Theory Of A Deadman are currently one of the bigger names in rock stateside,with four highly successful albums under their belts, countless high charting singles, as well as tours with Stone Sour, Mötley Crüe, Godsmack, Halestorm and Shinedown, the band is starting to make some noise on this side of the globe. After a pre-Christmas run supporting Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry that saw them gather pace, the band recently returned to these fair shores for a headline run to put their recent efforts to good use.
ThisIsNotAScene caught up with guitarist Dave Brenner and bassist Dean Back in London to discuss touring, what kind of audience they have, success and which bands they’d like to play with amongst other things.
Welcome back to the UK. The last time you were here was with Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry, how does it feel being back here again?
Dave: It’s good. We’re excited about this tour because it’s kind of showed us what kind of growth we could get from opening up and playing in front of 8,000 people before Alter Bridge. We’ve been playing these shows and I would say 60 percent of the audience was at the Alter Bridge/Black Stone Cherry shows so it goes to show that opening and playing in front og people is a good thing for us to do.
Dean: We went to the merch booth after every show and shook hands with everyone and met all the fans, I think that helped a lot in bringing people out to the shows too. Its nice now because we get to play for more than 30 minutes.
Dave: Its not instant results because of course that was November and its now the end of February, but you get to see the results which isn’t something you get to see often, so I like it.
That was something I was going to ask you, because in America and Canada you’ve built your fanbase through radio play and record sales. Over here that hasn’t happened as much, so was it more beneficial to you as a band to get that tour, than just working from the ground up.
Dave: yeah we think so. For us that’s one of the tools you use from working from the ground up, we feel like we almost have a little bit of a fanbase over here, but for us its all about building upon that fanbase and one of the best ways to do that is to play in front of some people that aren’t familiar with your band, or maybe know of your band but have never really gotten into them, so give us a chance, give us 30 minutes to try to win some people over. In my opinion it worked, because the people we were seeing at those shows are now coming out to these shows, maybe not all of them because we’d be playing for 9,000 people (laughs) but a good portion of them are coming an giving us another chance.
Dean: I think also the success we got in the states is mostly through touring too, we built a fanbase through touring there too and got to know the radio stations so they started playing our music, but I think it all starts with touring.
Especially in this day and age when people download records rather than paying for them, it becomes even more essential for bands to tour in order to survive.
Dave: Like you said in this day and age, what people expect from live shows is what they can’t get off the internet and that’s the experience of a live show, its one of the last true forms of music that you can give to people without them being able to just sit there and get it at home on their computer which is what people seem to just want to do, and never have to leave the house. I think touring is one of the only way bands can continue to have success.
Do you have what you would describe as a typical ‘Theory Of A Deadman’ crowd of is your audience pretty varied?
Dave: Its pretty varied. I cant be surprised any more by the age groups, I swear we’ll get 60+ aged people at some of the shows and I’m like ‘Who are these people’s grandparents that are at the show?’ but they are wearing Theory shirts and its amazing, I don’t know what it is or how these people become are fans but its always a very varied crowd. We have metal guys there that are into really heavy stuff, then guys into really mellow stuff…
Dean: After 10 years of touring and 4 albums some of the people that were with us in the beginning are still around and now they are 10 years older, and they are mixing with all the kids that are just discovering us for the first time to, so its a great mix of people.
Over in America your music has been featured on WWE, TNA and also on NFL games as well, so do you get a lot of the sports crowd at your shows as well?
Dave: We got some of the big time wrestling fans out of that WWE stuff, I would say that over here in the UK and Europe we have had some of our songs featured on video games so there have been times when people have brought us the game booklet to sign and I was like ‘Wow this is how they heard of your band’ so all that little stuff helps in the end.
You’re current album ‘The Truth is…’ came out in July. Have you been surprised with the reception the album has received both critically and commercially in comparison to the previous album ‘Scars and Souvenirs. When ‘Scars and Souvenirs hit over here I know that was a real turning point for you in the UK.
Dean: I don’t think so. After the success of ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ we felt a little bit of pressure to follow that up with a record full of songs. With ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ we released 8 radio singles from it and so we really concentrated on the songs again on this one, you never take anything for granted but you’re hoping that its going to be a success again and for us it has been.
Dave: Also there’s only so much the band can control. I think with the success of ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ that was down to timing and what was going on economically in the world and we had some songs like ‘Hate my life’ that people could kind of go to as and escape from the fact that everyone was broke, pissed off and miserable, those are the kind of variables that you can’t control. For us we just try to control the things that we can control and hope that things fall into place like they have in the past, we have always felt like we have had a good support team of people working hard for us, but there is always room for improvement from labels and management to make good decisions.
