Devildriver - Mike Spreitzer

Devildriver - Mike Spreitzer

DEVILDRIVER did another successful US tour with GWAR before the Xmas holidays, so just before the show in Joliet, METAL KAOZ met Mike Spreitzer in the band’s tour bus and after a short chat about comics (there was Spongebob Squarepants on the TV), we talked about the following...


Ok, let’s start with the obvious question: how is the tour going so far?
The tour so far... is almost over; we actually have one more week and it’s over.

Do you feel tired, bored?
I’m a little toured out; it’s been a long tour. This was the longest tour we’ve done since last time we’ve been out with GWAR and it was for 6 weeks. This one is almost 8 weeks.

So how was the experience with GWAR?
It’s cool; they are all mellow guys, they are all friends of ours. Of course there is a new guitar player, so there are a few different faces but they are all sweethearts. They are cool to hang out with. I think we all have gotten a bit older since it’s been 7 years since the last tour; there isn’t much partying like it used to and I think we have become a little more mellow. It’s been good though; it’s been a fun tour and they helped us out. They are very respective – everybody’s needs and they are a great band to tour with.

We talked to Uderus 2 days ago and he said that GWAR are going to tour the US again in May; so are there any talks on going with DEVILDRIVER again?
As far as I know there have not been any talks but I don’t think so. Unless it’s about a completely different market, there is a possibility, but I doubt it. I honestly don’t know what we are going to do in May yet to tell you the truth. From the talks that I’m having with our management, we have the co-headlining tour with CANNIBAL CORPSE lined up in February in Europe and in UK, Jeff and I are going to do a few guitar clinics in UK for a week after the tour is over with Blackstar Amps. We have about 5 dates there – I actually don’t remember the exact dates but they are going to be posted and right after this tour we are going to do our new record. I know that our schedule is going to be busy next year but exactly what is going to be, I’m not sure yet.

What are you going to do in the clinic? Do you like doing them or it’s like an endorsement?
No, I like doing them; it’s a little bit nerve-racking sometimes, you don’t really know how many people are going to show up. So far we’ve done 4 and I’d say 3 out of them were great. We are doing another one in the NAMM convention in Anheim in January for Blackstar but yeah they are cool. I mean, we go up there, we play some more technical songs guitar-wise to pre-recorded drum tracks and then we are open for discussion. There are a lot of kids that have questions about the amps or our writing style, influences and they can ask us whatever they want.

Now that you said “writing”, what about the next DEVILDRIVER album? Where are you on that?
It’s pretty much written; I’m really excited about this record. Way more than I was about “Beast” for some reason. I don’t know why; we have kind of taken a different direction with that record, but if I had to compare that stuff, it’s more in the vein of “The Fury Of Our Maker's Hand” or “The Last Kind Words”.

Did you think of writing like that or it was a spontaneous thing?
Yeah, I think we kinda did; I think we are at this point when writing together for 10 years now you kind of look back and go “what worked and what hasn’t”. We try to stick to a format that worked for us in the past and being well-received by the fans, but also in a way keeping it different so we don’t get bored, because we do like challenge ourselves.

Do you have a working title for the new album?
No, not yet.

How many tracks are we talking about?
Right now, I believe we are going to be tracking 13 or 14 songs. I think we are going to have 11-12 on the record and the rest as b-sides.

That’s awesome. And you have a new record deal, right?
Yeah, we are in Napalm Records now.

Was there any specific reason for leaving Roadrunner Records?
It was just time, you know. It was kind of blessing in disguise. It was a hard decision but we’ve been there for very long and Dez was there during the COAL CHAMBER days. We used to know everyone and see familiar faces in whatever country we went. But now everyone is new, you know, all the offices in Europe closed, Canada’s closed, some of the people in Australia are gone – I think that some offices in Australia are still open, but it’s like almost everyone we knew is gone. Even if we had stayed in Roadrunner, it’s still like be in a completely different label in some sense.

Did it take you a long time to find a new record deal? Were there many options for you?
That’s what managements do; that’s one of the reasons why a band has a manager and takes care of that stuff and leaves us to be the artist and write music and not worry about that. What is good for them, it’s good for you. Anyway, I think that Roadrunner handles its bands very, very well. Hopefully Napalm Records will follow too.

It’s a more Metal label, right?
Yeah, so was Roadrunner in the beginning; towards the end they were signing, I mean, they got RUSH on their roster now. RUSH, KISS, LYNYRD SKYNYRD... (laughs the tour manager shows his shoes, t-shirt and keychain) and our tour manager is wearing everything I just said (laughs). We’ll see; who knows what’s in stores for the labels in the next 10 years, if they will still be around or honestly I can kind of see getting your music out there is going to be more a self-funded thing. It’s so easy to record music at home these days and promote yourself. I just read an article the other day about Jason Newsted about how he got in touch with a lot of people by making tapes and mailing out to people in the world and stuff like that. He would just put all these tapes together and now all you have to do is click a button and it can go out to hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of seconds. Back in those days you spent hours and hours to package tapes and go to the post office dropping off time and money, and now it’s totally different.

Even the recording process was difficult back then; because if you messed up a tape you cannot delete it. You had to do it all over again.
And people do not appreciate music as much as they used to. I mean, they still do, but it’s so easy to get it. I even notice myself that I get a new album no matter how much I love it, like the new GOJIRA for example, I probably kept that on longer than I have any other record for the last 5 years, just because I get bored more quickly for some reason. I don’t know; maybe it’s because I’m in the industry and I am surrounded by music every single day, but I have noticed that I don’t correspond to a record like I used to.

Things are different; back in the days, we had vinyl, right? You had the big cover, the lyrics…
For me it was CDs, you know. I love getting it, unwrapping it and looking it through. When I got one single sleeve, I got pissed. I wanted the whole layout and I read everything in there: who mixed it, engineered it, mastered it, produced it, all that kind of stuff. I still love to do that, but even I stopped looking by; Now, I’ve given up and just download from iTunes.

The bad thing with iTunes though is that people are used to download just one song, leaving unnoticed the rest of a good album and miss the whole picture.
I usually get the whole record, especially if it’s about a band I love - I’m still old-school like that. Even if the rest of the record sucks, I have to know from fact that it sucks. I have to listen to it. Sometimes things just growing in you, you know.

Sure, because music is the artist’s point of view; so maybe sometimes you have to synchronize yourself and your brain with the artist’s. And then really appreciate what is going on. So, I think that next year you’re going to have the 10th anniversary of the band. So, any thoughts of doing something special?
It’s a topic that has come up between us but we haven’t actually discussed it, making any concrete plans about it yet.

Would you like to?
I think it would be cool; the first record is not my favorite – it was written by Evan Pitts for the most part, the guy I replaced, so it’s a very different record for us. But the talks that I have had is with our drummer and more of our talks is about the anniversary of “The Fury Of Our Maker's Hand” and talking about possibly doing that record in its entirety, but like I said, this is just a thought. Playing “The Fury Of Our Maker's Hand” is something I’d like to do. And that was my first record with the band.

Ok, last question; have you set a release date for the new album?
We are looking August/September 2013 as it now, and we will record everything with Mark Lewis at Audio Hammer studios, outside of Orlando in Florida. We are going to do all the music, guitars, bass and drums over there, and then after the holidays, he is flying to California where Dez will do the vocals at this house; he bought a really cool vocal isolation booth in one of his rooms and Mark is going there finish it up or whatever, maybe some guitar solos or whatever has to be done at my house, at my studio, we’ll see.

Ok, thank you, Mike, enjoy the rest of the tour.
You’re welcome, guys! Take care!