- Tracy Heck
Dead By Wednesday embraces challenges
New England metal band, Dead By Wednesday, are riding high after the April release of their self-titled full length album, which features the popular "You & Die."
The 12-track release is a rebirth of sorts for the band with some new members on board while showing musical growth. The songs are a bit of a departure from their previous releases, but they still stay true to the band's passion and fierceness.
Dead By Wednesday recently wrapped up a tour with Flotsam and Jetsam.
Recently, Rock Life got a chance to talk to founding member, drummer Christian “Opus” Lawrence, who spoke about all of the the things the band has going on right now and we're they're headed.
Q: The album has been out for a bit now and seems to be doing well. Have you been happy with the response so far?
Christian Lawrence: Oh, super happy! I didn't quite expect it. I've been doing this a long time and you know when it has legitimate street heat, so it's great! Sometimes you're just so busy pushing yourself that you don't stop to see things for how they are. I mean everyone always loves their own stuff, but I'm a realist: I don't expect the whole world to clamor for it. I mean, not everyone loves Metallica, right? I'm a realist so when I get a good response and we gain a few fans and gain some radio play and people are into it, then it's pretty cool. I mean, if they're not then that's just the way it is, but so far it's been mostly positive with this one.
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this one because it is a slight departure from our original sound and without much promo at all. So it's great that we've been getting the feedback we have. People have been hitting me up with dude, I love this song! You can just tell when the response is real and genuine. I've never seen so many cd's sell like on this last tour. People were already singing the lyrics, so that's been great.
Q: What led to the departure in sound? Did the new members play a role in that?
CL: Well, the foundation of the band remains the same: the bass player Mike [Modeste] and myself have been there since the beginning. The foundation of any band, whether anyone wants to believe it or not, is the rhythm section. So we've been and remain the back beat of the band. Having said that, we do have a new guitar player, Dave Sharpe and a singer, Rob Roy, who certainly added to the sound. I'd say the main catalyst for the change has manly been the singer, although he still can scream and do that heavy stuff, but he also really likes to sing and he's got a great voice, which is very rare in metal.
So basically, the new sound is a little bit more of a melodic sound and production-wise it's tighter and cleaner. I'd say it's a bit more produced and put together. It's not that far off from our original sound, but it's just enough where some old school fans might not dig it, but we also might get ten more new fans who like the difference, so you just never know. So far, so good.
Q: Certainly "You & Die" has been gaining a buzz. How did that track come about?
CL: Well when it comes down to it, when you go to see a band play live, no matter who they are, when you leave you want to remember something about that band. You want it to strike you and stay with you. A lot of times, a band puts on a big show and you may remember that, but with us it's not all about the show, but rather about the music. We want to give you something to remember musically and I think we've done with that song.
Basically, we wrote a hook without intentionally writing one and it's something that you can listen to once and leave still remembering those lines. It sticks with you, sticks in your brain whether you like it or not! [laughs]
That song came together in a doodling session. I like to doodle on the guitar a little bit as a drummer and I was doing that and that main riff and it's kind of haunting, melodic feel just came together. Our singer started singing a melody over it out of the blue and it just clicked.
Q: And you just wrapped up a tour?
CL: Yes, we just wrapped up our tour with Flotsam and Jetsam. It was a long tour from the beginning of May to the end of June so it was pretty crazy. We were in a mom's mini van, not a tour bus, just the four of us. Some of our drives were 5 to 10 hours long in between shows so you can imagine it got rough. You load in at 2 to 4 in the afternoon and wait around to play and then you hang around for the other bands and to meet people and then it's back on the road to do it all over again. It was definitely worth the lack of sleep though. It was a successful run and we turned on a lot of people to us that we didn't expect. To me that's sometimes more of a success than playing to your market because you have to work harder to win over the crowds every night and to impress them. It shows them that it's from the heart. Whether you like the style or not, you want to know that it's real and afterwards we kept hearing how much they appreciated it.
Q: You mentioned having a lot of previous experience in the business. What do you think is the best thing that you learned over the years that you are able to apply to this band?
CL: I've been with this band since the start so I feel I bring a lot of stuff to the table with these guys, but at the same time it's not just about me, you know? It's really turned into a team effort and that's what I like about it so much now. It started as a side project that I put together and there have been various lineup changes, but right now these 4 people want to be in their positions and share a common goal in the band. They're hungry and they're helpful and they're reliable, which I think are aspects that people don't really understand needs to be there to be successful, which I would say is a huge thing that I learned. It's about the little things like showing up on time and being there on a regular basis and having a fire deep inside of you that never burns out that you want to share with the world. If you're not real, people will see through it eventually and it will implode.
Q: And what do you guys have coming up?
CL: Well, there's no rest for us! Me and my guitar player will be leaving next week to head out for another lump of dates playing with David Ellefson's [Megadeth] solo project. He's promoting his new album and his new book so we're playing a bunch of shows with some of his new stuff and some Megadeth stuff that they never play live.
David and I actually co-wrote one of his new songs, "Vulture." So yeah, that's another thing that we do on the side. It helps us make a living and helps up subsidize the Dead By Wednesday project. We're on the same label so I help him and he helps us and it's like a family, which is really cool.
So yeah, that's first and then Dead By Wednesday has a bunch of stuff coming up in October. We've got another tour lined up that I can't talk about yet, but it's going to sound odd, but I think it's going to be good for us. Like I said earlier, I like the challenge of having to win over a crowd. It won't be a long one this time, just a couple of weeks. We'll see how it goes!