2017-12-01 / Features

Info on Exfo(rmation) for heavy metal fans

By Kristina Wright

Exformation is a fresh new local band based in Pensacola. They have a very unique sound, and they completely take over any stage they perform on. Heavy metal is the broad term you may use if you hear them live, but they are so much more than that.

Band members are Don Gregory on vocals, Kodiac Jackson on lead guitar, Zach Jackson on bass, Brandon Davenport on rhythm guitar and Beni Driskell on drums. We had the opportunity to meet with the band at a Local’s Showcase at the Vinyl Music Hall on Nov. 3. 1. How long have you known you wanted to make music?

Don Gregory: “Since I was 6 years old and heard Black Sabbath and Lynard Skynard for the first time. Then the “Swamp Thing” theme song.”

Kodiac Jackson: “Pretty much forever. Some of my earliest memories were rockin’ out singing “King Nothing” by Metallica. We have videos. My mom used to carry around a camera. I’ve always wanted to play music.”

Brandon Davenport: “I wanted to play music since … as long as I can remember. I started playing guitar when I was like 8. I don’t know, just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Beni Driskell: “When I was real young, I would listen to Korn and stuff like that on my little CD player and just dream it was me on there singing, rocking out.”

Zach Jackson: “I’ve never been super into it until more recently, but, yeah. I’m here now.” 2. How did you come up with the band name?

Kodiac: “So, I’m at work. I’m getting nothing done. I’m literally sending band name after band name, I probably sent around 100 band names. We were looking for something that makes sense, but also kind of contradicts itself. So, we’re just sending back and forth stuff like ‘No. No. No.’ So, with information, everybody is getting political. Well, let’s not necessarily do that. Let’s be Exformation. That kind of stuck. From there, we were Exformation.” 3. What is your favorite part of playing on stage?

Don: “My favorite part of playing on stage is looking people in the face. Hopefully seeing them either lose their minds and jump around like maniacs or at least relate to something that I wrote by myself over a Hot-n-Spicy McChicken that cost me a dollar when I was really sad. Then seeing it come right back to you 10-fold is the most amazing feeling in the world.”

Kodiac: “God. It’s just the energy. There’s nothing more invigorating than that. To watch everybody freak out as you throw out something that you just came up with out of nowhere. Like, it was nothing, and then it was something, and YOU did that, and now people are just loving it. I think that’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

Brandon: “I feel the same way. Pretty much. The energy of everyone in the building. I enjoy it all. Being on stage, people looking at me and caring that I’m there.”

Beni: I work in the back. I see no smiles. I just love the energy. I love getting into it. If I can see out there, if it’s not dark enough, I like seeing people get into it and bouncing. It gets me invigorated, it gets me hyped up.”

Zach: “I just like the fact that it gets me out of my comfort zone. I’ve always kind of had my own shell, and this is definitely getting me out of that. I love seeing people actually liking the music.” 4. How did you all meet, and what was the order of members added?

Don: “I guess it started with Kodiac. I was playing with my old band and we happened to play a show with them. I just saw (I’m gonna be honest) there was one guy just thrashing around like a maniac, like an absolute monster. Like the reincarnation of Dimebag Darrel and maybe Meatloaf (just kidding about the Meatloaf part.) BUT, it was nice seeing that, because it had been a while since I had seen someone so into it. I was starting to kind of fall out of it myself, so it was kind of inspiring to me. I invited him over to karaoke one night after he hounded me forever. (Two months.) We did a metal song, and it was pretty much a done deal. Zack and Kodiac met because they’re brothers. Beni had been wanting to play with us forever, and we were just dealing with drama with other people that weren’t as interested or wanting to be as involved. He was just super stoked about this, and we were just like ‘let’s bring him on.’ Haven’t been disappointed. He’s like our Animal. Our Muppets Animal. He’s just back there, even at practice he’s like ‘LET’S GO!’” He bought a whole kit to play with us. Dude’s a pretty awesome vocalist, and he was kind of gearing towards that. Brandon, I’ve actually played with him on several shows, back when I was in my old band, Paracosm. He was in a band called Pariah. We’d cross paths like that before, but I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. Finally, he started hanging out in the same places we did, and I knew his girlfriend, and his drummer (who became the drummer in my old band) Bryan Norris. Awesome dude. He showed up to practice, we had literally had a week to prepare, and he’s doing better than anybody else we’ve had man the git-fiddle for leady stuff. 5. Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Kodiac: “Uh, we’re gonna be everywhere in five years. United States, Europe, we’re gonna be everywhere. I think we all have the drive and the dedication to actually make it. We all work really hard; we all have full time jobs that we work hard at, then we come over here and we make beautiful, brutal, metal music.

Exformation is currently lining up more shows and performances in the area, so if you’re interested in hearing what the guys have to offer, follow them on Facebook, and suggest more places for them to play! https://www.facebook.com/Exformation

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