Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: May 13th, 2006
Dearborn thanks for talking to us today.
Rockeyezzzzzzzz, what’s up, man? Love the site, very cool.
Hot man, like a sauna: lizards, mosquitoes and all kinds of insects. It’s the summer.
Let’s go back to the very early days of Dearborn. Do you remember the first band that molded your mind in the direction you wanted to go?
For this band, good question. When starting off, it was listening to my sister’s records like Motley CrUe’s “Shout at the Devil” that really inspired me. I think I was more inspired by what was lacking in South Florida at the time. Manson had done his thing and blew up and took off worldwide. The scene kind of died after he went on to bigger and better things. The local scene was kind of dormant. There were really no cool visual bands anymore. So we said fuck it, and did our thing and mixed it up a little bit, hit the kids in their face. Big guitars, crazy look and it worked. We sort of kicked South Florida in the ass in 2002 and took off from there.
Tell me about your childhood school days. What kind of kid was Dearborn in high school?
Good man, I did pretty good in school. I always hung out with an older crowd, the rock crowd. I wasn’t really a popular guy but I wasn’t picked on either.
What was the name of your first garage band?
My first band was when I lived in Boca Raton, Florida. I started a band in middle school called Sinful Lust.
Did you come out with a demo?
Yeah, when I was in high school we put out a demo in 1991, first a ten-song demo then a six-song demo. It was a thrash band, and I was the guitar player. We did old school like Anthrax-meets-Slayer-type shit. Some songs we did were “He’s Still Out There” and “World of Lunacy”.
You also had a song from that band on a compilation CD called “Various Artists - South Florida Slammie Awards Vol. 1” on GJ Records/Primitive Productions in 1994. Tell me about that?
Yeah we had a track on there.
How about the first record you bought?
I’m thinking it was “Shout at the Devil”. I used to always steal my sister’s records, and I went out and bought the cassette after that. My sister was into Def Leppard and crap like that. I saw a big ad in Circus Magazine and went out and bought the record. I was hooked.
Yeah, I photographed Motley Crue on the “Shout at the Devil” tour.
Oh man. That was their prime that was it to me. That was the whole package visually: the image, the dark feel and the sound. That was my ideal rock band and album.
Do you remember the first concert you attended?
Yeah, man- it was Shout. Ozzy was the headliner at the Hollywood Sport Auditorium and my dad took me. I was like eight years old. My dad used to take me to shows, man. I just remember little bits like Tommy Lee jumping on his kit and grabbing his crotch and shit and blasting into “Bastard”.
How did you feel about the glam era of music?
Man, we listen to glam. My bass player, The Dro, is like 23, and he listens to that stuff. He likes Dokken and all that stuff. I got into that glam era and bought all the records, but it was wired because I would listen to “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” and after that throw on “Rein in Blood” so I was into everything. I like all kinds of music. Now I listen to a lot of it and it’s pretty ridiculous. It was such a formula after awhile that it was inevitable it would burn out. But I still like a lot of those albums like “Tooth and Nail” and “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” I got a lot into this band Tigertailz … I think they were from Wales. When we toured with Wednesday 13 he was a big closet Tigertailz fan. We talked a lot about them. I was listening to a lot of “Amongst the Living,” and that was on my cassette deck a lot.
How did you feel about KISS then, since they did not fit in with the glam era?
They tried. I was more of an “Alive II” guy. I thought “Lick it Up” was a good record and so was “Animalize,” but after that they lost it for me. When they got back together with Ace and Peter was cool: now it’s ridiculous (Laughing).
When did you start experimenting with make-up?
When we started the band with the formative members, The Dro is a real industrial Goth rock guy and he was painting his face. I wore a little eyeliner and did a little black lipstick, but I wasn’t full-on makeup. Everybody else was putting on the war paint before the shows and the photo shoots. We didn’t contrive the image, everyone just comfortably put on their costume and how they wanted to express themselves. It wasn’t thought out, it just happened. It evolves a lot. I did photo shoots where my hair was spiked up, and now I just wear it down. There some shows where I will spike it up again; it’s just how we feel that day what we want to do.
