Meet AUTHORITY ZERO - Persona Non Grata (INTERVIEW)
Jason DeVore (Vocals) Chris Dalley (Drums) Mike Spero (Bass) Dan Aid (Guitar)
During the first big wave of punk rock and pop-punk in the early 90's, Authority Zero has been bringing their one of a kind blend of melodic-punk rock and reggae style to the masses. Throughout the years, the Mesa AZ, punk rockers have clocked in long hours on the road touring with countless acts, including extensive tours with the likes of Pennywise, Sum 41, Flogging Molly, Less Than Jake, and Reel Big Fish just to name a few, while spending time on the European festival circuit as well as US, Australia, and Japan. Over the years the guys have released 5 full-length studio albums, hitting up spots on US Billboard Charts while being featured in movies, video games, TV shows and more.
With now over 20 years together as a band, Authority Zero is still killing it with yet another full length album release, PERSONA NON GRATA. It's the band's first self-released album in over a decade since their 2002 album "A Passage in Time."
The guys headed to For Collins, Colorado's legendary "The Blasting Room Studio" to record this album where they recorded their previous 2017 record "Broadcasting to the Nations" via Bird Attack Records where the likes of NOFX, Rise Against, Black Flag, Descendents, MxPx, Anti-Flag, Lagwagon and a laundry list more of punk rocks finest elite have recorded their forthcoming records in the past.
I recently had a chance to chat with AUTHORITY ZERO bassist Mike Spero on working with Bill Stevenson of Descendents/ALL, recording in The Blasting Room Studios and their plans for 2019 plus much more!
AUTHORITY ZERO - PERSONA NON GRATA
TPPD - This is Authority Zero's first self-released in nearly 20 years. Was there more pressure to do it yourselves or was it a little more relaxed going in this time around?
Mike - Recording and releasing new music is always a fairly stressful process, but making this record was one of the most enjoyable experiences the 4 of us have had together, and it felt good to put it out on our terms.
TPPD - What was it like going back to The Blasting Room Studios again?
Mike - It was awesome. Working together again so soon really made the entire creative process feel more more organic as well as made the whole environment much more relaxed. We all not only got through things quickly and easily, but truly had a lot of fun. We’d cook family style dinners each night and would work late into the early morning hours many days just because we were all having a nice time.
TPPD - What is the overall vibe of The Blasting Room Studios? Do you guys go in with fully written songs or just concepts/ideas to bounce off one another in the studio?
Mike - This time, we came in much more musically prepared than ever before. That helped a lot, sure. But, consider a restaurant kitchen during its dinner rush- that’s how things begin to feel around day 3. Chris is laying down drum tracks in one room, Dan and I are working on bass and guitars in another, and drum tracks are getting mixed down in another. Once all the gears in the machine start moving simultaneously, it can feel a little crazy. Those guys have their system down to a science and it’s amazing to be a part of.
TPPD - How was working with Bill Stevenson (All/ Descendants) (I'm a huge Descendants fan, I have a Milo tattoo on my elbow.)
Mike - Many times working alongside Bill it seems he knows you better than you know yourself. We’ve been lucky enough to have him work with us on two records producing and engineering during the vocal tracking process. He brings out the best in you.
TPPD - "Persona Non Grata" in Latin means "Person Not Appreciated" or in the legal term " is a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country's government." Does the album title have any political meaning to it?
Mike - Our band understands the translation of “persona non grata” to mean “unwanted person”. In the case of this record, there is no political meaning behind it. Throughout this record and specifically in the lyrics of the final track “Rights This Way” for instance, our intention is not to side with any ongoings in the political arena, but rather to draw attention to the ways in which all people may hopefully learn treat one another with more respect and dignity.
TPPD - I try to analyze every album cover, what story does yours tell?
Mike - That typewriter has been in Dan’s family quite a while, and it just seemed right to use for this record. Perhaps, it could represent a longing for a simpler and more humble means of human interaction, but honestly it’s up for interpretation.
TPPD - No matter what band throughout time, fans of bands have always compared new records to old ones. If you could compare this new album Persona Non Grata to any of Authority Zero's older material, what would it be?
Mike - To us, this one stands alone for several reasons. Jason’s lyrics are more introspective than ever, as he sang about more of his personal life experiences than is typical for him. Musically, Dan and I entered territories we may not have previously thought to explore. Our close friends here in Arizona, however, have on more than occasion compared this record to A Passage In Time, Authority Zero’s first record.
TPPD - You guys have given kudos to parents bringing their kids to shows which is awesome. What're the youngest fans you've seen?
Mike - Within the last few years, I’ve met kids at our shows as young as 4 or 5. Our long time friends and fans are starting families of their own and are beginning to bring their little ones around. I think our drummer Chris may actually hold the record for youngest offspring at a show. Earlier this month, his youngest son made an appearance at the age of 6 months old.
TPPD - Do you guys take your kids to shows? Plan to? First show you took your son/daughter to?
Mike - Chris is currently the only father in our band, and as mentioned before, there’s no doubt Kieth will experience more than his fair share of rock and roll by the time he’s in middle school.
TPPD - What is Authority Zero's goals/plans for 2019?
Mike - We always keep a few tricks up our sleeves! For now, we plan to tour Europe, Canada, Japan and the United States as well as continue writing new material.
AUTHORITY ZERO'S album PERSONA NON GRATA is OUT NOW!
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