Dead Confederate

Dead Confederate

BandRockAlternative

Psychedelic, Southern, Grunge.

Biography

Dead Confederate

There's a new breed of dark, raw, mind-blowing psych-rock crawling from the South, and its name is Dead Confederate. The Georgia group conjured the haunting sound of their debut full-length album WRECKING BALL the old-fashioned way: by making it in the tiny concrete box of a studio in Austin, Texas, where the sound effects for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were recorded. "We're kind of like a Jackson Pollock painting," explains singer/guitarist Hardy Morris, 28. "Brutally honest. There isn't some big twist or turn, it just lays it all out there. Immediate, no frills, primal, emotional.”

Dead Confederate — Morris, bassist Brantley Senn, guitarist Walker Howle, keyboardist John Watkins, and drummer Jason Scarboro — first bonded over Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath ("stoner shit," as Morris puts it) when they attended high school together in Augusta, Georgia. After keeping a band loosely together throughout college, the five-piece got serious when they were faced with the prospect of finding careers outside of music. After the small-town crew moved to Atlanta, "We were all kind of huddled together in this little house in the big city," Morris recalls, "Things took a turn and Brantley and I started writing serious personal stuff. We weren't just playing anymore, we were really writing and searching." Dead Confederate was born.

After relocating to music-rich Athens (where Morris and Senn had attended college), Dead Confederate amped up their touring schedule and a copy of their demo fell into the hands of Scott Register, a radio DJ and well-known member of the rock community who had a good relationship with The Artists Organization label’s founder and legendary A&R executive Gary Gersh. Gersh, who inked deals with Nirvana and Sonic Youth, heard the band's disc by chance on a car ride home from the airport and was riveted. He immediately made plans to travel to a Nashville gig to meet with the band, and offered them the opportunity to work together over a Mexican dinner that same night.

Dead Confederate's first eponymous EP is a patchwork of early recordings, taken from different sessions in different cities and home-studio recordings. Producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead) mixed it into a coherent introduction to their sound. McCarthy next led them to Austin to record their Morris and Senn-penned album in a tiny gear-packed sound studio (the room also doubled as …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead's rehearsal space), the microscopic, no-frills environment where WRECKING BALL would come to life as the band passed their down time reading, playing Scrabble and watching Judge Judy ("It was the only channel we got," Morris says). WRECKING BALL boasts 10 tracks of tightly coiled, spacey rock that leaps from slow, aching verses into gut-blasting choruses into propulsive, Southern-rock tinged jams led by wailing guitars. (Several tracks, like the 12-minute odyssey "Flesh Colored Canvas," were even nailed in a single take.)

Explosive opener "Heavy Petting" was inspired by a relationship that collapsed, leaving Morris living in a trailer with a dodgy guy named Critter. "Goner" is about the band, and their fear that Dead Confederate could call it quits and their hard work would be forgotten ("I could be gone / You would never know," Morris screeches on the aching, melodic chorus). "If something good happens, I'm like, sweet, let's go get margaritas," Morris says. "If something bad happens, I'm going to go to my room to write. I don’t know where Jack Johnson pulls it from."

First single “The Rat” – a song that grabbed attention when it appeared on the band’s EP – is one of the band's most misunderstood tracks ("A lot of people think it's about a relationship," explains Senn. "It's kind of a protest song about the religious right.") Led by pounding drums and a spooky guitar riff, as Morris' vocal gets increasingly desperate and pained, distorted guitars build until the track reaches its catchy peak.

That kind of seething, black-bellied emotion and honesty informs everything from the band's name to their already legendary live shows. "I wanted something that was dark, because we're kinda dark, and I wanted something that would hit you," Morris explains of selecting the term "Confederate." "It's not stereotypical Southern rock at all, but that flavor's in there for sure."

