Better Off Dead
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Better Off Dead

Band Alternative Punk

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Foothills bands getting a break from legendary producer
27 JANUARY 2010 BY TAMARA NEELY - STAFF REPORTER NO COMMENTS 289 VIEWS
People who don’t like punk music probably think it all sounds the same, but for a producer who has worked with punk bands around the world, it simply comes down to some bands have talent and some don’t.

Punk band Better Off Dead musicians, from left, Ryan McGibboney, Dan Crowther, DeWinton resident Greg "Dewey" Coles and Steve Gervais are recording a second record with legendary producer Brian "who" Else at Coles' house this week. Three other foothills band have hired Else to produce their albums while he's in the area.
Vancouver sound engineer and record producer Brian ‘who’ Else is spending two weeks in the foothills recording albums for a handful of bands in his mobile studio. DeWinton based band Better Off Dead, Okotoks bands In Silence and Trainwreck and High River band Grim Zen have all hired Else to produce their recordings, which the bands will independently release.
Else has been producing albums for bands and doing their sound on tours for 25 years. He has developed an ear for bands that stand out and he likes what Better Off Dead and Beneath the Throne are doing — their songs, their sound, their stage presence.
Else’s knack for identifying the cream that will rise to the top comes from producing albums for bands who are superstars in the punk genre. He has worked with bands such as nomeansno, D.O.A, The Smalls and Jello Biafra. He has also toured the globe looking after sound, lighting, staging and pyrotechnics for bands such as Tool, Pink Floyd, Motorhead, Tina Turner and Weird Al Yankovic.
In 2008 Else came to Okotoks with D.O.A. for the show at the Elks Hall. There, he saw Better Off Dead play the opening set and he took a shine to them.

Joey Shithead, lead vocalist for D.O.A., performs at the Elks Hall in 2008. Brian "who" Else toured with D.O.A. and met several foothills bands at that show. Wheel file photo
“They’re good. I like their straight-up punk rock attitude. They write some decent tunes and they’re pretty on stage,” said Else.
When he watches a punk show, Else can see through the heavy guitars and spit flying from the vocalists to pick out bands that have talent.
“If I’m tapping my foot, if I can listen to them and hear production ideas, like ideas for vocals, then they’re good,” Else explained. “You can tell in the power of the crowd — if they’re dancing around and having a great time, going up to the stage and listening intently, then the band is good.
“Then you have to meet the band and see it they’re drunks or degenerates — if so, then I really will work with them. If the guitar player is playing his part and puking to the side of the stage — that’s awesome.”
Else is setting up the studio in Coles’ home in DeWinton where the band will work with Else until they finish recording the new album. It will be the second album they record with Else, the first one was released Oct. 31 and they have sold 1,000 worldwide through links from their Myspace page, www.myspace.com/betteroffdeadpunks
Their album is also available at Music Centre Canada in Okotoks, for $8.99.
Their band name is misleading. The guys in the band don’t want to be dead, rather, like Socrates, they believe the unexamined life is not worth living.
“Once you live your life as a number and are satisfied with that, then you’re better off dead,” said Ryan McGibboney, vocalist and guitar player for Better Off Dead.
DeWinton resident Greg Coles, who also plays guitar, backed him up on the idea.
“If you lose your way, fall into the ranks of money, power, greed — you’re better off dead,” said Coles.
The band aims to carry ideas through their songs and make people think about issues going on in the world.
“If one kid hears a song and it makes him think — even if he doesn’t like the song — I’ve done my job,” said Dan Crowther, vocalist and bass player. “It’s a connection with people that we want to achieve. Everyone goes through big changes, moving away, things that hurt them. So if we can connect with them, then that’s what we need to get out there.”
The guys in Better Off Dead are acutely aware of the influence their music could have on new generations. Their own political viewpoints and musical directions have been influenced by punk bands Black Flag and The Clash and even country bad boy Johnny Cash.
Okotoks teenagers Matt Cobb, Colby John, Jon Rae and Turner Valley teen Dawson Treadgold represent a new generation of musicians with an edge. Together they are In Silence, a thrash metal band.

The crowd at the all-ages D.O.A. show in 2008 at the Elks Hall proves punk will live on in the hearts of a new generation. Wheel file photo
In Silence will also be recording an album with Else and he is impressed with their talent at such a young age.
“I went to see their rehearsal last night (Jan. 22) and, wow, they really blew me away. They write some good songs and they’ve got power,” said Else. “Their drummer is 13 years old — he’s wicked.”
“This will be the first album I record where the musicians are not drunk,” he added.
In Silence’s next gig will be their CD release party in the spring.
Better Off Dead is playing at Vern’s Tavern in Calgary on Jan. 29 and at Radio Park Music Room on Feb. 11. - The Western Wheel


Discography

2009 Release- Better Off Dead-(Better Off Dead)
Radio Play on- X92.9 FM, CJSW 90.9 FM, Radio Propagande,

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Bio

Better Off Dead was formed in spring 2008 in Calgary Alberta, Canada.

Mixing an array of punk rock styles and individual ideas to create a unique sound the members quickly agreed that one singer would not suffice and decided that two is almost always better than one, creating another dimension to their songs by having two almost consistent singers just made sense.

Writing songs that cover everything from the current state of society, leaving small towns to look for something more, or just plain having fun, Better Off Dead writes with honesty and what they feel and know.

Hitting the studio almost immediately to record an eight song EP released spring 2009 with legendary Canadian punk rock producer “Brian-who else” (most notably producer of D.O.A, Day glow Abortions, No Means No and other iconic Canadian punk rock bands). A year has come and gone allowing Better Off Dead to grow as a group, and once again create new material for another EP to be released fall 2009.