Interview with Jason DeVore of Authority Zero

Authority Zero
w/Song River

I'm not going to live by their rules anymore.”- Phil Connors (Bill Murray) Groundhog Day

Spending ¾ of every year out on the road touring some might say is a bit insane. Maybe it is, but then again... the rules to live by don't fit everyone. Singer/Songwriter/Vocalist/Guitar player Jason Devore of Authority Zero set his own ground rules on his road to the land of rock no roll over 20 years ago. A road that has had its bumps, its turns, even a few ditches, but never derailed from what he envisioned for himself and what he loves- making music and performing for his fans.

Having recently returned from their Japanese tour with their new line-up Authority Zero will be back out on the road across the states soon on their SUMMER SICKNESS TOUR, and then later this year on over to Europe. It would seem this thing called music and sharing it with the world is as natural for Jason as breathing is for the rest of us. It is this dedication along with family support that keeps it all real, all moving, and creating a sound that is still hitting the airwaves, selling in music stores, streaming online, and selling out concert venues.

Maybe, just maybe... rules were meant to be broken.

Song River: Can Authority Zero actually be defined? Heading into the land of 20+ years. 

Jason DeVore: Authority Zero can be defined as an eclectic band consisting of many styles of music with a centerpiece as Rock and Punk Rock. Ever changing, ever-growing, and ever exploring and trying new things.

SR: Is Authority Zero, in essence, a 'touring band' and if so how much of an influence has that been on the ebb and flow of band members over the years?  (Knowing a few of the former members it would seem family obligations played a huge role in their decision-making). 

Jason: We are undeniably a touring band. We tour roughly 3/4 of each year over the past 16 years and many out-of-town trips and shows leading up to that. Family obligations have definitely played something of a role in it, although ultimately it has been personal struggles and differences both musically and personality clash that has been the root of the band member changes. It happens when you're in a tour van for that much time with the same group of guys doing Groundhog day again and again to play the music you love and have worked so hard for. 
Some were fill in members, some couldn’t handle the heavy touring in the end, and some simply wanted to do something else with their lives after the realization settled in. What being age, artistic purposes or otherwise. The show must go on.

SR: Today and the way the industry works in the 21st century (instant videos/live concerts/photos/info) can a band survive the epitome as an aka Grateful Dead... touring style band?

Jason: That is in itself the only way a touring style band CAN survive. You need to be willing to make that sacrifice to miss family, friends, anniversary’s, birthdays, you name it. It’s the only way especially a band of our middle ground stature can stay relevant and make a humble living while doing so. It’s definitely a labor of love.

SR: How have you kept the balance yourself Jason or do you think you have?

Jason: I think I’ve lost balance more than my share of times undoubtedly. You lose long-term childhood friends only to meet back up with them finally 10 or so years later, you sacrifice your voice and body day and night, and ultimately once again you play Groundhogs Day. That will drive anyone crazy after a while. That all being said, I have an awesome helpful and supportive wife, a great support group back home and on the road. 
I love this more than most anything. You have to. If you don’t, then don’t do it. Simple as that. It’s an extreme release for me as well which helps you deal with those day-to-day nerves. Not many people get that and it keeps me calm. With balance, I also do side projects and solo music which is essentially the yin to the yang of Authority Zero. It’s all about how you handle it day-to-day to keep moving forward.

SR: Creativity and exploration is an enormous portion of a musicians need to grow and expand. 

Jason: To touch on the last response, you have to also do what comes naturally and not fight it. If you’re suddenly inspired by something, you need to grab hold of it and embrace it. It’s led me to a couple different side projects, but essentially my solo music which in a sense is the time for myself. It’s a completely different monster and side of me, it allows me to be completely honest and open. It’s liberating.

SR: Talk to me a bit Jason about your own development as an artist, some of the instruments you've picked up to learn along the way.

Jason: I’ve explored many musical styles over the years and have picked up many instruments along the way out of sheer curiosity, plus I have the want to learn. I have picked up the acoustic more and more over the years, drums, harmonica, and a great deal of percussion down to the triangle and a box of old tools. It’s a lot of fun.

SR: Is there a particular reason you believe in what Authority Zero is and what it brings? What does this band as a whole, in its own complexity, mean to you?

Jason: To be honest I just do believe in it, and what it means to me is everything. I believe  the lyrics and life stories that have come from a lifetime of experiences. The feedback and stories of hope and survival that you get from the fans from day-to-day while being on the road, the energy and electricity that comes from both the fans and that stage each night, and ultimately, the fans who have believed in us. They have been the driving force for so many years. At least to me.

SR: Do you favor an acoustic guitar brand over another? 

Jason: I was using Breedlove solely for some time and still do, though I have also now picked up Gibson. Both have an amazing tone and sound to them. 

