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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

The Deadlights

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Duke of The Deadlights from 2000
MSJ: How is your current tour going?
We're out on the road with Type O Negative and Coal Chamber, and it's going awesome. We're getting to play in front of big ol' crowds, and really spreading the word. It's cool.
MSJ: Where does the name of the band come from?
I'm a Stephen King fan, and I first saw the term "Deadlights" in the book It. I thought it was the perfect word to fit this idea that I had. It's the name of the lights that you see at the end of a near death experience. They always talk about a light at the end of the tunnel, and you go into it. That's the Deadlights.
MSJ: Your sound seems more diverse than a lot of the harder-edged bands around. Do you see that as the wave of the future or the exception to the rule?
Out of respect for other bands, I won't say that we're some big ground breaking thing, but I do know that the way we've made it is so that our sound won't be limited in any way, and we have the ability to go and do whatever we want. Like on this record we did an acoustic song, we did a couple slower type ballad songs. We wouldn't have been able to do that in your traditional hardcore punk band or metal band or something like that. We just wanted to be able to mix things up and never have any blinders on that say "We can't do this, we can't do that. Yes, we are a metal band, and we are heavy, but we will be able to do other things." There's not going to be any limitations on what we do.
MSJ: What can you tell us about that acoustic track "Falling Down"?
That's actually one of my favorite tracks. We actually had a tabla player come in and sit with us for the session. We recorded the whole music for that song in one take and then we overdubbed the bass track to it. There was about eight of us performing at that time. We had three of us on acoustic guitars. Our manager played on that on congas. We had a tabla drum player. Our drummer was playing the timpanis, and we had a little keyboard thing going on over that, and backwards guitars that I overdubbed, and all this stuff. I'm a big fan of acoustic music and organic music and things that are real. So, that was really a pleasure to get to do that song.
MSJ: What would you see as the band's influences?
I like to think that the best influences this band has is the past and ourselves. We look back at our lives and a lot of the writing and a lot of the sounds just comes from things and is almost vindication for the lives that we've lived. This band was born out of frustration. About 2 ½ years ago, when I hit rock bottom, and decided that the person I was was no longer workable (I didn't want to live with that person anymore). That's when this band got started - a phoenix rising from the ashes. So, we look to ourselves for a lot of influences. Everybody in this band has got a truckload of drama that we've all had to live through. It's really been the salvation to be able to do this, and we all kind of look to each other for influences.
MSJ: Have any of you been in other notable bands along the way to here?
Well, me and the drummer were in a band called "Suction" before this band. We made a little name for ourselves. I know you can look at a lot of bands' albums and a lot of bands thank a band called "Suction". That's mine and the drummer's old band. We were actually thinking of calling this band Suction when we got started out because we had such a buzz and we were on the verge of breaking. We looked at what we were doing now and the different sound and different combination, and it was such a different band that there was no sense in calling it the same name, so we started over from scratch. Which was kind of risky, because when you start from scratch with a new name, nobody's heard of you. You don't have the hype, but it actually was the best thing we could have done because it was a new thing. We actually got over really fast. Six months after we came out as The Deadlights we had a record deal.
MSJ: What's next for the band?
We're gonna start Ozzfest in July. We're gonna be on the second stage with Disturbed and Ministry and Kittie and a bunch of killer bands. It's going to be awesome. Pantera and Ozzy are headlining. Godsmack, Static X…There's some killer bands on it this year.
MSJ: Are there any musicicans you would like to work with?
You know, any collaborations I would do would probably be on an acoustic level. Because whenever we're out touring we always sit around and jam with the acoustic guitars, vocals, shaker. There's this band that we've been touring with, Full Devil Jacket, and we've been sitting around jamming with them. They're really cool guys. I just like doing stuff like that, so you never know what's going to happen. I mean, as far as acoustically, you never know who I am gonna link up with. It's not my goal to be a guest star on somebody else's record, but we'll see what happens.
MSJ: If you weren't a musician, what would you see yourself doing?
I'd be in jail. I'm pretty sure I'd be in jail or something, because I just don't really like this world and I don't really like most of the people in it. I'm sure I'd be doing something that's just really anti social. I down want to identify with most of the people in the real world. That's why I like music, and that's why I like being a part of it. Because the shows are almost like a different existence, a different kind of life. The people who go there are the kind of people I want to be around.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Our biggest Spinal Tap moment was probably our first in-store we did like two days after the record came out. Somebody screwed up and had us do an in-store. We were totally unheard of at that time. About 50 kids showed up, so that was cool, but it was still kind of Spinal Tapish to us. No, I think the biggest Spinal Tap moment was when I was hyperventilating once to stretch out my lungs before we went onstage. I almost passed out. It was like two minutes before going onstage in front of three thousand people in Indianapolis. I totally fainted and forgot where I was.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought/what are you listening to these days?
The CD I bought was Villa Ole by Remy Zero. Right now in my bunk I have the Staind CD. I have Type O Negative, Remy Zero, Alice Chains-Jar of Flies. So, that's pretty much what I've been kicking back with the last few weeks. I listen to all kinds of stuff. I'm a big fan of any kind of music. I like things with melody and I like things where the people actually have talent. That's why I'm not a fan of rap rock. I don't think there's any talent in that. All you've got to do is emulate your favorite rap star and make some chunky guitar riffs and you can be a rap rock superhero. I think in music you've got to give credit to people who come up with interesting melodies and hooks and things like that. That's why I like bands like Staind and Disturbd, because they've got a little more to it then just a bunch of rapping.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended?
The last concert I went to --- I went to see the Genotorturers in LA at the Troubadour. That was pretty cool.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 5 at
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