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| 31 October 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Multi-platinum band Theory Of A Deadman has announced the release of their seventh studio album, Say Nothing, out January 31st via Atlantic Records. Lead single “History Of Violence” – which turns the tables on a story of domestic violence – is out now along with the gripping music video. Directed by Sam Sulam, the visual for “History Of Violence” illustrates a searing snapshot of a woman enduring an abusive husband as she plans to fight back, eventually ending up in jail but free of her abuser. Say Nothing is available for pre-order now at all DSPs and each pre-order will include an instant download of “History of Violence.” We spoke with guitarist Dave about the new disc, touring, and much more…

Dave: How are you doing, Todd?

Toddstar: Good, Dave. Yourself?

Dave: Doing great. We’re in Chico, California, so I’m just walking around, and it’s kind of the perfect time right now. I’m not a big fan of the 90 degree temperatures, so it’s like fall now, right? So, it’s like beautiful sunshine but that crisp air, and I’m just going for a walk.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. Especially on a Friday afternoon.

Dave: Where are you? In Michigan? Do you have any snow yet?

Toddstar: No snow yet.

Dave: Yeah, not long.

Toddstar: I know, right? As a big fan of the band, and I appreciate you taking time out for us to talk about all the good things going on in the world of Theory right now.

Dave: Yeah, well happy to do it, and appreciate you taking your time to talk about us. I mean, that’s what it’s all about for us. Spread the word, right?

Toddstar: Exactly. You guys have a new album, Say Anything, coming out January 31st, but to lead into that, you guys just put out a very powerful video for “History of Violence.” What kind of led the band down that road, at this point? You guys have been out there awhile, you put together some killer albums, and now tackling some really heavy social issues.

Dave: Yeah. We kind of established ourselves, almost like this loose fun party band. You know, “Low Life,” and stuff like that. I think it was our last record, Wake Up Call. It’s almost like it was a wake-up call for us. It was like this just drives Tyler now that he wrote “Rx” and it’s sort of reached this new area for us. You know, lyrically in the past, he hadn’t really tried to use the stage to talk about stuff like that, and we’ve actually talked about bands in the past like U2 and how it’s crazy it to be able to be so politically driven and not alienate yourselves from your fan base. I think it was always kind of like something we were a little timid about approaching. I think with the response to “Rx,” really seeing how many people came up to us and said “This song saved my life,” or, “I was going through this with my family, and my brother.” It was like on a daily basis we were just getting these reactions that. We thought music is more than just having fun at a party, it can really save lives. So, it’s this new desire I think to make music that can make a positive change. With “History of Violence,” we’ve gotten a lot of that, with people coming up and saying, “Thanks for talking about stuff that’s really hard to talk about.” So, it’s cool, it’s inspiring to have people come up and to be able to help people to talk about something that is hard for them to talk about.

Toddstar: I can only imagine. It’s one of the first one’s coming out with the album. What can you tell us about Say Nothing that the fans may or may not grab the first or second time they listened to the disc as a collection.

Dave: I don’t know. I really feel like our fans kind of are on board with the direction we started going. I think we’re making the best music we’ve ever made as a band, which this late in our career, is really an awesome thing to be able to say. I just would implore people to really listen to the words. The songs are awesome. It’s the best collection of songs we’ve ever released. As just a guitar player and not as the lyricist, I couldn’t be prouder of Tyler, and the courage it took to approach some of these topics. So, I think it’s important people listen to the words and not just the music. I always say I’m proud of Ty, because he always pushes himself a little further and further. I don’t think it’s easy to always approach certain topics, and he put some tough topics on this record, like racism, and of course domestic abuse. I’m proud of it, because I think it’s easy to stay silent and say nothing.

Toddstar: Exactly – there’s even a serial killer love song on this one.

Dave: Yeah, that’s right. Quite literally.

Toddstar: Going through this, what song or two from the album do you see being a part of the Theory live set for years to come?

Dave: Man, there’s a couple. I really love a song called “World Keeps Spinning.” I think it’s probably the song that Tyler would most closely emotionally connect with, and I really feel like you can hear it in the vocal performance. “World Keeps Spinning” is this one song that I just have this amazing expectation of what it could become and what it could mean to people. It’s a song about anxiety, and I just think it’s something that a lot of people will be able to relate to. We have yet to play it live even, but I’m super excited for the opportunity to play it live soon so people can hear it.