You guys also seem to have a great sense of humour as you’ve demonstrated in the videos for ‘Hate My Life’ and more recently with ‘Lowlife’
Dave: The ‘Lowlife’ video was one of the only fun videos to record actually (laughs)
Dean: That was part of the success of ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ too as it was one of the first times we got to show our lighter side and a funnier side to us, and again with ‘The Truth Is…’ we have that elements again.
Dave: People are so willing to push you in a direction when you’ve got management and labels, all these people that have invested money in you that are trying to push you in certain directions, they’ll want you to do a photo shoot and you’ll have to look all mean and dark, but in the end it all comes across as phoney because we’re not there mean dark people. Nobody in labels or management give fans of music any credit for being able to see through the bullshit and that’s what we realised that people like us better when we are who we are, which is just a bunch of goofy dipshits, that just like to have fun, you know rock & roll can be fun, so why not just have fun and put out the record we want to put out, and since doing that I think that’s where people have really started to connect with us.
It also helps to break down that barrier between band and fans, which in turn makes people more inclined to invest in you and the product. It means the fans are able to see you as real people as opposed to rockstars on a pedestal.
Dave: I agree. I know that Tyler (Connolly, Vocals) especially when he’s writing lyrics keeps that in mind to try to relate to people and sing about people that are out there doing the grind working, and that’s the stuff they can relate to.
So what is the plan for Theory Of A Deadman when this UK headline run is done?
Dave: We’ve got an American tour coming up in April/May and that brings us into the summer. I know we are coming back here for Download Festival in June, we’re very excited about that because every show we have played, literally between every song someone will shout ‘Play Download’ (laughs) to me that’s another big stepping stone and another important piece for us to build a strong following in the UK by getting on some of these huge UK festivals.
So after Download when are we going to see you guys again?
Dave: I don’t think we’re done with this record yet, I think we’ve got a couple more singles left in us, on ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ was when we made more a conscious effort to make it over to the UK more and I understand it as a music fan, if you want to invest your time and money in a band you want to be able to see them live at some point, and for us if we want to be a band that has success in this country we need to keep coming back and playing and showing the people that its OK for them to invest in us because we’re going to keep coming back and we’ll always be around, I think we’d like to come back, after the way these shows have gone we’re all pretty happy and I think we’ve got another headline run in us, or if there’s the right band to play in front of we could do another opening run.
I think also you find that UK music fans tend to be a bit more loyal than some other places in the world, so they will always be there for you as a band.
Dave: You can definitely see they appreciate it more.
Dean: When we come over here, we get a lot of requests for back catalogue songs, and some of the more obscure songs,so you know that people have really dug into the material and that’s why I think we want to keep coming back here.
Dave: With people here, if they are into your band then they are into your band, they are not just into your latest single, they’re into your music and they want to know it all and hear it all, then sing it all back to you so it’s cool. It feels really great for us coming here.
If you could take one day away from Theory Of A Deadman and play with any other band past or present who would it be?
Dave: Good question. We’ve actually played with Alice In Chains, and they are my favourite band, but we’ve never played with them with Layne Stayley alive, so I would pick the Alice In Chains line up from the Dirt era, but Layne Stayley, I would love to just sit side stage and watch him sing.
Dean: I think a reunited G N’ R would be pretty awesome for me, that’s one of the band’s that really got me into music. Bring Izzy back, get Slash and Axl to make up, maybe even get Steven Adler in there (laughs).
If you guys were putting together a Theory Of A Deadman time capsule, what three songs would you pick to represent your career?
Dave: I’d pick ‘Santa Monica’ from the ‘Gasoline’ record, I would pick ‘Hate My Life’ from ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ and ‘Hurricane’ from the new record. Those would be my three picks.
Dean: I’d say ‘The Last Song’ ‘Bad Girlfriend’ and ‘Lowlife’
If Theory Of A Deadman ended tomorrow, what would you like your lasting legacy to be?
Dean: Just as a fun live band that people enjoyed coming out to see that had some radio success.
Dave: Id like to be seen as a hard working band, I’d like people to appreciate that for the 10 years we were around that we were very happy and willing to tour anywhere and everywhere and did everything we could to make our band a success.
Do you have any closing comments for the fans out there?
Dave: Just thanks to the fans in the UK that have supported us and that are becoming fans or have been fans for a long time, I can’t wait to see you guys at some shows and maybe go out afterwards to the pub for a pint.
Buy “The Truth Is…” here.