Dez Fafara's top ten punk songs

Dez Fafara from Devildriver sticking his middle fingers up
Dez Fafara showing you what he thinks of plastic punks (Image credit: Nigel Crane \/ Getty)

As frontman for both Devildriver and Coal Chamber, you’d expect Dez Fafara to just listen to chuggy riffs. He does, however, have a particular penchant for punk rock, so today we ask him to achieve the impossible and narrow down his favourite punk tunes to just the top ten. Understandably, many of his choices are of the Southern California variety, but there were still a few surprises. He really does need to go to more gigs though!

The Partisans – The Time Was Right

“I love it! I just love the opening and it’s just got such a UK feel, I loved that band from the minute I found them. I was walking by a record store, looking for punk records, and I saw a 45 and grabbed it. They’re so rad! I love the part that comes in ‘Someone said the time was right’, and I think the feel of it is really killer. I love the vocals on it, and for some reason it had such a different feel to me than a lot of other punk rock. I thought they would be a lot bigger, had they kept going, and not a lot of my punk friends in California ever heard of them; it kinda makes you cool when you can turn somebody onto other shit.”

GBH – City Baby Attacked By Rats

“That song’s fast and furious! When that part comes in, City baby, city baby, city baby, attacked by rats!’ Come on! That’s just the best! I love the look, I love the name, I have their stickers all over the place, but I never got the chance to see them live. If I ever get the chance, of course I’m gonna be on it! And, of course, they’re probably better than ever, because they’ve been playing for so long. It’s difficult because I’m on the road so much, for over 20 years, and when I’m home I don’t want to go to gigs, but there’s a lot of punk rock happening.”

Black Flag – Revenge

“I love Revenge; it’s short (under two minutes), and straight to the point, with a full-on angsty feel. It’s fucking intense. And if you’re a young punk kid – or music kid, I should say – coming out of California, that was just something that lit everybody on fire. I’m a big Black Flag fan, but more the early stuff, to tell you the truth. I love Keith Morris and I love Dez Cadena. You really can’t go wrong with that stuff.”

OFF! – Black Thoughts

“This is the only real punk rock coming out right now, the band OFF!, and the song Black Thoughts is just an amazing fucking song. The way Keith Morris styles it vocally, too… ‘I can’t stop thinking black thoughts!’ Well, we’ve all felt like that at one time or another. I’ve never seen them, and I was just asking somebody recently, like, ‘Do you think they would ever tour with metal bands?’ because I sure would like to take them out, or go out with them. The punk rock scene is coming back hard, and hitting hard, especially in LA. It’s full on! It’s funny how everybody wants to interview me about my love of punk rock, and I told me wife two years ago that this shit was gonna hit! Keith, man, he’s to be commended! I swear to God, get that first one, The First Four EPs is what it’s called; you’ll fucking love it! I know my shit, and I’m telling you OFF! is real deal punk rock, two minutes and under, straight to the point! Sometimes it’s just four words and into the chorus! Oh God, I love it!”

Fear – I Love Livin’ In The City

“Lee Ving is one of my favourite frontmen ever, and just to have a beer with him would be amazing! I’ve never met him and I’ve always fucking wanted to! As soon as I saw The Decline Of Western Civilization: The Punk Years, when I was younger, that was it for me. That set me on fire! And that dude was scary to me, when I was younger, so I’d love to meet him. I’m such a huge fan, man! Tell the British fans to go to that fucking show when they play there! I Love Livin’ In The City is just perfect.”

The Germs – Lexicon Devil

“There’s just something about Darby Crash and the way he vocalises, the way he ends his verses or statements… He’s just got a snarl to him that’s fucking incredible! ‘Gimme gimme this, gimme gimme that!’ That band for me was the underground of undergrounds, for sure. You watch old videos of him being a frontman and he’s just incredible!”

X – Los Angeles

“For obvious reasons! As a kid living close to Los Angeles, or running away to Los Angeles, when I was younger, that song just said it all. ‘She bought a clock on Hollywood Boulevard the day she left/And it felt sad/It felt sad.’ It’s perfect! And I’ve never really heard a guy and a girl singing like that. They had this weird in-key, but off-tone thing, and when they sang together it was amazing. The way Exene and John Doe sing together is some unbelievable shit!”

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

“Look, I don’t know what to say about Iggy Pop, other than fucking hero! That song, I Wanna Be Your Dog, and almost everything the Stooges ever did, led the way for so much shit; it was punk, but it was glam, it was rock, but it was from the fucking street. It was everything essentially frightening and put into one package. It’s just the best! And Iggy Pop has been ripped off more times than you can count!”

Circle Jerks – Wild In The Street

“That, for me, was like a fucking holy shit moment! And for a California kid, that band, when you’re talking about youth and you hear, ‘We’re running wild in the streets, running wild!’, it’s everything that encapsulates your scene. I still wear a Circle Jerks shirt. And, again, I never had the chance to see them live! I was in line at a gig, and something happened where it got broken up, so I didn’t get to get in. This was a long time ago, obviously.”

Bad Brains – I Against I

“That’s obviously the most familiar, but it’s like, holy shit! What a tune! And here’s these black dudes with dreads throwing down punk rock harder than anybody. They’re from the streets and with just such a real essence and a real vibe. It’s hard to escape that tune, and it’s hard to escape that band; if you wanna look for punk rock you have to go to the Bad Brains and take a look. And it’s like when I first saw Motörhead, I found out they had long hair and dressed like cowboys, I didn’t know the Bad Brains were black and had dreads. It was like, whoa, they’re throwing down! And then you see the way people act at their shows! Man, we can talk about 30 more songs, if you want! It’s hard to do ten, but those would be the tunes. And I’ve never fucking seen the Bad Brains!”

Devildriver’s new album Trust No One is out now, via Napalm Records.

Devildriver: Trust No One


A veteran of rock, punk and metal journalism for almost three decades, across his career Mörat has interviewed countless music legends for the likes of Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Kerrang! and more. He's also an accomplished photographer and author whose first novel, The Road To Ferocity, was published in 2014. Famously, it was none other than Motörhead icon and dear friend Lemmy who christened Mörat with his moniker.