In a recent interview with Australia's Silver Tiger Media, DEVILDRIVER frontman Dez Fafara spoke about "Dealing With Demons I" — the band's first release of new, original material since 2016's "Trust No One". He said: "The [album's first single] is 'Keep Away From Me'. The record is called 'Dealing With Demons'. It's a double-volume staggered release. The reason is I'm dealing with a lot of issues that I've gotta get out before I move to another lyrical style. And the first song, 'Keep Away From Me', deals with my agoraphobia that I've been going through my whole life. So I'm not the guy who's gonna go to the Grammy Awards. If you invite me to a barbecue and there's more than five or ten people there that I don't know, I'm probably gonna tell you I'm gonna come, and ten minutes beforehand, I'm gonna call you and bullshit you and tell you I can't find my keys and I'm not gonna come."
Speaking about how his life has changed during the coronavirus crisis, Dez said: "Nothing — not a thing — has changed for me, other than the fact that I can't jam with my band and I can't tour. So, nothing — absolutely nothing — has changed. Other than your heart goes out to what is happening around the world.
"I mean, you've gotta understand the place that I'm in," he continued. "In 2019, for us, we were in the middle of recording, we had to leave twice [due to] wildfires. We didn't know if we were gonna come back to our house, our car or anything we have here. You guys know very well what wildfire is like in Australia. After that, we've come through that as a family, and my wife [was diagnosed with] cancer. She goes through surgery, she beats that. After that, just as we're ready to release the record, we come into pandemic world. Now that we're gonna release the record, we come into social unrest, social upheaval world. So, if you're not a glass-half-full and you're a glass-half-empty guy, you're done — you're gonna drown in that mud. But I've never been that guy. I've always been the guy, like, 'Listen, man, keep your head above water. Keep breathing. Keep treading water.' And that's how it it is."
According to Fafara, the original plan was to release "Dealing With Demons I" a few months ago. "The record that was done — mid-2019, it was in the can, done, both records — [but it was pushed back] because of everything we were going through as a family," he said. "I wasn't about to leave my wife and go on tour or do any of that... Also, I've gotta say, a lot of bands now are pulling back their records, pulling back their music, [because] it's not a good business move to release a record — you can't tour on it, et cetera. I'm doing the exact opposite. It's what I've done my whole life. And I'm releasing music during this time.
"I feel if you're quarantined, if you're going through social unrest, social upheaval, if you've got emotional stuff happening around you, what do you need more than food and friendship? You need music," he explained.
"The topics on this double album staggered release are so heavy for me, and actually very poignant… Every single song has a different meaning… And agoraphobia happens to be 'Keep Away From Me'. That's my number one thing."
Due on October 9 via Napalm Records, "Dealing With Demons I" features Dez along the rest of DEVILDRIVER: guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann, drummer Austin D'Amond and bassist Diego Ibarra.
"Dealing With Demons I" track listing:
01. Keep Away From Me
02. Vengeance Is Clear
03. Nest Of Vipers
06. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
08. Dealing With Demons
09. The Damned Don't Cry
10. Scars Me Forever
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral