Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Q and A with Meta Dead of the Dead Deads

Photo by Gina Binkley
I've been doing this blog for while now. I didn't know where it would go or if I would get bored with it or if anyone would even read it.

I finally settled on music. Featuring music that I like that is not in the mainstream. I've given up on defining genres and just focus on one category: Music I like.

A few days ago I read a tweet by an independent artist that gave me an idea. So I have reached out to some artists about doing a Q&A for my blog, fully disclosing that it won't give their careers any significant bump. But the music business is tough. And it's changing. Due to a tweet linking to a tumblr post that I found interesting, this happened.

The Dead Deads are an all female "Space-grunge, metal-punk" band (according to their official Twitter) and I can't disagree, although I would have added glam in there somehow. I sent some questions to the band. Due to other responsibilities for other band members, all answers are courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Meta Dead.

First of all, thank you so much for doing this. I appreciate it.
Our pleasure

Let’s get the obvious out the way so we can get to some more interesting stuff. The Dead Deads. Why that name for the band?
We played a Halloween show where we had x’s on our eyes and we fell in love with the simplicity and uniformity of the make-up and wanted to continue doing it. We felt we needed to be called something “dead” to make it make sense. We just started spouting off a bunch of “dead” band names at a practice and someone said, “The Dead Deads,” and we all laughed and then paused and were like, “yeah. okay.” Since then its developed lots of meanings for us, but its beginning was very unassuming.

There’s a lot going on with Rainbeau as far as musical diversity. I’ve read the website bio and the influences, but I sense it goes much deeper than that. I hear 70’s era glam like the Sweet and T-Rex, Black Sabbath, Joan Jett, 80’s era epic Euro Metal (Helloween, e.g.) and punk all with strong pop sensibilities. Tell me where I’m wrong.
None of that’s wrong! With five girls in the band, the influences are all over the map. The reason they all come through in the music is that we all write in a room together. That makes the magic. We don’t rule out any idea and we aren’t pushing for any particular sound or genre, so what happens is organic and a true representation of us and our diverse tastes.

This is not anyone’s first rodeo, so where did everyone come from, band-wise, and how did it all come together?
Billy Dead and Betty Dead were in a band together called Catfight. Daisy Dead and I had been performing in a rock/punk band called PRIM! I was also in a musical comedy duo with my sister Hella Dead called The Wolf Sisters. The drummer for PRIM! was Benjarvis Dumas, who left us to join The Wild Feathers. So, Daisy and I were without a drummer. I invited Billy, the drummer of Catfight to come jam with us. We wrote “The Lonely Sound” that day. We decided to make a band and invited Hella and Betty to join us. We are all sisters now and we are so grateful for things to have worked out the way they did.

From what I can tell, the band’s Tumblr page is a fairly recent endeavor. You haven’t shied away from anything controversial. I have to commend you on the candidness of the posts. Also, as someone who writes words as a hobby, the quality of the writing is stellar. How has the reaction been?
Haha. Thank you. Yes, we recently started the tumblr for many reasons, and it has had a warm reception thus far. Not everyone gets into reading blogs, but we wanted to have one there for fans that do. Social media tends to paint a very one dimensional picture of who an
artist is. We feel like through our tumblr we can help those pictures come to life. Our fans can see the real struggles we have, the love we want to share, and the vision we have for our impact on rock ‘n’ roll, etc. We aren’t paper dolls. We are life soldiers just like everyone else. I think the tumblr clarifies that to some degree, and we have really enjoyed curating it.

You’re a really good drummer/guitarist/musician/etc…………. for a girl. How much do statements like that make you cringe? Or do you just let roll off?
The umbrella answer is, we let it roll off. However, I think it affects each of us a little differently. As a drummer, Billy really gets the “worst” of it. No one expects her to be good. Not even women. The fact is, there are not many female drummers that rip like her. It does come as a surprise. However, that’s when we have to look at society and just say, “we still have a long way to go.” Girls aren’t even picking up drumsticks because there is still a stigma that its a boy’s instrument. We enjoy the moments before a show where everyone sizes us up and assumes we won’t be good, because we know that on that night, we will get to teach someone something about gender roles. Ha!

