Sam - New Dead Radio

August 22, 2005

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Tell me a little bit about New Dead Radio.

It's hard, man. Just trying to make music. Difficult. That's about it.

How did you guys get together?

We formed in 2002 I think. I met K.J. in an ad. I responded to an ad I had out and I've been making music with Jesse for a long time. Probably almost 10 years and ended up joining on a couple of years ago. It just came together. People I knew. People that each of us all knew and made phone calls. It came together pretty quick actually. Out of the blue.

So you basically founded the band then.

Yeah, for the most part I did.

What are some of your major musical influences and how have you incorporated that into the band?

We're all into totally different things honestly. I'm more into old punk and old country music. K.J. is a total metalhead like Jesse and Jason. Glen is into everything. We have so many different influences and we all bring different stuff to the table. It's what makes us, I think, sound different from a lot of the other stuff going on right now.

How would you describe your music?

Definitely aggressive and pretty pissed off stuff. A lot of it is lyrically written about stuff that I've been through while living out here. Old poems I had and stories and stuff. I take a lot of the lyrics from that. Just different experiences. I don't know where those guys come up with a lot of the stuff they do. I don't even know. I find myself trying to figure out how I'm going to lay anything down over it. It's pretty out there. A lot of the riffs and stuff they come up with.

You write poems and stories.

Poems, stories, journals. A lot of things.

You're very literate. That's a good thing.

Yeah, I have about four journals going. Short stories and just ideas.

Have you gotten into the online blogging thing?

I've seen some of that but I have some that I write too in books and whatever. I haven't been doing it much lately. I've been pretty lazy. I write a lot more when I'm on the road. My brother's been out here so he preoccupies a lot of my time trying to make sure he's all right.

Of course. He's your brother. Tell me a little about Avalon Bridge Will Burn.

It's the last three years of New Dead Radio. Some of the songs we've written were just ideas we each had. Songs that we laid down and threw away or parts. I don't know. I've had some pretty crazy experiences out here personally with the industry and bummers and let downs. I know we all have and I think a lot of that reflects in the songs and the lyrics and the music. We're trying to just do something that we want to do and quit trying to cater to everyone else. Trying to make people happy. We're just trying to make ourselves happy right now which is a battle in itself.

When you're too worried about making everybody else happy and you're not really paying attention to your own happiness, things seem to come out rather contrived at that point.

Yeah, but when you're out here...a lot of people are out here and in the music, not that it's for the wrong reasons but for different reasons than I am. A lot of the guys in the band and way out here it's like the melting pot. You meet a lot of people. It's hard to do things when you're trying to do something different. A lot of times people are trying to jump on the bandwagon to make money which would be nice but I'd rather do something different.

There used to be a time where you could actually do this and make money at it, but I don't really think that's so much possible these days.

No, it's pretty hard.

I think that the music industry got too corporate and now it's falling apart.

Totally. I don't give much of a shit about the money part anymore. I'm over it. I haven't for a long time but when I first came out here, the band that I was in that I came here with, we were a really hard band. We came out here and we got sucked into that whole trying to write the hits to please the label we were in negotiations with. That's what jaded me. Nothing ever happened and I lost interest and it left a little scar on me. I'm just not really into that whole aspect of the industry anymore. I'd rather just make songs that we do and put out records people like if they like it. If they don't, they don't have to buy it.

Now you can cut out the middleman because you have a lot more options than you did before.

Oh yeah. I'm totally happy with where we are right now. I'm ready to get back on the road. I don't like sitting here being stagnant and waiting to go on tour again. I hate being off the road.

I can imagine. That's the fun part. Being around the people.

Yeah, playing shows, writing, and recording. That's what I'm into.

The song I really liked on this CD was "People Are Pigs". That gelled very well with me.

Yeah, I like that song too. The lyrics speak for themselves and what I was thinking when I wrote them. The first line I think says it all about what that song is about. What we've been talking about. I feel like a broken record because I'm always complaining about it.

Everything is so corporate. Even the federal government is totally corporate and it's all about greed and power. To me I always have this image of pigs at a trough and when I heard that song, that did it.

That's it. That's exactly what it is. Like I said, they speak for themselves. Each one. It's pretty simple. It's brash definitely.

Very brutally honest. I'm like that so I always appreciate people who are like that. Calling a spade a spade.

Yeah, I'm not one to point fingers either. Fuck it. To each his own. I'm just going to try to do what I do and do it well.

Are there any particular songs on the CD that are personal favorites of yours?

Oh man, I have a few of them. One of my favorites is the first track, "Revolution Blues". I really like that song. I really like "Wish Them Well". That's one of my favorite ones. I have a few. I like "Remember" a lot too.

What is it about those specific songs that make them really stand out to you?

I don't know. With "Revolution Blues", I like those riffs the guys are doing. It's just fun. I love the chorus. I guess what you would call the chorus. I love the music. Just the energy of the song to me. I think it was captured pretty good on the recording of it. I'm really happy with it. "Wish Them Well", I think I love playing the song so much it's just one of my favorites anyway. "Remember", when we were recording it I had an experience that was new and weird to me. I think that one sticks out in my mind. It's one of my favorites.

So if someone is brand new into your band, those are the songs you'd recommend they listen to.

Yeah, there are so many. I can't even think of all of them on there. There are like 15 tracks. It's hard for me to remember them all. I like those. I'm trying to think of the other ones. "People Are Pigs" like you said, I like that one a lot too. It's really fun to play.

I thought "A Blacker Ink" was pretty cool too.

You like that one? I like that one too. I think I've just heard so many of those songs and are over it. That's the way it is with a lot of those tunes. A couple of them stick out but I have a new favorite one every other week or so. I'll be like "man, that's a really good song." "Live The Lie", I like playing that one a lot too. It's a cool song.

Was Avalon Bridge Will Burn the first CD you guys put out or have you put out prior CDs?

No, we self-released an EP. F.M. Bleed EP. In September of 2003 we recorded that and put it out and that's been out for a while. I think it's going to be re-released in January through the label. It'll be out and people should be able to pick it up in stores and whatnot but you can order it from our website before or at shows. That's the only way you could get it before we had distribution and all that shit. It should be coming out. We're working on a DVD as well.

What's the DVD going to be like?

It's going to be New Dead Video. It's a lot of live footage and tour footage and us goofing off in the bus. Us drinking. Just whatever we do. We bring a couple of cameras with us whenever we go out so we're always getting into stupid shit. We like to throw fireworks at people and shit like that so there's some of that on there. Just pranks and there's serious stuff on there too. Kind of everything.

You're the second band I've talked to that likes to throw fireworks at people.

Oh, it's hilarious. It's one of my favorite things to do. Another thing I like to do is water balloon people. On my street, it's kind of bad for a 29 year old to enjoy water ballooning people, but I like to go out and have a few drinks and have fun on the roof of my building. It's right by the Sunset Strip and a lot of people are leaving bars. I'll go up there about 2 o'clock and just catch them when they're walking to their cars and bombard them. It's pretty funny. They don't really know where it's coming from or anything. I think I'm going to fill the balloons with milk one day and hit them and see what happens. That will be pretty weird.

When I was in the Air Force I had this one neighbor in my dormitory who had just come back from Germany. He brought back some German condoms with him so one night we were stupid drunk and decided to see if American condoms or German condoms were stronger. We filled them both up with water and dropped them. Of course the American ones busted before they hit the ground but the German ones didn't bust until they hit the ground.

Oh God.

What you need to do is get some milk and some real strong condoms and bombard them with that. That will be really weird.

Yeah, definitely. I'm going to do that eventually. My landlord caught on that somebody was doing that so I haven't gone up there in a couple of weeks. Give it a while. My brother is leaving in about a week so I'll probably take him up there before he splits and we'll get some people. I'll milk someone for sure. See what happens.

