Authority Zero frontman Jason DeVore finds it hard to believe that 20 years ago, his band was roaming Downtown Mesa, envying headlining acts at the Nile Theater.
That time inspired Authority Zero’s full-length debut album, “A Passage in Time” – which creatively meshed punk music with elements of reggae and surf punk.
It only made sense to celebrate the emerald anniversary of “A Passage in Time” with a one-off show at the Nile Theater on Friday, Sept. 9.
“It’s going to be cool to see a lot of old faces in the audience who we haven’t seen in a long time and a lot of new faces,” he said. “It’s going to be a big celebration.”
“A Passage in Time” will also be special for DeVore as he often changes the line “I’m 21 today, how many more? How should I know?” to reflect his actual age. Sept. 9 is his birthday.
“Every time I sing that line, it makes me automatically think of how long the road we’ve been on has been and what a crazy, cool one it has been on top of that,” DeVore said.
Although the past 20 years have flown by and DeVore admits that the anniversary snuck up on him, he sees this show as a tribute to the legacy of one of Arizona’s pioneering punk acts.
“It has been quite a victory for us to be around as long as we have,” he said. “This show is kind of a tribute to that and the legacy of it all.”
That legacy shares DeVore’s penchant for angsty lyrics and fun stories.
“A lot of the songs I wrote were with the buddies back in the day when we were all just starting and it was when this band was at its purest form,” DeVore said. “(The album) is full of life, full of curiosity and full of excitement and all of these songs hit hard in that memory bank.”
They recall the shenanigans that he and his pals indulged in back in their late teens/early 20s along with the heartache he experienced in his youth.
“It has a very special place in our hearts because of how organic the music was at that time,” he said. “Some of the crap I talked about was a girlfriend hurt my feelings or I was getting drunk with my buddies in the park.
“It’s honest childhood, teenage heartbreak and also the genuinely good times of being a youth, ditching school, smoking cigarettes and being a bunch of young punks enjoying friendships.”
The album also reminds the Westwood High School alumnus of the early days of the Mesa punk scene and the venue where he and his band once dreamed of playing the big stage.
“The Nile Theater is where our stomping grounds originated. It’s right there in the heart of (Downtown) Mesa where we all grew up and formed,” DeVore said. “The Nile Theater was cool in that (it) had five bands for $5 that would play the underground stage and we’d always go down there to support bands and we were a part of that whole camaraderie. From there, we started growing more.”
DeVore recalls eventually being called to the Nile Theater’s main stage to open for acts like Less Than Jake and The Vandals.
“The show is a fun way for us to pay homage to our hometown, the roots of where we grew up and the roots of where a lot of those songs were written,” he said.
Because of this, DeVore expects the show to feel nostalgic not only for himself but for fans. Some of the songs that DeVore is excited to revisit are the titular track off of “A Passage In Time” and a ditty about the town the band got its start in.
“I’m excited to play ‘Mesa Town,’ because it’s a hometown song about all the debauchery we used to get into and it explains where our band was founded,” DeVore said. “’A Passage in Time,’ is the one that I have carried with me throughout the years because of the electricity it holds to kick off events, as old as it is.”
If You Go...
Who: Authority Zero w/The Venomous Pinks
Where: The Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9
Cost: Cost: $20