Authority Zero formed two decades ago in Mesa, Ariz., and through five albums and many tours with some of the biggest names in music, the band’s reggae and skate-punk sound has helped it stand out.
The band will be stopping by The Hood Bar and Pizza for a show on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Authority Zero came together in 1994 as a trio consisting of guitarists Bill Marcks and Jerry Douglas, and drummer J.W. Gordon. The three put out songs that didn’t have basslines or even vocals until 1995, when Jason DeVore visited Douglas from his home state of Wyoming. The band members soon learned DeVore had the ability to write effective songs quickly—and he became the band’s singer.
Over the years, the band has seen members come and go, but DeVore remains the frontman. During a recent phone interview done right after Authority Zero’s recent European tour, DeVore talked about the band’s sound.
“We’ve heard while touring the world that our sound takes (people) back to that ’90s generation of punk music and takes them back to that awesome place,” DeVore said. “I remember a lot of good times, and I have some good memories of that era when we first started.”
Authority Zero has toured with bands including Guttermouth, Everclear and Unwritten Law. The one band DeVore remembers touring with most fondly is Pennywise.
“We toured with them abroad, as well as in the United States and Canada,” DeVore said. “We toured with the original lineup and the one with Zoli (Teglas). Over the years, we’ve managed to become pretty good friends with them. They were a band I grew up with and looked up to as a kid, and it got me influenced to do my own band. I got a phone call from Fletcher (Dragge) to try out for the singer position after Jim (Lindberg) left the band. My relationship with those guys has crazily evolved over the years, and it’s been great.”
Punk-rock music is trying to pull itself out of the pop-punk era, and the Warped Tour seems to be once again including some of the original bands that made it prominent, as well as some promising punk up-and-comers. DeVore said it’s evident that punk is coming back.
“(The Warped Tour) has its positives and its negatives, obviously,” DeVore said. “For what punk rock is, it’s gone from old school to new school, and it’s always evolving as well, and people are trying to do new things. … With the new bands and lack of the old-school bands, it’s a new generation, and I think things are changing. I don’t really think it’s a bad thing, but I do think it’s been coming back around with the old ’90s sound. So like I said, it has its positives and its negatives.”
While many of Authority Zero’s contemporaries have gone to a part-time status, Authority Zero continues to tour and record new albums; most recently, the band put out The Tipping Point in 2013. DeVore explained the approach the band took with the new album, and how it was recorded with members living in different states.
“To start off, the writing process was done back and forth over e-mails, voicemails and that kind of stuff,” DeVore said. “Our guitar-player lives in Texas, so we had to do a lot of it back and forth that way, and have him fly out to my place and really hash out the ideas that developed in the raw form. Once we did that, we flew out to Santa Ana and recorded the album with Cameron Webb. We … lived out there for a month and a half and stayed with our manager, sleeping on his floor. We had a great time with it, and it was a great new experience. It was a fresh new sound, going back to talking about the ‘evolution of sounds’ thing.”
While the band continues to tour, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
“It’s certainly hard to go on tour and leave your loved ones behind,” DeVore said. “That never gets any easier, and it obviously gets a little harder in that regard. You’re leaving behind your whole household, your responsibilities such as your bills and all that stuff, and the people you care about and you miss to where you’re putting a big load on them. You feel a little guilty when you’re all like, ‘Well, I’m going to go out and do my rock thing,’ As far as the touring thing goes with my wife and me, we’ve gotten a little numb in that regard, too, and you just kind of get used to going out and doing it and expect that it becomes part of your daily life and routine.”
DeVore added that it’s extremely difficult for independent bands like Authority Zero to make a living these days. However, the band presses on.
“You have no label support. You’re out there signing your T-shirts; you’re busting your ass to stay alive out there, and that’s what it really comes down to—it’s a complete DIY process, and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fall on your face, and you’ll probably stop doing it.
Authority Zero will perform with The Bunny Gang and TJ Nasty at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, PalmDesert. Admission is $10. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit the event’s Facebook page.