Can you tell us a bit more about the content of your new album Outlaws ‘Til The End ?

Outlaws ‘Til The End is a very ambitious project where we combine outlaw country and heavy metal which has never been done before in the proper manner with the proper guests. We’ve got incredible star guests in this record: everybody from Johnny Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, Randy from Lamb of God, to Hank III, Lee Ving from Fear a famous punk band.

So we took these two genres, we combined them. We used four genres of singers: guys from punk rock, outlaw country, heavy metal and goth rock like Wednesday 13 and we attempted to do what I thought had never been done before and made these outlaw country songs heavy.

How happened the creation of the album with those guests ? What is really different from creating an album only with Devil Driver?

Oh God, a lot of differences ! This thing was very hard to get done, almost didn’t get complete. Money ran out halfway through, the logistics of getting all of these artists on this record was almost impossible but we did it. It was a very different process from what we do in original record where we go in and we record by ourselves. This was a different story I had to apply the places to records I had to apply in the people to record, logistically it was a nightmare but I’m glad that it’s done because it’s something that has never been done and it is absolutely fantastic.

How were the relationships between the members of DevilDriver and your guests ? Did this collaboration go well or not ? Were there any tensions between you ?

No, no tensions. Everybody just wanted to do this thing, to do it a hundred percent and make sure that it came up fantastic.

What does the term “outlaws” refer to?

I think the word “outlaw” when it comes to music, it could be punk rock, it could be outlaw country, it could be heavy metal, it could be blues. These are people who don’t skew their music to make money. They don’t write their music specifically for the radio. They do what they do because they are pure artists. These outlaws of outlaw country Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams they’re like the “Lemmies” of country. They’re the Lemmy of their genre meaning they’re underground, they did what they did. Just by what they did, they didn’t skewed their art. So this is what outlaw means: to be free musically, I think.

How did you choose the guests of this album? All together with the band or did each of you come up with one guest of his own ?

No, we chose first the guys that we knew we needed to cover Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams from there we took songs that were their songs and then we brought in some outside songs. Neal from my band, the guitar player, brought in “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”, Mike brought in “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” which is an anti-war song, I brought in “Outlaw Man” by the Eagles and that’s how it went done.

There is a country background in your album. If we consider DevilDriver’s previous albums, this is really something new. What does this country influence represent to you ? And why did you choose Country music as an influence for your new album ?

I’ve always found these songs heavy, these writers write some of the best stories I’ve ever heard, some of the most poignant lyrics on the planet are outlaw country and this is why we chose it. I chose it because it has never been done.

Several people told me that I shouldn’t do it and that makes me want to do things even more. I’m not a person that you can tell “don’t do it” because I’ll do it, you know “don’t jump”, I jump. So, this is why we did this: to do something special, to do something different, to do something that has never been done and to start a new genre, frankly. And, this is what’s happening.

I have found myself trying to explain this more to people in Europe or in the UK that if you come to a heavy metal concert, you go to a heavy metal barbecue, you go to a heavy metal tour bus or backstage, you hear Slayer into Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash into Pantera, Pantera into Willy Nelson. I mean it’s a very common thing to hear outlaw country at a heavy metal barbecue.

This is apparently the first volume of Outlaws ’til the End, we do hope for a second volume, is it going to follow the same path or not ?

Well, it definitely will be country and I don’t know when it will be done. Like I said, I thought this would be ok, it’s gonna be three years between records since we are working on a double album, let’s give them something special, let’s go into to do something easy, a cover record and this was not easy, far from that.

There was a time four months ago, when I told my wife : “I don’t even think this thing is gonna get done”. So, I don’t know when the next one is gonna happen. The reason we split the album in two volumes is because I had about fifty people who wanted to be on the next record and four or five of them are the biggest fans on the planet. So, I just don’t know when I’m gonna do it and I don’t know if I’m looking forward either because this is a tremendous amount of work so we’ll see if it happens.

About live performances, how are you going to deal with the parts played or sang by the guests you chose ?

