The Dead Records
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The Dead Records

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States | SELF

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Dead Records"

see article - Buzzbin Magazine

"The Dead Records : Proud"

see article - Buzzbin Magazine

"The Dead Records"

Pronouncements of the death of the record industry have been de rigueur since the birth of MP3s and Napster-style filesharing towards the end of the last century, and the name of the band The Dead Records is reflective of that. The band’s content, however, hits a little bit closer to home, as their songs tend to be about common human trials and tribulations revolving around interpersonal relationships.

Forged around a trio of friends who grew up in North Manchester, The Dead Records have been bringing their brand of loud and aggressive, punk-based, indie-rock stylings since the summer of 2008. They’ve recorded and released two full-length LPs and one EP to date, have played frequent regional shows and have embarked on two extended tours that have taken them to far-flung locales such as Florida and Wyoming.

Their debut album And Now We Dance, which landed in 2009, centered thematically around a broken relationship that vocalist Aaron Taylor was experiencing at the time. The six-song Proud EP followed a year later and found the band refocusing and re-purposing themselves. Last year’s Rabbitsfoot centered around themes of family, relationships and the trials and triumphs that go along with everyday life.

The North Manchester trio who make up the core of the band are drummer Sean Richardson, guitarist and vocalist Aaron Taylor and guitarist Chad Briner. Bassist James Holm currently rounds out the lineup. The three Manchesterers went to school together, with Taylor and Briner playing in a punk rock band in junior high school. Briner eventually moved to Chicago; Taylor and Richardson stayed in North Manchester and started playing in a band in high school. They later moved to Fort Wayne to pursue music as adults.

The three kept in touch sporadically; during the summer of 2008 Richardson and Taylor were discussing the possibility of starting another band when a discussion about an article in Alternative Press magazine gave them the idea for the name of the band.

“I read in an article ... about the same old death of music industry type deal and how digital music is killing the music industry and all that ... and that’s basically where all that came from,” says Richardson. “I grew up in the CD era ... when you’d go to the store and buy the CD, open it up and pop out the CD out, and it’s got that crisp pop and you read all the lyrics. You look at the picture it’s like a whole experience of buying a CD. And with digital music you don’t get that. But it’s also kind of ironic because we use digital music a lot to promote and market ourselves and all that.”

In the meantime, Briner had moved back to Fort Wayne, and Taylor and Richardson talked him into joining their then-nascent band. The group has had several bassists over the years, with Holm, who was the frontman for Close Only Counts, recently joining The Dead Records to fill the bass slot.

Irony, revolving bass players and surprisingly family-affirming values aside, The Dead Records may best be experienced live, where their energy and aggressiveness can be experienced first-hand, according to Richardson.

“We’re definitely a live band,” he says. “If you don’t see us live, then you’re not gonna get it, I don’t think.”

What you also get to experience at a live show is their volume, which is something that actually led them to run afoul of a venue owner in South Dakota. In the middle of their set at a venue in Rapid City, the owner of the venue unplugged their equipment after the band ignored a request to turn down their volume.

“People were complaining about it being too loud, but we just played loud anyway, and then she unplugged everything and we ... just left,” says Richardson. “It was a weird place.”

In addition to their occasionally offensive loudness, the band also has an apparent abundance of self-confidence and belief in the genuineness of themselves as musicians and of their message, something that is reflected in their performances, demeanor, and the title of their Proud EP.

“I kind of feel like we are offering music and a live show that not very many other bands locally are doing. It’s kind of arrogant, but I do feel like that,” says Richardson. “I’ve watched bands when I don’t believe in what they’re doing, and I think when people watch us play – the songs we play and the way we’re playing them – they see that it’s exactly what we want to be doing. There’s a passion that you can bring to live shows and I think some people try to do that and I don’t think we have to try because it’s [already] there.”

