Prior to DEVILDRIVER's July 19 performance in Sioux City, Iowa, guitarist Mike Spreitzer spoke with Jeremy Lafrentz of Backstage Entertainment. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On when the group's forthcoming record will be released:
Mike: "Don't ask me when that is. I'm not 100 percent sure yet... I've heard a couple of dates. It's done, though. It's mastered. All the songtitles haven't been worked out. A lot of them are still working titles. We've got to work that out. I think all the artwork is done."
On what to expect from the album:
Mike: "I'm very, very happy with this record. Honestly, I think this is the most happy I've ever been with any record. We went with a different producer — Steve Evetts — this time, and for the very first time, me, Neal [Tiemann], our other guitar player, and Austin [D'Amond], our drummer, actually got together and did pre-production... We actually spent two weeks. We rented out a studio in Chino, California and went there for two weeks straight and just went through all the songs. Neal wrote about half the record. I wrote the other half. Austin wrote a few songs. I've never learned all the riffs on any record, because our old drummer, our old bass player, our old guitar player, we all wrote, so if you wrote it, you played it on the record, for the most part. This time around, Steve really wanted Neal on one side for rhythms and me on the other. I was, like, 'Steve, there's no way. It's a double record. I don't have the time to learn all 20 songs — even my own.' When I write, I have to go re-learn everything, because I record it and then I just kind of forget about it and worry about it later. This time around, he just kind of Jedi mind-tricked me into learning all the songs, so I did. But it was a cool process. He really schooled Austin on the drums a lot during those two weeks. There's a lot of songs using baritone or seven-string [guitars]. We have some songs that are tuned down to drop-A — actually, quite a few. Then we went into the studio. Steve has a different way of working on things. We used a different amp and a slightly different guitar tone for every song, which I'd actually never done before. I did the same thing when I was producing the new WEDNESDAY 13 record... As of now, the plan is to stagger the releases. I don't know how far apart from one another — I would imagine it would be at least within six months."
On the "craziest thing" a fan has asked him to sign:
Mike: "A bag of ecstasy at Ozzfest. I signed it. It was like, 'What kind of pills are you taking, bro?' He's like, 'It's ecstasy. Will you sign it?' So I signed it, and then I'm like, 'Dude, it's, like, 120 degrees outside. You shouldn't be taking ecstasy. Drink a lot of water.'"
On his "biggest embarrassment onstage":
Mike: "I have this thing with Albuquerque. We always have great shows there, and our fans there are awesome, so if you live in Albuquerque, don't take it the wrong way. I've just had really bad luck there. We've had buses break down at least twice on the way to the venue. I found out Mitch [Lucker] passed away, from SUICIDE SILENCE, when I was there. I found out Cory [Smoot] from GWAR passed away when I was there. I spent my 30th birthday and my 31st birthday in Albuquerque for some odd reason. The only time I fell onstage was in Albuquerque. Of course, the whole Cavalera family was there side-stage to see it. I went out and stepped over my pedal board, and when I went to go step back, I didn't pick my foot up enough, and I just tripped and fell flat on my ass. I kept on trying to play to kind of pull it off and make it look cool, but I was getting no guitar signal because apparently, I hit my volume pedal. Max was really cool about it. When we were in the dressing room after the show, he was like, 'Bro, I fell off the stage once.'"
On the best advice he's ever received:
Mike: "I remember one of my [music school] teachers saying to the whole class, 'Guys, don't be mediocre musicians. Be better than that.' That kind of stuck with me. I'm not saying I'm the best guitar player in the world or [best] musician or anything like that, but it definitely made me think and try to not be the bottom of the barrel. Right around that time is when I started to get into the whole recording and studio stuff. I guess I kind of put guitar on the side a little bit to learn how to record myself and eventually be a producer and a mixer and start getting into that whole world. That's how I took it — not so much to be a better guitar player, but just have a variety of skills."
DEVILDRIVER plans to release the first installment of its as-yet-untitled double album in early 2020.
DEVILDRIVER's full-length collection of outlaw country-gone-metal anthems, "Outlaws 'Til The End", came out in July 2018 via Napalm Records.