Today's the day: Authority Zero's new EP, The Back Nine, is available to purchase and stream.
A few tracks were available earlier this month. “Fire Off Another” and “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free” give a glimpse into the punk-rock vibe of the songs the band created during the pandemic.
“Title-wise it means, 'Come out, come out wherever you are,'” says Jason Devore, lead vocalist of the band, which formed in Mesa in 1994. “People have been tucked away for a long time inside of their homes. It’s the idea of being able to feel free and be open after all the hardships.”
“Ollie Ollie Oxen Free” is a song that shoots at you faster than a missile. It's got a catchy harmonized chorus, and a sense of hope in the lyrics: Just hold on and be strong, you belong in good company.
One listen to “Fire Off Another,” and you can't help but think about the concept of conflict (not to mention, the visuals for the music video include soldiers in a tank and fighter pilots). The lyrics hint at a disagreement: "I'm right, you're wrong / We can do this all day long."
You might think there’s something political behind the words, though DeVore says otherwise.
“I guess this whole album is about feeling,” DeVore says. “It’s not about me or ‘this side,’ politically or otherwise. It’s just about what I felt the entire time.”
Regardless of the meaning, the chorus is catchy as hell and the music swells in a fun, fast tune that you’ll want to blast through loudspeakers this summer.
An album isn’t the only news for Authority Zero. The band also welcomed new guitarist Eric Walsh in 2021 after the departure of Dan Aid in 2020.
“We gave him [Aid] 2020 off to pursue acting,” DeVore says. Aid plays Troy in the show Good Girls and would receive calls to audition while Authority Zero was touring. “We’d be in, like, the middle of Czechoslovakia and he’d have an opportunity to fly out, and we’d be like, 'Well, we have a festival tomorrow.'”
In the middle of 2020, “[Aid] hit us up ... and kind of said he wanted to seek the acting rather than performing, which is fine, you know. We understand.”
After a search that yielded more than 200 online submissions, Authority Zero landed on Walsh for the new guitarist gig. Walsh previously played guitar in Long Beach’s punk band Pour Habit, who toured for years with Authority Zero. Essentially, they were all already friends.
“He was always in the back of my mind during the submissions,” DeVore says. “He’s a killer guitar player, all full of piss and vinegar.”
Though Walsh doesn’t play on the upcoming album, he’ll be touring with Authority Zero. The band's first show in over a year, and Walsh’s first show as a member of Authority Zero, will be on June 10 at Circus Mexicus in Mexico. Authority Zero will next play at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on June 18.
But first, the band will promote The Back Nine. And how does DeVore feel about the upcoming album?
“So far, the feedback has been pretty good. ... It’s one of my favorite albums since Broadcasting to the Nations,” DeVore says.