Devon Williams interview

10 06 2008

As the leader of one of most infamous Socal and Epitaph punkrockbands during the late ’90s and early 2000s, Devon Williams from Osker has inpired hearts and souls all over the world. Even since the bands break-up in 2002, Osker is still considered one of the most underrated punkrockbands Epitaph ever had to offer. Since then he has moved on to different musical projects such as the folk quartet “Lavender Diamond”, his own “Fingers-Cut Megamachine!” and more recently his pop/rock band called Devon Williams & The Obvious Answer. They just put out their first full-length called Carefree, and I wanted to see how carefree Devon really is these days…

So Devon, what is happening in your life currently?
Ummmm… I’m re-teaching members of the band how to play the songs on different instruments for the tour that we leave for on the 18th of June. I’m spending a lot of time working on new songs. I’m trying to not drive my car because it’s a van and it’s huge.

How did you start playing music, and how did you get into punkrock?
I started playing music because of bands I saw on MTV when i was 9. ie Poison, Guns n’ roses, Skid Row, Trixter, etc. Punkrock? I think my lineage of melodic music is pretty obvious but started with my dad raising me on Del Shannon, Dion and the Everly Brothers, etc… Then I got into the above bands, then I got into Screeching Weasel, Fifteen, Crimpshrine, and then from there I sprung into everything else. But I don’t think I confine punk music to fast music. I think the first Faith No More with Chuck Mosley is punk. I consider the chills and the go betweens punk bands… Jesus and Mary Chain, the Wipers… but i think Screeching Weasel and bands like that speak to a more naive side of me.

What does punkrock still mean to you?
eeehhhhh… that’s kind of a loaded question. I feel like people that like punk music LOVE to talk about what punk music means to them, or how it’s a way of life. I am not concerned with that. The idea of punk does not exist in my day to day life. If you are talking about where do I buy my food from or what I wear, or what I believe… I wouldn’t dare reduce that to a punk “ethic.”

You were pretty young when you started Osker. What motivated to start a band like that?
I wasn’t motivated to start that band, i was inspired to start that band out of wanting to play songs that I had written in my room. Simple as that.

You seemed to have a lot on your mind at that age. Did Osker help you ventilate frustration and angst?
I don’t know what i would’ve been like had i not “vented.” I don’t think i would have punched holes in my walls, but i think i was pretty coherent, and that’s good.

A lot of people consider Osker to be one of the most underrated punkrockbands of the last decade. Did it feel like that too when the band was still active?
Ha. That’s a concept! No, I didn’t feel underrated. I had a lot of fun taking advantage of every circumstance I was put in. I don’t necessarily think the songs stand over time, but that’s just my opinion.

The band was pretty unloved by a lot of people. Did that bother you?
No.

Did that have any part in the reason why the band broke up?
No. I broke up the band because I wanted to write songs that were in the greater canon of pop songs,and as long as I was playing that way to those people I felt kinda trapped. I’m super glad I did, and never regretted it for a second.

You went on to do different things. I’m thinking about Lavender Diamond and your own Fingers-Cut Megamachine! here. Both are very different from what you did with Osker. Why did you choose to go a different way?
I hope you don’t imagine me listening to bad religion and pennywise because I never listened to those bands. Fast pop punk is such a micro-cosm of music in the world. If osker broke up in 2001, and I was totally over it in 2000. I started a band that I felt better reflected songs how I wrote them in my bedroom with Fingers Cut Megamachine. then I got tired of only playing an acoustic guitar and then I started writing music that didn’t have any allegiance to some sort of band arrangement. That’s how I started writing for the Carefree album. playing those new songs I met Steve from Lavender Diamond who became a close friend. And when they needed a guitar player, I said yes. They are a good band and it was really fun. I also played in the bands Soft Boiled Eggies, ESPS, Jeremy Jay, etc. My community in LA of musicians is very incestuous, and I love playing guitar and it’s what I’ll do until I die.

Right now you’re in Devon Williams and The Obvious Answer Tell me something more about that.
Well The Obvious Answer is not the official name for the group of really great people that play with me, and it’s unfair to have them be in a band that’s just called Devon Williams – Allen who plays as Svenadaitor and in Fuckin A, Jessica who plays in ESPS, and Laena who plays in Starlite Desperation.

You recently released your first full-length album called “Carefree”. Are you really carefree?
Yes.

Do you have any plans to maybe take this band abroad?
Sure, you paying?

Where do you see yourself going musically in another ten years?
Playing punk music like you want me to play, dude. I’m gonna get osker back together

Devon Williams myspace

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2 responses

13 07 2008
Matt

devon’s breaking my heart with that last asshole answer.
Im going to pretend im talking to him for a second:
Devon, you had an album with idle will kill that really resonated with kids for whatever reason, and even if any desire to see you return to punk music is misguided, you should at least appreciate that you were able to make something that really meant a lot to some people.
I guess it just sucks for you that it happened for you at like 19, and now it follows you around.

20 11 2008
you know

amen matt.

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