Live interview with Devour the Day, by Nicci Allen
Nicci had the pleasure of speaking with Blake Allison and Joey Walser from Devour the Day before their set opening for Rob Zombie at Fuel Arena in Grayslake, IL. The guys proved to have just as much substance and energy offstage as on, while they provided laughs and inspiration with their replies.
OSR: Being from Chicago myself, I’m curious to know where you got your nickname “Joey ‘Chicago’ Walser?”
Joey: When I first moved to Memphis, the singer of our old band just kind of started calling me Chicago all the time, and it stuck, and then at 19 years old I thought it would be cool to be a bass player and have a nickname, like “Flea” or “P-Nut,” so it has just been there for the last 10 years or so. These days I don’t think anyone close really refers to me as that.
Blake: Except for when it’s like (in Italian accent) “hey Chicago! Who ate all my pizza?!” *both laughing*
OSR: Prior to this band, the two of you used to be half of Egypt Central; have you carried over anything from that band into writing for Devour the Day?
Joey: The angst of the band.
Blake: The way Joey and I have always written together is a huge part of the writing process. Essentially it’s the same thing; we write for ourselves, and not for someone else.
OSR: How does it differ?
Blake: We don’t have any filters. What we wanna say and what we wanna play is there. We don’t have to worry if it’s doable by somebody.
Joey: Or if it’s “radio” enough.
OSR: Do you have bands in mind that you would love to tour with?
Joey: Elvis. Iggy Pop. Michael Jackson.
OSR: Anyone, ya know, alive? (besides Iggy Pop)
Joey: Iggy Pop is totally alive. He looks dead, but he is just a master.
Blake: (We’re just kidding, Iggy.)
Joey: Have you ever seen The Stooges rider? Look that up. It’s the most nonsensical list, like 80 pages. Ours is one page, like: peanut butter, bread, and beer.
Blake: It’s a Post-it note.
OSR: All ya really need. Can you recall a favorite tour moment, and why does it stand out?
Joey: Vinnie Paul. Vinnie Paul came out to see us, and he sang our song.
Blake: Met Vinnie Paul, and I totally nerded out. I was like “uhhhh…can I get my picture with you? I’m in the band Devour the Day, we played…” and he’s like “Oh yeah!” *singing* “I wanna be a good man!”
OSR: No way!
Joey: I was like, I can die now Vinnie, thanks for that. *motions cutting throat*
Blake: Yeah he sang our song and then I asked for a picture and he said “yeah! Can I get one too?” and then he gave HIS phone! Oh and then he came to see us in Vegas. That was exciting. He was sitting in the back, nodding his head along.
OSR: Wow, I wouldn’t know what to say. How cool is that! I see that you have toured with bands such as Sevendust, In This Moment, Candlebox, and Butcher Babies. Who were you most excited to share the stage with?
Joey: Well we are excited to play with Rob Zombie today. That’s always a good show. Crazy guitars.
OSR: Oh yeah, always a good time.
Joey: We played a show with Middle Class Rut this year, and we love that band, so that was really cool, because I actually went out in the crowd and watched, sweat my ass off. Did some mushrooms… maybe that was why the show was so good… but it was good. (I didn’t do any mushrooms.)
OSR: *laughing* What location is the biggest on your bucket list to play?
Blake: Japan. I wanna be HUGE in Japan.
OSR: *laughing* That’s a song by Guano Apes; “Big in Japan.”
Blake: Oh yeah. HUGE.
Joey: I wanna be huge, period. Like 6’5 and 400 pounds… I think Japan would be great; somewhere where we are naturally large people anyways. So we’d be huge AND huge. Double huge.
Blake: Very popular, and very large. He wants to play the land of OZ, with all the Munchkins.
Joey: Yes that’s my dream.
OSR: That’s definitely an aspiration to have. On a different note, can you tell me a little about what inspired your new single “Respect?” Very venomous lyrics there.
Blake: Our old singer.
Joey: Yeah, and the situation with our old band. I think we spell it out pretty clear. At the same time, we released that last, as like saying “we are vindicated, leaving this out on the table, and we are gonna move on to writing music about the next chapter of our lives.”
OSR: Excellent. You guys have been playing together for a long time now. How long has it been, and how did you meet?
Joey: 12 years. Blake was doing my dishes when I came into my apartment…
Blake: *laughing* I used to be a hired maid service.
Joey: I bought this apartment when I was 18, Blake was 17, he was still in high school. Basically my place where my entire class and his entire class would get together and just RAGE it. We had a dog that wouldn’t shit outside. Literally the minute you would let it back inside, it pooped on the floor.
Blake: I woke up to many nights of the dog just eating my hair.
Joey: The dog’s name was Diggity Dank. We had lots of parties there, no one ever cleaned up…
Blake: This is not a made up story, you couldn’t make this up. I had started doing this open mic thing at this place called Bel Air Club, and there was this blind dude named Jimmy. Jimmy was a blues player, and he was looking for a full band, so I called Joey. I didn’t know Joey, I just knew he played the bass. So he came down, we jammed, and it was…
Joey: It was AWFUL.
