Continuing to make their artistic mark on the Canadian musical landscape and well beyond, Theory of a Deadman bring their current tour to Red Deer on Jan. 24th. The show follows a swing through the city late last year as well.
They perform at the Memorial Centre, with tickets available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre.
Based on the west coast, the guys (Tyler Connolly – vocals/guitar; Dean Back – bass; David Brenner – guitar and Joe Dandeneau – drums) first joined forces back in 2001.
So far, they have a total of eight top 10 hits on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, including three number one hits, Bad Girlfriend, Lowlife and Angel.
In the middle of 2013, the quartet began working on what would become its fifth full-length album, Savages.
However, everything in their lives rapidly and unexpectedly changed.
Whether it be a shakeup at their label, waning interest in rock at radio, or the downturn of society at large, a myriad of issues weighed heavy on the guys.
So, Connolly channeled it all into his songwriting.
“It’s such a different record for us,” he asserts. “I’m known as the guy who writes all of the ‘breakup’ songs. It would have been typical to write more, so I did just the opposite.
“There’s something very brutal about our culture. I got nightmares from Terminator as a kid and, now, you can watch real murders on YouTube. We’re so desensitized. I went from writing about crazy women to how screwed up we are. That’s the theme. I’d spend 20 hours a day at my home studio. I became a weird recluse, and I even grew a beard. I dug in deeper than ever for these songs.”
Once again teaming with super producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Halestorm) in the studio, he tapped into the same robust riffing and primal power that coursed through the group’s 2008 platinum-certified breakthrough, Scars & Souvenirs—which yielded the number one Mainstream Rock Radio smash Bad Girlfriend as well as So Happy and By The Way.
Lyrically, Connolly turned his attention to the state of the world around him and churned out the band’s catchiest and most crushing statement yet.
“This is Theory of a Deadman on steroids but not with the shrunken balls and b-acne side effects,” he assures. “It’s always been with us. This nodded back to our early material but with more musicality. I got to write about something other than relationships too, and I was excited to tackle new material.
“I tried to get up every morning and write a song, and that lasted three days before I quit,” he chuckles. “I wrote Drown during the second day. It’s about being alone and finding contentment within that. It’s a metaphor. No one cares if you drown or not. It’s based on how I felt at the time.”
Meanwhile, the title track functions as the album’s clarion call, and it enlists a chilling spoken word and hypnotic harmony from none other than the legendary Alice Cooper. Connolly said it was an amazing experience to work with the rock veteran.
“I had never met him before,” recalls Connolly. “I got to fly to his house in Phoenix and work on the song. He’s a super nice guy. I stole the spoken word idea from Vincent Price in Thriller. Alice killed it. I was so happy to work with him.”
The album does uphold a tradition for Theory of a Deadman, bringing another ballad to the fold, though it’s not a ‘breakup song’ per se.
This time, Angel swings from a bright guitar into a heavenly refrain about a different kind of love.
“I thought about being in love with an angel and how bad of an idea that actually is,” he explains.
“Once you fall back to earth, you realize you have nothing in common, and you have to let her go.”
At the same time, they also stomp into new territory altogether with their first-ever proper ‘country’ track. For Livin’ My Life Like a Country Song, the boys enlisted the guitar and vocal talents of Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney.
“We’ve always had a bit of Southern rock swagger,” he goes on. “In this case, Joe Don Rooney countrified it, and it turned out great. We wanted to give our take on how all of these country songs are about losing your woman and your house. All you’ve got left is a case of beer, your dog, and your trailer. She’s gone, and you’re living your life like a country song!”
That songwriting prowess solidified Theory of a Deadman as a major contender in modern rock since their self-titled 2002 debut.
Most recently, 2011’s The Truth Is… landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart upon its debut, while topping the ‘Top Rock Albums’, ‘Top Alternative Albums’ and ‘Top Hard Rock Albums’ charts.
In addition, it spawned the number one radio hit Lowlife, which ruled Rock Radio for three weeks.