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The Dead Deads

The Dead Deads

An interview with Billy Dead, Drummer of Nashville's Pop-Punkers THE DEAD DEADS
by Mike Huberty
June 2017

It’s hard to believe that The Frequency is already celebrating 9 years! This year’s Birthday Weekend features two nights of music, but Saturday June 10th’s lineup features some new Pop-Punk from Nashville. Four girls with X’s over their eyes, with MISFITS-style chants at a breakneck pace, THE DEAD DEADS feature Meta on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Betty on lead guitar, Daisy on bass, and Billy on drums. And of course, their last name is all DEAD. We talked with Billy Dead about their new album, their influences, and their upcoming show at The Frequency on June 10th.

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Dead Man's Carnival

Dead Man’s Carnival

An interview with Pinkerton Xyloma
by Mike Huberty
April 2012

Combining the best of live music, classic vaudeville, and circus sideshows, Milwaukee-based DEAD MAN’S CARNIVAL is a unique theater experience for the Midwest They are a regular fixture at the city’s Miramar Theatre, but have been traveling around the country for the past several years. We talked to frontman and musician, Pinkerton Xyloma, about their upcoming appearance at the Majestic in Madison.

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Dead Rider

Dead Rider

An Interview with Dead Rider's guitar guru Todd Rittmann
by John Noyd
April 2014

Never content to do the same thing twice, Chicago’s daredevil experimentalists DEAD RIDER, offer a dazzling degree of forward-thinking adventures whose restless quests invest discordant morsels of jazz-rock logic into funky electro-polished grooves. Comprised of Matthew Espy (drums, conga, percussion), Andrea Faught (synth, piano, trumpet, trombone, vocals), Thymme Jones (synth, trumpet, vocals) and Todd Rittmann (vocals, guitar, drums), the imaginative foursome blaze new trails thinking outside the box, bashing pre-conceived beliefs by conjuring jarring carnage buffered in teeth-gnashing acrobatics and gut-busting bluster. In anticipation of their performance May 8th at Madison’s The Frequency,” MAXIMUM INK asked front-man and founder Todd Rittman to guide us through the band’s insatiable appetite for complex maneuvers and esoteric minutiae

MAXIMUM INK: As a band committed to unexpected twists and challenging their audience, do your live shows attempt to play songs from your records, use them as launch pads for further sonic explorations or something in between?

TODD RITTMANN: Well, a little of both I guess. It’s funny; the songs on our records that sound loose and more improvised are the ones that are actually hyper composed. They are the ones we are the most dedicated to replicating in a fairly precise way. The songs that have more of a traditional (for us anyway) pop structure end up being the ones we corrupt when performed.

MI: No one seems to be doing quite what you do, as innovators who fuse so many divergent styles together, who do you see as your contemporaries?

TR: I love any artist that creates their own language and musical world. I love Deerhoof, Battles, Cody Chesnutt, Buke and Gase, and I’ve been really digging this local kid Vic Mensa lately. The hardest and most important thing to do as an artist is be yourself, anyone who can get there is automatically inspiring and worth checking out.

MI: What influenced or inspired this album? Was there a premeditative theme or concept behind Chills on Glass to focus your creative impulses?

TR: We work in a very organic and flowing way. There is never a premeditated theme but one always seems to emerge at some point. When it does we try to surf that wave a little without it turning into some kind of concept-rock-opera kind of thing.

MI: How should your fans interpret the title beyond a vivid description of your subversive mirth?

TR: The title connects the dots between drug imagery and how we interact with technology. Both things have their ups and downs and both seem to work in a similar way with our brains. Chills is my slang for children but also alludes to a numbness… Glass is the ubiquitous screen or display and also the easiest surface on which to serve drugs in powdered form.

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Dead Rider

Dead Rider

An interview with Todd Rittmann
by Dan Vierck
March 2015

Dead Rider Will Take You Where They Want to Go.

When I asked guitarist and vocalist of Dead Rider, Todd Rittmann, if there was a slogan or marketing pitch for their next release, a 7” single on Drag City records, he said ‘No.’

2014’s Chills on Glass (Drag City) is a dark behemoth. It’s an album that leads you somewhere you’re not sure you want to go. The music beckons and roils. Each song has an echo of familiarity, but they all tumble from beginning to end inside a horror movie fun house kaleidoscope. Rittmann’s voice is dry but with a bite; a little bitter with pronounced hops if you’re a beer person. When a song or the album is over, if nothing else, you’ll have a great story to tell your grandchildren.

