And there’s no shortage of barbs for people in charge of the United States and their running of the war in Iraq, the war on terror and the American economy. On the first single “Revolution,” vocalist Jason DeVore rants: “You want a revolution!/ You’ve got to make a difference on your own/ You want a revolution!/ Stand up! Stand out and make it known!”
DeVore, Bill Marcks (guitars/vocals), Jim Wilcox (bass/vocals) and drummer Jim Wilcox offer no solutions – if they had any, they should consider running for Congress – but they do say Americans can speak their minds in the voting booth in November.
“It’s being aware of what you can do, not taken anything for granted, and speaking up. You know, say something. Do the research,” DeVore said recently. “We’re not politicians by any means, but we have our own opinions about things. This is a democracy, and the best way to make a change is to vote.
“Of course, just because (John) Kerry might get elected doesn’t mean terrorists will stop. Terrorism has been going on for like forever. The damage is already done. It’s like Kerry is like the lesser of two evils. Not to name any names, but someone hasn’t really proven himself to do it well. The only thing I do know is that it’s time to give someone else a chance, but this guy has messed a lot of things up, in my opinion. We don’t even know if he actually won the presidency.”
The Phoenix-based quartet did their part this spring on the NOFX PunkVoter Tour. “Andiamo” has a NOFX connection: Fat Wreck Chords/NOFX producer Ryan Green co-produced the album with Mike “Miguel” Happoldt, an unofficial member of Sublime.
“We really wanted to come out of this album happy or happier than when we did our first album for Lava, ‘A Passage in Time,’ ” DeVore said. “We pretty much wrote the album in a month and recorded it pretty quickly too.
“We mainly write songs about everyday life that we experience and a look at the war and how we feel about war in general. Like I said, we’re no politicians. The ideas came to us while we were out and about on the road.”
One of those ideas was “PCH 82,” perhaps the album’s shining moment. On it, the Bill of Rights is read over an infectious groove.
“We wrote that as a jam song on the road, then we took it to Miguel’s house in Long Beach,” DeVore said. “It was a freestyle lyrical groove, and we were listening to the recording we had done, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway and the sun was setting. We decided to call it ‘PCH,’ and it goes at 82 beats per minute, so that’s how we got the title.”
Authority Zero formed 10 years ago, just after DeVore and Marcks graduated from Westwood High School in Mesa, Ariz., the same high school that sprouted Jimmy Eat World. They then recruited Wood and, after going through a few drummers, they discovered Los Angeles native Wilcox. After making its mark in Arizona, the band caught the attention of Lava, releasing its full-length debut album, “A Passage in Time,” in 2002 (it sold 85,000 copies).
Slaves to the road, Authority Zero has spread its name the old-fashioned rock way, through relentless touring with bands such as Sum 41, Social Distortion, NOFX, Pennywise, Guttermouth and H2O.
Will “Andiamo” (translated “We go,” in Italian) open more doors for them? DeVore sure hopes so.
“Mainly, we just want to tour in Europe, because it’s actually going to be released over there this time around,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of touring and a lot of word of mouth, spreading the word. We’re playing bigger shows everywhere we go, so we’re on the right track.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “I think it was Bon Jovi, probably ‘Blaze of Glory.’ I bought it from a friend of mine for like 5 bucks. I guess he didn’t care for it. Back then, when I was about 10 years old, I was really into Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “Tesla, FireHouse and Ugly Kid Joe in Phoenix. My dad took me to the concert when I was real young. I was into music at a really early age, and I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
THE WORST JOB I’VE EVER HAD: “The worst job I ever had was also one of the coolest because I had a lot of friends working there. I was a janitor. The worst thing about it, of course, was scrubbing other people’s crap.”
ON THE WEB: www.authorityzero.com.
Upcoming tour dates – July 11, Boise, Big Easy; July 13, Salt Lake City, Lo Fi; July 14, Denver, Bluebird; July 16, Dallas, Trees; July 17, El Paso, T-Lounge; July 18, Austin, Stubbs Bar-B-Que; July 19, Houston, Meridian; July 22, Nashville, Exit/In; July 24, Richmond, Va., The Canal Club; July 31, Seminole, Fla., Boomerz Boiler Room; Aug. 7, Augusta, Maine, The Edge.
The Vans Warped Tour – July 23, Cleveland, The Odeon (Warped Aftershow); July 27, Louisville, Kentucky Center for the Arts; Aug. 1, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Fairgrounds; Aug. 2, Charlotte, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater; Aug. 3, Virginia Beach, Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach; Aug. 4, Bistow, Va., Nissan Pavilion; Aug. 5, Burgettstown, Pa., Post-Gazette Pavilion.
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc