Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau
Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau

Be the change you wish to see in the world – an interview with Jason Devore (AUTHORITY ZERO)

8 mins read

In the multi-decade landscape of punk rock, few artists have made as indelible a mark as Jason Devore. Known worldwide as the lead singer of AUTHORITY ZERO, DeVore’s journey in music began in 1994, when he and his bandmates sought solace and freedom in their melodic punk rock with a unique southwestern twist. Over three decades, AUTHORITY ZERO, alongside bands like JIMMY EAT WORLD and GIN BLOSSOMS, played a pivotal role in putting Arizona on the musical map.

Now, as he prepares to release his latest solo project, ‘Til The Voice Goes Out,’ DeVore reflects on his extensive career and personal evolution.

This new album, set for digital release on June 7 and a physical LP on September 9 via SBÄM and Double Helix Records, showcases a matured artist who has reached new heights in songwriting and musicianship.

Our conversation with Jason DeVore below delved into his early days with AUTHORITY ZERO, the influences that shaped his solo career, and the themes of his new album. From the transformative impact of Jeff Buckley to the healing journey documented in his latest songs, DeVore’s story is one of resilience, passion, and relentless creativity.

Jason, it’s been 30 years since you embarked on your musical journey with Authority Zero. Can you take us back to those early days? What were the key steps that led you into the world of music in Arizona?

Jason: It’s been one hell of a journey so I’ll try and give you the short version.

I was born in Mesa Arizona and my folks divorced when I was one years old. I was then moved to Wyoming and while growing up there in my younger years, I would go visit my father back in AZ.

One year when I was 13 I met a kid named Jerry Douglas at my community Pool and we hit it off becoming best friends. He had other friends that played guitar (as well as himself) and once we all met things just started happening.

We started Authority Zero for fun and played house parties initially and then the rest began to domino from there as band tend to do. I had always enjoyed music, but this was when things started to change to loving it to my core.

Looking back, how would you describe the music scene in Arizona three decades ago? If you had to label each decade you’ve spent with Authority Zero, what would you call them and what characterized each one?

Jason: It was certainly popping off with bands like Gin Blossoms, Jimmy Eat World, Phunk Junkeez, and more. In our tight knit little scene is was pretty diversified in the beginning to be honest. We were and have really always kind of been outcasts pulling from all genres and influence across the board.

A lot of people didn’t get it and we were fine with that. Rather we prided ourselves on that. With that though it made it interesting to place us with shows and band genre specific shows so we just kept doing our own thing.

Eventually met the real ones and started our own little scene. Everyone started going to eachothers shows in support and playing back to back with one another. It was revolutionary in our little world.

Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau
Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau

When did you first feel the urge to start your solo project? What was the moment or event that pushed you to explore music outside of Authority Zero?

Jason: It was in 2004/2005. I’d started drawing influences from abstract artists and it opened my mind a great deal.

The band already had a broad spectrum with seemingly limitless open mindedness, but even with that, some of the songs I started writing just didn’t make sense at all with the group.

I started recording them for fun to get them out of me and then before I knew it I had what was a full length album. I started playing open mic nights strictly under my name to practice and put these songs and myself out there in new and uncomfortable situations to push myself and just started having a lot of fun with it. It was expressive in a way I hadn’t been with my band and I loved that. Breaking new territory.

Were there any challenges or costs to the band when you started focusing on your solo work? How did it impact the main gig?

Jason: Absolutely not. Authority was continually my main focus as it was and is everything to me. It was just a fun thing to do and a self growth and expansion project.

Reflecting on your solo albums, how do you see your evolution as an artist? What were the pivotal moments in your solo career?

Jason: I see it all as a story. Kind of like a new born going through all the phases of life learning bits and techniques along the way maturing with each. It’s really grown into something I’d never imagined to date given it’s humble nonchalant beginnings.

Your upcoming album, “‘Til The Voice Goes Out,” how does it differ from your previous solo records? What sets it apart in terms of creativity and musicality?

Jason: The production on this record is bar none the best and most professional i’ve had to date with the solo series. The first two were awesome home recording styles and when I got to the third I realized I really wanted to invest into it and start recording at actual studios. It’s where I really took control of it and started honing more of what I was visualizing. With all of that this latest forthcoming album has some of the best musicians I’ve had the pleasure of calling friends. They really elevated this album to another level. I also worked with the very talented Kristen Taylor at Underdog Studios on Engineering and production along with well know Producer Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket Studios. Jason Livermore of the Blasting Room mastered it and I all around couldn’t ask for a better team. They all had a hand in making it something special.

