Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicago's Dead on TV releases new EP, will perform Oct. 18 at Township

With in-your-face bravado, Chicago punk band Dead on TV is a band that grabs your attention.

Dead on TV will celebrate the release of its new EP, "Creeper," by performing Oct. 18 at Township, 2200 N. California Ave., Chicago. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are available at 

I had the chance to talk to lead singer/guitarist Daniel Evans about the new EP.

Q - Great talking to you. Of course, your new EP, "Creeper," will be released soon. In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

When we sit down to write, we try not to think too hard. I don't think we set out with a plan, really.

We just try to write songs we think are fun and catchy. With "Creeper," I feel like we accomplished that and we branched out into some new territory. 

We have some songs that are different for us, we usually play really fast songs, but on this one, our song "Screwdriver" reaches down into the realms where most other music lives, like 120bpm. I love playing that song. I think we captured a very sleazy moment.

Q - It seems like you had fun making the video for "I'm Easy." Does the video reflect your love for horror movies? What were your goals for the video?

The idea for the song and video came about at the same time. We do love horror movies, and we love the DIY mentality of the artists that work in that genre. 

But when we were messing around with the riff for that song, we sing it in a cheesy horror movie choir voice (like at the beginning of the video) and do ridiculous Bela Lugosi impressions. Then we just decided to run with that idea.

We also like to make unexpected pairings, conceptually. For instance, the lyrics for "I'm Easy" are extremely perverse and intense, while the imagery in the video is very slapstick and over the top.

We do the same sort of pairing with our song "Creeper." The music is very happy, almost too happy sounding and the lyrics are very disturbed.

I always appreciated that quality in art. With making the video, we wanted to do something fun, that we could make with our group of talented friends (everyone we know is an artist, director, visual FX, make up, graphic) really quickly. 

We shot the whole video in one night and it was just like a big party. We wanted to make an homage to Ed Wood and poke fun at the idea of the modern vampire. 

The twilight and the action star vampires. We took the idea of all the classic vampires we love, and shoved them into the modern day. The idea was to make something we could laugh at for the rest of our lives. 

I still laugh every time I watch that video. The gags are non-stop! 

Q - The band was recently nominated for a sexiest act award. Do you view that as an honor? 

Absolutely! We were nominated for that award at our home away from home, The Melody Inn in Indianapolis. Every Saturday they have a punk rock night, which is about the most fun you can have listening to rock 'n' roll in the Midwest.

We love going down there and we've made a lot of friends from playing those shows. It's great to know that people actually get what we're doing and it turns them on. 

I hope we've put at least a few people through puberty. 

Q - The band has developed a reputation for its energetic shows. In developing your live show, did you look at other bands to see what they were doing? Who are the band's biggest influences?

We love classic punk bands like The Stooges and The Dead Boys. Even though it might not have been intentional, we ended up just being that kind of unpredictable, in your face show. 

I've destroyed pretty much every guitar I've ever owned onstage. There is always some blood and bruises, again, it's not intentional, just happens to be how we communicate.

I've gone to the hospital numerous times after shows. I like that every show, nobody, especially us, has any idea what is going to happen. It keeps it fun and exciting for us. 

I see too many shows where the band is just going through the motions.

Q - How did the band come together? Is there a meaning behind the band's name?

Chris and I had played music together for a few years before we decided to start Dead on TV. He was the only other guy who was as pissed off and in love with rock as I was. 

Most of the other bands we played in were industrial or electronic of some sort. So we started writing all these songs in my friend's basement to a drum machine. 

Then Vince started playing drums for us and we started playing live. It just grew into a big destructive beast from there. 

Mike and Corey came on to fill it out and now we do still incorporate some electronic sounds and we play with a synthesizer live, but it's all rock still. The name of the band came from the first song I wrote called "Dead on TV."

It just perfectly summed up all of what we were trying to do. Take all the parts of modern life that drag us down and rip them apart.

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think Dead on TV fits into it? What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?

Chicago is the only place I've ever lived where you can go see a band play any night of the week. There will always be a blues band playing somewhere, even on Monday night.

It's more alive and vibrant than any place I've seen. This city has a history rich with rock and roll and experimentation. But it's all pretty segregated now. 

In the '80s and '90s there were bands like Big Black, Naked Raygun, Ministry, and they all this incestuous relationship where it was a mix of punk, hardcore, metal, and electronics, industrial, and the crowds, band members and shows all mixed. Although it seems like things are changing with festivals like Riot Fest mixing genre and promoting togetherness, the punk fans listen to punk music and go to punk shows, the metal fans listen to metal and go to metal shows, the electronic and indie fans do their thing and we fit somewhere in between all of that. 

Short term, we're working on some more videos from the "Creeper" release and playing shows. More long term, we already have some songs recorded for our next release and will hopefully have another batch ready within a year.