The Mesa band Authority Zero has been a staple in the Valley’s punk scene and music scene for more than 20 years. The band has been working hard to keep the momentum going, after releasing two records since 2017. Fans don’t have to wait long for new music, the band announced their next album “Persona Non Grata” will be released in December.
“Persona Non Grata” will be Authority Zero’s 7th full length album and first studio self-release in 17 years. The latest album was recorded at the famous Blasting Room Studio located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Front man Jason DeVore said the band poured their most personal experiences into the album.
“This album is actually…honestly… honest, more honest than I think I have been.” said DeVore. “It is whole hearted, it was written lyrically pretty quick without any readjustments and without any reiterations on word phrasing and word placement. I just wrote from the heart directly.”
DeVore explained that this new record is for all the people out there that feel like they do not belong. “Persona Non Grata is typically a political term, but to me where the idea came from and stemmed from is that anyone feeling discriminated whether it be the punk rock scene, disabled, gay, straight or whoever. I just wanted to let people know they are all accepted.” DeVore also added that the title track of the album speaks directly to that audience. “The actual title track, Persona Non Grata, directly goes to the outcast” he said.
Music in the valley is something to be noticed and Authority Zero, AZ for short, has shown the world Arizona music matters. Touring close to nine months a year and performing more than 200 shows, the band stays busy.
When home from tour, each member can be found in their hometown playing for their local scenes. Guitarist, Dan Aid of Denver, Colorado, recently released a solo record in 2017 titled “Phantom Pains”. Bass player Mike Spero has a solo EP titled, “Nomadic Romantic,” and performs solo shows at local spots around the Phoenix. Drummer, Chris Dalley, is known in the punk scene for bands Pulley and Implants. Front man and singer Jason DeVore has two of solo records titled “Conviction: The Smoke House Sessions,” and “Conviction 2: The Crooked Path.” Valley fans can also enjoy DeVore’s side project, JDV and the Conviction, a high energy acoustic rock show featuring songs from AZ and DeVore’s solo projects at several Arizona venues between tours.
AZ’s roots is steeped deep in Mesa and the east valley culture clearly comes through in their sound. AZ is not your typical punk band and if you listen to their older albums you can hear a great influence of reggae and Latin genres.
The song “Mesa Town” is a personal tribute the band wrote about being kids in the city and includes an entire verse in Spanish. “It’s just about childhood history and what every kid kind of goes through when they’re kinda growing up and you just wanna have a good time so you do the best you can with what you’ve got.” DeVore said.
Along with the influence from the Phoenix culture, DeVore has a knack for performing Irish influenced songs. “Rattlin’ Bog” an old Irish folk tune, is a fan favorite and truly shows the diversity of the group while getting the crowd amped and singing along.
“We weren’t a punk band, we weren’t a reggae band, we weren’t a ska band or a hardcore band, but we enjoyed all of those elements and it brought us to where we are at.” DeVore explained.
The front man has never put himself in a box of one genre of music and it has shown to be a great asset to the band’s creativity. “With this new album the reggae feel is there, there is not a whole lot of that on this next one [Latin influence], Persona Non Grata, but it certainly has those elements involved I think people with capture.” DeVore added.
AZ will be coming home from their first headlining tour in Japan, Dec. 5 just in time to release the new record. Along with the new release, fans that pre order the album via Zia Record Exchange will also receive admittance to an album signing, Dec. 7 at the Mill Ave location. The next day, Dec. 8, the highly anticipated home town show hits the Marquee Theater in Tempe. “The home shows are nervous because we know people have high expectations and we want to meet those expectations and go above and beyond and make sure we all have a great time.” DeVore said. “with home town it’s the most nerve racking, but the most exciting.”
Tickets for the Dec 8 show at Marquee Theater and the band’s new album are available through the band’s website www.authorityzero.com.
Kimberly Capria is journalism student at Mesa Community College.