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Devour The Day: One for the underdogs

Devour The Day
Devour The Day
Daniel Mandell

Devour The Day should have never worked. Laughs bassist and co-founder Joey Walser, “We’re the underdog dudes, we’re the rhythm section. We’re the weirdos, the nerds. And so for us, we had to fight through a lot of insecurities. It took a lot for us to get out there.”

Once the backbone of Egypt Central, Walser and his partner-in-crime, Blake Allison, set out on their own in late-2012 as their now former band imploded. At that point though, the idea of another group was the furthest thing from their mind. Yet what the duo did know is that they weren’t done making music, even if the prospect of starting something new was a daunting one.

“We were terrified,” said Walser. “When we started this band, it didn’t have a name, and it’s not like there was a concept. So when we started writing, there was no idea of it even being a band because there was only the two of us. It was literally ‘I don’t want to stop writing, do you?’ And so we just started therapeutically writing about the situations and things that we were going through, and it did so well with connecting with our fans and the people that we were showing it to. Only then did we start to think that it could become a band.”

Devour The Day has become more than just a band though. With Walser continuing to share songwriting duties with Allison, who moved from behind the drum kit to the frontman’s role, the group’s release of their debut album, Time & Pressure, hitting the hard rock scene with a bang and it hasn’t let up yet. Taking to the road and staying there, DTD kept their Egypt Central fans and added scores of new ones, with the seemingly endless tour arriving at The Paramount in Huntington, NY this Sunday. The success of Time & Pressure even prompted a deal with Caroline that saw them team up with producer Brian Malouf (Queen, Michael Jackson, Dave Matthews) to remix and remaster the album, with the end product being re-released earlier this week (and on CD for the first time).

Not bad for a pair of musicians that have been friends since they were teenagers.

“Much like a marriage, Blake and I have been through so much,” said Walser. “That’s why I think Time & Pressure was such a good metaphor for what we’ve been through. We really did crawl through a river of crap and came out clean on the other side. We have such mutual respect for each other as artists that I think that’s why it transcends and lasted through all this time.”

Needless to say, Walser can safely say that the Allison as frontman experiment was a successful one.

“I’ve been pushing Blake to make this move for a long, long time,” he said. “It didn’t make as much sense when we were in Egypt Central, and he really is such an amazing drummer. But he has great vocals and he’s not your stereotypical singer. He doesn’t come with the whole Lead Singer Disease. He comes from sitting in the back, so he’s got a humility that other singers, in my opinion, just don’t have, and I think that translates when he talks to the crowd live and the way that he plays and the way that he performs. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, I’ll tell you that. He’s such a perfectionist, but at the same time, that’s what makes Blake so great and it’s why I admire him and respect him so much. So in my personal assessment, as not only his best friend, but his biggest champion, I think he’s just destroying it and doing great.”

Walser isn’t doing too bad himself, with his work on the second single from the album, “Move On,” particularly notable for the revealing story behind it, as he writes about the breakup of his marriage and Egypt Central with brutal honesty.

“It’s really hard,” said Walser of performing the song on stage. “I’ve got two kids with my ex-wife, and it’s a never ending inspiration for songs about tough times. She’s a drug addict and I’ve been dealing with that for a long time. I’m a recovering addict myself from my early 20s, so that concept and what that song means to me is so deeply ingrained in the person that I am, that I can’t help but be real when I’m performing it. When life hands you s**tty situations, then you have the option of either getting back on your feet and moving on, or you just sit in your s**t and die out like that. It was an important thing to say. Honesty is the best policy, and people relate to that.”

It may be the reason why Devour The Day has risen from the ashes of Egypt Central and not only made a name for themselves, but a career. And that’s something that Walser and Allison can be proud of.

“I can describe 2013 in one word: vindication,” said Walser. “And that’s what I really think Blake and I were working on in that year. And now that we’ve had the biggest hit that we’ve ever had between both bands, now comes establishing the career. And we intend on being here for a long, long time, whether we’re called Egypt Central, Devour The Day, or Two Dudes Having Bagels At A Coffee Shop. (Laughs) We’re still going to be writing music and we’re still going to be trying to connect with people through that. So 2014 for us, we’re going to be touring, we’re going to take risks, and I don’t want fans to ever think that they’re going to know exactly what’s coming from us.”

Devour The Day plays The Paramount in Huntington, NY on Sunday, January 19. For tickets, click here

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