Well, this thing was not really built to do live. I don’t know we are going to do it. If guests come out in certain cities, we may do some songs but this was meant to be specifically for the fans of heavy metal and give them something cool to listen to before the next Devil driver double record.

So if people see one of your concerts in the following months, they won’t hear any songs from Outlaws ‘Til The End ?

Well, I don’t know. We’re really playing around with it. There’s only two songs that we did without guests “Outlaw Man” by the Eagles and “A thousand Miles From Nowhere”. So, we’ll see if we gonna throw some of those in.

What are your impressions about your fans’ reaction to your new album ?

Well, I think the American audience is very excited because they’ve been waiting for somebody to do something like this for fifteen/twenty years. I mean they’re very excited.

The European audience and the audience in the UK have to be taught, they have to be schooled on what this is, on the danger of this, of an heavy metal band trying to this and that’s why we did it cause I think Devil driver was the perfect band to go ahead and try to do this.
Our fanbase really likes the covers that we’ve done: if it’s “black soul choir” or “sail”, they really liked our covers. So this was something that we decided to do and I think that the European audience and the UK audience are gonna come around. I think they really gonna love this record and they’re gonna understand how dangerous it is to put these two things together and when they’ll hear how well we’ve done it and how successful it came out, I think there is gonna be applause.

Do you think you are going to create a new fashion of mixing genres among metal musicians ?

Lee Ving said in an interview: “Dez Fafara has started two genres already. He started Nu metal and he started Groove Metal”. Last year Spotify added the term “groove metal” and put us at the top of the list. And Lee Ving said that maybe now I have started another new genre. So, I just don’t know, I did something very special to me and I’m just holding my breath now because it is so different and it’s never been done. I’m just holding my breath while it gets pulled out there and we gonna see what happens.

Do you hope that other bands do the same thing in the future or not ?

I got a text last night from a friend of mine in Dallas, Texas, that was at a nightclub and took a picture of a flyer that said: “heavy metal country band, an heavy metal covers country next week”. So this is what’s happening now. I’m seeing this starting to happen before the record even came out. We’ll see if it creates a genre. I’d like to see it happen.

What do you hope from this new album ?

My aims are that people see that we did try to do something very unique and something extremely hard to do and we did it for the labour of love, the labour of music, the love of our fans, to give them something absolutely special, to give the music community something that has never been done before. I don’t know how many people can say that right now. Heavy metal in the United States is in really bad state meaning heavy heavy bands are going under. You know people are going to really heavy heavy shows so bands now are selling out they are becoming radio bands. They are hiring writers to write their music. Some of the biggest heavy metal bands that we know now are not heavy metal bands. They are active rock bands and people think they are heavy metal. So I want to something heavy, brutal, different in the face of all this bullshit pop radio metal that’s going on, all the bands that sing heavy verses and then go in the big clean choruses to sell their music. Fuck that ! I’m not about that at all because it’s art that skews. The art that skews itself for money, the art that skews itself for monetary game, that’s the art that you never want to pick up, that’s bullshit.

Have you got any regrets about this album?

I called Danzig, he was the first guy that I called and he said he was gonna be on it but he caught up in shows and in recording his other songs so he couldn’t be on it. That’s my biggest regret is that I didn’t get Glenn on. So for the next one, I’m definitely gonna get Glenn on !

What is the thing you enjoyed the most during this record ?

I think partnering up with Randy from Lamb of God and tracking with him in my house, watching him track or watching me track or tracking with John Carter Cash and Ana Cash at the Cash Cabin, absolutely phenomenal.

Did this album create any new friendships ?

The Fafara family and the Cash family became very very close. I was talking to John Carter Cash this morning and it was like we’re gonna have a project together so we’ve made good friends during this. I made great friends with Lee Ving who was my childhood punk rock idol and I’m definitely going to work with John Carter Cash in the future so that’s all good.

We thank you very much for your answers and we would like to let you have the last words of this interview.

Pick up Outlaws till the End, turn it on volume 10, blast it as loud as you can and enjoy something that has never been done before. Keep it heavy, keep it Devil driver and thank you very much for support !