|Photo by Gina Binkley|
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.
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 HomeBrewIt.com. 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?
WE’RE A BAND!
Links for the Dead Deads:
And last but not least, here's the video for "Organ P" from their latest record Rainbeau.