It’s not always easy to cut the cord from projects that you love. However, sometimes it’s better to move on and focus on the present rather than relishing the past. It’s safe to say that Dez Fafara has moved on from Coal Chamber. For those who are curious, he has already answered and explained himself in an interview with Scars and Guitars stating how he is burying it, and that it is not coming back. Fafara’s focus is now with DevilDriver as they have released eight studio albums since their inception in 2003.
The group surprised us with the release of Outlaws ’til the End, Vol. 1, which arrived on July 6th via Napalm Records. The band turned outlaw country music into a full-length metal LP, which they obviously didn’t play safe as they challenged themselves as artists to give the fans something that is essentially, unthinkable. Luckily, we were able to speak to Fafara about the new album, how metal is these days, ways to keep the scene alive, and more.
Aside from the obvious being a cover album of country songs, how would you compare Outlaws ‘Til the End Part I to your previous efforts?
That’s a good question. It definitely is Devildriver. We weren’t afraid to go outside the box, weren’t afraid to experiment, weren’t afraid to push the boundaries of what is really set in metal, weren’t afraid to push the purest thought of what is metal and I think it brought something even more core to the metal genre by bringing something so real actually. The real, outlaw country stuff based in metal. Those cats are one of those real, unscripted writers, you interview, hear on the radio, it’s like bringing the real cats to something that is automatically real in itself, which is metal. Whether it’s underground, it’s real metal. But you know, it’s not spewing itself to adapt to rock radio. I think we pushed some boundaries but it was important to do so.
Have you received a response from country lovers or even artists themselves such as Dwight Yoakam?
I haven’t heard from Dwight, no. We’ve heard through various other performances, people are loving it in that genre. It’s kind of a what? Like a, ‘what did they do?’ And it’s a tribute to them too. We would like to pay a tribute to it. If you go to a heavy metal backyard BBQ, having great times, or in the back of the tour bus, you’re going to hear Johnny Cash to Pantera to Willie Nelson, no one gives a shit. Cool, have some beers or whatever. It’s great the way that it is. But no one talks about that.
Are there any other particular country artists you would like to cover in the future?
I mean right now, I”m just kind of finished this thing, this was difficult to get done. Money ran out half way through. There was no way it was going to get finished, not the way I want. Not with guys like John Carter Cash, Randy (Blythe), but then, it just started coming to roll in. I think all of the guests, and this is what gave me so much gratitude as an artist, everybody put 110% and I think they all knew they were doing something special. So, that was a helpful bit. Putting art together, there were no egos in the room. No one would have an ego about what they were doing. Everybody stripped themselves down in order to find how they were going to be able to do this. For example, would be Burt (Burton C. Bell) from Fear Factory, and I said to him ‘Dude I haven’t heard your voice sound like this since the first Fear Factory record.’ He said to me, that he was channeling his true self. There was something within all of these artists, that made them find something within themselves in order to try to come out and do this.
It’s amazing what can be achieved when the ego is set aside.
I’ve never been one for that. I got no room for ego. I got no room for celebrity, rockstar or fame, or any of that bullshit. Anybody around me tries to use that, I remind them very humble that they are human and to shut the fuck up and it doesn’t matter who they are. But, anything you do, you have those cats. They live on their fame instead of what they’ve done for other people and what ground they’ve broken. And that, to me is most important, breaking the ground. I’ve done it with this and I’m going to continue doing something different.
Right now everybody is playing the safe card. There is a very safe card happening in the metal world right now. Very safe, very plastic, very fucking predictable. The days of Pantera writing shit on their own merit, not singing it towards the radio and drawing 15,000 people that are showing me.
Now their worship is active rock bands that have writers, people who can be a success, people who are like ‘make sure you put on this shirt, because punk rock is cool now.’ And it’s fucked up. I’m the only guy that is out there pointing my finger because, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t give a shit. The truth is all here. Don’t ask me if I like what you’re wearing, if I don’t, I will fucking tell you. That is not happening right now. People are very PC in metal right now. And that’s what’s happening to save their careers, they have to come up with these big metally choruses that are clean and fucking subdued and placid, a demeanor that is not fucking true to the spirit of metal, ferocious. And there are other bands coming out that are doing killer shit, you look at Power Trip, Code Orange who are going for it.
There’s a love and hate relationship with nu-metal, what do you say to the haters out there?
The term nu metal, because at that time when it came out, it wasn’t fucking Poison, it wasn’t hair metal. The term, nu metal. It is some of the most artistic shit on the planet, look at the bands now that are the biggest bands on the planet, they are nu metal. Slipknot, KoRn, Deftones, System of a Down, Disturbed, should I go on?
Here’s what I will say, proud that Coal Chamber was literally the first one on the scene. Coal Chamber was going to the Whiskey and the Roxy with that scene, starting that scene. ‘We got shows, you want to play with us?’ I found Static-X, at the Coconut Teaser with 25 people, turned them on to somebody and they got a record deal. There was something happening in that scene, it was bad ass.
Here’s a fact, how many bands now that are coming up, kids that are 18-25, that are going, oh yeah, that’s my music. KoRn and Linkin Park are my band, Coal Chamber was my band. You can’t negate a scene if it’s good because some purist said the word “nu” is not good, because i’m going to listen to that mother fucker’s record collection and say, this shit is fucking trash. Even though you think your black metal is amazing, this band here is fucking horrible. There’s always something to be judged, good or bad. Bottom line, it’s all art that is put out there, there’s art to be used for the radio, art to be used in the popular culture, there’s real art. I respect real art. You can tell the difference between and just made in the studio, no balls, no feeling, just going through the motions, phony in their order.
Are you working now, in the studio?
In the studio, recording now, 22 songs for a double album staggered release. I’m following a bucket list this time. Never done a country, never worked on a concept or a double album. Now I’m working on a double concept record. Going to release a record every 18 months. No one is buying music these days. Bands wait 3-4 years to record a new album now, you are not fostering the scene, you are letting it die. A kid goes into HS with one album, he gets another one when he graduates.
Back then, you couldn’t imagine waiting 3 years for a new record. Now its it’s like the norm. Let’s make money, go off to tour and then go back and make a record. Markets are over saturated. The scene is not being fostered to the music to make a new record. Everybody needs to start making new records every year.