Adema: Interview with Dave DeRoo of Adema, October 21st, 2003
Dave DeRoo, the bassist of the popular new rock band Adema, is a big muthafucka. At first look the tall, muscular, black clad rock star looks like an angry skinhead ready to bash your brains in if you give him one wrong look. So imagine my surprise when I stepped onto the tour bus expecting an interview with a pissed off rocker, only to receive a very pleasant interview with a kind hearted, funny guy. But I soon learned that judging the book of Adema by its cover is a very bad mistake.
When you first look at Adema, you notice something very peculiar. Every single member looks like they've been taken from a completely different genre. Marky Chavez is the good looking dark haired lead singer who looks like he'd be better suited singing in an Emo band then in a successful rock band. Dredlocked guitarist Mike Fluckey, who also happens to be ridiculously tall, looks like he should be in a Grateful Dead cover band wearing hemp clothing; Adema's second guitarist, Mike Ransom, appears to have been taken from a Christian rock band- if you go by his long blonde hair and boy next door look. Of course, the personable Kris Kohls could just as easily be the newest drummer for Guns n' Roses.
But Dave DeRoo is the most striking of Adema's members. He looks like the stereotypical badass metal bassist, and upon closer examination two tattooed Japanese characters are strikingly apparent on his shiny shaved head. "I have 'big meat' tattooed on my head. I was hung over in Kansas City. Chris and I were walking around, trying to find something to do and we went into this tattoo shop. I had wanted to get a tattoo on my head for a long time." Despite much pleading, Dave refused to give what he called the 'X rated' version of how he got the nickname 'big meat'. "It definitely helps me out in Sushi joints. The little Asian girls come around blushing and give me some extra sushi."
Getting spur of the moment tattoos isn't the only thing Dave and the rest of the boys in Adema enjoy, however. "We've been on the road for a few years now, and it's still fun. It hasn't lost the thrill." Despite confessing that he spends more time watching VH1 Classics on the tour bus than partying now, Dave is still adamant that he loves touring. "Everyday you get to wake up and do this is a good day. I could be working in a construction yard or flipping hamburgers at McDonalds. The live show is what we're all about. I get bored easier on the road now; I've got to find ways to stay out of trouble. But I love touring. I don't feel like I'm in a band unless I'm on tour."
Dave gushes nothing but love about the new album Unstable that was released in 2003. "I think we've definitely improved as songwriters. A lot of bands are under a lot of pressure going into their second album, but we couldn't wait to get to it. We've definitely improved as songwriters and in our musicianship. This record is also more representative of how we sound live as a band. It's a lot fuller. I like the tones and we have better drum sounds and better guitar tones. If you do anything every day you'll get better at it. You get better at picking your nose as time goes on, if you do that every day."
Unstable makes up for any bad press Adema got with their first self titled album by proving that the band isn't just another spawn of nu-metal. Not only did the voice lessons the Marky received between albums make his voice stronger and more demanding, but also the album is overall more mature and unique. Dave agrees that his band has grown up, but adds that it wasn't just with the music. "We grew as people and as brothers, and our friendship grew." The strong bonds that have formed in his band affect the bands overall perception of the lyrics too. "One of the strengths that Marky has as a writer is that he writes a lot of stuff from personal experiences or from third person experiences of the people around him. The rest of us in the band were around him when he experienced some of those events, so we know where he's coming from when he writes the songs. But he keeps them [the songs] vague enough where anyone can identify with them."
How did Dave get this love and appreciation for music in the first place, you wonder? "I played the flutophone in third grade. But I had to." Obviously something happened to Dave between third grade and Adema. "I didn't have any aspirations to 'be a rockstar' but then I saw Van Halen when I was in sixth grade. That's what set it off; that's what got me into music." Dave started out jamming on the guitar with his buddies until he realized that his chances of getting into a band would become greater if he played the much-needed bass. "I always liked the sound of the instrument and the foundation of it. It's representative of my personality. I want to anchor everything down. It's a rhythm instrument but you can be melodic or percussive as well. That's what drew me to it." The versatility of the instrument wasn't the only thing that made Dave fall in love with the bass, though. "Initially I wanted to do it cause I was shy, and I thought I could be kind of in the background but still be in a band. I was kind of shy when I was a kid, but music brought me out of my shell. It became this thing that I had to do, and I've never looked back since."
That statement is all but true. Adema's confident guitars and clear, melodic vocals don't have any reason to be shy. This love child of nu-metal and good heavy rock has every reason to be proud of itself. Adema has gone from another nameless nu-metal band to a truly outstanding and unique band that will, if the gods are willing, continue on for many years to come. And don't forget, as Dave hastily reminds me, to: "Pick up the new "Unstable" Album, come out and see us if we're playing near you, and if you see me- come up and ask me why they call me 'big meat'."
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