Toddstar: You mentioned you’re in Chico, California, so you’re about halfway through the tour. How well are the fans embracing the new tracks, because there’s no album, they haven’t been able to listen to these songs in their car or in their home yet?

Dave: So, we really haven’t added anything except for “History of Violence” to the set yet, kind of for that reason. With it being such a digital age, I have this fear of performing a song like “World Keeps Spinning” and then it getting recorded on somebody’s cell phone, and it being the way that people get introduced to the song. I love people being able to film songs, and showing them on the web, and all that, but for me, I’d love for the people to be able to hear the song how we intended for it to be heard first, and then start hearing all the live takes and stuff. It’s a tricky thing to do. You’re so excited, you just want to just play the new stuff so badly, but you just have to just be patient. You work so hard to make the songs sound a certain way in the studio and of course live they have a different feel and a different life to them. I think it’s important before people start hearing it live, they really do hear it the way it’s meant to be heard.

Toddstar: Makes sense. Like I said, you’re about halfway through the US leg, but you guys are going to end this at one of my favorite joints ever. I love getting in the car, driving up 75, and parking my car outside The Machine Shop and walking in there. What is it about The Machine Shop and Theory?

Dave: Kevin, the owner, is where it starts. He respects the bands and treats them well. It’s the relationship he has with the bands and the crews; he’s the guy that gets the business. He’s been in the business for a long time and he has a club that is actually a place that probably a lot of bands would never play if it were not for him, because of the size of it. You get bands that do three or four nights there, because they have so much respect for Kevin and what he’s been able to establish. There’s no venue like The Machine Shop in the rest of the country. It’s an amazing anomaly and I know the people that live near it don’t take it for granted. It’s such a cool place. We always have a great time. The fans are right on top, the heats coming from their bodies. It’s one of the greats.

Toddstar: You guys have been out on the road, you’ve been a band, you’ve done things that as a young kid you probably never thought possible, including meeting your idols and your heroes. That said, when was the last time you were starstruck, Dave?

Dave: That’s so funny, because I have this rule that I put myself under, which is stay on the level, right? I truly believe that nobody wants to have people groveling at their feet, praising how amazing they are. I try to remind myself to always be on a level. My favorite guitar player is Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains. A number of years ago I was invited to his house to play a three table poker tournament and it was the coolest experience. There was a lot of people there and some big names like Dane Cook, the comedian, and it was like I was looking at pictures on Jerry’s wall of him and Layne Staley and I’m going, “Oh my God,” I’m like hyperventilating. At the same time I’m saying, “Just stay on the level, stay on the level,” but you know what, deep inside I was saying, “Oh my God, this is Jerry Cantrell. I’m sitting next to him at the final table playing poker. He’s bumping shoulders with me.” It was definitely a starstruck moment, and I thought to myself “Man, I wouldn’t be sitting here next to Jerry if it wasn’t for him.” If it wasn’t for him and the music he made, I wouldn’t have picked up the guitar, wouldn’t have even wanted to know how to play guitar. It was an awesome moment for me just sitting next to Jerry Cantrell playing poker in his house. I’m listen to his shuffled playlist of music, and just reminded myself to stay on the level. I kept it pretty cool, I think, and I came in like third place and making 600 bucks. So, it was awesome. The best part is I went with Tyler and Dean from the band, and it was $100 buy in and with one opportunity to rebuy and they had to do it, but I never rebought, so I say that 400 of my 600 bucks was right out of their pocket. That makes it feel even better. I think we all were in that sort of starstruck. Where we were trying to remind ourselves to just be cool. “Be cool man, be cool.” Yeah, it was definitely a memorable night for me.

Toddstar: On the flip side of that coin, what’s it like for you and how do you control the flow when you get that starstruck kid who was picking up that guitar because of you?

