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  • Interview: Dez Fafara of Devildriver

    Tue, 15 Jan 2008 07:55:25

    Interview: Dez Fafara of Devildriver - Heavy metal, ancient Egypt, wine and horror movies: what else is there?

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    On Devildriver's devastating third offering The Last Kind Words, Dez Fafara pens intense, yet introspective lyrics. Songs delve into personal strength, revenge and philosophy like few metal tunes do. More importantly, he conjures dark imagery with his distinctive Satanic howl, leaving jaws on the floor in the process. He sat down in the front of his bus with ARTISTdirect to talk about some of his favorite things—especially classic horror films, books on ancient history, fine wine and Down. He may in fact be metal's most refined representative.

    What's your favorite movie?

    My favorite movie of all time is either Conan the Barbarian, Star Wars or Evil Dead. Those three are my favorites. Obviously, Star Wars just reminds me of my childhood, and Evil Dead is just the best movie ever made.

    You like Evil Dead better than Evil Dead II?

    Of course, Evil Dead is gorier [laughs]. It's insane! The second one is kind of comical, and comedy doesn't belong in Evil Dead!

    That pencil scene in the original Evil Dead was brutal!

    It was unbelievable. When she's underneath the basement floor banging on it, that's the shot right there.

    What about Conan?

    The first one just says it all. It just tells you how to live life. It tells you, you'd better get with it, get strong and be on top of your kingdom, right now. Keep direct [Laughs].

    I loved that Easy Rider shirt you had in one photo shoot. Are you a big Easy Rider fan too?

    Yeah, I was raised by hippies, man. I bought my wife a Dodge Magnum, but I'm not allowed to drive it. I could ride the hell out of a Harley, but I can't drive a car. So that's where that comes from—my love of bikes and people who ride bikes.

    You've drawn lyrical inspiration from various books in the past. What are some of your favorite titles?

    Right now, I'm doing audio books, because it's easier for me to just lie in my bunk and listen when I'm on tour. I'm listening to an audio book right now on Socrates. I'm getting through his whole life and his whole philosophy on things. He was a strange cat; let me tell you. He used to walk the streets barefoot, rambling on and on, but people thought he was a genius. If you did that today, they'd just put you in jail. He had some wise things to say though.

    That Greek school of thought established a lot.

    Exactly. As far as a favorite book of all time, I don't have one. Literature has just kind of come and gone with me, but I couldn't nail it down to a favorite. I'm reading a good book right now on the Spartans and their society. It's called The Spartans. It's unbelievable, so we'll see where that goes.

    That's a cool thread about the Ancient cultures you pull together.

    Yeah, I love history. I love ancient culture. It fascinates me. Ancient religion fascinates me. I love to go back to the beginning and find out where we came from: the Babylonians, Sumerians and Egyptians. You can see who stole what from whom. You come to find out that Christmas is a pagan holiday. The pagans stole it from the Babylonians and Sumerians. I like tracing things back.

    You can see how cyclical everything is.

    Of course—you saw the way that modern day religion stole everything for money. The Egyptians did the same thing. You used to buy what you thought was a mummified cat to put as an offering, and it only had one real leg in there. They were just making money off religion back then too. There you go! What goes around comes around [laughs].

    There are always trinkets being sold in the name of some deity. You're a wine connoisseur too if I'm not mistaken?

    I don't know about a connoisseur [laughs]. I definitely know my grapes, and I know my wines. That's for sure. I love it. It's healthy and good for you. I haven't had a drop of hard alcohol in almost five months. I work out most of the time during the day when I can. I just find it a healthier way of existing and still catching a little bit of a buzz [laughs].

    I know you're a fan of Elvis. From the love of classic crooners and wine, it seems like you've become the "refined metal head."

    [Laughs] Well that's good! I don't know if it's that or it's that I just don't want to go out like those dudes did [laughs]. You better get healthy. Elvis is my boy, and I'm a huge fan.

    Knowing your relationship with Phil Anselmo [Down, Pantera Vocalist], I have to ask, what do you think of the new Down record [III: Over the Under]?

    I think it's the best of Phil's career. He fucking looks great. He's sober. People have to understand, he's not just a friend, but he's a brother. When I had no home in Coal Chamber, literally for years to live, that dude gave me his house and said, "Go ahead." He literally said, "Take my bedroom, I'm sleeping downstairs anyways." So, when you've got that kind of a friend behind you, it means something huge. We've been friends a long time. I think that this Down record is unbelievable. I think it's the rock record of the year. It should have been nominated for a Grammy. The fact that it's not and some other bands are listed pisses me off really bad. Dude, this is the best rock band out today, hands-down, and for it not to be a Grammy-nominee—I don’t see what's happening. If you're not looking at art like that—look at every individual player in that band, not just Phillip. Take Phillip out of the equation and just look at every individual player. Before we went to our record release party a couple months ago, Down was rehearsing for their Australian tour in the Valley. We took the tour bus over, and we went and watched a couple songs of the rehearsals. I mean, dude, they're such amazing players. So yeah, there's my rant on Down [laughs].

    —Rick Florino

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