Erik Deitz - Pandemic

April 11, 2002

Give me a little background on the band.

The band as the form of Pandemic has been around for just a little over a year. Originally, we were Town Cryer 21 with some different members. We had lost our original drummer. We lost our additional bass player. We probably played five or six years as Town Cryer. We had hired guns and fill-ins up until about a year ago and that's when we decided to record this CD and start fresh. New band name because everybody actually hated the name Towne Cryer XXI. We basically started over from scratch. It's been about a year.

You decided to name your band after a type of plague.

Actually the definition is universal or widespread so we're going with that. We want to be more universal and our music is pretty universal. But it's usually associated with some type of epidemic or plague.

Who are your main musical influences?

Alice In Chains. Big Saigon Kick fan. Little bit of Dream Theater. Godsmack. There's a lot of other weirder influences throughout the band but those are the main ones that you can hear right away that come out. We do a lot of Alice In Chains type harmonies. Saigon Kick harmonies. We lean more towards that type of stuff but we've been tagged with everything left and right as far as having progressive elements in the music. Some people make a Dream Theater/Fates Warning kind of association which I don't really hear that too much. I know we listen to a lot of that stuff so maybe it's just unconsciously coming out.

Sometimes when you're that close to something, you don't really hear what other people hear I guess. Tell us about your album Angry Sky.

Again, when we were Town Cryer, we had put out a record called Revolutionize. It was originally supposed to be a demo. We did it for about $1500 and Dave from Ego Trip Entertainment who does all of our promoting said "hey this stuff is really great. Let's release it and get it out on the market." We said hey great and we did that. Everybody loved the music and everybody hated the production. I was laughing because it's only a $1500 record. We said okay; for the nex record we know our songs are there. The songs are good. Let's do everything right. No holds barred. Put out the best album that we can. For Angry Sky we hired Buck Brundage from Couch Creative Services to do the producing. He's worked with Al DiMeola and Fates Warning. His credits are just amazing. We hired Phil Magnotti who's got one Grammy and has worked with everybody from bands like us to Spyro Gyra to Fates Warning to a whole different bunch of people. That's a good combination. Basically it took us probably the whole year to put this record together and record it. We basically funded the whole thing ourselves and that's pretty much how that came together. I think it's pretty good so far. Have you heard it?

Yeah, I have. I can tell you hired the best for that one. I can imagine that cost a pretty penny.

Like I said, we're going to do it right if we're doing it ourselves. It's okay if we get a review and everybody's like "oh my God, this music sucks but hey, the production's great." I'm okay with that because everyone has their opinions but I wanted a record where no one could say "ah if they had a little more money or if they did this, it would be such a better record." I think we accomplished that with this record.

Especially the production and mixing. That sounds fabulous. The songs are good too.

Thank you. Everything seems to jump right off the disc.

What are some of your favorite tracks?

It sounds so cliched but for different reasons I like every song on the record. There are different moods and I think every one is strong in its own right. I don't really have a favorite. They're all really good. The last track started off as a goof. It's a funny poppy tune where I'm not really serious about playing because it's funny. People are going to read into that whatever they want but basically we were going to come up with a Lynyrd Skynyrd rip-off riff and just goof around with it. I think it's definitely a goof around song but the rest of the disc is serious. We get great responses everywhere. Everybody seems to be digging most of the stuff we're playing. They're all really good if that answers your question. "The Pain I See" is real close to me. That song means a lot to me. Like I said, they all crush when we're playing live at 400,000 watts. They're just all killing.

Is there any particular person who writes the material?

It's a tag team between me and my vocalist, Tim Kopp. He writes most of the words and I write most of the music. Then we dabble in each other's areas on a few other tunes. Like he writes one completely, I'll write one completely. We basically show each other ideas and compose them as we go. Then we'll present them to the band and my bass player, Jim Sheehan, has free rein to do whatever he thinks needs to be there. Which he always hits it right on the head usually within 10 minutes. Then my drummer, Sam, will catch the vibe and feel where he needs to go. Then the whole song goes together, we rehearse it, go to the studio and record it. We might try it out on a crowd first. We'll be like "here's a new song. Check it out. If bottles get thrown at us we stop it. We haven't had that happen yet.

You guys are currently out on the road right now.

Sporadically. We don't have enough of a budget to stay out on the road so we're doing it as we can. Mainly in our areas here in the tri-state area. We're just putting together little mini tours. I believe if Dave from Ego Trip is going to do another show on the West coast (Ultrasound), we'll hit that this year. I'm not sure if we're doing PowerMad or not yet but we usually try to hit that one in Baltimore. Wherever we can. Whenever we gamble and we win money, we go on the road. We haven't been out on the road a lot this year. LOL.

How long have you guys been out traveling?

We've probably gone maybe a week at a time is the longest. We can't do anything beyond that right now.

Have you had the opportunity to open for any national acts?

Nationals we've done so far are Dee Snider. We were going to open up for Saigon Kick and they canceled. That figured. We're opening for Kings X at The Chance in Poughkeepsie the 31st of next month. That'll be our next headlining type national show. We've always dug them. They're just a fantastic band. We're about to get run over by a really big orange truck at this phone booth.

Oh no, not orange. Green or purple but not orange. Any other thoughts or comments?

That was definitely orange. I would like thank the guys that really helped the road thing work for me which Rivera (guitar amps and cabinets), DR Strings, Hamer Guitars, and Visual Sound Electronics. They're always helping me anyway they can and the give me a lot of support with great products.

How did you get your endorsements?

A lot of schmoozing. A lot of money changing hands. No. I submitted some demo stuff. I had gone to a couple of Neil Zaza's trade shows. We had just kind of talked and played a little bit. Goofing around. This was years ago. I asked him how do you go about this. He said the first one to get is the hardest but I think he had put a good word in for me at Visual Sound because he's also hooked up with them. Then I hooked up with them, started doing stuff, and from there it just snowballed. I just put some promo kits together, sent the albums out and stuff that I was working on, and I tried to do teaching on the side. They like to see that you have some students that you're going to sell their gear to. That always helps.

You teach guitar?

Yes. Not as much as I'd like to because obviously we can't set it all up as much as we'd like to. But on the side here and there. When the gambling thing goes south. LOL.

There's always the money from guitar lessons.

My music store, Imperial Guitar Soundworks, has been family people to us. If I'd send a package out, they would call if they carry the gear. They're like "hey this guy is a walking billboard. People just want he's using. How can they get it? You should really help this guy out." That's how it helps because I have a music store backing me up as well. Thank you again for helping us out and talking to us and we hope to see you soon.

Pandemic