Dead To Me

Fans of Bay Area punk quartet Dead To Me got some exciting news in October 2014: After having been away from the band for six years and two full-lengths, beloved vocalist/guitarist and founding member Jack Dalrymple was rejoining the band; together, the rejuvenated lineup had begun work on a new full-length. Dead To Me had been laying low since completing the touring cycle in support of 2011’s Moscow Penny Ante, so on its face, this was exciting news—the band was, indeed, back together. Less than two weeks later, it almost came to an ignominious end, thanks to Dead To Me vocalist/bassist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico’s nonstop drug and alcohol abuse leading him to, in his words, “a psychotic break” which resulted in his admission into a psych ward in San Diego in early November. “I had a three-day fugue state where I don’t really know what happened,” Annicharico says. “I came to in the psych ward and was just like, ‘Well fuck, man, I guess the jig is up.’ It was a cry for help on a subconscious level. The decision was made for me. I wasn’t like, ‘I gotta get help.’ In the past, I’ve had bottoming-out periods before and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll get better eventually,’ but this time, when I bottomed out, I’m like, ‘I’m just like this now. I’ll never get better.’ I didn’t care. I didn’t care. I went to treatment,” he continues, “and after months and months and months, the fog started to lift. I said, ‘Fuck that. I do want to live. I do want a life worth living.’”

Thus began Annicharico’s new life as a sober artist, something which he never thought he would experience. “People in punk rock romanticize artists who were junkies and drunks, like Bukowski and Lou Reed,” he admits. “There’s something to be said for the insane bravery it takes to face the world sober. I wish 14-year-old me would’ve gotten more into Minor Threat! He laughs, but it’s clear he is relishing his time free of substances. For one, it allowed him to write Dead To Me’s new EP, I Wanna Die In Los Angeles, out October 21. Written in the months following his hospitalization and inspired directly from his bottoming out, the three songs are lightning bolts of energetic, gritty punk that sounds as urgent as the best songs on the band’s debut, Cuban Ballerina—and even more lyrically honest. “Accountability has been my motivation for a lot of Dead To Me lyrics,” the bassist confesses. “Part of me feels embarrassed because I don’t like putting my business out there, but then it’s healthy because it makes me talk about it. If I’m talking about it, it’s a real fuckin’ thing. It’s really normal for addicts to downplay their drug use because they’re trying to minimize the severity of their disease. I don’t wanna romanticize it, but it’s good that I talk about it so I realize the gravity of the situation.”

The EP was recorded in July 2016 at Oakland’s Jingletown Recording Studios, with the newly focused Annicharico taking on the role of producer—the first time he’s ever assumed that responsibility with Dead To Me. Engineering came from Ian McGregor, who is best known as the engineer for Grammy-nominated producer Greg Wells. “He loves punk bands,” Annicharico says of McGregor. “He works so fast and does such cool shit that it’s a really cool relationship to have. He gets how to keep the soul of a song punk.” With a fiery new EP ready for release and a brand new full-length on the horizon, it’s safe to say that Dead To Me is officially back—and if you ask Annicharico, they’re better than ever. “I feel like it’s the first time we’ve fired on all cylinders ever,” he admits. “We were young when we started the band and had a lot of other stuff going on. We’ve come out the other end with an appreciation for all these other things in our lives so it gives us this renewed energy in Dead To Me, without the need for validation. We have so much fun hanging out together. I’ve written a couple albums’ worth of songs since I’ve been sober. Honestly, we’re just getting started—the sky’s the limit.”

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