Who came up with the DeadStar logo?
I did the DeadStar. It’s my spin on the pentagram. It always cool what people think it is. Some think it is an upside down cross with these horns, a devils head in a circle… everyone has their spin on it. I always wanted an icon. We splattered that star all over everything we did when we first came out. We didn’t even put our name on ads, just the DeadStar logo, and people would say, “What the hell is this?” It’s lasted, and now people identify with it. When we were on tour kids would come up and have it tattooed on their arm, ankle or back, so it’s cool.
I am really not a person who listens to industrial music, but when I got the advance copy from Chipster Entertainment, I was simply amazed at how good Deadstar is musically and visually. It kicks ass.
Thanks, man. Yeah, I think there is a lot of crossover there. We are not saying we are the most original band, but we like to mix it up musically with the sound and style we write. We are all over the place with the styles we write and play. We write what we feel and that’s the DeadStar way. That’s what makes the album unique, and I think a lot of different people can get into it.
For me I get tons of promo CD’s and I listen to just about every one of them. I go to the band’s site and check them out and do a little research before contacting them to go further. I like metal, and to tell you the truth I would not go out and buy this CD. Now that Chipster sent it to me and I listened to it, I would go out and buy it.
That’s cool man!!!
I feel the album has such diversity that it mixes different genres together and molds the perfect element to make this new CD “Unsaved” a true collectable item. It mixes metal and industrial into one package and it’s phenomenal. Our review of “Unsaved” received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on our site, which I hope you’re happy with.
Wow, thank you very much. I did get the review and it was very well done and a great write up. I appreciate you looking at it from your background, and mentioning Alex Van Halen; my drummer loves Alex Van Halen. He was saying holy shit man, I love that comparison. I’m reading a lot of reviews from Germany and the metal head thrash guys are into it, but you’re more from the heavy metal world and you’re digging it, that’s cool. That’s crossing over and that’s what DeadStar is all about. You go to our show and you have the hardcore kids, the Goth kids and the metal kids. It’s a cross-pollination of scenes in music.
Tell me your vision of each member of the band:
The Dro – Bass
I love the Dro, he is my little partner in crime. He’s my right hand man. If he were to go,
the band would go on because I am the nucleus of the band, but it would be hard. He’s so much of the instrumental part of this band. He works on all the back end of the internal promotion of the band, to going out there and carrying the DSA torch. He’s always promoting, plugging the band and hanging with the fans and meeting people. Starting relationships with BC Rich guitars, he made that happen. He is a great guy and huge asset and a good friend of mine.
Cygnus – Drums
Great man, quiet and mysterious guy and is funny as shit. He is who I room with on tour.
He’s a great drummer, huge talent. He’s the backbone of the band, and night after night he delivers. He adds good dynamics to the band every night.
DreGGs - Crunch Guitar
He’s a dirty scumbag. He loves that old school Guns ‘n’ Roses. He’s a dirty, sleazy, rhythm guitar player. He can lead too. He wasn’t our original guitar player but he joined early in the band. I couldn’t see DreGGs not being in DeadStar.
Tell us about your live show.
The live show is full throttle man. Craziness, have you seen us?
No, but I went to your site and watched the videos and some of the live action. I like stage presences and DeadStar has that. As a photograph that is a great night… a good band that just stands there; is not entertaining to me.
You have to take it to the next level. You pay your ten or twenty bucks; you want to see a show. You want to hear it, but you want to hear it live and see the visual and the dynamics. You want to see that it’s the record times ten. We are full on in your face- we are totally feeding off the energy of the crowd their feeding off us. We tear it up every time. When we go on tour the kids say the albums great but it’s so much better live, and that’s a testimonial man. We are not a prop band: we don’t need all that shit to impress the crowd. We go out there with our war paint, our instruments, and our little light show and just hit it, fuck it up man. We played New York a couple times, big fan base in NY and great kids, great fucking kids there. I love New York City. We will be back there on this tour.
What does DSA ask for on their rider?
Slim Jims, Jaegermeister, a case of beer, deli tray. We need that Jaeger to go. Pre-show, post show antics. We are not at the point where we can make these outrageous demands but the venues are good to us and we appreciate it.
What does Dearborn look for in a woman?
Intellect, humor, my girlfriend is the epitome of exactly of what I want. I was lucky because we met at a DeadStar show. Which sounds sort of cheesy: she wasn’t a fan but she just happened to be at the venue that night. We’ve been dating for four years and she is everything I would want in a woman. She can also deal with the fucking rollercoaster ride of me being in a rock n’ roll band... she loves every minute of it.
DeadStar Assembly (2002) did “Send Me an Angel” originally by Real Life. Tell me how much notoriety you got by doing that song?
Fucking Huge!!! Man it was great. It got us a foot in the door; we would hit all the goth fetish shows, all the strip clubs. You know we are a new band, who the fuck is going to play a local CD at a club that night. They want to hear a song they know and “Send Me An Angel” was the perfect way to do it. Like here’s a cover of “Send Me An Angel:” throw it on and boom, fuck yeah, this kicks ass. Now you go to the fetish parties, the rock clubs and you hear it. The biggest compliment we got was the band that did it originally Real Life wrote us and told us how much they liked our version of their song. Thank you so much. To me it was like we did our job.
You’re working on a new DVD Vol. 2?
Yeah! “Dark Cold Sessions Vol.2”, it going to be fucking killer. Our first DVD was a great watch but this is badass. Two or three years’ worth of tour material. We’re shocking the fans and showing them what a fucked up ride this is, and loving every minute of it. Our van blowing up and riding around in the back of a U-Haul in twenty degree weather in Pennsylvania with no heat. That’s fucked up.
How was it working with Luis Duran?
Duran was great man. He was instrumental in getting the vision of DeadStar. DeadStar in the beginning was just me and him doing my demos. I would hand them over to him, and he launched DeadStar. We eventually became a band and started doing things by ourselves. With the new record we did it ourselves, Luis only contributed on a couple tracks. Luis is part of the family and we will work on tracks here and there but I think the big step was he used to do a lot of the electronics and synth, but* we did them ourselves this time. Me and the other members were able to pull it off. We were able to be a little more honest. This is a DeadStar record.
How did you go about securing a contract with Pure records?
We showcased and did a show down here with Powerman 5000. The A&R guy for Pure Records was hanging around the studio where we were recording. I guess he knew the producer, Jeremy. He kept hearing the demos, and he said “Shit, man, we just released an R & B record. We’re looking for a rock act. Can I bring the CEOs to one of your shows?” I said “Yeah, bring them down.” They came out and saw the show, and called us the next day asked us if we wanted a contract. So, we said yeah, man. We were going to put the record out ourselves. We didn’t give a shit about being signed because we were selling enough records on our own. We had a distribution deal for our first record, which was just an added bonus. We don’t have to deal with this shit anymore. We actually got a fair shake. It will be in every store, and the kids don’t have to bitch that they can’t find the record. It was actually a good deal that we got. We were able to leverage- we weren’t going to sign anything. We did showcases before and had offers from other labels, but this was a fair deal and a good arrangement. It’s a one-record deal, and in one year we will revisit and negotiate a new contract. For now, it’s just for “Unsaved” and it’s the same deal we have with our German label. Which is good, and I like it, cause it’s like being a free agent. You know, if you’re not happy and things aren’t working out, you move on. There are tons of bands out there right now are in contracts that they want to get out of.
On your new upcoming release “Unsaved” your vocals seem stronger than they were on the first release. What do you attribute that to?
You know man, I have confidence now. Back when the first record came out, which is a glorified demo, I couldn’t find a singer. I’m a guitar player, not a singer, but I couldn’t find a person to do it the way I wanted it. So I swung it. I took vocal lessons prior to the first album and just did it. After two, three years of touring and actually learning how to sing, I learned how to grow. I see the evolution in my vocals, which I am proud of, and my producer pushed me a lot. He would say “Add a harmony; you don’t have to scream all the time. You don’t have to hide behind effects. You have a good voice-SING.” I think evolving, doing my training and the live shows and touring helped a lot.
Were there any songs written that were left off the CD?
Yeah, you always hear these bands say they wrote forty songs and used twelve. Man we wrote eighteen songs and fifteen made the record. There weren’t a lot of songs that hit the cutting room floor.
Will you use those on the next record?
I already have a shit load of new songs in my head and on my machine. I think some of the songs that didn’t make the cut will be on the next record because we were in such a crunch mood to get the record done they didn’t have a chance. There were a couple songs that really didn’t have a chance to be developed enough to make the record. So I think they will see the light of day later on.
What are your favorite songs on the new album?
I like them all- it’s like a ride that keeps going. I like “Unsaved part one and two”, but it’s like if I had kids. Which would I choose over the other? I couldn’t, but I do have a dog.
So what song will be pushed by the record company?
We are slated to do a video for “Dejected”. The reason is we played that song on tour and the kids like it. The kids sing it at shows, it works live and it has a good hook to it. So we are going with it. Obviously “Ashes” will get a fair shake and “Dark Now”. “Ashes” could be a good crossover for us. There are plenty of songs that will drive the record.
The energy of your live show is amazing as I saw on a video. Tell us what it is like on a show day, from start to finish?
On tour it could vary. The perfect situations are when we only have a three hour drive for the next show. You get up in the hotel a little hung over. We drink a lot on tour and hang out with the fans after the show and have a good time. We get to the venue, load in, do our sound check and just chill and have a good time. Fill in the music we will be playing, have a few drinks get something to eat. Touring is very monotonous, a lot of the same thing. We try and get out and meet the fans prior to the show and after the show we will go out to the merch booth and sign things and say hey. We are very approachable and forthcoming with the fans, which is important to us as a band. But everything on tour is by time. You have to be there at a time, you do a sound check this time, you have to be on stage at this time and off by this time. It’s like a conveyer belt of craziness.
What do you do on a day off?
We will hit a theme park or just fuck around at a strip club. We will not sit in the hotel- that is the last thing you want to do. We will find time to entertain ourselves.
What band treated you the best on tour?
Everyone!!! Wednesday 13 was fucking great, from the band to the techs and management. Birthday Massacre is another great band to tour with. I have no horror stories yet. I hear them, but we have not had any. Touring is hard enough so if we had a problem with another band I would just pack up our stuff and leave. Fuck it.
Will you be touring soon?
We are booking a tour right now. The album comes out in the states July 11th so our tour will kick off around that date. Then in October we head to Europe. The tour starts on the East Coast/ Midwest area for a two or three week run.
I found out about the band through a mutual force called Monster Picks. How did you hook up with them?
Monster picks are great. Stephen is the shit, and Michael is great. The whole team, I met them at NAMM this year- that whole fucking team is great. We did a cross-promotional thing and it helped both of us. Their whole campaign last year was The Dro. The one photo they used we thought was a joke but they used it, which was great. The bass player with the pick in his mouth… it’s so iconic. That was a joke and one of the last shots. We were just fucking around. How are you supposed to hold a guitar pick? It’s so fucking small, how is it going to show up in a photo? That was just the shot that worked, it was so fucking cool. It’s also in Revolver this month. They gave us so much of the spotlight, it’s like us almost at the point letting someone else get some of the spotlight. We will continue to work with them, because they’re great with no egos. Stephen and everyone are fantastic over there and we will work with them for a long time.
So what is your wishing for the release of “Unsaved”?
I just want it to get a fair shake, and I think it will. That was the whole idea of us signing a deal with the labels in the US and Europe. They’re actually giving it a shot, and the fans can reach out and get it. I hope people enjoy it, and that we not only made our fan core happy but we reach people like you that are not particularly into this type of genre but will give it a chance and get turned on to it. We want it to be a successful release, and hope to do it again. The DVD will be done by the end of the year and there is a lot on the horizon to do, which is exciting.
Dearborn I appreciate you letting us in on your world and I am glad I had a chance to hear “Unsaved.” It’s great, not only for industrial fans but for all genres. I wish you guys the best.
Brian, thanks so much for your time. We will hook it up when we are in New York and keep in touch or we will keep in touch with you and Rockeyez. Peace!!!