They've already shared the stage with R.E.M. (at a lauded 2008 SXSW appearance), Dinosaur Jr., Drive By Truckers, the Black Angels, Deerhunter and Black Lips and are looking forward to tossing aside their day jobs (everything from catering to construction) to get back into their live groove this summer. "Offstage, I'm not going to sit there and bother people with my problems. I can get everything out of me onstage and I'm back to normal offstage," Morris explains. "We're just all pretty laidback and light-hearted guys. People meet us and are like, y'all are not what we expect

Lyrics

The News Underneath

Written By: Brantley Sen

Sanity is easy
Relaxed, complacent
But the soldier shot twice quits keeping score
Child’s eyes wild
Innocent sight
Crushed and misgiven, presented for show
Tripped, betrayed
A fool for a play
A campfire raged as shells hit the ground
2 fell as shots rang
3 ran in line,
Forever burned in the back of his mind
It’s so easy for you all
To put the low ones down
A quiet tongue don’t mean they won’t hear the sound
You got the devil’s stare
In room of thorns
But they only prick when the heads are turned
I sing and I pray
For fate to attain
And bring to my door a map and a clue
Of where you were
It’s all sort of blurr
The day your heart gave up on you

You just see the ordinary, ain’t got time to read
The news that’s written right beneath every article
Blind-sided by the weight of conscience in your head
Staring down the ones you meet because they try their best

The ink has dried
But you’ve skipped ahead
Is it all in your head
Cause it ain’t in your heart?

Wrecking Ball

Written By: Hardy Morris

WRECKINGBALL
Here comes the wrecking ball
Don’t look like what I thought.
Comes in takes all of us, leaves us a cloud of dust.
Oh, what its done for me, has eyes, but cannot see.
I keep my straight face, play dead right where I lay.

Oh, so where to go?
A quiet place I know.
Get to my brothers place, lights are off, but I know my way.
Oh, and look at him, he is sleeping
God knows he’s seen it all. Been hit by a wreckingball.

A walk over broken land,
I took an armless hand
Although still I sit, I still cannot resist,
The way her legs are crossed, and the way her hair is tossed
I even like the way she talks. My little wreckingball.

Here comes the wrecking ball
Don’t look like what I thought.
Comes in takes all of us, leaves us a cloud of dust.

Flesh-Colored Canvas

Written By: Brantley Senn

My visions still blurred by the tricks that you turned,
I danced and fell back
I laid open eyed drinking heart wine
Soaking in all that I lacked
A lover accused of standing abuse then
Turning and running the track
A pawn in the game that muses had made
Somehow I always attract
Somehow I always attract

Tainted and twisted, my drinks double-fisted
Aiming the path at a crash
Killing the time painting teeth with red wine
Spitting color to your back
A Pollock-like painting that don’t keep you waiting,
The feeling bleeds out of a gash
Your cutting won’t peel, the washing won’t heal
The meaning however abstract
The meaning however abstract

This is how I changed my mind

A quick stroke of black on a flesh-colored canvas
Emoting the sympathy left
Seven strokes red aiming ends at your head
Each for a sacrifice met
Dark blue blurs on the rest of your curves
The sadness you caused and I kept
I tie it all in with a solid gold pen
A frame to make sure that it’s felt
A frame to make sure that it’s felt

The medium bleeds but at least you can see
A mirror can reach to your back
It reminds you of me and what I stand to be
With obvious subtle attack
Lay on your side so it lasts a lifetime
Learn from this simple abstract
The painter has gone and you stand alone
Gone with the tip of my hat
Gone with the tip of my hat

This is how I changed my mind

Discography

Original released demo recieved strong support from Atlanta's 99X as well as several independent online radio programs (localshowlive.com, breakthroughradio.com, KEXP)

Remixed versions of the demo tracks and 2 new songs comprised a self titled EP that was released in January 2008. EP was distributed through 176 independent record stores nationwide, and is currently recieving strong radio play on KEXP(seattle), WOXY(nyc), Sirius, and many other stations across the Country. "The Rat" was named NPR song of the day.

LP recorded in Feb 2008 in Austin TX with producer Mike McCarthy. Released by TAO records on Sept 16, 2008.

Set List

Typically play a 45min-1 hour set. All originals, with an occasional (but rare) tasteful cover of lesser known tunes.