The Deadmen: A lively bunch

Up-and-coming band gets sassy with A&E on music, life

Members of “singular rock and roll band” The Deadmen — Josh Read, Justin Jones, Justin Hoben, John Hutchins and Mike Smirnoff — made their musical debut March 15 with the release of their first self-titled EP. The band’s optimism about their work cannot be understated, particularly after their successful set at The Southern last Saturday night. Arts & Entertainment got the scoop on the band’s past, present and future in the music business.

Arts and Entertainment: Can you give me brief history of the band? What is your musical background like? What made you want to play music as a career?

The Deadmen: The Deadmen formed some time ago. Songs were recorded. There was a falling out. The recordings were lost. Years passed, amends were made. The band reformed, but with only half the original members. The recordings were found. Many rejoiced. Some did not. An EP was released. Here we are. … Everyone in the band has been playing music as long as they can remember. Playing music as a career is something only Mike has been able to pull off.

AE: Each member of the band was raised in a different part of the world, and assimilated vastly different cultures into their styles and personalities: Jones grew up in small-town Virginia, Hoben was raised in New England, while front man Read traveled from his home in South Africa to Washington, D.C. where he now lives with his buddies, creating and playing music for a wide audience. How do you think such a variety of cultural influences make your music unique?

DM: How do you think moonshine, Naugahyde and jenkem could make Friday night unique? The answer is in the question.

AE: How would each of you describe your own musical or writing styles in one word?

DM: Chimeric. Crepuscular. Parsimonious.

AE: Your current tour circuit doesn’t branch out from good ole’ Virginia. Does this frustrate you at all? How important do you all think it is to expand your following and spread your styles in the coming years?

DM: Branching out is for kids. We prefer hovering close to home, where we can be with our families and within 90 minutes of our parole officers.

AE: What are your goals in making music? Why do you do it?

DM: Our goal is to make good music. We do it for fun, to make our fathers proud, and because there’s nothing good on TV tonight.

AE: Along the lines of your new beginning in the music industry, The Deadmen haven’t been reviewed by any major magazines or music insiders yet. How are you guys preparing yourselves to handle potentially negative criticism from semi-famous names in the music industry?

DM: Ain’t happening. Have you heard the EP? Besides, major magazines and music insiders are as irrelevant to us as we are to them.

AE: Where do you hope to see The Deadmen in five or 10 years?

DM: I expect to see us exactly where we are now, only with …. more records on the books, more free time to kill and fewer fiduciary concerns.

Published April 16, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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