Devildriver's Dez Fafara: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life

Devildriver frontman Dez Fafara digs deep into his record collection, showcasing his love for Sabbath, Black Flag and beyond

Devildriver's Dez Fafara: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life
Dan Slessor

From Coal Chamber to Devildriver to his latest outlaw country incarnation, Dez Fafara knows his way around heavy music in all its forms. Here, while rifling through his music library, we find out how Dez could have ended up as a psychobilly drummer had life turned out a little differently…

The first song I remember hearing…

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild (1968)

“My parents listened to a lot of The Doors and The Rolling Stones, but if I really think about it, the earliest memory I can recall is listening to Born To Be Wild. I think that really set the template for me early on.”

The song that reminds me of school…

Black Flag – Jealous Again (1980)

“I jammed this record pretty much every single day from my freshman year onward. I was kind of a weird, private kid and music was the most formative thing in my life. And I had punk rock, which changed my life. I actually just buried my best friend from high school, and we first met because we both enjoyed punk rock. Every time I was at his house I would hear this on the stereo.”

The first song I ever learned to play…

Stray Cats – Rumble In Brighton (1981)

“My first gig was playing a stand up drum kit in a three-piece psychobilly band when I was 13, which was also around the time I got my first tattoo. We sounded like The Cramps meets the Sex Pistols. I loved rockabilly, and still do, and the first song I really mastered was this one. I remember right after playing it and thinking, ‘Fuck, I can play this shit in a garage with 12 kids, which basically means we’ve got a band. Let’s do this!’”

The song that most reminds me of my first tour…

Ozzy Osbourne – Over The Mountain (1981)

“I don’t know why, but this fucking song came on every time we got in a van, a bus, or anything on wheels for the first four or five years of Coal Chamber’s existence. It was the weirdest shit.”

The song that gets me pumped in the gym…

Rob Zombie – Superbeast (1998)

“If you want to crush working out, throw on Rob Zombie’s first solo record, Hellbilly Deluxe. It’s got that constant groove and all this cool movement. Rob gave me the nickname ‘Crazy Dez.’”

The song that's picked me up when I've been down…

Fear – I Love Livin' In The City (1978)

“If I’m having a really shitty day, I might throw this on. It’s straight-up fantastic and one of the best punk rock songs of all time. (Fear vocalist) Lee Ving is an amazing guy, too.”

The song I wish that I had written…

Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf (1971)

“Me and this song have some history. I was 15 years old, it was Christmas Eve. I was at the house of the guitarist/singer of our psychobilly band and I took my first ever bong hit listening to it. I subsequently fell asleep under the Christmas tree and didn’t get home until the next morning. My parents were fucking pissed!”

The best party song…

Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (1980)

“We had people over the other day and everyone was pretty much just sitting around in the backyard, so I said, ‘This is boring!’ and threw on Ace Of Spades. Everyone’s heard it a million fucking times, but it had people automatically popping beers, a couple of them jumped in the pool and it became a party. I think any time is Motörhead time: I’ll cook to them; they’re another good one to work out to. Lemmy was just the man. He always remembered my name and was really kind to me.”

My favourite song to play live…

Devildriver – Clouds Over California (2007)

“My favourite changes almost on a day-to-day basis, but Clouds Over California is always going to be up there for me. It’s arguably one of our better-known songs, if not the best known, and being from California, no matter whether I’m in Germany, London, New York – wherever – it reminds me of home. It’s not actually a song I’d say I knew was going to be special when we were writing and recording it. In fact, I’ve never felt that about any song, it’s the fan base that makes it special.”

The song I want played at my funeral…

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Lay Me Low (1994)

“Not many songs choke me up, but this one always gets to me. I’m a massive Nick Cave fan, and it’s literally in my will that this song has to be played at my funeral. It’s such a beautiful song. I really don’t know what kind of effect it’ll have on the people there – and I won’t be there to find out, so I never will – but if it’s the first time some of them hear it, that’s a good thing to have shared on my way out.”

Words: Dan Slessor

Devildriver's latest album Outlaws ’Til The End: Vol. 1 is out now. A new record is expected later this year.

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