Dying Scene catches up with Jason DeVore (Authority Zero)

If you aren’t familiar with modern day punk legends Authority Zero, it’s about time you crawl out of the cave from which you apparently dwell in and perk up those ears. The band plays high energy reggae-infused punk rock and have put out several solid albums during their 15 years of existence.

I recently saw Authority Zero play in a small venue located in Orlando called Backbooth and had the pleasure of interviewing their incredibly down to Earth vocalist, Jason DeVore before they hit the stage. We talked about the band’s new album Stories of Survival, their new record label, Arizona’s new immigration law and future music related endeavors.

Check out the full interview here.

DS: I first discovered your music through the song Revolution which was featured on Rock Against Bush Vol. 1 cd when I was 13 years old. I have followed your band ever since. I’m 19 years old and will be voting for the first time in August. I was wondering how do you feel about the current political atmosphere?

Jason DeVore: We think obviously it’s a change from what happened before when Bush was running things. Things are still really messed up though and We just hope they can fix them.

DS: Many artists including Rise Against, Anti-Flag, Billy Bragg, Rage Against the Machine and more are staging a sound strike for your home state due to the new immigration law that they disagree with. How do you feel about that?

Jason DeVore:  That’s always one those weird questions for me because we are from Arizona. That law has brought a lot of heat to our state  and We did a lot of research on it because We knew this question would pop up pretty often. My initial thought about the bands that were boycotting playing in Arizona was that it kind of bummed me out. In the sense that We didn’t feel that the fans should have to suffer because their state lawmen that passed a bad law. Boycotting the state is hurting the kids that want to come out and see these bands play but a lot them understand the good intentions of the bands. I felt personally that it would be nice if the bands came and spoke their mind to try to make a change but we I understand why the bands are doing what they are doing.

DS: Your new album “Stories of Survival” is out now. How do you feel about it in general?

We are really so proud of this album. It’s been a few years in the making and we’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs throughout the process of writing it. I think it gave me a chance to be brutally honest with myself and about a lot of things that had been going on in general. We put a lot of heart and energy into this album.

DS: The album starts with a great quote from Winston Churchill. Why did you choose this quote and how did you choose the album title?

Jason DeVore: The Winston Churchill quote, we were just doing some research when we were finishing up the album and I just came across it online to be honest with you. Just the blood, sweat, tears and toil that encompassed the idea of doing whatever it takes to move on and prosper. With everything we’ve gone through in the last few years both politically and as a group it seemed to really fit with what the album encompassed. I thought it was a great way to kick it off.

We chose the title because as a band we survived the storm that we’ve gone through. We’ve went from a five piece to a four piece three years ago and then back to having original members back in the band. It’s almost like we went full circle from about three years ago so it seemed to fit.

DS: How do feel the band has progressed since the beginning?

Jason DeVore: I think we’ve come a really long way. At shows I used to never play guitar at all. Nowadays we are incorporating acoustic guitar into our songs to change it up a bit. We put a lot more musical effort into it rather than than a bunch of noise completely.

Zach our new guitar player, he brings a lot of new stuff to the band after Bill had left. He brings a lot of musical flavor and really adds a whole different element to the sound of Authority Zero. I think it’s more of a mature sound. I think we’ve progressed a lot in general as every band does over the years.

DS: What was the recoding process like this time around? Do you work on things collectively or do you have individual parts that you then put together while you are working on the album?

Jason DeVore: It was a smooth process actually. We just let it happen instead of trying too hard to overdub and do extra stuff here and there to spice it up. We let the songs speak for themselves. We all work collectively. Typically it’ll start out with me writing an acoustic riff or chorus. I’ll bring it to practice and we pretty much shred it to pieces. The chorus will become the verse and verse will become something completely different. Something crazy, you know what I mean? We were pretty much writing right up until the last day before we were in the studio and changing parts completely.

DS: In what ways do you feel that this album is different from your previous efforts?

Jason DeVore: We kind of brought back some more of the reggae tinge to it. The past ones did but kind of in a different way. We kind of got into the raw side of things. A couple albums prior are a little more produced. This one again has a lot more raw energy to it which I really like. A lot more bands get stuck with that a lot of the time. It doesn’t really capture what the band is doing and playing.

