Devin Townsend is not afraid of joy

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Metal God Devin Townsend joined me on the show today.  For those non-metal heads out there that don’t know who Devin Townsend is, check out the videos below to discover a truly unique musical vision and voice.

Typically when I’m introducing a new band to a friend, I wouldn’t reach for live show recordings. Concert footage is usually really fun for the existing fan, but not always the best representation of what the music should sound like. Devin Townsend is a glaring exception. By seeing him on stage, we get to fully appreciate the quality of his vocals without any studio tricks to hide behind.


Devin’s music blends what are typically irreconcilable elements: bone crushing heaviness, and LIGHT. I don’t know how else to say it, folks. Just watch this  video of The Devin Townsend Project performing “Grace” (with a Steve Vai cameo! Woot! ) This may be the perfect sonic yin & yang. Magnificent. Triumphant. Exuberant. If I ever die, I’m pretty certain this will be what it sounds like as I walk toward the light:

Two main themes stood out in my mind from our conversation: Joy and creation without self limiting doubt:

I asked Devin about the juxtaposition of the light and the heavy. He said, paraphrasing, “I guess I’m just not afraid of joy anymore”.  I’m still kind of tripping out on this. All week I’ve been asking myself  “Am I afraid of joy?”  “Is he afraid of joy? Is SHE afraid of joy?  What does that look like?  WHY are we ever afraid of joy? What fucked up, sinister force is it that makes us afraid of joy, and how do we get past it?”  I’m far from done with this query. Let me know how it settles in on your soul.

Devin talked about his creative process, and how he has learned to get out of his own way, to create without doubting himself.

“Making sure that whenever you do something in private, you’d be okay with other people knowing about it, to make sure it would be okay with the public knowing about it… when you are put in a position where you have to be accountable for it, which you are, make no mistake –  a lot of times when people say, ‘this is just my artistic catharsis’… ultimately, people listen,  and you resonate with people, and you have to be accountable for that stuff, because eventually someone is going to say “Hey,what did you mean about that?” If you can’t answer, honestly, it just causes you problems.  So now, I’m on auto pilot  in a similar way, but with a sense of control as to why it’s happening, so that when I write, there’s no questions. If I choose to do something aggressive, it’s coming from a place that I can articulate as opposed to before where it wasn’t.”  – Devin Townsend

More music…  “Kingdom” from his Retinal Circus performance:

And one last thing… guys, I totally messed up. It was, indeed Tinfoil Hat Tuesday, and I really did have every intention in the world to talk with Devin about aliens, but the hour passed insanely quickly. In the mean time, check out Devin’s own pet alien, Ziltoid:  (all 3 episodes are pretty damn funny).

For those that want to explore Devin’s music a little further, check out my playlist of favorites, including a few tracks from another of his projects, “Casualties of Cool” (gorgeous stuff):

Connect with Devin Townsend:


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