California metallers DEVILDRIVER have announced the return of original bassist Jon Miller after more than a decade-long absence from the scene. In addition to this epic reunion, DEVILDRIVER has also added guitarist Alex Lee (HOLY GRAIL) to the lineup, replacing Neal Tiemann. DEVILDRIVER is also gearing up to head out on tour this fall, with more information coming very soon.
Miller comments: "After spending the past 10 years away from writing music, recording, and touring, I have made the decision to return to DEVILDRIVER to settle some unfinished business with two lifelong friends."
DEVILDRIVER frontman Dez Fafara said: "Jon is a monster on bass and wrote much of our early material. We began talking daily and it just felt right… and having him onstage again will be absolutely pummeling technically and visually.
"For the fans that have seen the band with Jon in it, please welcome him back. And for those of you who haven't, get ready because he holds it down.
"Having most of the OG members in the band now after almost 20 years feels good.
"Get ready because we have a massive tour announcement coming in August. It's been since July 2019 that we've toured, and the break was needed. The fire is there now and we are ready to destroy stages!"
DEVILDRIVER lead guitarist Mike Spreitzer adds: "It's been a solid decade since I've shared the stage with Jon Miller, and I'm thrilled to have him back in DEVILDRIVER. Without him, I probably wouldn't be in the band. He was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 that eventually lead to me joining DEVILDRIVER. I'm very much looking forward to getting out on the road and having him with us again."
Speaking on the departure of former bassist Diego "Ashes" Ibarra, Dez said: "It's always difficult letting guys go in any line of work, but we thank Ashes for his time playing with DEVILDRIVER on tour. I'm sad I had to let him go, but to make way for an original member was the right thing to do. We wish him the best and he's a great guy."
Added Mike: "Ashes has been an amazing addition to the DEVILDRIVER family over the years. He's one of the most solid and fun guys I have ever had the honor to call my friend. I'm going to miss our 3-4-hour-long morning coffee sessions that we shared since he joined. He will forever be my brother."
Lee stated about his addition to DEVILDRIVER: "Back in 2016, I had the privilege of touring with DEVILDRIVER with my old band (HOLY GRAIL). We got along great and kept in touch over the years. Fast forward to the present, I am thrilled to announce that I'll be joining the DEVILDRIVER family! Dez made the final call to give me this opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Great guys, heavy music, and I can't wait to see you all on the road!"
Dez said: "Alex is a bad ass on guitar and one of the most talented guys I've seen in years. He gets along well with the band, he's a great writer, and onstage he brings the energy. We welcome him and look forward to years of good times."
Ibarra joined DEVILDRIVER in 2016 as the replacement for former BURY YOUR DEAD guitarist Chris Towning, who appeared on the Dez Fafara-fronted band's 2013 album "Winter Kills".
On Friday (July 15),Diego took to his personal Facebook page to write: "Hey everyone I just wanted to let you know I have officially parted ways with DEVILDRIVER it was an honor to play with some of the most talented musicians thus far in my career. I wish DEVILDRIVER the best and look forward to what the future holds and new musical chapters".
Last October, DEVILDRIVER parted ways with their guitarist of six years, Neal Tiemann. Tiemann, formerly of BURN HALO, joined the band in 2015 as the replacement for Jeff Kendrick, who left DEVILDRIVER in October 2014.
In 2020, DEVILDRIVER announced a new double album, "Dealing With Demons". The first volume — titled "Dealing With Demons I" — dropped in October 2020 via Napalm Records and marked the band's first release of new, original material since 2016's "Trust No One".
DEVILDRIVER was formed in Santa Barbara, California in 2002 when Fafara's previous band COAL CHAMBER was winding down. Originally signed to Roadrunner Records, the group's initial lineup featured guitarists Jeff Kendrick and Evan Pitts (who was replaced by Mike Spreitzer later that year),Miller and drummer John Boecklin.
Dez Fafara photo credit Channing Yazzie / Jon Miller photo credit Sander Van Ketel