DS: I’ve heard some songs from the Patches in Time and Live Your Life demos, many of which were put on your album A Passage in Time, but a handful are still sorta unreleased. Do you have any plans to remaster any of your older rare material and release it?

Jason DeVore: We’ve talked about that left and right. Even about releasing stuff off Patches in Time and Andiamo but our old label, Lava Records, owns the rights to all of that. We can’t even get those albums to sell at our shows. They want like one million dollars for each album or something crazy like that. They are being a huge monster in the music industry. They are holding on to them in case that the albums we’re putting out ourselves take off and they can bank off it.

I think we are actually going to try and rerecord Patches In Time and Andiamo live. You know, a very well produced and put together one and release that since kids can’t find the music or buy the albums at our shows. We might remaster Live Your Life and put that out too. I think the kids will really think it’s cool and I’d like to do that as well.

DS: I’ve seen a lot of your sets online like your record release show and it was acoustic. I was wondering if you ever thought about doing another acoustic album (besides Rhythm and Booze)?

Jason DeVore: Well we’re actually talking about that and will probably do a second Rhythm and Booze pretty soon. Probably shortly after these tours for Stories of Survival. We’re also talking about doing something with Miguel who did the Sublime stuff and our Andiamo record. Something called Dub Zero where we just do a bunch of straight acoustic dub songs. There’s a lot stuff we’ve got planned for the future just a different variety of music.

DS: What’s it like to be on Viking Funeral records, a brand new label started by Fletcher of Pennywise and Ken of Hardline Entertaiment. How did that deal come about and why did you decide to change to make the jump?

Jason DeVore: They actually approached us. We befriended the guys in Pennywise while touring and what not.

Fletcher brought the idea up when he started the label and we were pretty much labeless. When we writing the record we had talked about just putting it out ourselves  and then he came to us with the proposal of putting us out as a first release on for Viking Funeral. The label is also affiliated with Suburban Noise Records who released The Rhythm and Booze album without a flinch even though it was acoustic and sort of a risk for them. We kind of got sick of chasing people around that didn’t want us and here was Viking Funeral saying after everything that they still supported and believed in us. We just thought it was the right choice and it felt right.

DS: Did your drummer Jim Wilcox, (who runs Ransom Apparel) design this album cover?

Jason DeVore: Jim didn’t actually design the artwork but he helped with the guy who did. It was actually designed mostly by a kid (fan of the band) from Arkansas. This kid sent over the artwork – the crow and the zero logo in there and we were all blown away by it. It seemed like a victorious pose what the crow was doing. The bird was related to death and the bird’s not being dead related to survival. It was a really captivating image that he put together.

DS: You have a solo career. Are you writing any new material for that? Do you have any future plans for another solo album? Do you approach it any differently then if you were doing something with Authority Zero?

Jason DeVore: I do approach it a hundred percent differently. That’s why I started doing the solo stuff in the first place, because I started writing songs on the road that really wouldn’t work with Authority Zero and I didn’t want to just throw them away. So my buddy Brian Sandel and I started up Operation Records and just recorded out of his garage. We just recently finished up our second album and we might do a Conviction set of 4 or 5 cds. So Volume 2 is coming out probably in September. It’s just really an organic process. We go and buy a couple different types of percussion instruments and just go in there and have a good time recording and experimenting. That’s kind of the cool thing about it and there is no timeline on it really. I also have a Celtic side project called The Bollox too you can check out.

DS: You guys have toured with tons of great bands. What are some of the bands you haven’t got a chance to tour with that you’d like to tour with?

One band we’d like to tour with that we’ve done a couple of shows with is Rancid. It’d be fun to go on a full tour with those guys. We’d also like to go on tour with Bad Religion… and Rise Against would probably be great too.

Awesome!  Thanks a lot for your time, Jason.  Do you have any last words?

No, just thanks for the interview, Lauren!


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2 Comments

  1. Taron Cochrane7/19/2010 11:00 AM | Permalink

    Great review Lauren! You aced it. Loved the questions.

  2. 7/19/2010 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Taron! You rule! :)

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