I know it’s not your genre, but being located in Nashville I’m sure you’re aware of the struggles women are having in country music right now. For years, it seemed like women had to fight to get a foothold in the rock world (not pop, hard rock/metal). With strong female-fronted bands like Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless and In This Moment having success right now, do you think female-fronted and all/mostly female bands are more readily accepted now?
Country music. I’ve heard of it. Ha. Especially with the Keith Hill comments bonanza going on about women being the “tomatoes in the country music salad,” meaning the boys are the lettuce and the girls are decoration and unnecessary. Ugh. I’m thrilled to not be on that salad bar. Jesus! But to you your point, and not to take anything away from the fact that Lzzy and Taylor are women, but the reason their bands are topping the charts is because those two bands are legit, hard-rocking bands with great songs and people are hungry for something real. The fact that they are fronted by women seems secondary to me.
Are people more ready to accept female fronted bands? Were they ever not ready? I speak for myself when I say that its up to us as women to pick up instruments and play. The more women do so, the more women we’ll hear on rock radio. I really do think its that simple.

I may date myself, but I grew up when there was no social media (thankfully). In today’s world, how important is social media to an up and coming artist? I know I was able to reach out and get this Q&A via social media initially (thanks Daisy). So yeah, it’s important to fans and idiots like me, but how about you?
Social media is everything for us. It’s how we have grown so quickly in such a short amount of time. The same way you got this interview is how we get shows, gain fans, share videos,
sell music, make friends. It’s all visual, it’s all at our fingertips and we embrace that. I’m a shy person to some extent, so sometimes it can be overwhelming, but its so worth it. Daisy said once, “I never knew what ‘I do it for the fans’ really meant until now.” We really desperately love our fans and we’ve gotten to know them through twitter. Without that, we wouldn’t have the connection that makes The Dead Deads and The Dead Corps what they are. It emotionally moves us. We never could have had any of that before social media. It has taken a black and white experience and made it color.

Tell me about new stuff coming up. New record in the works? Summer tour?
So much new stuff! Tour? Yes. We just did southeast, breaking for a month to write, then we’re doing a midwest tour sponsored by That will be followed by another short writing and recording break, then we go on Motorhead’s Motorboat with Lemmy and co. Our tentative release schedule, should we continue to be self-releasing through Tishimon Records is an EP this fall and an album by first quarter of next year. If another label gets involved those timelines could certainly shift, but that’s what we are writing and recording towards.

Enough serious stuff, if you’ll indulge me, here are five inane questions:

Since you are based in Nashville (the South), is there a difference between a barbecue and a cookout? If so, what is it? (You may get judged on your answer here).
A cookout is the event. Barbecue is the what you eat at the event. That’s my answer. Judge away. “Sally is having a cookout! We will be eating barbecue.”

On a scale of reading in a library to screaming incoherently while standing on a bar, how is your time spent not on the road or recording?
Well, I don’t guess it would blow anyone’s mind to know that Daisy, Hella and I participate in a book club. It’s pretty...ya know...brutal and shit.
We spend a lot of time together outside the band. We go to lots of shows. We are all seeing one of our favorites, The Melvins, this weekend.
Billy has a pool at her house so we swim and day drink and talk music, life, philosophy, feminism...
And we work. A lot. We are constantly hustling in this music game. Ha! Skyping, texting, emailing, communicating with fans, booking shows, doing interviews, editing video, photos, balancing the books, working with graphic designers, sending out promo...there is so much
work on the back end that people don’t even think of.
We’re a band!

What would be your superpower?
Watch our new video “Lemonade” which premiers July 6th and find out!

Stuck on a deserted island, what three albums do you have?
I’d wish for more wishes.

Right about now, how much do you regret agreeing to this Q&A?
It was pretty tough and I’m really hungry.

Thanks again for your time. Any parting thoughts?

Links for the Dead Deads:

And last but not least, here's the video for "Organ P" from their latest record Rainbeau.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Trixter and BulletBoys New Releases

Trixter and Bulletboys both came out in the tail end of the 80's hard rock scene, right before Nirvana blew it all up. They both had minor hits, Trixter with "Give It To Me Good" and BulletBoys with "Smooth Up In Ya".

Then, like anyHu band that rose to prominence on the hard rock scene during the mid-to-late 80's/early 90's not named Bon Jovi or Motley Crue, were quickly forgotten.
Both bands had new records come out recently. And for the most part, nobody's going to hear them. Certainly not on radio.

Is either record a musical masterpiece that will go down in the annals of history as a great record? Nope. But if you're a fan of that era of music, it's better than a lot of stuff that came out at the end. The songs are good. The playing is excellent (guitar solos anyone?). The vocals hold up.

With so many artists of that era hanging it up, fighting amongst themselves or just giving up on releasing new music, this is worth checking out.

