Devin Townsend: “I don’t love playing guitar solos, but I think I’m good at them”

Devin Townsend
(Image credit: Paul Harries)

Devin Townsend thrives on extremes. From his early ’90s breakthrough singing on Steve Vai’s Sex & Religion, to the brutalizing industrial death-thrash of Strapping Young Lad, to his coffee-centered prog opera Ziltoid the Omniscient, to the drone-heavy ambient daydream of last year’s Snuggles solo album, the Canadian eccentric isn’t known for staying in a specific lane for long. 

Townsend is just as predictably unpredictable on his 21st solo album, Lightwork, which may raise eyebrows from the metal faction of his fanbase over its grandiose, hard-swung power ballads (Lightworker), industrial biker rock (Dimensions) and cactus-scented, electro-acoustic strummers (Vacation).

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.