Have you guys been doing a whole lot of touring?

We did a couple this year. Most of the year, it started out with recording the record and that was a couple of months. Then mixing and we did some shows around here and we did a couple of months of tours. I believe we leave again on the 16th of September. We've had some home downtime. We had a tour that fell through that kept us here but we did a few shows. One thing after the other. A little downtime ain't no good.

Yeah, because you're not making money.

Right. I'm not making money anyway when I'm out there so it doesn't matter I guess. I'd rather just be out there.

I got a kick out of the name New Dead Radio. I see all these radio stations closing down one after the other. We just lost our hard rock/metal station here in Dallas not too long ago. Do you get the feeling that regular radio is dying out and that people are looking more towards the Internet and the Sirius Satellite thing?

In a way I hope so. It's kind of sad. I love the DJ. The personality. I think that's just great. I think that's going to be missed. A lot of the shit out there sounds the same so I'm over the whole damn thing. I really don't give a shit either way what happens. Honestly, it doesn't make a difference to me.

it's kind of weird in a way. Some of my friends are on the Internet and have their own radio stations where you can hear them talking while they play shit. When you have your own thing set up, you can play whatever the hell you want. I don't think commercial radio really has that option. It's kind of funny because some radio station here in town got busted over payola with Celine Dion songs.

Are you serious?


Damn. That's when you know it's going bad. I should have been doing this in the '60s and '70s man. That's when I wish I could have been doing this shit but I guess I'm stuck where I am. I have to make do with what I got.

When you guys do gigs, do you have a pretty good turnout?

Yeah, we do. It depends on where we play but I don't think people get us really. I don't know what it is. I don't think we sound like a lot of the other stuff going on and I don't think people get us right away. Usually they respond well to us. It takes a minute to digest I think.

I'm glad you guys don't sound like everything else out there. Otherwise I'd be really bored.

Yeah. I don't think we're totally farfetched and completely out there from it but it seems like a lot of stuff nowadays is mimicked and it's carbon copies of each other and the shit just burns me out.

It does after a while when everything becomes homogenous.

It happens though with everything I suppose.

Do you guys have any other touring scheduled outside of the 16th of September thing?

Yeah, we're looking forward to the one coming up the most because it's going to be a step up from what we've been doing. We're going out with another good band. I don't even know if I'm supposed to mention it. That bullshit but I think we're going out with Mantis which will be cool. I'm not really familiar with their music but I hear they're cool guys. I don't even really listen to anything like what we play so it's hard for me to keep up with all that stuff. I like to play it and write it but I don't really listen to it. I'd rather listen to some old Minor Threat or something like Black Flag or Bad Brains. Something like that. Waylon Jennings.

You were talking about how you're into old country. I guess that rockabilly stuff from the '70s.

Yeah, I'm into that and even older than that. I like a lot of Patsy Cline. I like Muddy Waters. I like blues. All that kind of stuff. I think mainly the reason I'm into that stuff is I like the recordings of it. Those recordings sound really real and pure to me. It wasn't all vocal tuning and over production and all this shit. It was just what it was. I'm really into Led Zeppelin and AC/DC too.

They didn't have all of that computerized shit back then.

Thank God. It wouldn't be what it is.

When you guys recorded your record, how did you go about doing the recording?

Straight up, man. That's what we sound like live, what you're hearing right there. I'm not singing these big choruses and harmonies and stuff. There are no vocal tunings. Everything is straight through. There are some effects and percussion stuff that we don't do live but it's buried and underlined in the mix so it's more of a thing that you feel than really hear. It's just straight up. We just plugged in and recorded it. That's how we did it. Everything is live. There are no edits on the drums and all that other stuff. That's just how it is. We wanted to keep it like that. Both of our records are like that.

The process went pretty smoothly.

It went smooth. It ran quick. We worked with Chuck Johnson and he's great. He helped us keep it like that too. That's how he works and that's how we like to work. It went pretty good. It was a good experience for sure.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Not really.

New Dead Radio