Adema, Bakersfield, Calif.’s newest nu-metal entry, hadn’t even played a live gig before attracting big-label attention.
Why? Let us count the ways.
Lead singer Mark “Marky” Chavez’s older half-brother is Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, Bakersfield’s biggest claim to rock fame. Chavez formed Adema with guitarist Mike Ransom. Bassist Dave DeRoo and guitarist Tim Fluckey were in Juice, a band that rose from the ashes of SexArt, which included Davis and Orgy’s Ryan Shuck. And drummer Kris Kohls was a member of Videodrone.
With that kind of pedigree, no wonder Arista came calling and quickly signed the quintet. After intensive writing sessions at a cabin in Northern California, the group teamed with producers Bill Appleberry and Wallflowers guitarist Tobias Miller for their self-titled debut album.
Released Aug. 21, “Adema” fits right in with the moody hard rock of Linkin Park.
Among other things, DeRoo recounts the writing sessions and touches on Bakersfield’s influence and the band’s Korn/Videodrone connections.
Pause & Play – Tell us about the writing sessions, what the atmosphere was like in that cabin?
DeRoo – “It was cold, and away from everything we knew, which is why I think it was conducive to the writing process. We didn’t have any friends or girlfriends around to distract us, and I think it helped us stay focused. Besides, when we got bored, we could go shoot BB guns, or go hiking and fishing and stuff.”
P&P – What is it about Bakersfield that attracts rock bands to form?
DeRoo – “Boredom, basically. I think since there’s nothin’ goin’ on in Bakersfield, you have a lot more room to grow, creatively. You gotta use your imagination to find things to do. I mean, a lot of professional athletes get drafted out of Bako, too, and I think that’s because people gotta try a little harder to get out of here.”
P&P – You all have been in other bands – what makes this one work so well?
DeRoo – “Experience. We’ve all been at this for a long time, and we all know what NOT to do, so we know how to keep it together. Plus, everyone in this band is on the same page musically. We’re all very opinionated, strong writers, so we’re never at a loss for ideas. We can all make suggestions on beats or melodies … and it makes everything work a lot easier. Plus, we’re brothers – we love each others’ company, and we party together every day, so it’s all good, ya know?”
P&P – How much have connections to Korn and Videodrone played in the pre-buzz about the album (or is that overblown)?
DeRoo – “I think it was a little overblow, but I can’t complain about it. I mean, there’s definitely some kids who come up to us after shows and go, ‘Hey, which one of you guys is related to Jon Davis?’ And some people are naturally gonna be curious about that, but more often than not, they just wanna come to rock out. And we haven’t been asked about that in a while, so I think that alone stands as a testament as to what Adema’s all about. We’re not some pre-fab, bullshit novety act, and I think people know that. We love and respect Korn, but they don’t have anything to do with Adema.”
P&P – No doubt, you’re aware that young, impressionable kids are hanging on your band’s every word. Are you ready, willing and able to be a role model?
DeRoo – “Even if we weren’t ready before, we’re definitely feeling that now! Kids will come up and tell me that our songs helped them, and that’s a great feeling. I mean, we all get behind Mark’s lyrics and feel what he’s saying. I can identify with a lot of what he’s gone through, and it’s rewarding when you feel like you’re helping someone get through it, with music. None of us are model citizens, by any means – we’ve all got our problems and have been through bullshit. The message we’re trying to get across, if anything, is to be yourself and stay focused, because it’s up to you to rise above your problems. There’s plenty of haters out there in the world that want to bring you down, but it’s up to you to rise above that shit. Do what you wanna do!”
P&P – What’s your gut feeling on how the album’s going to do?
DeRoo – “Well, I’d like to think it’ll do well. I mean, we like it, know what I’m saying? Honestly, I feel blessed that we have the opportunity to put our music out there. It’s out of my hands, now. Just go check it out!”
P&P – Totally out-of-leftfield question: Who was the best hair band of the 1980s?
DeRoo – “Ha! I’ll have to say the Crue, definitely – although I don’t really think of them as a hair band; they were more rough ass than that. Poison and Enuff Z’Nuff was glammy hair metal. Motley Crue was the shit. Kris would agree with me on that.”
P&P – What was the first record you ever bought?
DeRoo – “Hmm, that’s tough, because we had a lot of music in the house when I was a kid. I remember listening to the Beach Boys, Pat Benatar, the Beatles and a lot of Motown stuff – the Temptations, the Four Tops. My mom liked that stuff. I remember I got a bunch of records at a school carnival – KISS’ ‘Animalize,’ Stryper, Twisted Sister, Ratt, Van Halen. I think the first record I remember actually buying was Beastie Boys’ ‘Licensed to Ill.’ ”
P&P – What was the first concert you ever went to?
DeRoo – “What’s funny is, I just read the other day that the singer from Alien Ant Farm’s first concert was the Jacksons’ Victory tour, at Dodger Stadium in ’85. And that was my first concert, too. I loved Michael Jackson back then, and my parents took me there after school one day. I remember it was raining, so we had an umbrella over us the whole show … and the light show was crazy. They had a theatrical thing at the beginning, with monsters and shit.”
P&P – What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
DeRoo – “I’m the king of shitty jobs. I worked at a bunch of different temp services and stuff. I remember when I was like 20, I swore I would never work fast-food, but I was broke, in a band, and living in Huntington Beach, so I worked at Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits. I think I lasted three days. Needless to say, I like my new job a lot more!”
ON THE WEB: www.ademaonline.com.