The quartet assembled around 2009, and released two albums on Tizona Records previous to Chills on Glass. Rittmann is the lynchpin member, joined by Andrea Faught on keys and trumpet, Thymme Jones on keys, and Matt Espy on percussion. They are an incredibly tight unit, capable of the tightest grooves and the most intense, purposeful slash and burn noise barrages. Dead Rider’s music is not the soundtrack to William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, but they might be a band born of that world. Intellectual by design, they retain primitive but carefully considered inconsistencies in their execution. If David Byrne were possessed by the ghost of Kurt Cobain, Dead Rider would be the best case scenario for any music that came from that. If the devil himself were sauntering up to you, playing good cop, swinging hand cuffs of fire around his long ashy finger, Dead Rider would be the soundtrack to that scene in your biopic. Rittmann seems to have rationalized his tumult and harnessed but not broken his neurosis. The heat of the music is pure, but it is also incredibly focused.

Rittmann was kind enough to talk with me about the history and momentum behind the band, as well as what he hopes an audience gets from a performance.

Maximum Ink: You said in another interview that you want to drive the audience crazy. Where does that come from?
Todd Rittmann: People need to be woken up and driven crazy. There’re too many things in this world that massage your expectations, and we’re not into fulfilling your expectations.

MI: Are there things you won’t do in Dead Rider? And is it because you don’t want to, or because you don’t think the audience would appreciate it?
TR: We don’t do a lot of thinking about what the audience – in quotes – might prefer to hear. I think that’s an artistic trap, and it’s not even our motivation for doing this in the first place. We just want to blow our own minds. Generally we’ll steer away from things we’re already familiar with and super-comfortable with. We’re trying to take everyone in a ride out of their comfort zone – including ourselves. But I don’t want to paint the picture like we’re creating completely abstract noise. We like to keep one foot in that traditional rock form, and that helps provide some contrast and a jumping off point for some of the other ideas.

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Dead Sara

Dead Sara

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Emily Armstrong
by Tina Hall
April 2011

Los Angeles based Dead Sara is made up of Emily Armstrong (Vocals, Guitar), Siouxsie Medley (Guitar, Vocals), Chris Null (Bass), and Sean Friday (Drums). The band offers rock done right: uncompromising, heavy, and soulful. Their self titled debut album, produced by Noah Shain is due out this summer. Maximum Ink recently caught up with them to talk about the latest happenings with band.

Maximum Ink: Since there isn’t that much out there about you yet, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Emily Armstrong: Sioux and I met through a mutual friend when we were about 16 and with passion for music primarily in common, it didn’t take too long for us to start a band. We just loved hanging out, listening to music, and writing together. It wasn’t up until about a couple years ago that we decided to really do this the right way. Thus, we got our current drummer and bass player on board. It has been really solid and very fun.

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Detroit's Dead String Brothers - photo by Doug Commbe

Dead String Brothers


by Kristen Winiarski
July 2008

Often compared to The Rolling Stones, the group, The Deadstring Brothers, is a mix of Detroit and London with a slight country-rock twang. Although neither of these cities reminds one of country music, the group succeeds in being a blend of country and rock, which is what its founder considers them to be. These two different, yet similar cities, collide together in the members: E. Travis Harrett on drums, Masha Marjieh on baking vocals and percussion, Jeff Cullum on bass and vocals, Pat Kenneally on piano and organ, Spencer Cullum on pedal steel, lap steel, and guitar, and Kurt Marschke on vocals and guitar. I had the opportunity to talk to the last of this list: Kurt Marschke.

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Death On Two Wheels - photo by Brian Manley | Fun With Robots

Death On Two Wheels


by Tina Hall
April 2010

Atlanta based rock band, Death On Two Wheels features Trae Vedder (lead vocals and guitar), Andrew Knox (organ and piano), Paul Doss (lead guitar), David Fountain (bass), and Greg Neel (drums). Their new EP is set for release on Feb. 16. A new album is expected to be released by mid-year.

They are premiering two songs in the movie “The Violent Kind” at Sundance 2010. The two songs, Two Dollar Bills and Calling Us All Back Home also appear on their current release Separation of Church and Fate on Ghost Umbrella Records.

The film is brought to you by the award winning The Butchers Brothers; Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores. It is produced by Michael Ferris Gibson, Jeffrey Allard (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Andy Gould and Malek Akkad (Halloween), Jeremy Platt, and executive producer K’Dee Miller.

In celebration of the release of “The Violent Kind”, they are now offering both songs for free download at: www.deathontwowheels.bandcamp.com

Maximum Ink: When was Death On Two Wheels formed?
Trae Vedder: Formed in late 2006, played our first show in late 2007, released our debut album in late 2008.

MI:  What are some of your influences?
TV: We draw heavily from 70’s rock bands, Steppenwolf to The Band, and everything in between. Personally, I draw from blues and soul classics like Lee Dorsey and R.L. Burnside. Modern bands we enjoy include Wilco, Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, The Whigs, and the Dewey Cox soundtrack.

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