By Johnny Griffith
Rock music thrives in East Texas. Seriously. I know there is probably a tendency to think that country music, and I mean real country music, not that pop/country hybrid thing, dominates the landscape in this area, but any given night you can hear some of the best rock bands in the state turning their amps up to eleven on stages all over the region. One of those bands is Tyler’s own Panik Device, and they’re planning on making sure you don’t forget it.
A winning combination of talented musicians from several different projects over the years, Panik Device is comprised of Richard Lackey on drums, Tommy Deloach on bass, Tim Taylor on lead guitar, Dustin Smith on rhythm guitars and vocals, and Jack Fowler on lead vocals. Each of the members brings a unique perspective and experience to the band that adds up to a sum greater than the parts, and those parts have played in venues as famous as Whiskey-A-Go-Go and shared the stage with powerhouse acts such as Drowning Pool, Avatar, Black Stone Cherry, and Trapt to name a few. In the studio now working on their debut album, the guys from Panik Device took time out to tell us a bit more about themselves.
Johnny: Tell us a little bit about how you guys ended up in a band together.
PD: Richard and Dusty started a different band together that went through several incarnations and name changes over several years that eventually became Panik Device. Richard and Tommy have been friends for around 25 years, and they have played in various bands together. PD was looking for a bass player so it fell into place. Most of us are from East Texas except for Tim who came to Texas from Arkansas. Before he joined PD, he had been playing in another band but had left it and was looking for a new one. He found our ad on Craigslist, and we were familiar with him from the previous band, so he came by and tried out. Last to line up was new addition Jack Fowler. PD went from being a three-piece band with Dustin singing and Richard harmonizing to the five-man band it is today. Jack was a drummer when we heard him do an amazing song from the drum kit one night. Months later we spoke with him. He was looking to try something new in the music community after he left his previous band. We told him we were looking for a singer because Dustin wanted to add a vocalist and not have to sing everything. He came by for practice and has been there ever since.
Johnny: Where did the name come from?
PD: The name came from a door exit device. Several of us work as glaziers (a skilled tradesman responsible for cutting, installing, and removing glass), and it just came out one day.
Johnny: How would you describe your music?
PD: Melodic hard rock written about things like love, partying, and bad relationships.
Johnny: What are your biggest influences musically?
PD: Kiss, Metallica, Deftones, Seether, Old Country.
Johnny: Currently about how many shows a month on average are you guys playing?
PD: We average about three shows a month, with some of those being benefit shows.
Johnny: What was the first show you guys played as a band, and what has been the most memorable one so far?
PD: Well we’ve been through a progression as we added members over several years. We added Jack recently. Our first show with the full lineup that we have now was earlier this year. The most memorable was Jack’s first show at our home venue, Click’s, in March.
Johnny: How would you describe a Panik Device show to a new fan?
PD: A hard-driving, loud, in-your-face, energetic, and enjoyable show.
Johnny: You guys, collectively and individually, have been able to share the stage with some great acts. What would you say your most “starstruck” moment has been to this point with someone you’ve played alongside?
PD: We don’t really think “starstruck” is the right word. We do see that in some people, but we can’t say we exactly understand it. We’ve met some great, well-known artists, but we feel that some local artists are just as talented. We are all musicians trying to spread our passion. We’d have to say the best show we have ever played the same stage with was Avatar, hands down. They are the coolest guys and very friendly offstage, and when the lights come on and the instruments start, they throw down, and the show is bar none the best we have seen.
Johnny: What has been the biggest challenge so far as a band?
PD: We’d have to say the biggest challenge is just spreading the word about our music, keeping up with the needs of the band as it grows, and keeping the lineup solid with committed musicians.
Johnny: What has been the thing you’re the most proud of as a band?
PD: The fact that we are doing it as a DIY band. We rely on support from friends and family, and that makes them part of the Device. We absolutely could not do it without them.
Johnny: What are your goals for 2017?
PD: We plan on growing the Panik Device brand and bring our sound to as many fans as possible.
Check out one of their upcoming shows:
- April 14th – Gusher Days in Gladewater, 8pm
- April 29th – Clicks Live in Tyler, 8pm
For more info about Panik Device go to: