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If one were compiling a roster of influential Arizona bands, the list – in the eyes of many- is rather short. We have certainly seen a few transplants, but those greatly-heralded artists born-and-bred between the state lines of AZ are few and far between. However, a very deserving member of that elite fraternity is Mesa’s own punk-rastafarian royalty, Authority Zero.
 
After over a decade in the music industry the group is still going strong (in spite of a little shifting of the roster from time-to-time). On the eve of the release of their 5th studio album, The Tipping Point (due out April 2nd), and we had a chance to chat with front-man Jason DeVore about the triumphs and tragedies of Authority’s illustrious career and the opportunity to get a fresh start with this upcoming release. Enjoy, Kickers!!!
 
Authority
 
AmpKicker: Good day, sir! Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us! We’re very eager to hear the new record. We’ll get started by having you introduce yourself to the uninitiated among our readers.

 
My name is Jason DeVore and I am the singer of the group (Authority Zero).
 
Give us a little insight into the making of The Tipping Point— what was the energy/experience like in the studio, how did you incorporate the new members into the songwriting process, etc.?
 
The energy was fresh and new. Sure we had a lot of ups and downs throughout, but ultimately we had a lot of fun doing it and it was exciting. The newer members Brandon and Sean live out of town so it was a matter of them taking time away from their family and friends to come sleep on me and my buddy Bryan’s couch for weeks at a time. A lot of e-mail ideas went back and forth as well. In the end we took a lump sum of time here in AZ and stuffed ourselves into a practice space to bring all the scattered ideas to life.
 
From there we went and lived on our manager’s floor out in Hermosa Beach for a month. We commuted back and forth each day to Cameron Webb’s studio in Orange County. It was a hell of a process and a lot of travel arrangements (along with pulling out your hair), but a killer and exciting time all-around. As far as new member elements, they both brought a grip of new ideas to the table. Both come from different backgrounds than anyone else has before in this group so it added a completely new dynamic.
 
How have you each dealt with the lineup changes in the band? I know prior to & following Bill’s departure there was a lot of shifting going on in the group. Do you feel you’ve finally solidified with this new lineup?
 
 
Everyone deals with it differently. It’s never an easy process as, like you mentioned, people have been coming and going for years. I don’t know that we’ve solidified the lineup just yet, but my hopes are high. It’s almost like a new band and new beginning in many ways. Authority Zero point two haha. But really, it gets tough as you get older to find people who can have a good time but also take it seriously… and are able to handle tour life and keep their head in the game. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart sometimes and can get under your skin. I am hopeful for the future with the new members of the group and the progression of the music.
 
How do you manage to continually come with the same energy and vitality for each record after 11 years in the business? What motivates / inspires you and, concurrently, your material?
 
 
Everything around us inspires the music and keeps the motivation going. The kids at the shows, the emails, our families and just music in general. The only thing that really doesn’t keep you motivated is the actual business side haha. It’s been corrupt for years and makes things difficult to stay afloat as a constant touring band, but on the other side of the coin it (touring) is exactly what you need to do what you love and stay out there.
 


 
Many of the punk acts that have the longevity you’ve enjoyed have either very notable stylistic shifts or no shift at all, it seems. What aspects of your sound do you feel you’ve augmented or eliminated as you’ve progressed through your career?
 
 
I don’t think we’ve eliminated any elements, but some are definitely less prominent and others more. Hearing a lot more rock in our music these days it seems like, but all the elements are essentially still present. You just try and progress with each record and open your mind to new ideas and sounds.
 
What are the biggest challenges for the group currently?
 
 
As with every group: staying together, staying happy, staying busy, getting yourself out there and keeping forward in the difficult times.
 
Jason2How do you go about formulating a set list these days? Are there songs you absolutely know you have to play? Are there any songs on the new album you’re particularly relishing performing live?
 
 
A lot of times these days I’ll put a set together, show the fellas and we’ll typically all be like, “Cool, sounds good.” If there are particular songs individual members really want to play that night or kids have requested we’ll fit them into place.
 
Are there elements of your solo songwriting that now inform the way you approach Authority material? How much did the songwriting style change once the lineup started shifting?
 
The songwriting changed drastically. Again, there are now new people you’re still getting to know and (you’re) trying to incorporate their specific style and taste into an already somewhat developed sound. (The) great thing about it is this group has always been based on the idea of writing new ways and new sounds: so you welcome it with open arms. You just make it work and build off of their ideas. Same with them and my own ideas. There are definitely elements of my solo writing that have come into play on the past two records and I’m sure when people listen back it will be pretty identifiable.
 
Now, for my James Lipton portion of the interview…
 
Do you have a Desert-Island Top-Five albums (or Artists)?

 
 
I really wish I did. One for sure would be Beach Boys Kokomo.
 
What single song has the highest play-count in your music library? (Check your Mp3 player, iTunes, etc. or plead the 5th if it involves Jessica Simpson or Olivia Newton John and John Travolta)
JasonI’ll plead the 5th-
 
 
Any artist living or dead to collaborate with? (could be recording, tour, or simply write with—)
 
 
Bob Marley.
 
 
What is the best live show you have ever attended? (or if that’s too difficult to narrow down… just the first show you ever attended)
 
 
In that case I’ll say the first show I ever attended. It was The Joykiller (singer of TSOL) in the basement of a club in Salt Lake City called The DV8. I was 14 and some friends and I snuck out of Wyoming and crossed the border into Utah to go to this show. We got our asses kicked in the pit and I thought it was the raddest thing that had ever happened. I said to myself at that exact moment, “That’s what I want to do,” and so I did, and have. It changed my life forever.
 
Do you have a favorite show you’ve ever performed? Does one stand out after myriad performances over the years?
 
 
I would say Edgefest 2006 in Peoria, AZ. We ended up headling this big festival over huge bands and there were about 30,000 people there. It blew our minds that we had accomplished that at that point.
 
That, sir, brings the interview to a conclusion! Thanks immensely for taking a moment to speak with us and we GREATLY look forward to hearing The Tipping Point in April!
 

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