Tag Archives: Mark Zavon

Kill Devil Hill Guitarist Mark Zavon Interview




Kill Devil Hill Guitarist Mark  Zavon talks about the band and their latest album Revolution Rise.



Terry Wickham:  Since I read you are from the Midwest, did you ever hear a band back in the mid-80s called Vyper?

Mark Zavon:  No, never heard of them.

TW:  I had their cassette Prepared To Strike and those two guitarists could rip it. They were underrated and played some catchy riffs, cool soloing and had a good singer. Wonder whatever happened to them? What was it that you heard that made you want to play guitar?

MZ:  The Beatles

TW:  I’ve read you’ve been in bands from the mid-west over to the west coast. Is there any advantage being situated in a particular geographic location?

MZ:  It’s easier to get to the next level if you are near the action.

TW:  How did you get into Kill Devil Hill?


MZ:  Vinny Appice and I had a mutual friend who gave him my number and we started writing together.

TW:  I never heard the first Kill Devil Hill album. What’s the difference between Revolution Rise and your guys’ debut?

MZ:  You should pick it up and decide for yourself. We had more time on the second disc.

TW:  What is the band’s writing process? Is the music written first or the lyrics?

MZ:  Music first, then melodies then lyrics, usually.

TW:  In terms of the music, is there someone that takes the lead, or does everyone take turns bringing different songs to the table?


MZ:  It’s always different, but I usually have a bunch of riffs and finished demos to start with, then we work out the vocals and arrangements. Rex has brought some stuff in too, but in the end we all work together.

TW:  Where was Revolution Rise recorded?


MZ:  At Pilsound Studios, in Jeff Pilson’s house.

TW:  What was it that you wanted to accomplish as a guitarist this time out?


MZ:  Just try to top the last recording if possible. I just try to be myself and do the songs justice.

TW:  Your favorite tune off Revolution Rise and why?

MZ:  I love ’em all, but ‘Long Way From Home’ is one of my favorites. I like the layers and textures in that one.

TW:  You informed me that Zakk Wylde played on the first song “No Way Out.” Who brought him out for the occasion?

MZ:  Our manager at the time, Erik Luftglass, called him up and got him involved. That was pretty fucking cool. I think that guy’s one of the best players out there.

TW:  I’ve got to tell you, Kill Devil Hill is tight. That must not be a coincidence with how you guys get along. Talk about the chemistry of the band.


MZ:  We are very fortunate that we get along as well as we do. Writing and recording can put some serious pressure on a band’s personal relationships, and you have to be strong enough to put egos aside and work toward a common goal. We all kinda grew up on the same music, so our heads are sort of aligned in a way. We have a blast together on tour, and I always look forward to getting together.

TW:  Have you guys hit the road to support the album yet? If you come through New York, I’d love to catch a show.

MZ:  Yeah, we just got back from Australia, and are leaving next week for a couple weeks of US dates. Hopefully we will get to the NY area soon.

TW:  I’m going to throw out some random guitar comments. Tell me what comes to mind:

Randy Rhoads best solo? They are all KILLER

Eddie Van Halen’s best riff?
I especially like Mean Streets

George Lynch’s playing on Tooth and Nail?

Jake E. Lee’s riff for “Rock-N-Roll Rebel”? Smokin

Warren DiMartini’s tone and lick for “Lay It Down?” Wicked

Yngwie Malmsteen?
Classical shred master

Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield’s playing on Ride The Lightning?
Tight as fuck

John Sykes guitar tone on Whitesnake (1987)?

Who do you prefer Joe Satriani or Steve Vai and why?
They are both ridiculously amazing

Most underrated guitarist to come out of the 90s? Michael Lee Firkins

Your favorite “Dimebag” Darrell lick?
The second solo of The Sleep

Best guitarist to emerge in the past 10 years?
John 5

What’s the future plan going forward for Kill Devil Hill? Kick as much ass as humanly possible.

TW:  Thanks for your excellent playing on Revolution Rise and for helping give us another stellar band.


MZ:  You are very welcome, thank for your interest.

To learn more about Kill Devil Hill and Mark’s music please visit the band’s official site and Mark’s Facebook page:



Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise




Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise

Century Media Records – 2013



I’ve got a ton of stuff to review (especially music).  It’s almost like the huge line of jet airplanes waiting to take off from JFK Airport in New York.  Sometimes it takes a while to get to something but I couldn’t resist not reviewing this CD any longer.

As soon as I heard the first five seconds of “No Way Out”,  I actually said out loud, “Yeah.”  This album works on every level from the get-go.  The first track is a catchy tune that would make you feel certain that Zakk Wylde was playing guitar.  The riffs and soloing have a similar feel and skill set as the BLS overlord but it’s actually done by acclaimed session/touring guitarist Mark Zavon.

While listening to the moody-rich lead vocals of “Crown of Thorns”, I couldn’t help but think of the late Layne Staley crawled out of the grave.  But the voice is ex-Pissing Razors front man Dewey Bragg.  This guy’s got the voice to put this band a head of the pack.

The musical feel, including vocals of “Leave It All Behind” reminds me of Lynch Mob at their best.  Bluesy heavy riffs with standout vocals are the reason for the comparison.  The other thing that is noticeable is the ironclad foundation laid down by former Pantera bassist Rex (“Rocker”) Brown and Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell).  This band is just friggin’ tight.

Zavon’s guitar lick in “Why” hooked me right away.  Dewey Bragg releases his Alice in Chains-like voice in the fourth song.  Zavon’s guitar distortion sounds like Zakk’s did on the Ozzy album No Rest for the Wicked.  The little feedback and squeals are cool over Brown’s bass and Appice’s heavy hitting drums.

The band taps into their dark side for “Wake Up the Dead.”  It’s kind of a Sabbathy tune with the bass, drums and guitar sludging through thick riffs and slower musical beats.

“Long Way From Home” is pensive with dark melodic twinges and an awesome chorus.  The musical pattern that Brown, Zavon and Appice keep is really helpful in supporting the vocals.

The instrumentation of “Where Angels Dare to Roam” is energized with Zavon’s hard-charging guitar and the bottom end.  Bragg sings the song with just the right amount of range, vocal inflection and power.

Appice pounds a nifty beat in ‘Stained Glass Sadness”, while Bragg vocalizes it in a way that you can’t help but think of Alice in Chains.  I love when the other instruments drop out of the mix to leave Rex Brown alone to play his wicked distorted bass.

Zavon makes the most of his brief solo in “Endless Static.”  I love the way the song goes out with Vinny Appice’s constant drum beat.

Dewey Bragg sings “Stealing Days” in a way that reminds me a lot of Robert Mason’s work in Lynch Mob.  Appice establishes another pocket groove.  It’s just amazing how the drummer is able to make this happen so easily within songs.  Zavon goes off on guitar during the lead break.

“Life Goes On” has the band playing to their brand of melodic metal until the music drops out about four-minute and forty-second mark.  After some moments of silence (you might think the song is over) the band carries the song in a celestial manner the rest of the way.

Revolution Rise clicks on all cylinders.  It’s a grooving, rocking release that shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering e the talent involved.

Just superb.