In-person interview with Jon Miller of DevilDriver
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
February 12th 2010, House of Blues, West Hollywood CA
Andrew: This is the last show of the current tour. How has it been?
Jon: This was one of my favorite tours in the world, just because Suffocation is one of my favorite bands and I can't believe that we got to tour with them and they are opening up for us. The guys in Goatwhore are some of the nicest guys and a killer band too. Thy Will Be Done are old friends of ours. So overall it was a really good time.
Andrew: You guys are confirmed for Sonisphere. How does that feel?
Jon: Its sick man. I mean, we get to go to Europe for a 60,000-person festival with Metallica and the big four. I think we're doing more than just Switzerland. I think we might be doing the whole Metallica leg which is like 10 shows I think. Its probably going to be the biggest tour we've ever done. I mean, we've done Ozzfest three times and we got to do main stage at Download festival. But I think overall, Sonisphere is just a mightier beast.
Andrew: At the Pomona show [January 7th 2010], some of the Suffocation fans left the venue after they finished playing, not choosing to stay to watch you guys. What do you have to say to that?
Jon: Some kids are into certain scenes and into certain bands, and don't care for other bands. Its cool with me man, I mean no one gets butt hurt about it. Actually as the tour progressed, we didn't really notice any walkouts, nothing drastic. May be just the die-hard death metal kids. Actually, before the tour started I thought may be that would be a problem, but usually when a band is headlining, most kids come to see the headliner. If Suffocation were headlining and we were opening, I think that would have been a different story (laughs). But yeah, there were no drastic walkouts and everyone has been getting along really well. There were no kids who started shit with other fans. Everyone's been having a good time.
Andrew: That's good to hear. I think as a fan you should have an open mind and listen to all bands, I mean when you paid for the whole show why would you leave early?
Jon: Yeah and I think its good for Sufocation to do a tour like this because I don't think a lot of DevilDriver fans even know who Suffocation is. It is a good way to get exposed to a broader market. Smart businessmen!
Andrew: Jeff told me in an interview last month that you guys are really getting into the groove with the new songs on stage. Would you agree?
Jon:Yeah! We don't really have any problems playing live. Everyone just has a good time, gets drunk (laughs). We definitely get into the groove. We have a good time playing all the good songs off of the new record. My favorite new song is probably the title track.
Andrew: You've said before that the bands you tour with influence your song writing in a big way. How has this tour been in that respect?
Jon: I think, even before we toured with these bands, I mean, its funny man. I feel like I've gone to tour with all my influences like In Flames, Opeth, even Morbid Angel and the list goes on and on. Its not like we tour with bands and then get influenced later. I've been listening to all these bands since I was 14-15 years old. I feel privileged to be able to do this career and play with my fuckin' heroes.
Andrew: What's going on with the band recording-wise?
Jon: We're going to do one show in the UK for Metal Hammer. Its called Hammerfest which is a two-day festival in Wales. We're going to do that and then go to Texas in April and do the fifth record.
Andrew: That's great. So you guys are obviously keeping busy in the studio. It was less than a year back that you came out with Pray For Villains.
Jon: Yeah, we just want to knock it out again, keeping the kids interested and not let anything run dry and get stale.
Andrew: That's a very good thing you guys are doing, because I feel that most bands these days get lazy and don't come out with enough records.
Jon: Yeah and these days fans are a dime a dozen. Kids will lose interest in you quickly unless you keep them interested. The whole industry is changing and we're trying to do whatever we can to adapt to that.
Andrew: You guys did the 'Thrash And Burn' tour in July last year. Jeff said he didn't like it. I know its not up to the bands to choose the support bands, but would you say it was not the best tour you ever did?
Jon: It was the worst tour we ever did. I have nothing against any of the other bands. It was just scene oriented tour that we were on. I don't know if it tanked for us, but I'm pretty sure we didn't win over any kids from the deathcore/hardcore scene. This is so much better, it's a heavy metal tour.
Andrew: Is there any recently released album that you really liked, something that's stuck in your mind?
Check out the band at www.devildriver.com
Jon: The new '30 Seconds To Mars' is fucking killer. Its really good man Megadeth's 'Endgame' was sick. We jam a lot on Gojira's 'The Way Of All Flesh'. The new Behemoth is really good.