By Cathy Moore of Moore Rock Shots & Reviews
People who claim to have seen a flying saucer say it is quite a sight to behold. I’ve never seen one, but I’ve listened to the new Flying Saucers EP from The Dead Deads, and I can definitely attest that it is out of this world.
When I saw The Dead Deads back in May a certain sweet “flowery” member of the band might have hinted at the possibility of an EP dropping in the near future so I have been salivating ever since. When the announcement came, I pre-ordered my copy immediately and then counted the days to the July 4 release day.
The EP comes less than a year after their sophomore album For Your Obliteration was released in August of last year. I asked the band what made them release the EP at this point and drummer extraordinaire Billy Dead responded, “I guess it technically started over a year ago when we wrote Super Tiny together. That was our first time working with producer Matt Mahaffey and we loved the easy process with him. That song was released as a single, but only on our bandcamp website, so we really wanted to incorporate it somehow in a future album beyond For Your Obliteration (FYO). We had also written 1000 Hands over a year ago specifically for the P.O.D. tour, but hadn’t recorded that yet. This past winter, we were being pitched to labels with good responses, but labels wanted radio hits. We know how to write radio hits, we just had never written specifically for that purpose. So over the winter, we wrote Nothing Will Be Fine and Fresh Kicks, and recorded the remaining three songs with Matt Mahaffey. We had talked about adding these to the FYO record and re-releasing it as a deluxe album, but instead we opted for the Flying Saucers EP. “
And so Flying Saucers was born. Four songs that, in my opinion, represent some of the best lyrical writing and musical chemistry thus far in the band’s career. It’s a commentary on the current political climate. It’s a love letter to their fans. It’s a reminder that these women might be “super tiny” but they are mighty, awesome, and not to be fucked with. There’s just a lot packed into these four songs.
“These four songs were our strongest, most finished songs at the time we wanted to release something,” Billy shared with me. “We needed to include Nothing Will Be Fine since it’s the most timely song of the four (it’s about Election Night). We had been sitting on these four songs so long that we really wanted to get some kind of new content out there for our fans. The EP was the way to bridge the gap between albums.”
The EP kicks off with the almost somber song “Nothing Will Be Fine” which is a very personal song to the band. When I first heard the song at a live show back in May, the band referred to the song as “Election Night” so I asked Billy about the title change.
“It was originally called Nothing Will Be Fine. For us, it was a direct reflection about how we felt on election night,” Billy said. “We were on tour with Bush, and it was the last show of the tour, specifically, election night. We went on stage not knowing who the next president was going to be, and we came off stage knowing. It was such a significant blow to us given this dream we were living being on tour and making music together. It really took the air right from our lungs, so for us, it was important to label the song exactly what it represented. (So they considered calling it Election Night.) But we know not everyone shares our viewpoint, so we opted to go with the original title, which leaves some sense of mystery for the listener’s interpretation.”
The video for “Nothing Will Be Fine” was just released last week and it complements the song beautifully depicting what appears to be aliens inhabiting the bodies of (maybe) government officials who are trying to prevent The Dead Deads from playing their music. These aliens can only be seen through The Dead Deads merch glasses. I need to get me a pair of those.
The next tune, “Fresh Kicks”, is an upbeat jam about having the courage to walk away – even when it isn’t easy. It is super catchy and even has a reference to the 90s rock band Weezer thrown in. “We love Weezer! They’re a big influence on us, especially on Meta and Daisy, so it was just our way of giving a shout-out,” Billy said.
Track three is my personal favorite – “Super Tiny” – is a fierce and fantastic song that showcases the strength – of character and of talent – of every member of the band which includes Meta Dead (vocals), Betty Dead (guitar), Daisy Dead (bass), and Billy Dead (drums). And the video for this track can’t be missed.
The final track, “1000 Hands” is the hardest on the EP. It is the kind of song that bleeds passion and begs listeners to learn the lyrics so they can sing along when they are at live shows. “We wrote this song specifically for our P.O.D. tour last spring,” Billy said. “We had some struggles early that spring as all bands do (balancing work and band, writing a new record, etc.), so we based the song off of seeing our fans at our shows and paying homage back to the Dead Corps. No matter what kind of day we’re having, they’re always present being our support system and lifting us up when we’re down. “1000 hands lift me up…”.”
And that they do. The Dead Deads have only been a band since 2014 and they have already amassed a flock of faithful followers known as The Dead Corps. Thanks to those fans – and to the support of other major musicians – The Dead Deads have already achieved major success. They continue to support major acts on national tours and sell out their own headline shows in venues in major cities. They will soon be working on a live in-studio EP at Sweetwater for which they will cover a Nirvana song (which won a fan vote).
“We had a ‘Hometown Tour’ earlier this year, and Ft. Wayne, IN is my hometown. Meta knows Mark Hornsby well, so he offered us a tour of Sweetwater. While we were there, he mentioned that he needed a band for a workshop they were hosting, so we volunteered! After discussing the details with Mark, we decided on recording a live, 6-song EP at Sweetwater with one cover song included. That’ll give the workshop attendees plenty to work with and learn from Mark while we get to record in one of the greatest recording studios,” Billy said.
There are so many great things happening for The Dead Deads and if they continue to put out music like what is on their Flying Saucers EP and everything released prior to that – they are going to have a long and prosperous career.
One of the things I admire and respect about The Dead Deads is the dedication they put into their band – the development of their craft, the quality of their music, the energy in their shows, and the engagement with their fans. It’s impressive but clearly takes a lot of time and energy. I asked Billy Dead how they do it – what keeps them going?
“A lot of caffeine. Haha,” she said. “We love what we’re doing – that motivates us day in and day out. And to “make it” in this business, you have to work hard, harder than everyone else. That’s why we gave up our careers; it’s not sustainable to do both, so this is or career now. Work = survival; that’s an easy equation, so if we just put the time and effort in, we’re going to be alright. The easy part? That’s the engagement with the fans.”
One final question for Billy…What is one thing you really want the world to know about The Dead Deads? “I think every band wants the world to know their music, and that would be great,” she said. “But our main message still holds true:
We! Love! You!”
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