Devin Townsend Doesn’t Expect Strapping Young Lad Return
Once former Strapping Young Lad frontman Devin Townsend commits to something, “that’s basically the end of it,” he says. And when he decided back in 2006 to leave Strapping, he meant it. Devin’s decision came soon after the birth of his son, Reyner, and since then, Townsend has recorded his own music and produced albums for others.
So, SYL fans who think you can’t keep a good band down will be waiting a long, long time for a reunion, because Townsend (who is taking this year to record and release a series of four albums; the first, “Ki,” lands in stores June 19) says that part of his life is over.
“Essentially, because each record I do is a product of a certain period of emotional growth or instability, or whatever it brings, the music that results from that is, in a way, just what happens for me to get from one point to another, and Strapping was no different,” Townsend tells Noisecreep. “When I started Strapping, I was 24 years old, and the energy that made Strapping, in my opinion, one of the best metal bands ever is a very honest representation of who I was at that time. And as a result of how my process is musically, a lot of the reason why I write is to get from one point to another, and in fact, resolve issues through the music so I can kind of move on.”
In short, Townsend says making music with SYL just didn’t feel right anymore. For a while there, Townsend admits he felt like a poser.
“I had some friends a while back who were legitimately from a harder world than me, and one guy pulled me aside, and said, ‘I’m trying to figure out whether or not you’re a poser.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?,’” Devin recalls. “And he says, ‘You’re up there, singing all this harsh shit, and projecting that onto the audience, but in the meantime, you kind of listen to Ravi Shankar, play an acoustic guitar, and all this sort of shit. Why are you doing this?,’ and I really started thinking about it, and I came back to him, and said, ‘You know, you’re probably right. I think I might be a poser at this point,’ and coming to that conclusion was such a shock to me, because metal means so much to me, but the metal that doesn’t mean anything to me is middle-class white folk who’re pretending their issues are worth screaming about. So, I can’t go back to Strapping. Having had the energy of Strapping resolved, to go back at this point would be ridiculous.”
So, Townsend says he’s leaving the past behind him. No more Strapping, no more Devin Townsend Band. “I said I would do five records with Strapping, and there was a time after [1997's] ‘City,’ where I was like, ‘Well, I’ve said what I needed to say with this kind of musical output, and I’m basically empty with this,’” he says. “But I signed the deal, so I finished it, and what ended up happening is I had to do things to myself, emotionally or physically, to try to reconnect with what made Strapping authentic in the beginning, so to do that, I ended up doing a lot of drugs and drinking and doing things to myself that were verging on this kind of pathetic martyrdom. So, by the time Strapping had finished with Ozzfest, I had resolved what made Strapping so important in the beginning, on an emotional level, and for me to come to that conclusion, I started thinking to myself, ‘If I did Strapping from this point on, having had resolved that, I’d basically be a fraud.’”