Guitarist Andre “Virus” Karkos says that DEVICE wasn’t given “the proper time and attention” it needed to grow into a successful band when DISTURBED frontman David Draiman abruptly pulled the plug on the project just before it was scheduled to embark on a major tour.
David launched DEVICE in 2012 with ex-FILTER guitarist Geno Lenardo, after DISTURBED went on hiatus in late 2011. The project released a self-titled debut album and scored a No. 1 rock hit with the song “Vilify” in early 2013, a period which saw Draiman playing a number of shows with a live band that included Virus and EVANESCENCE drummer Will Hunt. (Lenardo did not tour with DEVICE due to previous commitments.)
Speaking about what his expectations were for DEVICE, Virus told the “Talk Toomey” podcast (hear audio below): “I know what I was told, and then I, obviously, know what happened. People can do their own math about that. But I will say this: DEVICE was extremely successful for the little time it was around. If it just was left to do what it was supposed to do and we gave it the proper time and attention, like we were gonna, that band would have been huge. I have no doubt about that.”
He continued: “It’s not every day where… You know, you do what I do, which is… You’re in a band and you get record deals and you roll the dice and you kind of hope for the best. But sometimes you get an opportunity like that where you have this superstar lead singer from a huge band in the genre, and you’re on Warner Brothers Records, you have the same management and you have all these tools at your disposal, and you launch the thing and it does great. Like, the first single went to No. 1. Things were great, and we sold a bunch of records; I think that we were at a hundred and ten thousand records when David pulled the plug. The tour that we walked away from before it was all over was AVENGED SEVENFOLD headlining, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH was main support, and then it was DEVICE. That was the tour that we had lined up, and David walked away, and whatever. But, yeah, that band could have been a really large band, I feel.”
According to Virus, DEVICE would have ended up being a commercial success had the band stuck together long enough to continue promoting its debut album with live shows. “I feel like it was unfair to judge it due to the lack of time that it was around,” he said. “What we did was… I think the record… I can’t remember the dates now; everything is such a blur. But I think that we started touring in March/April and then it was over by the fall. We did Gigantour with MEGADETH, we did our own little headlining tour, shot two videos, songs both went… one went to No. 1, one was Top 20, and we sold a bunch of records, and I feel like if we stayed out, we would have sold a bunch more records. So I feel like if it was given its due time that you could start looking at the projected direction of the band, financially as well, and go, ‘Wow, this could be a really successful entity.'”
Asked if he thinks Draiman was let down by the response to DEVICE’s debut album and the band’s live performances, Virus said: “I can’t speak for David. I know he was a little disappointed that it probably… I think it took a little bit longer for him… It would have taken longer, and I don’t know if he was patient enough. David’s a friend of mine, and I don’t wanna speak for him. He’s in a different place than me and Will. He’s got DISTURBED still. He’s in a different spot. He has different needs and different wants than me and Will do, so I don’t wanna speak for him. But, in my opinion, I feel like if that band was given a shot, it would have been successful. I really have no doubt about that. And then even writing a second record, I just feel like it would have been monstrous; I really do. I was really bummed out when that ended. I was really upset. I was, like, ‘Man…’ It was hard for me to swallow. At first, I was, like, ‘Wow, this is successful, and it’s gonna continue to be successful, and it’s got a bright future.’ But it was David’s thing. That’s kind of his decision, and I respect that. I thought it could be a really great thing. So, you know, you win some, you lose some.”
Virus still holds out hope that DEVICE could reunite some day and pick up where they left off. He said: “I really do hope so, because I know what happens now. We’re all older dudes now, and DISTURBED, they did a record, they’ll tour for a bunch, and then maybe they… I don’t know what they’re gonna do after. I don’t know if they’re gonna do another record after. I think this is the last record they have in this contract, I think this is the last one, so I don’t know if they’ll go get a new record deal and do more records. You know, whatever. We’re gonna see what they do. But I’m hoping that it comes back. If David’s got some time off, let’s go do some DEVICE shows. That would be great. I’m all in.”
Asked if there are plans for DEVICE to record another CD at some point in the future, Draiman told Loudwire in a recent interview: “As they say, ‘never say never, but I really don’t have any intentions of it. I’m gonna make sure that I pay proper attention to the leviathan from here on out. And that’s not diminishing anything. Because all of us had really amazing opportunities and experiences when we were working with our respective projects — myself with DEVICE, Dan [Donegan, guitar] and Mike [Wengren, drums] with FIGHT OR FLIGHT, and John [Moyer, bass] with ADRENALINE MOB and Geoff Tate, and everybody else he’s worked with. ”
He continued: “You grow, working with other musicians — you learn from them. I mean, my God, the DEVICE record alone, all the guests and everybody that I had to work with, it was so rewarding and such an unbelievable experience. Doing some work with Dave Mustaine [MEGADETH] on his record prior, on ‘Super Collider’, producing the TRIVIUM record — all that was a learning process. And then you grab all that knowledge that you’ve amassed over this period of time, and you get back together with the guys that you have the greatest amount of creative chemistry on the face of this planet. So now you have all this new ammunition from a knowledge standpoint, and you get to unleash it with the guys who harness it more effectively for you than anyone else. And now going back to that, now knowing that the grass… I don’t wanna say… The grass isn’t greener, because it’s two really different things, but it’s like I said about the Porsche commercial: there is no substitute. There’s something about what we have together as DISTURBED that I personally can’t find elsewhere. So why should I look?”
Draiman told The Pulse Of Radio at the time that DEVICE was a showcase for musical and vocal styles he couldn’t do with DISTURBED. “This was just kind of experimentation of other things that I’ve always been able to do but never really tried in any effective way,” he said. “But, you know, I love going in these different directions and trying these different textures and taking songs to have a little bit more of an ambient feel to them — things that don’t go hand in hand with DISTURBED.”
DISTURBED recently returned with its sixth studio album and fifth consecutive No. 1 record on the Billboard album chart, “Immortalized”.
DEVICE released its self-titled debut album in April 2013. It debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard album chart, selling 35,000 copies in its first week of release. The CD featured guest appearances from AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows, SYSTEM OF A DOWN vocalist Serj Tankian, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello, HALESTORM singer Lzzy Hale, BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler and ex-DEEP PURPLE bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes.