Death From Below

Death From Below

BandSpoken WordComedy

HBO Def Poets Dan Sully and Tim Stafford comprise the "Stand-Up Poetry" group Death From Below. The group performed a hilarious showcase at the 2008 NACA National Convention and will be touring the country beginning in the fall.


Rightfully dubbed by Waukegan High School Students “The Greatest Spoken Word Duo… Ever,” Death From Below has been tearing apart the Midwest spoken word scene since 2004. Their blue collar Chi-Town honesty complements the hard-edged humor and razor sharp observations that bring the house down every time they step on stage. They will kick you in the face. Whether it’s representing Chicago at the National Poetry Slam or rocking the set of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, DFB always brings one of the highest energy spoken word performances ever. Combined, they are a whopping 11 feet of fury! Both raised in the blue collar outskirts of Chicago, Death From Below brings a funny, sometimes desperate, always honest mix of poetry and performance.

The group is comprised of two seasoned slam veterans, Dan “Sully” Sullivan and Tim “The Brazen Caucasian” Stafford. Sully has held the title of Chicago Grand Slam Champion an unprecedented 3 years in a row from ’03 to ’05. He is the winner of the prestigious Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. Sully is also the Co-founder and Co-leader of the Oak Park/River Forest High School Spoken Word Club & Slam Team which consistently ranks in the Top two at the Chicago City-Wide Youth Slam, “Louder Than a Bomb”. The OPRFHS Spoken Word Club is the largest high school poetry program in the Midwest. Sully’s work consistently appears in local zines, papers, and podcasts. He has been published in the 2004 National Poetry Slam Anthology and The Columbia Poetry Review. Sully launched and hosted the popular Urban Sandbox open mic night for almost a decade and revitalized the legendary Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam as host for over 4 years.

Tim Stafford is the most recent Chicago Grand Slam Champion taking the title back in May ’07. He is an elementary teacher on the West Side of Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern University. Tim was published in the 2005 National Poetry Slam Anthology and he is the Slam Master of the legendary Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam in Chicago. Tim’s also an experienced jiu jitsu practitioner and is an Illinois State sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts referee so don’t mess with him.

Together they have featured at slams, universities, high schools, and junior highs across the nation. They’ve appeared in Chicago’s Millennium Park as part of the “Great Performers of Illinois” festival and at the inaugural “Looptopia” all-night arts festival in Chicago. They are both products of Columbia College’s poetry program-the only poetry major for undergraduates in the country. Death From Below is also a unit of The Speak’Easy Ensemble directed by Poetry Slam Founder Marc Kelly Smith. They’ve shared stages with legendary performers such as Smokey Robinson, Rev. Run, Savion Glover, KRS-One, Kanye West, Mos Def, Ani Difranco, and slam luminaries Marc Smith, Patricia Smith, Saul Williams, Anis Mojgani, Sonya Renee, and Mighty Mike McGee. They were voted “Favorite Poets” on their episode of Def Poetry Jam beating out recording artists Alicia Keys, and John Legend. They will kick you in the face again if you’re not careful.

-2008 NACA Nationals Spotlight Showcasing Artists-