Dave: I just try to remind myself that maybe they’re excited. It doesn’t upset me in any way. I have family members that bring friends and then they say, “Oh, I’m so sorry about Tommy and I didn’t know he was going to want to take a picture with you,” and I’m like, “It’s fine man. Tommy didn’t know he was going to be backstage at a show. He’s having a great time. He wants to take a photo, that doesn’t bother me.” I think you just have to remember that even though I do it every day for whoever I’m meeting, it’s maybe a new experience, and make sure it’s a positive one for them.

Toddstar: That’s a very cool sentiment. Dave, looking back through the history of music, is there one album or one recording session that influenced you enough that you’d want to be a part of it?

Dave: I think without a doubt it would be – I’ve already told you that I’m a huge Alice in Chains fan – Jar of Flies for me, is that record. It’s only seven songs, and from what I’ve heard about it, it was not really written prior to them going in the studio; it was written and recorded in the studio. I think it would have been a really cool experience to see that band really in their heyday and watch them create and record that collection of seven songs. I would love to be sitting right there and watch how it came together. “Nutshell” by Alice in Chains was my favorite song of all time, and to see Layne Staley sing those tracks that I’ve listened to a millions times would be just… I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

Toddstar: I’m with you. I was able to catch one of their last shows ever in Detroit when they opened up for Kiss on the Reunion Tour in 1996, it was amazing to watch Layne do what he did.

Dave: What’s funny is I bought tickets to that tour when they played in Vancouver on the hope that they would maybe be the opener because I knew they were doing some shows, and they didn’t open in Vancouver, and I was not a big Kiss fan actually. I’m there just in the hope that Alice in Chains would show up.

Toddstar: Dave, what are the one or two songs, that when you know they’re coming in a set list, you get antsy and you can’t wait to just crank the licks out that you’ve played a million times, but they still get you excited every time?

Dave: It always comes down to crowd reactors, because live, that’s what fuels you. For me it’s always the crowd reactors. I love playing “Straight Jacket” from Wake Up Call because I love the feel of it. We used to open the show with it and we’ve actually since moved it later in the set. I loved it opening the show because I was antsy before the song started, and now that it’s later in the set I find myself doing the same thing. I look at the set list and think how long until “Straight Jacket?” I love that one, and of course I still love playing “Bad Girlfriend.” It’s one of those songs people think we’re just probably so sick of playing, but man, it’s still just a reactor. The fans love it. They go crazy every night, and I think it makes it fun for us to see a fan digging our music like that. It’s always at the end of the set. We always play it last and people kind of know that we’re done.

Toddstar: I think the last time I saw you guys played an outdoor festival up in Mt Morris area. You guys were out there with Rob Zombie and you guys just killed it. I know you are busy, so I’ve got one more for you. Looking back, what’s the one piece of advice you would give yourself, knowing what you know now, when you were first starting out?

Dave: When I was first starting out, I think the me now would say, “Be wary of the business side of it,” because I think that early on I was a bit of a naive kid, and you don’t realize that it’s the music business. I think so many bands get taken advantage of early because they know that you don’t know what you’re doing; they don’t know how much power they have. I think that I would go back now and tell myself, “Hey, be wary of the business. Not everybody is here because they think you’re great, and a lot of people are here because they think you can do something for them.” Looking back now, we paved a pretty good path and we’ve learned a lot from the mistakes that have been made throughout our career, but it really becomes a necessity to separate the music from the business, and make sure that you’ve got the right people in place to look after you, protect you while you’re making the best music you can make.

Toddstar: Very cool. Dave, as a fan of the band and someone who’s dug the music, I appreciate you taking time out for us, and I cannot wait to be in that crowd for that final US show November 5th at The Machine Shop.

Dave: It will be a fun show. Anytime people are writing written word about bands, it means a lot to us too. I think too many bands are just spoiled in the fact that they think talking about their band and pimping their shit out of people is like an inconvenience. For us, it’s like we’re on tour and playing a show, is promoting our music, but talking about our band is also promoting our music. I have a huge appreciation for people that still want to do that. So, thank you too.

Toddstar: All right, man. Well, maybe we can shake hands and thank each other in person at The Machine Shop show. Until then enjoy Chico tonight, and safe travels on the rest of the tour.

Dave: Thanks so much, Todd. Take care. Look forward to The Machine Shop. Peace.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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