As for the future of the band, they intend to keep going and hope to expand and grow as time goes on. Even though their most recent album just came out last year, they’ve already begun writing new material. Whether forthcoming recordings will be in the form of another EP or a full-length album has yet to be determined, but the band does hope to continue to grow as live musicians and recording artists and to expose their music to new people in far-flung locales.

“I want to be able to go on tours and show up to cities thousands of miles away, and I want people to know our music and sing along to our music,” says Richardson. “That’s my nearest goal.”
- Whatzup Magazine

"The Dead Records by Greg Locke"

When the playwright George Bernard Shaw first said “Youth is wasted on the young” around 100 years ago he wasn’t thinking about rock n’ roll. Rock n’ roll didn’t exist 100 years ago.

When Paul Westerberg first sang “I need a goddamn job” in January of 1982, he wasn’t talking about steady work at a factory or his uncle’s office. He was talking about rock n’ roll, which did exist. And now, almost 30 years later, Westerberg is still working his job as a full-time musician. He’s lucky. And, while Shaw is long dead, his quote about youth remains a staple amongst aging rock n’ roll types.

Enter The Dead Records, a quintet of young musicians looking for jobs while not wasting a second of their youth. They have a new EP coming out and a slew of shows lined up for the summer. They’re from North Manchester but currently spend their days and nights in Fort Wayne working, rocking, going to school.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when these guys showed up at my door. I’d heard their debut, 2009’s And Now We Dance, and seen photos of them in action. I’d read C. Ray Harvey’s review of said record and had been told by a handful of people that they’re great on stage. A more punk-friendly version of Manchester Orchestra. Kinda.

Still, I had no idea what was coming.

Within 10 minutes of living room chatter I was imagining these four very distinct personalities working perfectly for a film or TV script. First we have Sean Richardson, the 21-year-old drummer in sandals who keeps busy. He’s tall and chatty, full of life and ready for anything. He talks in a husky voice and makes no bones about how important this band is to him.

Then we have Chad Briner, whom I’ve seen play multiple sets with his other band, the excellent Mr. Doctor Professor. Briner, 24, looks like the poster boy for a mid-90s college radio scene. He could have spent hours trying to look like an Adventureland extra or just thrown on whatever his girlfriend bought him from the nearest thrift shop. Hard to tell. He builds amps for a living, drops lines from High Fidelity into everyday conversation and speaks only when he has the perfect thing to say.

Next up is instantly likeable Will Magley, whom I remember from his days in Morose. He’s as jovial and positive as any 21-year-old blonde bassist on earth. He tells me that he hates school, doesn’t have a job or money and just loves to play music.

And, finally, we have frontman/guitarist Aaron Taylor, who keeps quiet at first. In fact, he hardly says a word until he realizes we have a shared friend, Firehouse honcho Jabin Burnworth. After making this connection Taylor lights up with pure Southern charm. He writes dark songs – odd considering how pure and honest he seems in conversation.

The Dead Records look, act and sound exactly how you’d hope a young rock n’ roll band would look, act and sound. And, as I learned, they talk the jive too.

“We’ve known each other forever. Since I was in fourth grade or something,” Richardson tells me. “Three of us are from Manchester and Chad is from right outside Manchester, so we’ve all known each other for a while.”

The story of how The Dead Records came to be is both simple and complex. Briner and Taylor at some point played in punk bands together. Taylor played in other bands here and there, sometimes with Richardson, before deciding to team up full-time with the enthusiastic drummer.

“The band I was in before The Dead Records broke up, so I started writing pretty much our whole first album on an acoustic guitar,” Taylor said. “Sean and I decided one day to play those songs. So we put drums to ’em and made them electric. Then we wrote three or four more together and started rolling.”

From there, Richardson, who had already booked a show at The Brass Rail, asked Magley to bring his bass over and jam. After trying out a number of potential bassists, Richardson and Taylor asked Magley to join The Dead Records.

“I was still playing in Morose when Aaron and Sean invited me over to play with them,“ Magley said. “So I played with The Dead Records and decided that it was the band I wanted to be in.”

