The Icarus Line
Last Rock n Roll Gang

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April 14, 2019

Interview with Don Devore

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Written by: admin

Even if Don Devore’s stay within The Icarus Line was relatively brief, he still managed to contribute towards what many consider to be the band’s magnum opus (Penance Soiree). And whilst he would eventually exit the band after the release of Black Lives At The Golden Coast, a lot of people considered him to be part of the band’s classic lineup. Still, all things must come to an end eventually. And since then, Don’s done other things since, and is currently part of the duo that is Collapsing Scenery.

Growing up, what were your formative years like, and how were you introduced to the world of rock music? What made you decide to become a musician?

Following a five alarm house fire which completely destroyed my family’s seven bedroom Victorian house in North East Philadelphia, I was introduced to the guitar by one of my mother’s short lived boyfriends named Chick – a Vietnam vet liberal type, who was very strange to have around. He played guitar and he knew I had an interest in playing guitar. He had me answer an ad in the paper where someone was giving away a Gibson 1970 ES335 only to someone who really wanted it. I was already into punk at this point but when I called them and he asked me what music I was into, I said “music on the radio”. He didn’t give it to me, and I learned a lesson as an artist then about being true to myself.

An acoustic guitar showed up in my life and I would play with a quarter to get a distorted sound like the records my older brother listened to – Minor Threat and the Fall, etc – before I knew what an electric guitar sounded like. And it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I didn’t have a choice in being a musician or not.

Formative shows:
Drexel University 1994 – Fugazi and Bikini Kill (age 12/13, had to sneak out of the house)
Chocadaro 1995 – Spiritualized (Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space tour [only live lineup that mattered])
Haverford College 1995 – Stereolab (oddly enough they showed me how heavy a band could be)
Philadelphia 13thand South Street 1997 – Nation of Ulysses and Circus Lupis (right before they went on, cops showed up on horses and a riot began – I saw the rescheduled show a week later)
Middlesex Community College 1997 – Born Against
Berlin 1998 – Love Parade (where to start, Berlin in general)

List of formative bands I was in:
Switched On
Mandela Strike Force (which turned into Ink and Dagger)

You were in The Icarus Line between the years 2003 – 2006, and played on Penance Soiree, Black Presents, and Black Lives At The Golden Coast. What is your proudest memory of this period, and if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

There was short lived period where the band slayed after the release of Penance Soiree. I developed a relationship with Los Angeles during these years that developed into a huge part of my life. Alvin, Captain, Joe, Aaron, Monica – when everybody was healthy and coherent, it was a pretty incredible crew to be around. The tour with Primal Scream – the Manny and Kevin Shields lineup – was a privilege to be involved with on a daily basis. But as a much beloved author of this crew fondly said: “No regrets, no reunions”.

What’s your favourite memory of Alvin Deguzman that you’d like to share?

Alvin was easily the most dependable person involved in the band. A total sweetheart that just wanted to please and be involved and be part of the gang. When his inhibitions were lifted by not mimicking parts, he had a strength in his wrist and hands that was fascinating to watch.

You started out in 1993 in the straight edge hardcore band, Frail. Given that you were only around 15 at the time, and now that you’re about 40, how do you think you’ve evolved musically over the years?

Incredibly – every year that goes by is another year that it intensifies. I’m lucky enough to have another 40 years to develop even further. The specifics within that are so numerous it’s hard to pinpoint. I’ve never for one second stopped being a professional artist, constantly developing.

According to Wikipaedia, you’ve been associated with 14 musical acts. What’s the main reason for such a high number? And going forward, which band would you most like to work with and why?

Because I’ve been very fortunate I will hopefully work with a lot more. That number 14 is off by many.

How do you think the musical climate has changed over the years – particularly for underground rock bands? At the same time, what tips would you give to musicians and bands starting out today?

I don’t think much. Some people would say technology changed everything but I don’t think so. If you take it outside of traditional rock music there would be a lot I could say. But I don’t take traditional rock music itself seriously because there aren’t many serious rock musicians – with a few exceptions.

Tips to musicians? As I often say about most of my artistic counterparts in Los Angeles, or anywhere for that matter, you have to have a style before you can have any fashion. And if you don’t, there’s no hiding it.

Now that you’re practically middle age, what’s the biggest lesson that life has ever taught you?

It took me till my late 20’s before I learned how to clean. And a lot of things came with that.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time, and when it’s all over, what kind of a legacy would you like to leave?

Hopefully 10 years further than I was 10 years before. And I’m not talking legacies yet.

Thank you!

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