Blake: Awful. Jimmy kept turning around, he was blind, looking the wrong direction and yelling “no C! C!!”
Joey: “C, mothafucka!”
Blake: And then we started a band, called Plan A.
OSR: Oh, how long was that together?
Blake: It wasn’t ever together. We use a 4 track recorder, we recorded like 6 songs, it was nothing.
Joey: We were a band room with a name. It was just drum and bass.
Blake: Then we got a couple other dudes, did some covers. We had two sets of covers and then our original songs; that was the only way we could find anywhere to play because we had to play for an hour and a half, two hours.
Joey: Drinking Jack. My big move back then was to lean back, put my head on the wall, come back. “Whoooooaaa did you see how far that guy leaned back?”
Blake: They used to pay us in beer. We were not old enough to drink. Joey moved back to Chicago, I met the dudes from Memphis that we started the real band with, and that’s how…
Joey: That’s how Blake ruined my life.
OSR: You love it, you know it. What, to you, makes your new record “Time and Pressure” stand out?
Joey: Honesty. And we didn’t have an agenda when we wrote it. I think a lot of bands get to the point where they’re like “gotta have a single, gotta have this, wanna have this placement, gotta make it big, gotta make sure our image matches.” Me and Blake didn’t care about any of it. We had already done that for 10 years, we were over that. We wanted to write music that was about what we were going through, and I think that it translated. It related, so we are gonna continue to do that.
OSR: Any news about what is next for Devour the Day?
Blake: We’re gonna write another record. We’ve been touring for about a year… little bit over a year? *looks at Joey*
Joey: You have no idea, do you?
Blake: No. I’m literally guessing. Time flies when you’re having fun… but we’ve been touring or a long time, and we’re ready to make another record. *swats down fly buzzing in his face* DID YOU SEE THAT?!
OSR: I did, that was impressive!
Joey: Totally bitch-slapped that fly.
OSR: That was some Karate Kid shit right there.
Blake: It was!!
OSR: There are 4 dates left on your tour; any plans for when you return home to Tennessee? Relax, drink some Jack?
Blake: Yes. Drink some Jack, write some tunes. That’s the plan.
OSR: I noticed a Nirvana shirt in your video for “Good Man.” Are they an influence of yours?
Joey: I specifically was one of those kids who was right at the age where I was like “am I the only one who doesn’t wanna dress up like a girl?” Metallica and Nirvana, they looked like dudes, and they didn’t have music that was like *makes high-pitched squealing pop music sounds.”
OSR: Do you have any other influences?
Blake: We kinda take from everything.
Joey: Food. Water.
Blake: Are we talking about necessities here or music?
Joey: I was confused there…
OSR: *laughing* What ARTISTS have influenced you?
Blake: All of them. I think we can find influence in everything we listen to. We have a nice selection of music among our band members. Whatever they’re jammin out, we listen to that, Pandora, anything that has anything to do with music, there’s something you can take from it.
OSR: Joey, in a letter to your fans you stated that your intention for this band was to “seize the moment and risk all to complete your dream.” Do you feel that you are now closer to this dream?
Joey: Yes, just one little tiny bit left.
OSR: What will it take to get you there?
Joey: I don’t know yet. I think it has to do with the artwork and creating, you know, I don’t wanna say our “masterpiece” but getting to a place where we know we are consistently making music that not only quenches our need to do it, but also satisfies the people who are listening to it.
Blake: When we’ve taken over the world, I think that’s what.
Joey: When every single person in the world has our logo tattooed on their face.
Blake: It would be a requirement, the only way you can eat. “Thanks for your mark, here’s a loaf of bread and a glass of water. Now go listen some more.”
OSR: *laughing* World domination? That’s a good sign you’ve made it. Solid goal. Ok last question. Do you have any advice for your fans that are aspiring musicians?
Joey: Don’t go to college. Go outside. Don’t play on your computer. Write a song without your computer…like, for once; that’s what my advice would be. Stop letting machines take over the matrix.
Blake: Don’t play badly. Play good music. Ask yourself that question “Am I playing good music?”
OSR: Perfect. Any last words for your fans?
Blake: New single is “Respect.” Google Devour the Day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Come see us play when we come to your town. Annnnd….
Joey: THANK YOU!!!
Blake: Thanks. *smiles*
OSR: Beautiful. Thanks so much guys. See you on stage!
Devour the Day went on to blow away the crowd with their set. They brought out both old and new tracks, including a surprise treat of their Egypt Central hit “White Rabbit” which clearly thrilled their fans, judging by their wild reaction. Their fresh vision and drive was apparent, and the genuine charismatic passionate vibe these guys radiate both in person and in their music is bound to deliver them their dream sooner than they think… if not to world domination.