Authority Zero levels off after subtraction, addition

By

Published:

 

If you go

What: Authority Zero, opening for the Ataris.

When: 7 p.m. March 11.

Where: Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave., Portland.

Cost: $18 to $20 for those 21 and older, through Cascade Tickets, 800-514-3849 or http://cascadetickets.com.

Information: 503-233-7100 or http://hawthornetheatre.com.

Singer Jason Devore could never see himself being the last original member of Authority Zero — so much so that he thought he'd take drastic action if it ever happened.

"I always was kind of dreading that happening and said if that ever happens, I'm going to call it, because it just would be completely strange and a different group completely," DeVore said.

When drummer Jim Wilcox left the band in 2012, and then bassist Jeremy Wood followed suit in March 2013, it left DeVore as the lone original member. (Guitarist and original member Bill Marcks left the group in 2008).

But here it is 2014, and Authority Zero not only still exists, the band is touring with Ballyhoo! behind a studio album, "The Tipping Point," which was recorded before Wood quit the band, and released in April. As it turned out, DeVore just couldn't bring himself to dissolve the band he's been fronting since 1995.

"Really, I just love the music," DeVore said, explaining why he chose to push forward with Authority Zero. "I love what we've written. I love the shows. I love the interaction with the fans and the people we've interacted with over the years and become friends with and some of the kids who believed in the music and the band so much, through emails and just through personal conversations face to face at our shows, on tour and stuff. I know every band gets that, but to me it always meant something more."

The current lineup includes guitarist Brandon Landelius (who in 2011 replaced Zach Vogel, the guitarist who stepped in for Marcks), drummer Sean Sellers and bassist Mike Spero.

The band started out in 1994 in Mesa, Ariz., and went through a couple of personnel changes before the lineup solidified in 1999 around Marcks, Wood, Wilcox and DeVore.

The band came on the national scene in 2002, with the album "A Passage In Time,' and has gone on to release four studio albums since then — "Andiamo" (2004), "12:34" (2007), "Stories of Survival" (2010) and now "The Tipping Point." Over the years, the group has built a decent following — although a big commercial breakthrough has evaded the group.

So why has Authority Zero seen the departure of three of its long-time members since 2008? To boil things down, DeVore said, life started to catch up with the band.

"Real life kicks in once you get a bit older after that many years have passed," he said. "You grow up, you have kids, you have mortgages, you have bills to pay. And especially in this day and age of music, (a band) is not something you make a lot of money doing, obviously, no matter how much you're touring or any of that. So it begins to wear on you a little bit with the excessive traveling and confined quarters and just looking at all of the different elements of life that come into play."

The family and financial issues that contributed to the departures of the long-time band members don't exist with the current lineup, and DeVore likes the enthusiasm the new members are bringing to Authority Zero.

"It's been a really tight-knit unit," he said. "Everyone's really respectful toward each other and really excited about playing together. To me it's becoming more powerful in a lot of different ways than it has been for a couple of years now."

Doing "The Tipping Point," though, was a bit of an adjustment. Landelius lives in Texas, so DeVore had to work with his guitarist via the Internet during the writing phase. Different playing styles of the new members also came into play, which added to the challenge of making music that still felt like Authority Zero.

The band succeeded with those goals. "The Tipping Point" retains the hard-charging punk rock sound of earlier albums with songs like "Endless Roads," "On The Brink" and "No Other Place. The group also continues to blend in a little reggae on "Struggle" and "Today We Heard The News." New twists come on songs like "Shakedown In Juarez" and "Undivided," which have a bit more of a straight-ahead rock sound and "21st Century Breakdown," a rocker with a couple of tempo changes.

DeVore also likes the energy he hears on "The Tipping Point" and feels that enthusiasm is carrying over to Authority Zero's live shows. The vocalist said the band is trying to cover as much ground musically as possible in its live show.

"We're trying to incorporate some of the new songs," he said. "But we obviously want to make sure the kids who have been around for some time, hear some of the more classic Authority songs they might have grown up on or might have turned them onto the band in the first place. But essentially we're just trying stuff as much as we can."