Dez Fafara is a glittering name in the metal circus. The man with the phonetically so convincing name wrote history with his former band Coal Chamber in the 90´s.
In the way too short time that those four dreary types stood together on stage they produced three albums, which were later labelled „gothic metal“. Especially Mr. Fafara who always seemed to try out all facets that a human voice can offer without sounding silly in any way, was remembered by many listeners. And also optically it fitted: piercings, make-up, extravagant gear and above all the „beard tattoo“ on his chin supported the image of the labile psychopath that you got from his voice and which translated to the looks and the musical style of his three band colleagues. Now, more than five years after the split up of Coal Chamber on the basis of, like he says himself „everything that can go wrong like for example women and drugs“, he again fronts a mighty metal band who is, however, the complete opposite of Coal Chamber. Devildriver don´t have anything to do with make up, Fafara gained a few pounds and turned from fishnet shirt-wearing kid to long-haired metal preacher.
The music that Devildriver created on their so far two albums offers the whole range: double bass storms, twin guitars and infernal bellowing still a la “Fafara” which means a bombastic arsenal of different ways of screaming is on offer and apparently they set a high value on the sound of single words in context to each other. Devildriver have further raised the heaviness-limit, which was once set by Slipknot. Which means: Those who think that Slipknot are almost too heavy will start to like Devildriver only after repeated listens.
It´s a hot day on which the Hellfest takes place at the Backstage club in Munich. While the three bands Trivium, 36 Crazyfists and Devildriver are doing their soundchecks the journalists sit next to soccer fans in front of a giant screen in a beer garden and watch some international match with cold beers in their hands. Mister Fafara is today a little indisposed: The appointed time for the interview is rescheduled because he´s taking a nap. About two hours later a call from the promoter: “Now he has time – oh no – maybe not, he first wants to eat something, I´ll get back to you later.” Another half an hour later the STALKER team is asked to the backstage area where important people like journalists, band members of the other two bands and some more press promoters sit on beer benches and talk shop. One free bench is given to us for our interview with Dez. We sit down in such a way that the light for the pictures is right… 15 minutes later we are asked by the same press lady to come to Mister Fafara inside because he apparently is scared of fire ants. No problem! Shortly after: a cosy, quiet room full of strange people (which are, as it turned out, band members, manager, his wife, musicians and so on) and right in the middle is Dez Fafara who, apparently, doesn´t seem to have a problem that all those people can listen to the interview.
We don´t have a problem either and now after waiting for such a long time we want to dare a look into the depths of Fafara´s psyche. He´s a pleasant conversational partner, gives clear answers and says unequivocally what he thinks also if it´s not to everyone´s liking. Here is for you what he had to say about the seven deadly sins:
My God, I love this feeling.
I can´t afford it, I have to be onstage every evening. I will do that later. The only insatiability for me is wine.
Greed? I´ve never felt that in my life. I don´t even know this kind of feeling. I think that greedy people just have to accept their situation.
Sloth? I have worked since I was ten years old. I was on tour non-stop for ten years. Sloth doesn´t exist for me. And when I come home for six weeks: couch! But this is not laziness then when you have earned a break.
That´s what I live for. You will see that tonight onstage in about 45 minutes when we start playing. And that´s not a cliché, it´s damn serious. This morning someone told me that I had a lot of hate in my heart but I think that´s exactly what I need, I love it. It´s a friendly hate.
You have to have a lot of money to be stingy. Or very little…
Everyone is vain in his own way. I look into the mirror all the time to make sure that I´m ready to go. Exactly like you or anyone else.
Author: Andy Kuhn, Photos: Josef Loher, translation: Kathleen Gransalke