’s wife] Anahstasia’s cancer, they were all writing and calling all the time so it was really incredible to see them come back into my life. I’m not gonna say yes or no. I wouldn’t put it past us but right now I’m definitely concentrating on Devildriver.”

Do you ever think of taking Coal Chamber songs and beefing them up with Devildriver? @J1sonofagun (Twitter)

“We’ve done that – we’ve played a few of them live and that’s only because I missed playing the songs live and if god forbid something happened to me and I never got to play those songs again or people didn’t get to hear them again. They sound incredible done by Devildriver with two guitars, it’s a lot heavier to be honest. For me, it was a good time to bust one or two of those out at a Devildriver show. People always go crazy and it’s really cool to see.”

Will there be a collab between you and your son? Jeanie Bean (Facebook)

“Yes, my son Simon collaborated on Fighting Words when he was nine years old and on this new record, Dealing With Demons Vol. I, he’s on the choruses of You Give Me A Reason To Drink and he sounds incredible. He’s working on his first record right now that we plan on releasing next year, so look out for me getting ready to pass the torch to him very soon! His lows are lower than me, his high screams are higher than me, his clean voice is absolutely incredible. If I fell ill, he could go fill in for me with Devildriver and he could slay it. He came out on stage with me in LA the last time and 3,000 people went insane when they saw him. He did an incredible job on Clouds Over California with me.”

Would you ever consider a tour of the first DD album? @paddy_008 (Twitter)

“Yes, we’ve been considering that. If lockdown or anything more happens and we can’t get out to tour, we’re gonna start doing pay-per-view shows and play all the records in their entirety. If we can’t come over there from the US and there’s no touring in the US next year, it’s time to start doing PPV shows. We’d use Oracle Live, which is a PPV company we started in February and it’s been doing incredibly. We were Wacken’s streaming partner, we’ve done Black Veil Brides and Body Count, plus we’re getting ready to do some very large bands in the next week or two. We’ve got relationships with venues and camera crews all over the world.”

Have you ever thought about a solo album, and if so which musical direction do you think it would take? @chriscull80 (Twitter)

“I have thought about it and I just don’t know because I’m real good in a group atmosphere. The direction of it would ultimately be way heavier than anything you guys have ever gotten from me to be honest. That could be in the works or it could not be in the works, I can’t really say at this point, but you guys should expect something insanely heavy when you do get it, if you do get it.”

What’s your plan for 2021? Also, European Tour, right? @_StefanoDV_ (Twitter)

“I wish I knew! There’s a lot of plans up in the air to try and tour and I just don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no touring at the moment in the US, and I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to come overseas because of what America’s going through right now. Here’s the thing: we never script a movie, we always watch the movie play itself out, and now I’m having to find myself sitting in the seat watching the movie play out. As soon as we get to the end, Stefano, I’ll let you know!”