The Dead Deads Q&A

Karrigan Monk
A&F Staff Writer
[email protected]

How did you become a band?
Hella Dead: We’ve just all been friends for a long time and we were just kind of getting together as a girls club kind of thing and then we accidentally started writing songs that we thought should play out, so, yeah, we’re all friends.
What’s with the X’s?
Meta Dead: We started as a Dead Milkmen tribute band and we were called The Dead Milkmaids when we played that tribute and we wore X’s over our eyes to pretend like we were dead like the old cartoons have X’s on dead people’s eyes. We kind of liked that so we kept that going and then the name kind of spearheaded from that just because there’s always like, “the dead somethings” or “the something dead,” so it was kind of just to be a joke sort of. We were just like, “well, we’ll be The Dead Deads.”
Hella Dead: And then it stuck and we liked it.
Meta Dead: And the website wasn’t taken yet, so.
Hella Dead: Apparently grammatically incorrect band names are not super popular so we got everything we wanted: Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and our website. No problem.
What are your musical influences?
Billy Dead: We always say something different.
Meta Dead: It’s all across the board.
Billy Dead: Pixies was the first thing that came to mind, but I don’t always say that.
Hella Dead: As far as genres, it’s classic rock and classic metal, I should say, not classic rock. Classic metal and Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and mixed with a lot of even through the pop punk and alternative. Blondie, Weezer, Foo Fighters.
Meta Dead: P!nk .
Daisy Dead: Prince.
Hella Dead: Jimmy Eat World, Metallica, Black Sabbath. It’s the stupidest list. We’re always like, ‘a lot of shit!’ So a lot of different stuff.
Meta Dead: The music. All of it.
How do you write your songs? What’s that process like?
Hella Dead: In a room.
Meta Dead: All together. We just start jamming different riffs and say, “you go, you go!”
Hella Dead: “Faster, faster!” Nothing’s wrong. You just try something out and if it’s not working in that rehearsal, you just go on to another jam.
Meta Dead: And once it starts sounding like a song we start forming verses and choruses and singing over it.
Do you all write songs?
Billy Dead: We all are writing together.
Meta Dead: It’s not one person writes a song and brings it to the band. We’re in the room and we all write it at the same time.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Billy Dead: I guess your typical life experiences. When we go to write a lot of us have different experiences, so someone will have an idea, like, something happened to them that day and it could be something as silly as “I saw dogs walking and I thought of a funny song off of that” or —
Meta Dead: Legalize it!
Billy Dead: Yeah, legalizing marijuana. It can be anything.
Hella Dead: Or we all have a headache or head injury.
Meta Dead: When we’re starting to write a song, I’ll say — I’m the lyricist — I’ll say to the group, “what are you guys thinking of today? What do you want a song about?” and somebody will say something. Our songs are mostly, at the forefront, love songs, but they’ve got layers of political and whatever. Satire, stories.
Hella Dead: Sci-fi.
Can you tell me about the process of recording your new album?
Hella Dead: It was produced by Page Hamilton of Helmet and he was really cool to work with. It’s a mix of songs we’ve had for a year that we’ve been playing and songs that we wrote right at the last minute, not even six months ago. That was the starting point. We recorded it both in LA and in Nashville. We started out just going to do an EP and then we had so much fun and it was working and it was going so well that everybody decided — we had to find the funds to do it — but we did that to do a whole record. It’s pretty rockin’.
How did you make the decision from having your full-time day jobs to being a full-time band?
Meta Dead: I think it was kind of made for us. We didn’t start it being like, “we’re going to be a band and quit our jobs and be rock stars.” We are all grown women with real jobs and college degrees. We were not trying to quit our jobs. That was not the goal, but it kind of was like the impending thing. Either we have to stop doing what we’re doing in the band or we have to quit our jobs. So everybody kind of came to their own peace with it in their own way.
Hella Dead: I kept telling myself, “I’m not quitting my job, I’m not quitting my job, there’s no money in this!” Until the day I was like, “and now I’m quitting.”
Billy Dead: For me it was we got a big tour in March and it was long. It was too long to use vacation time and we had already been taxing all that from shorter runs and it just came to a point where it was, “I just can’t.”
Meta Dead: And I own my own business, so it was like, if I’m not there, there’s no money being made and it was six weeks of me paying rent and bills and my business and not making any money, so I was like, “well, I’m going to close it up!”
What can I expect from your show tonight?
Hella Dead: To get obliterated!
Meta Dead: It’s a really high-energy, fun show. I think audiences would say it looks like we’re having a lot of fun. They would say it was heavier and louder than they expected. Usually people think it’s better and more fun than they expected. The songs are really catchy but heavy.
Hella Dead: You’ll be clapping your hands and pumping your fists by the end of the show.
Meta Dead: A lot of “hey! Hey!” Kind of some Ramones-ey group yelling stuff.
Hella Dead: Expect the unexpected.
Daisy Dead: You’ll have fun that’s for sure.
If you could have your listeners take one thing from your music, what would it be?
Hella Dead: Take heart.
Daisy Dead: I like the message we usually bring. It’s always kind of love-based. I really like that factor about us. I love our music, sure, but I love the message we always take out there.
Meta Dead: Above all and we always talk about this, it’s important for a band to be successful, but kind of know what your goal is. What’s the point of us doing this? Because sometimes it gets hard and you struggle and you have to have a thing that’s like, “this is why we’re doing this.” Almost kind of like a mission statement and ours is just we want people, no matter how old they are, no matter who they are, to feel like we’re setting an example for them that no matter who you are, what stage of life you are, if you have a dream you should go after it because we didn’t think that we could ever have what we have now, but we just went for it. I think if people take something out of it —
Daisy Dead: This is what your 30s looks like! This is what 37 looks like!
Meta Dead: There’s that definitely too, but we always say “we love you” on all of our printed materials. We do. It’s a love-based band. But also it’s like a “go for it!” message. Just do it.
So what is your goal?
Meta Dead: It’s kind of our private mission, but I think, obviously…
Hella Dead: I mean, it would be nice to kind of rule the airwaves for a little bit.
Billy Dead: We want to take it as far as we can.
Daisy Dead: It’s so much fun to play in front of audiences. That’s what we want to do. We want to be successful and play wherever we can and play in front of thousands and thousands of people.
Metta Dead: Lzzy Hale from Halestorm was interviewed about us and she said that we were a band that was doing what we’re doing because we loved it and not because we were trying to cater to radio or write songs for radio and those are the kind of bands that can make a difference, I think. If you’re really just doing it because you love it and you love your fans and you don’t have an ultimate goal of money, it seems like that sort of comes naturally to some degree. I think we are poised, maybe, to be a paradigm shifting band because we are women, adult women, in an industry that doesn’t have a lot of adult women doing the kind of music we’re doing, so my goal is for us to be some kind of paradigm shift where more adult women are out playing rock and roll and not being like, “oh, you’re a mom and you’re 30 so this is out of reach for you.” I would love that.