The RV carrying Joey “Chicago” Walser and Blake Allison of Devour the Day was 14 minutes from Pittsburgh, heading for a gig tonight in the Strip District — and a future that is getting brighter and better.
“Yesterday was a big, exciting day,” Mr. Walser said via cellphone this afternoon. “Our latest album, ‘Time & Pressure,’ has been remixed and was re-released nationwide.”
It’s an album that he and Mr. Allison are justifiably proud of as it marks their continuing evolution from their former band — Egypt Central — to a project that is much more dear to them.
“Blake and I produce, engineer and write the music,” Mr. Walser said. “It’s an awesome experience.”
Devour the Day will be playing songs from the album tonight at Club Zoo as part of Hell Pop Tour II, which has them traveling the country with Butcher Babies, All Hail The Yeti and the headline act, In This Moment.
Back in the day, Mr. Walser, who is from Chicago, played bass with Egypt Central. Mr. Allison, of Memphis, Tenn., was the drummer.
That band, however, broke up a few years ago, and Mr. Walser and Mr. Allison decided to continue on their own.
“Now, Blake plays the guitar and sings,” Mr. Walser said. “He did a little instrument switch.”
The trouble with starting a new band, however, is that it isn’t like another step in the same direction. It’s more like having to reboot.
“It’s exactly like starting over, because it is,” Mr. Walser said. “You may get typecast with another band, so then you have to shed that and evolve. At the same time, new risks come to life. How are people going to take you? Will they consider this a side project? You never really know how people are going to connect and judge the new project.
“For us, the fans and our friends and family got behind us with such a vigor that we’ve become this unstoppable locomotive. People believe in the project, and they also believe that the underdog wins. And I think the underdog is winning.
“After 10 years of writing, I’ve been with very many talented musicians. For whatever reason, Blake and I have found that we make better music when it’s just the two of us. The success of this record proves that, and I feel very good about it.”
Fans who might remember them from their days with Egypt Central — which made a handful of stops in Pittsburgh — should be aware that the sound is not the same.
“In Egypt Central, people were into the energy of the band and we would pride ourselves on that in our live shows,” Mr. Walser said. “That translated into the songs. They were fun, motivational. Great for people who were trying to lose weight or get over an emotional situation.
“But we were playing it safe with that band, and now we’re taking a lot more risks. Risks with our lyrics, our music, our genre. I think that it’s made a difference. Expecting your fans to be stupid is a horrible plan. If you don’t approach them as if they’re intelligent, then you pigeonhole yourself into only having ignorant fans. We have a very diverse fan base.
“In my opinion, the honesty isn’t saying ‘Life is so bad you just fold your hands and give up.’ We provide the testimony that we believe very much the opposite. Letting people know they’re not alone in their hardship, that life is difficult, it’s a struggle. There is hope, and if you have the will and the want, you can conquer any adversity.”
It’s a message of hope delivered to the sound of heavy metal. Metal the way it’s supposed to be played.
“We go back to before bands started forgetting about talent and just putting on leather pants,” Mr. Walser said.
Devour the Day and the other bands are more than halfway through the Hell Pop Tour II. Mr. Walser said it’s been a great experience.
“I have known In This Moment for eight years and I’ve watched the evolution of the band,” he said. “And, honestly, it’s an incredible production — with the time and care that has been put into this show. It rivals Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, what they’ve created with dancers and lights and staging of the highest level. Also they’re really great people and they’ve been very loving with us on this tour.”
The show promises to be worth the $25 cover.
“It’s a diverse collection of everything from the major production of a stage show to blinding metal,” Mr. Walser said. “It’s metal so good, you gotta close your eyes.”
The Hell Pop Tour II begins at 7 p.m. at Club Zoo, 1630 Smallman St. in the Strip.
Dan Majors: firstname.lastname@example.org.