Here is Trixter with "Rockin' To The Edge of the Night" from their new record Human Era:

And "Rollover" from Bulletboys new record Elefante':

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Album Spotlight: Chris Hennessee: Greetings From Hennessee

If you like any combination of country, Southern Rock, blues,Texas country, gospel, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Allmans, Alabama, Jerry Reed, the Eagles, Marshall Tucker, the Bellamy Brothers, etc., you might just find something you like in Chris Hennessee's latest record Greetings From Hennessee.

Classify it how you want. As regular readers of my blog know, I've given up. Just say it's good music.

Here is "Long Way Gone" from the new record.

Album Spotlight: Koritni: Night Goes On For Days

Koritni's latest record Night Goes On For Days could have come straight out of the 80's. And that's a good thing. This Australian band with a French guitarist sounds like they grew up on the Sunset Strip, or Indiana or Mississippi. Confused yet?

Koritni could have easily come out of the mid to late 80's LA sleaze rock scene. Or feel right at home with the Mississippi Delta blues inspired Southern Rock of the 70's. Even touches of American heartland sentiment a la John Mellencamp.

Whatever, they make it all work in a sound that I find refreshing. Mostly it's just good, fun, 80's style hard rock. If you're a fan of that era, these guys do it right.

And they self-aware of what they are doing. Enough to make fun of themselves as is evident in this track, "Rock'nRoll Ain't No Crime":

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Album Spotlight: honeyhoney: 3

Although the album title lacks originality, honeyhoney's third album, 3, does not.

I'm so lost on what genres are right now, I won't even try. Or maybe honeyhoney could be labeled as post/neo/traditional/alt/country/indie/rock/punk/Americana/pop. That about covers it. If Houndmouth, Delta Rae or Ryan Adams appeal to you, this is right up your alley.

Produced by Dave Cobb*, this is just a good record. It traverses through land staked by country and Americana, indie rock and punk, traditional and current. 3 is a record for people who love music for the sake of good music, not anyone chasing trends.

*For some reason Dave Cobb seems to have his hand in all the best music being put out right now. The dude apparently knows what he's doing.

Here is "Numb It" from the record. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Album Spotlight: A Thousand Horses: Southernality

I was a little leery of A Thousand Horses after hearing the two lead singles from their Southernality record. Whoever is choosing the singles for them is making a huge mistake, as "Smoke" and "(This Ain't No) Drunk Dial" may be the two worst songs on the album.

The entirety of Southernality is a lot closer to the Blackberry Smoke and Whiskey Myers brand of current Southern Rock than the bro-tinged pap of the lead singles.

The record starts out with the seriously Black Crowes influenced "First Time". Maybe a little too Black Crowes influenced, "Jealous Again" anyone? I can forgive them for that one because it's a good song and the rest of the album is not derivative.

Coming in with 13 songs, Southernality is about three songs too long. It's marketed as country, but nowadays what isn't? It's not country, it's Southern Rock. But where do you market that now?

Where A Thousand Horses goes from here will be interesting. The best thing that could happen would be for the ill chosen singles to flop so they will concentrate on the music they are good at.

Here's a live acoustic version of "Sunday Morning":

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 9, 2015 Was A Good Day For Music

New music drops in the United States mostly on Tuesdays (for the time being) and Tuesday, June 9, 2015 was good day for people who like good music.

I write this only because I haven't had time time to fully digest everything. There were new albums by honeyhoney, Bulletboys, Courtney Patton, Chris Hennessee, A Thousand Horses, Sam Outlaw, Mark Tremonti and Uncle Lucius. Just to name the one's I know.

There will be more in depth album spotlight posts for most of those, unless next week brings a new wave of incredible music. Then I'll just be incredibly behind.

Stay tuned. More to come.

In the meantime, enjoy some pirate metal courtesy of Alestorm, because why not?:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hard Rock Playlist 1

This is by no means an original idea, but I thought I'd make a hard rock playlist. Not the ultimate hard rock playlist, just a hard rock playlist. That is why I called it "Hard Rock Playlist 1". This is my first and maybe last or maybe the first of many.

Spotify, for me, is the easiest way to make a playlist (and yes, I pay for premium) so I am limited to what is available on that service.

Now let me take you through the process.
  1. I wanted it to come in between and hour and an hour and half. 16 songs seems to be a pretty good number, but between 14 and 18 would have worked.
  2. I tried to make it semi-cohesive from one song to the next, like listening to an album.
  3. I wanted to hit as many decades as possible from the '70's until now (think I did that, although I'm not sure about 2000-2009).
  4. I wanted to run the gamut on the fringes of what I consider hard rock (subjective, I know).
  5. I wanted it to be something you could put on in your car and drive for an hour and not want to skip anything (again success will be subjective).
  6. I didn't want the songs to be obvious.
So here is the playlist with comments. The Spotify link is at the bottom.

