Former DEVILDRIVER Drummer JOHN BOECKLIN On DEZ FAFARA: 'He Just Didn't Like Me And I Didn't Like Him'

May 16, 2020

In a brand new interview with MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's "No Fuckin' Regrets With Robb Flynn" podcast, BAD WOLVES drummer John Boecklin reflected on his 2014 exit from DEVILDRIVER, the California-based band led by former COAL CHAMBER singer Dez Fafara.

Speaking about DEVILDRIVER's 2011 European tour with MACHINE HEAD during which he constantly butted heads with Fafara, Boecklin told Flynn (see video below): "I remember it completely, this turmoil every day. I remember I sat you down after the last show in Manchester, and I was kind of, like, 'I need help. I'm not happy.' And you were, like, 'Have you considered therapy with [Dez]?' And I was, like, 'No.' I'd done enough therapy on my own, and it felt exhausting. But that was the beginning of me deciding to leave the band, for sure.

"That guy just wanted to pick a fight [with me]," the drummer continued. "I don't wanna say he's the worst guy on the planet, but he just didn't like me and I didn't like him and it just was not working. And anything I did, he seemed to just try and destroy it. And I felt like I'm the main contributor in the band. I wanted to be a partner, and he was, like, 'Hell no.' There was no transparency with money. And he's building a pool, buying a house, and I'm, like, 'Can I pay my rent this month?' Things were just very uneven. Is that justified on his part? I don't think I'd be anywhere without that guy; he changed my life. But after 12 or 13 years — money gets in the way, man; it does. It sucks."

Asked if he was just a "hired gun" in DEVILDRIVER, John said: "Technically, yeah. The whole time, yeah. But when you're recording most of the guitars, bass, drums, writing, it just never really felt right. But once you're in a position, it's hard to step down and give someone else more power. And he was always scared to kick me out 'cause he thought the band would lose its integrity. And I was scared to quit because I'm, like, 'This is the best ride I can probably be on. It probably won't get any better.' I eventually just stepped off, though."

According to Boecklin, he's had an "on-and-off relationship" with Fafara for years. "He's not the easiest guy," John said. "But I think we're at a peaceful place right now at least. His wife came down with some cancer stuff, and I was, like, 'Fuck everything.' It took me a while, but I reached out, and it felt good to just be at peace with him.

"The first [interview] he did with Revolver [magazine after my departure from DEVILDRIVER], I quit, but Revolver says, 'When did you know Boecklin had to be kicked out?' And he said I was a closet alcoholic, I was into drugs — it was just all lies. And I was just, like, 'Fuck this.' … So I felt like being stabbed in the back. And then I ran into him at the Whisky [A Go Go in Hollywood, California] at a SUPERJOINT show, and he was very nice. But then everyone told me as soon as I left, he just talked a lot of shit about me.

"He's a tough one to talk about, but I think at the bottom of his heart, he means well and he's a nice guy."

Boecklin was replaced in DEVILDRIVER by Austin D'Amond, who appears on the band's last two albums, 2016's "Trust No One" and 2018's "Outlaws 'Til The End: Vol. 1".

BAD WOLVES released its sophomore album, titled "N.A.T.I.O.N.", last October. The band broke through in 2018 with a cover of THE CRANBERRIES hit "Zombie". CRANBERRIES vocalist Dolores O'Riordan was supposed to contribute to the track but died the day she was supposed to go into the studio.

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