Coal Chamber Haven’t Discussed Possibility of New Music Yet, Says Dez Fafara
Dez Fafara was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program, chatting about DevilDriver's latest album, Dealing With Demons Volume II and the Coal Chamber reunion taking place this year.
The album sequel, Fafara says, is intended to be listened to back-to-back with brief runtimes (each under 40 minutes) making it easier for fans to digest it all at once. It's as relatable as it gets, too, as the vocalist confronts the demons we all have to deal with on a daily basis. The record also features returning bassist John Miller, who exited the band in 2012. It's a welcome change as Fafara says the two connected on a lengthy phone call before Miller elected to come back.
In addition to balancing a new DevilDriver record and a summer with Coal Chamber, Fafara is eyeing September for the release of the first of two planned autobiographies. The first will focus on his childhood and Coal Chamber and the frontman also says that the reactivated band have yet to broach the topic of potentially writing and recording new music.
For now, he just wants to have a great time with his bandmates before stacking the deck too much.
Read the full interview below.
The Dealing With Demons albums are uncharacteristically revealing in terms of vulnerability. How will that openness give your music even more courage in the future?
I just had a lot to get off my chest. I was looking at myself and looking at other things around me and I had a lot to write about and this is why it's a double record. The records are short (36 to 39 minutes each) and they're meant to be listened to together, one after another.
If you're reading the lyrics, you're really going to get what I have to say. I'm talking about demons that we all deal with. It doesn't matter if you're a grocery store worker or you're a singer of a band, you are dealing with temptation, with the person that stabs you in the back... You're dealing with so many different demons in life and every song addresses that.
It's been getting extremely high marks and I'm very, very happy right now.
DevilDriver, "Through the Depths" Music Video
It is a companion to an album released over two years ago. How does that divide of time simultaneously heightened anticipation and create disconnect?
It makes us want to get it out quicker. These records were meant to be released back to back a year apart, but that obviously didn't happen with everything that was going on in the world.
I think the anticipation was there for Volume II to drop after the two singles that we released. People are loving it. Volume I got such high marks, and now Volume II is getting 10 out of 10s in different places. The anticipation is truly there.
DevilDriver toured with Cradle of Filth earlier this year and there were a lot of sold out dates on that run. What makes these bands particularly good bedfellows?
We not only manage Cradle of Filth [through Oracle Management] and I'm great friends with Danny Filth. He's one of my favorite guys. We started talking about touring and we came up with this idea doing a co-headline tour with many different legs in the United States and around the world. It's kind of old school and how other bands used to do it — you get a bunch of bands together and you go around the world twice with them and that's the run.
This tour did incredibly well. I think we only had three or four dates that weren't sold out and I was actually looking at the promoter sideways going, "Ah-ha, this looks sold out to me." The run was fantastic and it was our first time back out in years. I loved getting back on a bus and every single night the energy was just off the hook.
DevilDriver, "Clouds Over California" Live on March 14, 2023
Bassist John Miller returned back to the band after 12 years away.
John Miller is our original bass player and primary writer on our first five records. He's a beast onstage and an incredible writer.
For those who don't know, John and I were always the closest. John had to take a break and get his things in life straight. He and I had an almost five-hour long conversation and he decided to come back. You always talk about guys leaving, but it's rare when you talk about them coming back, so we're extremely pleased.
We went out on this last run with him and it was just such a great time. We were up till 3-4AM laughing in the back lounge and having a good time. Welcome back, John!
Talk to me about your book, LOCO: Chaos, Calamity and Coal Chamber.
We've a book deal with Rare Bird Books. It's a double autobiography — my youth through Coal Chamber and then from there, my DevilDriver years, which are going to be incredible. The book is done it's just been done, edited and it's going to come out [in September].
It's going to give people a big glimpse of who I am and what I've been through in life. I left home at a very early age, slept under bridges, stole food, went to jail... I've had a strange life and I think people are going to now see that I'm a very private guy.
Releasing this kind of information was difficult. I had a lot of people that actually had to talk me into it, but I think it's a page-turner. It's eight chapters of just "Go, go, go." For somebody who is so private in an industry that is not very private, I think people are going to get a good glimpse of who I was when I was young, what I've been through and get a better picture of who Dez Fafara is.
Coal Chamber has shows booked this year, including the Sick New World Festival. What's different about your fondness for that music now and the people who play it compared to 10 and 20 years ago?
Stuff happened 10 or 20 years ago where all the sex drugs and rock 'n' roll got in the way of making the music.
In late 2021, I almost died from COVID. My wife actually called [my Coal Chamber bandmates] and said, "Hey, you guys might want to call Dez. He might be on his way out. He's actually saying goodbye to us." A lot of people called me on a daily basis, but [Coal Chamber] checked on me on a daily basis for a year. Finally one of them asked, "Hey, should we do a show?" And I said, "Yeah, you guys all have your stuff together. I do as well. Why don't we do a show?"
It all came together in a real positive frame of mind. I love those guys. That's the band who made me. I left the band because of things that went on inside the band and I'm a family guy with kids and I had to get on with it.
I'm very professional and I want to go do business the correct way now that all that is put in the past. It's good to just be back together again to go to play a show.
Coal Chamber, "Loco" Live at Sick New World Festival
Do you have any kind of idea if there's going to be more shows? Have you guys talked about maybe doing new music?
We haven't had any of those conversations.
For us, Sick New World is a big deal and then going out with Mudvayne is obviously a huge deal. We've known those guys forever and we're looking forward to doing it after that. We've got Blue Ridge Rock Fest and that's it.
We don't want to put too much on the band. Are we going to write? Are we going to tour again next year? We don't know. We want to take it slow. Everybody's got families and we just want to make sure that the vibe is right. When we put out [the 2015 comeback album] Rivals, I don't think we were together enough as we should have been when it came out.
Right now it's working out great. We're all very good friends. We all see eye to eye on everything that we're going to do.
Thanks to Dez Fafara for the interview. Get your copy of DevilDriver's 'Dealing With Demons Volume II' on CD or vinyl and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Head to this location to see Coal Chamber's upcoming tour dates and get tickets here.
DevilDriver's Dez Fafara - My 11 Favorite Groove Metal Albums
PLAYLIST: Ultimate Groove Metal
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