Back in February, shortly after the beginning of their headlining tour with Death Angel, we caught up with DevilDriver. As soon as there was a break in the meet-and-greets with the fans, we managed to have a few words with Mike Spreitzer, long-time guitarist for the ever-forging California quintet. He spoke with us about the tour’s progression, reception to their amazing Napalm Records opus Trust No One, and what it was like having fresh blood in the band.
So, of course, first thing, how’s the tour been progressing so far for you guys?
Spreitzer: Well we started off with 70000 Tons of Metal, and that was really, really awesome! We will definitely do that again, we had so much fun. The unfortunate part was me, Austin, and Dez all got sick; I think I’m on day nine but I mean I feel pretty good now. I’m about 90% over it and Dez about 80% over it, but yeah, it wasn’t the best way to start a tour. Especially for Dez since he’s got to sing.
Plus also weather-wise coming up here and everything at this time now (February and the sudden snowstorms)…
Spreitzer: You know, I don’t really mind that. I’m not a fan of the cold, but I’ve gotten used to it and been in weather much worse, Winnipeg for instance! [laughs]
How has Napalm (Records) been treating you guys?
Spreitzer: Napalm has been great; they’ve been nothing but awesome to work with. It was a very easy transition going from Roadrunner (Records) to Napalm. Judging by the first week sales of our record, I imagine it’s the best opening week we’ve ever had in the United States. A lot of people have been telling me it’s the best DevilDriver album they’ve heard in a long time; it means a lot to me. I think we spent about a good year or year and a half writing it.
So, as for the rest of the tour, are you guys going to be just pretty much continuing throughout the rest of 2017, or are you going to be doing any other sort of recording before the year is out?
Spreitzer: We’re doing something right now, but I’m kind of sworn to secrecy to talk about it (slight smirk). People will hear more about it closer to 2018.
How are you feeling about the band now, compared to, say, sometime around when Beast came out?
Spreitzer: It’s kind of a breath of fresh air having new guys in the band. I’m very good friends with everyone who has been with DevilDriver in the past: John Boecklin, Jon Miller, Jeff Kendrick, Chris Towning, all of them. The people in the bed now have a lot more passion for it. Some of the other guys… Jeff just didn’t want to tour anymore, and Boecklin just wanted to do his own thing. When you’re in a band that tours full time, it doesn’t really leave a lot of time for anything else at all.
Anything to say about Neal’s playing? How do you feel about the dynamic with him? I know he just came in to do the last album.
Spreitzer: He came in, we hired him… Dez really wanted him in the band, and he tried out. I was a little against having him in the band at first because he came from more of a rock background, but my mind was changed very quickly when I saw him play. Then when we started to write together, he actually ended up turning into the best writing partner I’ve ever had! He writes things that I just absolutely love. Even Austin wrote some parts here and there because he does play the guitar; but I wrote roughly about 60% of it because I had already begun writing before we hired Austin and Neal. But after this experience with him, I’m definitely going to let my guard down a little bit on the next record, and let them come forward and express more of their artistic abilities because I think they have a lot to add to the band. Okay gotta go; got everything you need?
Pretty much, do you have anything else that you want to add?
Spreitzer: Nah, that’s about it. Thanks man!
Devil Driver are still blazing down the road leaving pits in their wake in support of Trust No One. The U.K. and Europe better watch out as they are headed there for a string of dates through June 2017. Make sure to catch them, as they grab by the throat live!
Check out the band’s video for the song “Trust No One”