They started out in the 90’s striking the scene as Voodoo Hippies; immediately gaining a growing fan base and attention from record labels. As almost always happens growing pains saw line-up changes and a new name was taken; Full Devil Jacket. These hard rockers from the south soon signed their first record deal and their star was blasting off as they toured with the likes of Fuel, Sevendust, Nickelback, and Creed. They were on the “Tattoo The Earth” tour with Slipknot, Mudvayne, Slayer, Coal Chamber, and Sepultura and shared the same stage as Buckcherry at Woodstock ’99.
To say their rise was meteoric is an understatement. Back then MTV was still a relevant promotional avenue for musicians and they had two songs on the mainstream charts off of ‘99’s album “Wax Box” at #19 with “Where Did You Go” and #23 with “Now You Know.”
Just as fast, it seems, they were gone. Singer Josh Brown had been immersing himself in the lifestyle a lot of rockers and musicians enjoyed with some ultimately paying with their lives, Josh came close but saw himself in the chaos and walked away to get himself together as he battled the demons of drugs. It was sad to see such talented promise go away.
Josh put down those demons and after a few years the urge to write and play was back as he resurfaced and again rose high in the music world with Day Of Fire, even earning a Grammy nomination. But the unfinished business of Full Devil Jacket called and he and drummer Keith Foster, after unsuccessfully trying to get the original members back, reformed with some new faces and Full Devil Jacket has impressively resurfaced with one of the strongest rock albums that this writer has heard in some time.
Edgy, heavy. melodic with some ballad-style work lies within Valley Of Bones and the band had me 30 seconds into the first song I listened to, “7 Times Down”. The band has a style that only seems to come from the south and the metal edges are sharp on “Killers” after some insane melodic chops that grab you and refuse to let go. “7 Times Down” is all about his battle with his demons and should be out there for those battling them each day and perhaps “Time In The Flame” right with it.
The album deserves the attentions of every rock radio station around the world, period. Go get it immediately and stay in tune as the band has already started to announce dates on their Facebook page.
Full Devil Jacket is:
Keith Foster - Drums
Moose Douglass - Bass
Paul Varnick - Guitar
Brian Kirk - Guitar
Interview with vocalist Josh Brown
Thanks for taking the time today Josh, the band has a very interesting story as do you yourself, let’s go back first; tell me about the early days and how the band really took off.
Josh - Thank you for even having us on today, I really appreciate it for real! It was basically a local band called Voodoo Hippies. The core of Full Devil Jacket was in that band. Over the next 5-7 years there was some line-up changes, we ended up getting some major label attention, changed the name, signed our first record deal, publishing deal, put an EP and the record, played Woodstock ’99 and a bunch of stuff.
You guys took right off!
Josh - You know man, we had the right deal and the right people behind us. It was fast as far as once we signed the deal people knew who we were but we had 7 years leading up to that and ended up at Woodstock ’99.
Woodstock ’99, pretty heady stuff to start with one album out, what are some of your memories and what did you do to kill time and meet people?
Josh - We were on a smaller stage, the same stage as Buckcherry, buy man I just remember it being super hot and not enough water and an intensity in the air. We played our set and went back to the hotel and that’s when the riots started man. Before that happened, you could just feel something wrong with the situation because there wasn’t enough water.
People were over-heating, no water, not a good combination.
Josh - Yeah man, people were laying in garbage, there was an evil feeling to that show that I remember.
It was during the Creed tour that you personally had some issues and we almost lost you, as someone that knows a couple of young people dealing with the same issues, can you talk about that?
Josh - I had a problem with drugs before I signed my first record deal. I was 22-years old and got a lot of money put into my pocket. For me man, I just thought well I did a lot of drugs up to this point and I got a record deal so I’ll go and do more drugs, that was my life and it was heroin. It was actually right before I went on tour with Creed, when I went on that tour I had already gotten away from the drugs a little and done some rehab. That’s when I realized that I had a big problem, I had to figure out how to deal with this emptiness and this darkness and this brokenness. It’s hard to tell people on drugs not to do drugs because it’s like drugs are really fun until you realize they are not fun and then it’s too late. I will say that anyone that battles addiction that there is hope, you can beat it, and there is a light at the end of that tunnel. You can have a life away from it but it’s a battle, but life is a battle.
After all of that you re-emerged with Day of Fire and again, you saw great success garnering an album of the year award and a Grammy nomination.
Josh - After Full Devil Jacket ended and I pretty much ended it because I knew if I continued in that lifestyle that I would die. So I ended up walking away from music altogether. About three years later I was inspired to write again; we did the first record and toured the United States and 10 or 11 countries, it was great! I guess in Day Of Fire I learned that I’m a musician no matter what and I’m always going to play music. That was a great band.
Full Devil Jacket initially got back together to play some gigs to benefit a former band mate who unfortunately passed on at the young age of 52 correct?
Josh - That’s right, his name was Mike Reeves and man, he’s one of the reason why I’m in the music industry today. When we hooked up I was a young kid and he was about 15 years older than me. He showed me the ropes, he had been in many bands before me man, he was a great player and a great writer.
When did you guys decide to reform and record?
Josh - During those benefit gigs we tried; we talked about it and got together for a few practices here and there. I would say it was 8 or 9 months ago that I called Keith Foster up and said hey we need to be doing some music! He was like man, let’s do Full Devil Jacket, one more time! I committed to him, let’s go, you and I are going to make this record no matter what. We got together with the other guys and they couldn’t commit so me and Foster put together a new crew and here we are!
You guys did something right because I heard the first 30 seconds of the first song and was hooked; great album.
Josh - Hey thank you man! We’re really proud of it! For me I believe you’ve got to live life to be able to write music about it. One thing about this record is it’s genuine. It’s speaking about my life, it’s honest, brutally honest you know? Good bad and the ugly, it’s all in there.
You can hear it and the musicianship all the way around is exceptional. I have the four acoustic versions and those are just as good.
Josh - Well thank you man, thank you! If you can hear the guitar isn’t as good, that’s me, that’s the raw form of those songs.
What can fans of the original music expect to hear compared to the new? What do you think will stand out to them?
Josh - I don’t know man, I feel we captured what we used to do but we kind of broke off into some new directions. There’s a couple songs utilizing new technology and some synthesizers and stuff. We feel like we stumbled onto new ground at the same time those are some of the heaviest songs that we have ever done but then there are songs like ‘August’ that are mellower than we have ever done.
Are there any tour plans as of yet and will we get to see you guys in the Northeast?
Josh - Oh yeah, for sure! We don’t have solid plans just yet but we are just now putting together the team; the right booking agents and managers. We did this record without any help from inside the industry. The goal was to make the record and then find out who is interested.
Thanks again for this Josh, is there anything you would like to say to the fans out there?
Josh - Hey thank you for supporting us, we look forward to coming to your city and meeting you and rock and rolling with you real soon! Thank you!
You can listen to the interview that includes part of "Seven Times Down" at the beginning and the full track "Killers" at the end right here:http://www.spreaker.com/user/cuserockwriter/josh-brown-of-full-devil-jacket
*Authors note: you can see that Woodstock 99 performance here: