Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: November 16th, 2005
Rockeyez are excited to have the chance to show the world Deadthings can be a good thing. Meet lead vocalist of The Deadthings Julez Mephisto. Hello Julez.
Who came up with the concept for The Deadthings?
The concept came about from rhythm guitarist Leigh Van Hell and myself when we initially formed the band; we had the idea to put together a band that used elements of all the bands that we admired that had an emphasis on image as much as sound. In Australia, there are very few bands that think like this and it was a definite factor in helping us get a good buzz going about the band from the beginning.
Have you always wanted to be a vocalist?
It’s what I’ve wanted to do, since I first saw Kiss as a kid; I wanted to be in the spotlight.
What was the first band you were in?
In High school and just out of high school I was in a band called Haven, we played hard rock both covers and originals. We were very average but we had fun. We played live but never did any recordings.
Did you record any material in any other band and if so what was the band and name of the record?
I recorded demos with the band I was in prior to starting The Deadthings, which was called Chameleon.
It was more of a melodic hard rock styled band, but nothing was released.
However, Leigh Van Hell (Rhythm Guitar) had a previous band called Voodoo Lovecats that released an EP called “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” and that’s where the band name The Deadthings came from. Nikk Murder (Drums) has also previously recorded with Boy Dot Com and released an album titled “Independent”.
What kind of kid were you growing up?
I went to catholic school for 12 years while growing up and in my teenage years I was the kid with teased up peroxide blonde hair that listened to glam and metal and had cowboy boots on under my school pants. I kind of kept to myself and did my own thing.
Did you have a dream growing up?
Yeah as a kid listening to my albums and having all my rock heroes on my bedroom walls , I always wanted to be in a band with a full on image and a band that put on a real show. I mean of course I dreamed of selling a million records and still do, but the biggest dream was just to make the idea happen.
What was the first record you bought and first concert you attended?
The first record I bought was Kiss – “Dynasty” and the first concert I attended was Stryper on their “To Hell with the Devil” tour.
Who was the biggest impact on your music career?
Probably Kiss, because they were the ones that made me want to be on stage and put an effort into the image side of things.
How long does it take to put your full outfit on with make-up?
About an hour or a little more.
Do you remember the first gig you played with The Deadthings and how did it go?
Yeah it was October 7th 2002 at the Espy in St.Kilda. We were the opening band and we went down pretty well.
Your debut CD that was just released “Who Killed Holly Would?” is just fantastic. The band sounds a lot like early Motley Crue. Who were some of your favorite bands growing up?
Thanx for the cool words about the album, I’m glad you like it. My favorite bands growing up are the same ones that are my favorites today, Black N Blue, Keel, Ratt, Icon, Twisted Sister, Kiss, Pretty Boy Floyd, Tigertailz, Shake The Faith, Ana Black, Vain, Poison, Big Bang Babies, Roxx Gang and a million more. But that’s just me some of the favorites of the rest of the guys include; Judas Priest, Kix, Dokken, Anthrax, Motley Crue, Black Label Society, Alice Cooper.
Tell us about the recording of the new CD, how long it took, what song was the hardest to record, and any fun stories?
The album took about 8 – 10 weeks to record, mix and master. We worked in sessions on it rather than straight through. Half way through I got a pretty bad case of the Flu which made things difficult. I’d say “Cemetary Mary” was probably the most difficult overall, as far as funny stories go, the whole recording process was pretty good, we had a good fun vibe going the whole way through, me vomiting out the back of the studio from a hard night out was probably funny for the other guys.
Is it hard writing all your songs about dead things?
It can be and that’s why not all the tracks on the album are about that, for example “Holly Would” is about a girl that sleeps around so much she may as well be a hooker. “I Hate You” is about looking back on a relationship with a girl that you were head over heels for that walked all over you. “Forever Damned” is about constantly being in a situation where you can’t win. When it does come to writing about “Deadthings,” we try to keep it tongue in cheek, like “Dead Girls Don’t Say No’ and “Cemetary Mary.”
One of my favorite tracks is “Cemetery Mary” A slow ballad that would make a great acoustic track. What is your favorite track on the CD?
Thanx very much, it is also my favorite from the album. We actually plan to record an acoustic version very soon and we are also set to shoot a video for the album version in the next few weeks.
Tell us what each member is portraying on stage and your impression of each member?
Well let me see, I’ll be your host for this evening!!! Pretty much, host of our party in the graveyard, with plenty of thrills and frills a good frontman should have.
Leigh Van Hell
Dark and Grim, rock solid rhythm from the man who always plays up to the crowd, co-founder of the band and a hell of a creative mind.
This man helps bring the flash and glitz to the stage, plenty of guitar squeals and heavy metal faces, brings a lot of melody to the songs and able to make any of us laugh at the drop of a hat.
Lurking in the background, always reliable, ready to party and able to drink most mere mortals under the table.
The backbone of our live energy, relentless enthusiasm behind the kit, and a man ready to have nothing but a ghoul time!
It is unusual for a band like The Deadthings coming out of Australia. Can you tell us any other bands that you would recommend from Australia for fans to check out?
It is has been interesting for us, a lot of people are surprised when they find out we are from Australia.
Bands from Australia I’d recommend would be The Shine, Teargas and Wonderland.
Tell us what a live The Deadthings show is like.
Plenty of high-energy, lots of running and moving around, outfit changes, cool stage props, plenty of rock poses, the occasional stripper on stage. We tend to throw the odd 80’s cover tune into the live set as a bit of fun, and if your close to the front you’ll get to see a few girls doing the occasional lift of the shirt. Mostly we try to make things entertaining and a lot of fun.
What is your feeling about downloading?
I think it can be great if it’s used to find bands and hear them for the first time. What disappoints me is when people don’t want to own albums. As a fan of bands like Kiss and Twisted Sister I know there’s no way I would have been as captivated without all the artwork and image that went with those bands.
Has the Myspace site help the band in anyway?
It has been a good way to reach new people that we probably would not have been able to otherwise.
If you had one dream come true, what would that be?
To tour the world with The Deadthings.
How many women can Julez Mephisto handle in one night?
One woman is enough; she just needs to be able to meet all my needs.
I was watching the video for “Holly Would” which brought back great memories of the vintage glam scene. Does Australia have a glam scene?
Sadly no, we have few bands that have more of that street rock/guns n’ roses type image, but we are the only full-blown glam band in the true sense of the scene.
What is the next step for The Deadthings?
We are currently looking to secure a deal to release “Who Killed Holly Would?” in counties outside of Australia. We are putting together video footage from live shows and backstage etc that will go toward a DVD that will include all video clips and interviews as well. The DVD should be available around March 2006. We are getting ready now to shoot the video for “Cemetary Mary”, we’ll then also do video clips for two more songs from the album.
What is your feeling towards the current states of the world we live in?
There’s a lot of things that we agree with and disagree with, however we don’t wish to be a political band in any way. We’d prefer to be a band that offers entertainment and a tongue in cheek humor for the times when people want to escape from the troubles of the world.
If you could change one thing in the life of Julez Mephisto, what would that be?
You know for every action, there’s a reaction. A good friend of mine says everything happens for a reason, so I’d have to say that I’d leave it the way it is.
Well Julez it has been a great pleasure to talk with you and I hope the fans will check the band out and watch your video to get to see some amazing footage. Would you like to say anything in conclusion to our interview?
Thanx to Rockeyez and yourself for the interview Brian, it was a lot of fun, I’d just like to say thanx to all the people that support the band in any way, and thanx to the boys in the band for the continued Blood, Sweat and Beers!!