I recently had an opportunity to watch Kill Devil Hill when their tour brought them to my hometown of Monticello, KY. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Kill Devil Hill when I was invited to the show, and at this point I’m feeling like that’s a shame! Turns out, bassist Rex ‘mother fuckin’ Brown (Pantera, Down), drummer Vinny Appice (9 Chambers, Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven and Hell) and guitarist Mark Zavon (Ratt, W.A.S.P., 40 Cycle Hum) collaborated with long time friend and former Pissing Razors vocalist Jason “Dewey” Bragg and everything felt just right. Hence, Kill Devil Hill. Thank God! While there’s currently only a debut album to anticipate along with a few teaser tracks on YouTube, they are confirming one fan at a time that it is not just right, it’s huge!
Rex, who was the band’s final piece of the puzzle, recently spoke to Revolver Magazine and had this to say about the formation of the project:
Basically, Vinny cut these drum tracks, and had ‘em ready, and he approached Mark Zavon, who’s just an incredible guitar player, and he knew Dewey [Bragg], who’s an incredible singer, and they put these songs together. They were looking for a bass player, and Vinny just happened to have my number. I’ve known him for all these years, playing festivals and stuff like that. They gave me a call and sent me a tape. I laid down some bass and, apparently, they dug it! I was looking for a change anyway. So I went up in January and played with them, and I know it’s cliché to say the band clicked, but it did. Everyone in the band, we’re all on the same page. I would go down about every three weeks, and we jammed a lot. Very heavy on the bottom end, very melodic on the top end–it’s perfect. Something I’ve been wanting for a while.
With an estimated release date of March 2012 for their yet-to-be named debut album, Kill Devil Hill doesn’t play by Media’s rule of ‘put out an album, hype it and hope for the best.’ They are out there, and they are doing it their way. Wrapping up a six week, 23 date, cross-country tour only to head straight into the studio, Kill Devil Hill demands your respect. They are working their asses off. No album to push air time, no preconceptions or strategic hype; only the gut wrenching, raw honesty that floods from the stage. Is their hard work paying off? Just ask the sea of fans who have already been convinced.
With a near two dozen dates under their belt in the month of October alone, Kill Devil Hill is going into the studio with a clear vision, and a level of well placed understanding that even the most experienced of musicians strive for, but rarely obtain. While fans may be on pins and needles waiting for the album to be released, the finished product will be well worth the wait, and is promised to be nothing less than ineffable.
After the show, I had a chance to ask them a few questions. When asked what they believe is the biggest issue facing the music industry today, the band responded by addressing the lack of personal touch where the fans can connect to the music the way it was intended. For me, connecting with Kill Devil Hill music in such an intimate way was a very spiritual experience, so they must know something that the industry doesn’t. There’s nothing like going through every ounce of emotion they put into each note, feeling the transitions from one song to the next and hearing it from them, exactly the way they want you to hear it. Unfortunately, today’s music is so rushed and genre specific that some bands don’t have a chance to explore where they really want to take you. Kill Devil Hill is definitely not one of those bands!
According to Vinny, Kill Devil Hill sounds “like a cross between Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains and a little bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.” However, I feel like I would be cheating them to compare them to a specific influence or band. The thing is, they are Kill Devil Hill and they cumulatively bring to the stage everything that is good about what you’ve known, and everything that has yet to be defined in music. They have nothing to prove and they are here because they love music. It’s all a journey, and they intend on taking you along for the ride.