Abby Peters interview Dutch Devries on August 30, 2017.
AP: Can you start by giving me a little background on yourself?
LD: No problem at all… I’ve been in and out of bands since I was a teenager. It was the perfect place for me to fit. I’ve grown up a lot since then, but the love of music is still strong as ever… I was always the All-American underachiever. There were high expectations for me in everything, but I never lived up to the hype! Actually, I am a productive member of society with kids probably older than you, and a job most would never peg me for. I still look like the stereotype “rocker/ metalhead”, but I am smarter than I look!
AP: I have to ask, how did you get the nickname, “Dutch?”
LD: I get asked that quite a bit… My dad was in the Hell’s Henchmen MC back in the 70s, and his nickname was “Dutch”. When I’d see his friends, they would call me the “Lil Dutchboy”. As I grew older, I kept the moniker as my own, and he became the “Old Dutchman”. That’s pretty much where I’m at now because my son has taken the AKA on himself.
AP: How did you and the guys meet?
LD: I’ve known Tony Raygor (lead guitar) and Phil Johnson (bass) for about a dozen years now. My previous band was on the same bill as DMH when they were starting out. There was a quick connection, and we became friends. I’d help them out over the years when they were in between vocalists or join them on stage for a song or two, then the gig kinda fell into my lap. I’ve been part of DMH for almost three years. Plus, I went to high school with our drummer Brian P…. We didn’t know each other until DMH…
AP: When did you first start singing?
LD: Ever since I was a kid, I was always into music and performing. My earliest memories were singing and acting like Elvis when I was maybe four years old… The love of music was always there, but growing up, the talent wasn’t. I had a very shy and awkward period- very self- conscious. Knowing I wanted to sing, I had to get over it, practice, and find my own niche. No overnight sensation here!
AP: Is it harder to be a singer of a heavy metal band than a softer sounding band?
LD: For me, I don’t think so. I come from a diverse blend of influences. I always said I got my melody from the Beatles and my attitude from the Stones. I love to sing any style, it’s about making it your own. Your own voice, your own feelings/ emotion you put into it. I’m just as comfortable singing something from the Eagles as I am from Motorhead! Some people find it more difficult or are afraid to step out of their comfort zone, but I believe that’s how you mature as a vocalist.
AP: What is your favorite type of venue to perform at, and why is it your favorite?
LD: Personally, it depends on the bands we’re with. I’ve been in 2000 seat arenas, and that’s pretty cool seeing all those people and exposing your music for the first time to most of them- especially if they like it, but… I find there is always something special about playing at a little dive bar. It’s much more intimate, and it’s easier to interact with the audience. My job is to get the audience to respond, and when they’re right there, you’ll find out if you’re having a good show or not. It’s a rush when the crowd sings with you or back to you…
AP: You mentioned that you were, “A band of the people,” why did you decide that, and how do you feel that you carry that sentiment out with your actions?
LD: Hell, we are the people! By no means are we rock stars. It’s a tremendous compliment when people come to see our shows or buy our music. We’re all music fans, and we all share it together. We don’t pretend to be something we’re not. That’s when you lose connection. When I write my lyrics, I want it to mean something and have some substance. I want our songs to relate to people so when they hear it, they go “Hell yeah- I know exactly what he means!” On another note, we’re prepping a couple new songs for the studio. Our intention is to bring some of our fans in to help with backing vocals. Just keeping it real… You are more than welcome to join us and even bring some friends!
AP: How do you feel the Joliet music scene has evolved over the years that you’ve been playing there?
LD: I guess every city likes to think it stands on its own, and in some ways, they do… I remember all the hair metal that would be out here in the 80s, and that turned into grunge, nu-metal, and so on. There are a lot of talented people out there, but there are so many that just go through the motions and act pretentious and arrogant. I guess that’s the biggest change, not as much heart as there used to be. That’s what sets the good artists apart from the others the most. They’re the ones that make you feel it…
AP: How do you think you fit into the music scene in Joliet?
LD: I guess the guys in Deadman’s Hand and I are the elder statesmen these days! I have some younger friends, and a story got back to me from one that I work with about one of our shows. Naturally, we were the oldest guys in the place, and we knew a few people. My co-worker’s friend said he saw a bunch of old dudes that looked like bikers, but when they got on stage, they kicked some serious ass and stole the show! My bud suggested it was us, and bingo, it was. We bring it old school and have lots of fun. It feels great to know that a younger crowd can dig what we dish out….
AP: Thank you for answering my questions, is there anything else you would like us to know?
LD: We are always looking for new opportunities to grow as musicians and as people. We look forward to meeting new bands and audiences to have a good time and crank it loud and proud!