L - R
Tim Mehew - Bass
Mike McGuire - Lead Guitar
Scott Powell - Drums
Sam King - Vocals
Moki - Guitar
There aren’t a lot of bands like Get Dead around these days. Instead of worrying about gimmicks and trends, this fivesome from San Francisco, California have always focused on the music and that’s evident with every passion-filled note they play. Get Dead started out performing together in 2007 after their respective bands called it quits and eventually attracted the attention of NOFX frontman Fat Mike who produced the band’s new full-length, Bad News and released it on his label Fat Wreck Chords.
“We were supposed to have band practice but instead we hollowed out a bunch of pineapples and put gin inside of them; it got sticky and since then we’ve just been Get Dead,” vocalist Sam King says of the group’s formation. Admittedly it’s been a long journey for the act from their humble (and messy) beginning to signing with Fat Wreck Chords, but the group—which also includes guitarists Mike McGuire and Moki Noodlez, bassist Tim Mehew and drummer Scott Powell—have never lost sight of the organic nature of their formation and are excited to share their newest collection of songs with music fans all over the world.
Merging elements of punk rock with traditional acoustic instrumentation, Bad News shows that Get Dead have stepped things up when it comes to both songwriting and arrangements. “Most of us are of Irish descent so I think that our style of punk rock comes from that upbringing,” King says about the band’s unique sound. While their past releases have focused on either acoustic or electric instruments, Bad News sees the band expanding their sound to include both of these elements for an album that perfectly encapsulates the group’s sound.
Fat Mike was introduced to Get Dead through a mutual friend and as soon as he saw the band he signed them to his label and offered to produce Bad News at his own Motor Studios, bringing a new voice into this tight-knit unit for the first time. “We were initially kind of scared to bring someone else into our writing process but Mike has such great ears and had really good input when it came to trying to add a chord or tweak a progression,” King explains. “It was actually nice to have an outside perspective from someone that we really respect and I think it helped make this album sound varied and vivid.”
From stripped-down acoustic numbers like “This One’s For Johnny” to rollicking rockers such as “Riverbank,” Bad News showcases how truly versatile the band are and it also serves as an accurate document of how spontaneous the band’s live shows can be. “For this record we just called up our buddies and had them come by to play horns, upright bass or whatever else we needed,” King explains. Ultimately members of Mariachi El Bronx, Lagwagon, Angry Amputees and more all pitched in to help the album retain the raucous feel of the band’s powerful live shows, which are more of a barroom sing-along than a traditional concert.
Lyrically Get Dead eschew fiction to focus on the subjects that they know like the back of their hands: heartbreak, traveling and, yes, drinking. (The band’s latest 7-inch wasn’t called Tall Cans & Loose Ends for nothing.) “Everything we write about is based on our own personal experiences and these songs are all about real-life events that actually happened to us,” King explains, referencing brutally honest tracks like “Welcome To Hell.” “I think when you’re singing about something that’s really close to you the crowd can feel that connection and feed off that energy, so that’s what we’ve always done.”
Despite the fact that Get Dead are on Fat Wreck Chords, they plan on continuing to stay self-sufficient when it comes to booking their own shows, printing their own shirts and keeping the original spirt of the band alive. “The last time I checked punk was supposed to be D.I.Y. and Fat gets that which is what makes them such a good match for us,” King summarizes. “We just can’t wait to get back out on the road and start playing these songs live for new audiences so we can represent our hometown and do right by the Bay Area.”