How do you approach songwriting now compared to when you first started? What has changed in your creative process?

Jason: Not a lot has changed honestly. a ideas are always (to the point of distraction) coming to me and there’s always something to write about. You’ll think you’ve said it all and then bam, fuckin life happens. Good or bad, I’m inspired and emotions run high to where I need to get it out before I explode.

Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau
Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau

Are there any specific songs on the new album that are particularly meaningful to you? Why?

Jason: Count Me In is particularly. I was in a very low state when that one came to mind. I was having a very difficult time with my health, alcohol, depression, and disconnection from both myself and those around me. All the whole acting like all was fine. That’s the song that almost made this all possible really. It was regaining that confidence in self, standing back up tall, and not giving up on myself and those around me. It was a game changer in more ways than one.

Can you dive into the themes and messages of your new album? What are the main ideas you wanted to convey through your lyrics?

Jason: Sadness, happiness, victory, courage, defeat, and growth. Friendships, hardships, trust issues and clarity. In a lump sum, those are the rollercoaster of topics and emotions with a message to self that life goes on, it’s not all rainbows, but you can weather the storm in any given situation if you just stop lying to yourself, focus, and stop trying to impress the world around you. To be yourself unforgivingly as an individual and realize that that is enough allowing yourself grace in difficult times.

Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau
Jason Devore (Authority Zero) by Jim Louvau

The recording of “‘Til The Voice Goes Out” sounds like quite the adventure. You’ve worked with some amazing musicians and producers on this record. Could you tell us more about these collaborations and how they came about?

Jason: Yeah it’s really kind of answered in the previous question, but to elaborate a bit more, it’s all through friendships and peers I’ve known or played with in the scene locally. Everyone was so cool and excited to help out on this record and it just made it so much fun and liberating.

What’s your favorite memory from the recording process of “‘Til The Voice Goes Out”? Any particular moment that stands out?

Jason: The moment Double Helix Records and I had a conversation saying that they wanted to release a record with me. Changed everything. Before that I was just recording my old song ”Courage” for a strength and confidence boosting campaign I did called the “Courage Campaign”. That was when I really got to work.

Your music incorporates a variety of styles. What genres or artists are you most passionate about right now? What influences your current sound?

Jason: Honestly I’ve been so introverted this past couple of years within my own music that I’ve steered a bit intentionally away from listening to too much other music. Between the band and this there has been so much writing and record that many times free time has been utilized listening back to mixes after mixes.

All that said, City and Color, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, Traditional Celtic music, and Post Malone have been stand out artists that I find myself going back to time and again when doing the late night drive shifts.

Which new punk rock artists should we be keeping an eye on this year? Any eclectic sounds that have caught your attention?

Jason: Mercy Music bar none. Amazing artists and great dudes.

Also The Venemous Pinks, Western Waste is reformed, and for those who don’t know in that same vein, The Deviates.

What are your plans for the upcoming months? Can we expect more new music or any exciting projects on the horizon?

Jason: I’ll be touring Europe and Canada with Authority Zero from June 7th-July 21st, doing a solo tour in the midwest in August, and then Eastern Canada with AZ in September.

Expect tons of new music from both the band and myself individually during that time frame.

How do you balance your solo career with your commitments to Authority Zero? What does the future hold for both your solo work and the band?

Jason: It’s a grind man. A constant grind with literally no time off which I like. I’m a work horse and a passionate one at that. I want anything I’m involved with to be at its peak ability and allow it to attention I feel it needs and deserves so I leave no stone unturned and no opportunity missed. It is a bit of give and take with the solo stuff at the moment of course so that would be the other thing in some situations. Picking and choosing my battles with tours and shows.

It’s a balance I’ve learned to teeter.

Life as a musician can be a wild ride. What keeps you grounded and motivated after all these years?

Jason: The pure reason of why I do this and continue to do this. Because I love it. From head to toe I am in it and passionate about to an intoxicating level. Good or bad, let dice fall where they may, this is just who I am and that alone humbles me and keeps me level headed.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

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