I’m sitting at Lockeland Table with Tish, or more commonly and from now on referred to as Doomy Dead, and all that I can think is “Ugh, fuck I hope she thinks I’m cool” which pretty much destroys any journalistic integrity I would have for the rest of this piece so now we all know where I stand.
A few days earlier I had seen her as part of the power rock group The Dead Deads. They were one of the first non-country group I had seen since moving to Nashville (oh, I’m new, did I mention that?) and my Punk roots quivered with excitement with some down home guttural roar. In a strange way, hearing them play felt like going home. (Not that I’d want to, that place is a shithole).
The first thing we talk about are her most recent head injuries and how the band has decided to work around Doomy’s handicap:
“I’ve suffered five different concussions in four years…I’m actually looking at some cool helmets because when we play house shows people get way too close to my head and if they knock my head it could be very dangerous. So we’ve been looking for helmets where I can put a microphone in it, kind of like Lightning Bolt”
This is obviously the best solution.
The Dead Deads just got back from a national tour supporting Halestorm which was a surprise to the band themselves: “I remember telling the girls maybe one day if we get a couple good songs together we might be able to play a real show opening for one of our friend’s bands or something at The Basement…then we were playing sold-out arenas seven months later.” She says all of this to me with a confidence that borders on cockiness, but I just don’t buy that their recent success is not completely deserved.
They all have full-time jobs, Billy Dead is an established Meteorologist (!) by day, and they often run straight from the office to whatever venue they play that night. Leaving their normal person lives to go on a national tour was, as it would be for any musician, a bit of a no-brainer: “A thousand dollars a week for a 5 week vacation where I get to play a rock star? Yeah, I’ll do it.” They drained accounts, charged the rest and went on the road.
Along with Doomy’s sister Hella Dead, who plays keyboard, their father came on tour and “would set up [their] stage backdrop every night which is the big thing that says The Dead Deads…he’d set it up and set up the wire backdrop and fix the lights so people could see [their merch table].” This is where they sat, night after night, talking to fans taking pictures and selling the albums that they completed in less than a week before to going on tour.
Rainbeau it is a collection of songs that include stadium fight-song choruses and hard rock headbanging riffs that make it tough not to start speeding. My personal favorite is “Lemonade.” I’m a sucker for a loud and fast anthem, so it’s pretty much on repeat. The almost gothic keyboard in the bridge transitions nicely into sweet vocals only to be crushed again because “I hear that sweet and sick refrain / and I’m climbing up your tree again.”
“Not only are we not trying to be a “girl band” we desperately don’t’ want to be” says Doomy of the Dead Deads gender affliction. She seems to almost squirm over the idea of being labeled a ‘girl band’ which is, unfortunately, understandable. It’s, again unfortunately, restrictive and Doomy is hyper aware of this.
“There is a really awesome venue in town owned by a very awesome person and the first time we booked there they booked us with three girl bands. I called them and I said “I love all these bands that you booked us with. Don’t ever fucking do that again.” She continues “We don’t want to just play with the same four bands every time. We want to play with people that sound like us.”
What is most interesting about their sound is that they don’t try to play down that they are, in fact, a girl band. Aside Doomy’s very impressive Gwar-like yell, there is a constant thread of sweet melody that lullabies “I hang with Lucifer / He’s my new best friend” a dichotomy that evokes a very tangible understanding of what they are about: carving initials into trees and chugging beers with The Devil. Hard as fuck without exploiting the presence of vaginas on stage.
Their undeniable sex appeal comes from, as it so often does, from not trying to be sexy at all. “There is no reason for us to write sexual songs. We’re all very sexual people and when we get on stage and rock it’s going to be sexy.” True story. Rocking = Sex. That’s always how it is. Done.
On stage, they look like they are truly enjoying themselves. Bassist Daisy Dead smiles sweetly throughout the entire set, only interrupting her beam to take a shot of Fireball. At one point there is money flying on the stage, it’s origin unclear. I’d like to know where she got her tights. These are people I want to hang out with.
After the show, their album replaced the current CD in my car which was penned by the dude I had been sleeping with who turned out to be “not in a great place, right now” and it’s kind of like having a zombie pep rally in the car with me: head banging and screaming. Which is exactly how I drove home.
– Olivia H.
Photo credit /// Dee Nichols