By Ellen Eldridge
David Draiman of Disturbed, and ex-Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo recently collaborated together to construct Device. The self-titled debut released April 9, taking strands from hard rock, industrial and electronica to form a focused, fierce and fiery new machine.
It all started while the Grammy Award-nominated multiplatinum powerhouse Disturbed was on hiatus. Lenardo reached out to Draiman to collaborate on a song for the Underworld: Awakening soundtrack in late 2011. As soon as the singer heard the music, he was both intrigued and inspired. The duo then cut “Hunted” in Chicago. Even though the track didn’t ultimately make the final soundtrack album due to circumstances beyond their control, Draiman urged that they hold on to it and continue writing music. Soon, they had an entire album’s worth of material.
Upon finishing the record, Draiman enlisted Evanescence drummer Will Hunt and Dope and Rock of Ages guitarist Virus. Both Hunt and Virus jumped at the chance to be a part of this powerhouse trio. The three comprise the touring incarnation of Device, which plays Atlanta’s Center Stage Friday May 3. Virus took the time to speak with us for our 5 GB interview:
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you at your show?
I can tell you a strange experience: I was playing one time, and I can’t remember where I was, but it was a Dope show way back in the day. This girl in the front row was going so ridiculously crazy that everyone around her thought, ‘man this chick is out of control.’ She was slamming around, jumping trying to grab us and she kind of lunged at me and hit her head on the edge of my guitar—on a piece of steel that was used to kind of hold my guitar together—and she had this gash in her face. She had no idea, and I kept trying to get her attention saying, ‘look at your face!’ We had to actually stop playing. I was so concerned. It the weirdest thing; she wasn’t hurt at all but it was a great mix of comedy, intensity and a great rock and roll moment.
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist/band so far?
Sometimes, during the last gig of a tour, the opening band will pull pranks. Well, this band, 40 Below Summer, pulled a prank where they came out with duct tape and taped our ankles together, except the drummer. They taped my ankles together and opened the back of my pants and squirted mustard and ketchup and all this stuff down there while I was playing. It would have been easier but Dope’s music is all heavy and intense; not funny at all. I was trying to maintain character with cornflakes in my ass. And you can’t run away in that situation. You have to stand there. It was awful, but I probably laughed the hardest in my life that night.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Vocally I warm up. It’s kind of funny because on the bus David (Draiman) and I will be at opposite ends warming up our vocals. I do have a beer and that’s kind of it. I like my alone time. I like to stay to myself and get into the zone.
If you could describe your music (either what you add to Device or your music in general) in one word, what would it be?
I think we’re a power-rock-industrial trio. I would focus on the “trio” because that’s never been done. One word is really tough; maybe “hauntingly beautiful” but the music of Device is heavy as well. I’m really excited about the future and creating music with Device in the future.
How do you connect with a crowd?
I’m pretty interactive. I’m a singer as well and I’ll sing along with David as people are mouthing the words back; I vibe off that. And I get dirty. I get into the crowd by slapping hands and straddling the stage and the barricade doing a split. I like to get a piece of it and feed off that shit.
How did you come up with your name (Virus) or adopt it?
I’ve been Virus for 13 years. It was Cyrus, and then all the guys in Dope started calling me “Cyrus the Virus.” Then it became cooler. I was using all these guitars and my hair was green so Virus became this character. For Device I think it’s fitting because of the technical elements. I really think it fits.
What is the best way to write music?
There is no right way; there is only the right way for the individual artist. David and I write the same way, which is to come up with a cool music background and then start singing over it with a melody, but the lyrics come last.
We hope to see you at Device, Friday May 3, at Center Stage!