1) "Overture/The Temples of Syrinx"  - Rush
I went with this because it is one of the best opening salvos of any record I know. "Overture" sets the mood and then "The Temples of Syrinx" just smashes the listener in the face.

2) "Queen of the Reich" - Queensryche
This continues the full frontal assault from Queensryche's debut EP. Most may know them from "Silent Lucidity" or the Operation:Mindcrime stuff, but before that Queensryche sounded much more like Iron Maiden.

3) "Legend of the Spaceborne Killer" - Crobot
This is the first song from a newer/current band in my attempt to dispel the myth that rock is dead. It's got a vibe that could have fit in '70's but doesn't sound dated. Just a good hard rock song.

4) "Rocket Queen" - Guns N' Roses
From Appetite For Destruction, one of the best hard rock albums ever, this is not an obvious choice. The hits have been overplayed, so I went with an album cut which is one of the best on the record.

5) "Gypsy Road" - Cinderella
Cinderella is one of the best bluesy hard rock bands to come out of the '80's and it's kind of a shame that they got lumped in with the "hair metal" moniker. While I think some of their slower blusier stuff better exemplifies them as a band, this song fits the vibe of this playlist.

6) "Wicked" - Million Dollar Reload
Hailing from Ireland, Million Dollar Reload is another current band with a new record due out in 2015. They would feel right at home among the '80's L.A. sleaze rock scene. Good song with a good hook.

7) "Apocalyptic" - Halestorm
More ammunition to dispel the rock is dead myth, this from the 2015 record Into the Wild Life. If you read this blog regularly, you know my affinity for Lzzy Hale and Halestorm.

8) "Two Minutes to Midnight" - Iron Maiden
Because it's Iron Maiden and you can never go wrong with Iron Maiden when talking about hard rock.

9) "Highway Star" - Deep Purple
The second of three songs from the '70's. Deep Purple was so influential on hard rock artists from the '80's up until today, I had to include them. "Highway Star" keeps the motor running on this playlist.

10) "Slide It In" - Whitesnake
While, again, this is not an obvious choice, this is from the album that preceded Whitesnake's 1987 record that catapulted them (and Tawny Kitaen) to the top of American consciousness.

11) "Rusty Cage" - Soundgarden
I never considered Soundgarden to be a grunge band. To me they were always more hard rock, as this song proves. There has never been any "yarling" in Chris Cornell's vocals and the instrumentation on this track is almost, almost thrash.

12) "Fire Woman" - The Cult
I don't know where The Cult falls in the grand scheme of genres, but "Fire Woman" is an excellent hard rock song.

13) "Heartless" - Heart
Again, if you read this blog at all, you know I love chicks that rock. And nobody did more to break ground for future generations of chick rockers than Ann and Nancy Wilson (apologies to Pat Benatar, but Ann & Nancy were first). While there are more obvious choices, this song fits the playlist.

14) "Rock Me Like The Devil" - Crucified Barbara
This, my first hard rock playlist, may be a little heavy on the female rockers, I think they get overlooked a lot of the time. Crucified Barbara is an all female current Swedish quartet who rock.

15) "I Hate Myself For Loving You" - Joan Jett
Because Joan Jett. That is all. Carry on.

16) "You Can't Stop Rock 'N" Roll" - Twisted Sister
What better song to end on. Rock is not dead.

Check out the Spotify playlist if you're at all intrigued.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Zane Williams With A Perfect Response To Thieves

Zane Williams had his van and trailer stolen in Houston. While the trailer was recovered almost immediately, a few items were missing. Namely a fiddle, a guitar and an amp.

I've been reading far too many reports of musicians getting their stuff stolen lately. In what is already a hard business, this makes it even harder.

In the midst of this mindless stealing, Zane Williams took the opportunity to pen the perfect response to theses idiots and put it down on video.

A song for the folks that stole our van and trailer...
Posted by Zane Williams on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown

Sometimes you find good music, sometimes good music finds you. As much as one tries to stay current, sometimes something sneaks past, only to be found later. Such is the case with Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown.

The Texas-bred, Nashville-based blues rocker is back in the studio working on new music. If past music is any indication, I'll be spotlighting the new record when it comes out.

I the meantime, enjoy these tracks.

Lipstick Wonder Woman:

Don't Come Cheap: