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Earning 'respect': Interview with Blake Allison of Devour The Day

Blake (right) and Joey (left) are movin' on.
Blake (right) and Joey (left) are movin' on.
Patricia Jones

Like a phoenix, Devour The Day rose from the ashes of Egypt Central (EC) with only two members emerging like soldiers from battle, a little scarred, a little weary, but no less passionate about the music. These two industry survivors were former EC bassist Joey "Chicago" Walser and drummer Blake Allison. These men took what they’d learned, added their raw nerve and unflinching emotions and unleashed it on the masses. Their last few singles really hit a chord with both old EC fans and the rock world at large. Their bitter fight to survive despite what could have been the end of their careers and stories of personal turmoil are soulfully displayed in their appropriately title debut album, Time and Pressure. Like a diamond that requires the same circumstances, time and pressure, to be flawless, DTD has taken these elements to create a real gem in this record. With Allison now on vocals and guitar and Walser still on bass, this dynamic duo has been unyielding in the pursuit of their passion.

The band has been hitting the road hard in 2014, opening the year on the Hellpop II tour with In This Moment, Butcher Babies, and All Hail The Yeti, exposing them to a variety of fans in the metal community. They continued by hitting up a number of cities in other supporting spots and made their way onto the festival circuit. After an incredible performance on the first day of Carolina Rebellion infront of a crowd estimated at over 60,000, the guys kept it moving hitting up Rise Above Fest and Rock On The Range. After Rebellion, we a got a chance to talk to vocalist Blake Allison about their recent round of tours and what drives him.

How was Rebellion for you guys?
Rebellion was probably the best concert that we’ve played to date. Words can’t describe how it felt to do that.

How has this round of touring been for you guys?
: This round I feel like we’re starting to develop as a live show band, our performance That the performance aspect of our band is starting to spread. We put the band together without having a band, so we had to become a band by playing shows. We never really got to spend any time garage banding out or local showing. We just immediately went on tour, so we had to get together as a group and decide where our strong suits were. I think we’ve made a little head way there and I think out live show gets a little better every time we get to play. So, its all getting ironed out. We’re just really, really excited to play.

I first saw you and Joey play in Egypt Central on your first tour with Burn Season and Nonpoint. How do you think you’ve developed as a musician since then?
I have a new respect for a performer that can give 100% night after night, because playing shows wears on you. Especially as a singer you cant just polish your vocal chords, or re-tune it, or replace some broken hardware. When you do two weeks worth of shows it changes the shape of your vocals and it makes it difficult to do the show that you want. I can just get up there and scream into a microphone for the entire set, and that would be one version of the band, (chuckles) but I prefer to give the audience what they’re expecting from us. That’s way more difficult than American Idol style, like have a week to practice and then do one song. You gotta do an hour routine every night and it just tears your vocal chords apart. Some of these guys that have been doing it for years and years I just have an ungodly amount of respect for because it’s so hard to do. I don’t know how they do it. (laughs) So, I hope that over the next couple of years I can figure out how to develop that way.

What made you fall in love with music?
Hmm…That’s a good question. (chuckles) Queen “We Are The Champions,” I think was the first time I realized that a rock band was really good. That’s hard to pinpoint because before I can remember I was into it.

Well, what is it about music that you love? What has driven you this far?
Partly because I don’t know how to do anything else and I chose this instead of college. (laughs) I was a year into college and I had been playing music for a couple of years, and I was going to school for music. I was so much more dedicated to my band than I was school. We got a ticket out to Los Angeles to record our first record and we were all like ‘Yeah! Who needs school now?’(laughs) So, partly because I’m too stupid to do anything else, and partly because it is probably the best drug out there; getting up on stage and having a great show. That seems to resonate with me for a couple of days after a god show.

By your own standards, have you succeeded? How do you define success?
Tour bus. Get me on a tour bus and I’m done. That’s all I need.(chuckles) I mean we already are making a life for ourselves out here. That’s the side of it that I’ve never really cared much for or about. I’ve spent all my time and efforts making choice to be able to do this. My life is really centered around just being able to play music everyday. I think that when there’s a solid record that I feel is more like a masterpiece, that’s when I’ll be satisfied more than financially. I don’t really need a lot to live. I don’t really need…I’ve learned to live the way that I have the past couple of years So I don’t think of it in a financial sense, I think of it just in an artistic sense. When am I gonna write the piece of music that will make me feel like I’ve accomplished a masterpiece. Which I’ll probably never do! (laughs)

Where will we be able to find you guys in the future?
Joey and I are gonna start writing again for another record. That’s our main priority. We’ve got a song out on the radio called “Respect” that we’re going to try and push up the chart as much as we can and play out. Depending on how long that lasts and lives on radio will be contingent to how long we’re out on road. We’re expecting to go and write another record this Fall and have it recorded and out after that.