interview by Ian C Stewart
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, with more irons in more fires than most, Devin Townsend is clearly one very driven mofo, declaring "I have so many plans it is nauseating."
He recently acted as producer of Lamb Of God's monumental As The Palaces Burn, a situation he quickly recalls as the strangest of his professional life. "I was overextended in about forty five different ways, and as much as I love the guys in the band, I wouldn't want to repeat a situation like that. They are great to work with, but it was a very hard session. If we were to do another record, I would like to do it in a different circumstance and it could even be better."
I asked the prolific songwriter to describe his working methods. "It starts with a riff. I play it until I get bored of playing it, leaving it, coming back to it, dropping it if it sucks after a while. It's all about capturing the moment."
As for why he took to music in his youth, "it seemed like the only way I could hang out with the cool kids. I was the only kid in my grade who could play Judas Priest songs on guitar, so the older kids let me hang out with them."
About his record label situation, Townsend says "it's excellent, everything is in place. Let's just hope it translates into sales, because it would be nice to pretend we were big rock guys for awhile." New releases we should be aware of? "There will a DVD of both Devin Townsend Band and Strapping Young Lad by the end of the year."
What about touring? "We are kind of perpetually on tour, even when we are at home." Their biggest audience was "250,000 in Korea with 20,000,000 watching on TV, it was with SYL at the World Cup." Favorite place to play live? "On a stage with a PA that works and lots of heavy metal Marshall stacks. Anyplace. It's all the same - people are people." Touring anecdotes? "We are little old for shenanigans, so we spend most of our time drinking and doing drugs." Overly-enthusiastic fans? "It's usually not that big of a deal because most of the time the obssessive fan realizes that most of what we are doing has privacy built into it, so they realize that if they're going to stay obsessive, they better stay the fuck away!"
As a personal favor, the next time you're on Uranium (MuchMusic/Fuse's metal show), can you please punch the hostess of the for me? "Juliya is the queen, I would never punch her! She is really cool, and she is her all the way through. It's not a joke, she beat the fuck out of Jed from SYL!"
Are there any famous people you'd like to punch or slap around? "If I ever saw The Rock I would beat the fuck outta him. This is a direct challenge to The Rock. Anytime, anywhere, I can stop the rock!"
Are you feeling mouthy about anything? "No, I am not mouthy at the moment. I am on a nonmouthy trip right now. I've spent the last month being mouthy."
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