SR: You certainly haven’t been afraid to try many things, even your own record label. What is your formula when you look at the business side of the music industry? Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks, formulate and calculate... a game of craps? 

Jason: Honestly it is all a crap shoot. No real particular  formula either to be honest. Get behind something you love, push it as much as you can financially and through whatever means and connections you may have made over time, and just believe in it. Eventually, I feel something, as you mentioned, has to stick. If not, you at least had control over it and weren’t being controlled or told what to do, and you had the personal and business stance of freedom to do it as you see fit through your own experiences.

SR: Where is the against the establishment music today? Do you think the global unrest is seeking a new voice through the arts, and in particular via music?

Jason: I think it’s all around us. In our underground venues, in our garages, in all our beginning stages screaming honestly with intent.  It’s just a matter of them breaking out and being heard.

SR: Where would you place today's Authority Zero in this mix of today's pop punk, nu metal sounds?

Jason: Not sure I could! And that’s a good feeling. 

SR: How about you Jason as your own sound/solo?  Where is it personally you want to go with your music?  How about the business industry side of it?

Jason: I want to go wherever the wind blows me. The sound of my solo music is also eclectic in itself although with my upcoming and third solo record it’s gone a bit singer/songwriter.  I'm trying to be even more honest with each emotion on it. 
I Have been doing the solo music since about 2006 which was the first release and have played as a soloist extensively around Arizona. I am looking to do a lot of touring with it to branch out, but again Authority Zero is pretty non-stop in that department. Will have to see how things play out. 
On the business industry side, it will probably be another release on my and partner Bryan Sandell’s indy label “Operation Records” unless other opportunities arise that are fair and make sense.

SR: Are you willing as a soloist or even as Authority Zero to change to be 'hip' to the new generations? Or do you even see a dividing line of ages when you connect?

Jason: I don’t believe in forcing chance, though I do believe in inspiration, exploring new and current ideas, and music in general. That’s the thing with Authority Zero is that we never really tried to pigeonhole ourselves into one set sound nor generation. It was and always has been ever-changing. Same with the solo music. Keeps it interesting for not only the fans but for us as musicians as well. Especially this many years later.

SR: Can music have the same force to move large groups of people to do things as it has in the past? Why or why not.

Jason: Absolutely…It’s music and music is life. All across the world it impacts emotion. Anger, sadness, happiness, confusion, revolution. You name it. It still exists and is a driving force of life.

SR: In your discography line-up somewhere out there on the internet I found the words “TBA Live Album CD/DVD” please give us something... anything. Is Authority Zero creating a live album and DVD? Is this kickoff tour in your hometown a prelude to the beginning of this? 

Jason: The 20 Year Anniversary album, unfortunately, has been put on hold for the time being due to many factors. Members have since changed (along with having their own opinions and somewhat refusal on the release after listening back,) audibly things got a bit glitchy and questionable, the Club which we held it in was once a beautiful thing and has since become something of a poisonous entity, and the list kind of goes on and on. We really want to release something awesome to the kids and people in participation. We are seeking out and brainstorming what we can do to either make it work or there are also talks of maybe doing a 22 Year Anniversary album instead.
This would allow us to get our members solid and in line and well as put out a better product overall. With that in mind, we’ve talked about doing two nights back to back. One being an all Ska/Reggae night of recording, and the next night straight Punk/Rock. Even bringing in a horn section for the first night. It would be pretty epic, a lot of fun, and pretty sick. 
We ultimately don’t want to disappoint all out hometown fans that came out that night to be a part of it, so either trying to do a makeup and/or just sort out the best option .

SR:  You just got home from  a major tour over in Japan?

Jason: Yes, we actually just returned from our Japanese tour and it was AWESOME! We played out there with our Japanese friends Hey Smith and every show sold out in 30 minutes. It was just super intense and a lot of fun. Those kids know how to throw down! 
What brought on the following I believe is the years of going back and staying consistent, the over the top support of our record label out there Caffeine Bomb and it’s crew, and playing with big bands out there like Less Than Jake and Hey Smith. All the elements I feel have played a role.

SR:  Hungry for what the States brings in music and you think all ages and cultures yearn for a bit of that punk'tude and easy reggae feeling? 

Jason: I like to hope to think so!

SR: After Japan, where next?

Jason: We head out across the U.S. in mid-June for our third annual “SUMMER SICKNESS TOUR,”and from there off for a seven-week tour overseas across Europe.

SR: And lastly, Jason is this live recording, possibly the opus or culmination of all that not only yourself has put into Authority Zero, but so many others... or will there ultimately be a passing of the 'torch' so to speak to the next generation of Authority Zero bandmates to play on? 

Jason: When the live album comes out it will be for everyone who has ever been a part of this group. Members and fan and friends alike.

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