Devin Townsend: The Second Gun Shy Interview — Part 2

Devin Townsend

Last week, we spoke to Devin Townsend — who has been churning out audio gold for decades now — about his upcoming new LP, Epicloud.

We spoke to Devin mere hours after it was revealed that two of his fellow Canadian countrymen — Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne — were engaged to wed.

I had to get Townsend’s insight on the situation, so asked how he reacted to the apocalyptic news? “It’s the perfect storm, brother,” Devin tells GunShyAssassin.

“I don’t know — every time I have seen Avril Lavigne talk, I think she’s a total bitch, right? I can’t help but think that she’s just a nightmare,” Devin continues. “But, I don’t know anything about her music. I have heard the popular songs, the ones pounded on the radio. It is slick, super-compressed pop. I don’t hate her or like her — she’s just this like naughty-looking chick.”

Indeed she is, Dev. But then, Townsend discusses Nickelback, and…you may be surprised, even shocked by what he had to say.

“My view on Nickelback has changed dramatically over the years, and I will tell you this: I think Nickelback gets a bad wrap,” Townsend starts.

“I will go on record as saying that. Every time you hear or even mention Nickelback, it’s dealt with such vitriol. I fucking hate that, man,” says Hevy Devy. “And I was definitely in that group too, but for me, it was a little more because I was jealous, because the lawyer that I had ended up leaving us for Nickelback 15 years ago, and we lost a bunch of money. But, I tell you man…I was at this awards show in Canada and Nickelback opened the show, and while they were playing, I was looking at my buddy and I was like, ‘What about this band don’t I like?’”

You read that right — Devin Townsend is not totally opposed to the existence of Nickelback. Does this change my opinion of how awesome Devin is? Fuck no.

“Nickelback were fucking awesome when I saw them; they were totally in tune, the sound was great, and it has a good beat,” Townsend elaborates. “I think if I heard Nickelback when I was a kid, I probably would have really liked it. I’m not a big fan of the ‘Drink booze and look at strippers’-type lyrical content, but shit, the record sounds good. They’re good live…it’s so in vogue to hate that band and I’m just trying to stand back from it a little bit and go, ‘Why does everybody hate that band? Is it just because they’re average?’ I will subscribe to that. But just as an entity, the technical elements of what they did at that show that I saw was really well done.

“Maybe there’s something about old Chad and old Avril there that we’re missing,” Devin goes on. “Maybe they’re just two lost souls trying to find the light of themselves in each other in a topsy turvy world where the only thing they can relate to is a group experience in which no one else can understand, except for each other, because they have had the same experiences.”

Dude…Devin’s a rather deep dude, huh?

Of course, there’s a ton of new music coming to us from Devin Townsend. He’s working on the next Ziltoid record (which he says he doesn’t want to rush it, and is working on getting the proper financing and musicians in place for it), and is nearly finished with Casualties of Cool, which he says it “haunted country music.”

And yes, in a few short weeks, we get Epicloud, which I have heard, and yes, it is good. Basically, it’s like Addicted and Terria blended together, but even better than that.

Devin is a work horse, and is the first one to admit it.

“I do whatever I can as a person not to be an asshole,” starts Townsend. “There are times when you don’t realize your an asshole until later. But I def try to make sure the people in my life that I care for and allow me to do what I do in so many ways don’t get the shit end of the stick.

“That’s maybe the reason why I do work so much, and the reason I am so productive is primarily because my life of family and friends and work and all this shit is one thing, but I am very fortunate that what I do for a living is something I would do if I didn’t make a living doing it,” he says. “Music is what I do. I love it. When I am not making albums, I am writing and recording music because it is my hobby. I love to make music, man. That’s the bottom line. So the fact that I’ve got so much shit coming out isn’t because I’m necessarily desperately seeking that validation of being that guy, but more so just because I write a ton of stuff, and I know how to produce, so there’s really not a lot of ulterior anything to it.”

Of course, no GunShyAssassin interview would be complete without some other deep questions. We began by asking Devin what his worst habit is, and we ended up in some rather strange territory.

“Probably picking my nose,” says Devin; I tell him that’s probably mine, too. “I think I’m pretty transparent at this point. I don’t drink or do drugs. I try to stay away from porn, but every now and then, whatever…I’ve been married for so many years, man. I don’t think porn is a good idea for me, but every now and then I’ll look at a porn site and feel like a bit of an asshole after.

“My worst habit is I hate being conspicuous. I don’t like being seen. When I’m walking, I want to blend in. I want to be invisible. But if I am out with people who are loud, I fucking freak out. I’m just like ‘SHUT UP.’ I don’t want to attract attention at all, and so when I am with people who do, I’m kind of bitchy because I’m hyper aware of it.”

Then, we talked more about sex. I asked Devin what I ask every touring musician I have a chance to speak with: Has Mr. Townsend ever come across a gloryhole?

“That’s definitely not my trip, man,” says Devin. “I’m definitely not the type of dude that’s going to suck dick through a bathroom stall or put my wang through it. However, have I come across one? Well, maybe. I certainly would have left the stall had that been the case.

“I think sex and everything is something that is a real problem for the most part because sex is viewed as separate from the relationships that people have with each other. I think for me, my goals in terms of longterm relationships and how I relate to other people and all this definitely includes this sort of ongoing dialogue with myself about sex, and that’s why porn bothers me because it sort of negates the part of it that is really important. If one stops and really considers humanity, I think that sex in general is just such a…it just ties you to the physical end of it so profoundly. I don’t know man — it’s bugging me. Sex is always bothering me. But, yeah — if I had seen one, I wouldn’t have recognized it.”

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