The three then recorded the above-mentioned debut record, played their first shows and soon began talking about adding a second guitarist.

“Sean and I were talking one night, asking each other ‘How do we get better?’ I don’t claim to be a great guitar player. I’m self-taught. So we wanted to get better,” Taylor explained. “We decided to ask Chad – before he joined – if he’d want to come write with us. I knew we needed another guitar player, so we tried out like three players and none of them worked. So, when Chad moved back, we asked him to play with us.”

“I always wanted to be in a band with Chad,” Richardson added. “Back then we thought we’d run off of that first CD for two or three years. But we got so much better, especially once Chad joined. After he joined, we knew we had to do another album.”

“I was living in Chicago for four or five years,” Briner said. “Taylor would come over and talk about the band. When I moved back we started talking about me joining, but I didn’t have enough time in my schedule. Eventually I started jamming with these guys and it turned out to be pretty awesome.”

Briner joined the band when they were already hard at work on a new batch of songs.

“Our idea was to write a whole bunch of songs over a month, with Chad. So we had the stuff I’d been working on plus the stuff Chad brought. It was so refreshing,” Taylor said. “We had something like 10 songs that we narrowed down to six for the new CD. We wanted it to be better, and we definitely did make it better.”

“The singing on the new album is so much better. It’s phenomenal. One influence I didn’t mention is Manchester Orchestra. Their new CD is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard in my life,” a now-excited Richardson said. “The vocals on that album are so much better than on their first. So I was telling Aaron about that, and his vocals just got so much better for the new songs.”

We talk about influences for a moment. Richardson explains how his initial love for Thursday led him to a concert. At this concert he settled on a life goal: Play music for a living. Back in those days Taylor had much different goals.

“Right now I just work and play music. And I play golf. Hang out. Drink beer,” Taylor explained. “But I have the course record at Indian Hills. Before I was planning to play music I was going to be a pro golfer. That’s what I wanted to do out of high school. I was going to get my PGA card and go after that, but once I started playing with Sean that all kind of went down the toilet.”

“I can be pretty persuasive,” interrupts Richardson.

“Yeah. I once went to Sean and told him that I’d just shot the best round of my life, and he was like ‘Look, you suck. You’re never gonna make it as a pro golfer,’” Taylor laughs.

“Yeah, I mean, this is all I care about,” a suddenly serious Richardson adds. “One way or another, I’m gonna make it as a musician.”

Richardson, clearly, doesn’t mind playing the role of the workhorse.

“I like all the work that goes into this band. Everything I do for this band is an experience,” he says, still deadly serious. “Even if we don’t make it, someday I’ll have all these sweet stories about trying to make it.”

Taylor then explains to me that, to The Dead Records, “making it” simply means being able to support yourself by playing a guitar.

“It means not having to work stupid jobs to get by,” Richardson adds.

From there the conversation turns more serious. What does it mean to be in a young and serious band with a guy like Richardson, who plans to “make it” no matter what?

Albums. Tours. T-Shirts. Everything. Out-of-town shows, especially.

“We’ll do 20 or so out-of-town shows in June, then maybe another 15 or 20 in July,” Richardson said. “I don’t know if we’ll have to quit our jobs or not. My boss and my coworkers are really into our band, so I think it’ll work out for me.”

“I just talked to my boss about this last night. He wasn’t too happy with it, but he understands,” Taylor said. “He knows that this is what I want to do. I don’t know what to tell him, because he’s thinking he might have to hire someone else because we’ve been through this before with tours.

“It’s hard to be in a serious band that hasn’t made it yet. It’s not just jobs, it’s girlfriends and apartments. All you want to do is play music, but you have to work it in to all these other things.”

“You see your friends getting on with their careers and their families and you’re still kind of doing what you were doing in high school. Playing in bands,” Richardson added. “But now our friends and families are taking us more seriously. It’s been over a year and we have another CD coming out and we’re still playing shows and have a tour coming up. But it’s still hard to hear our friends talk about ‘getting jobs making 40K.’ What do we brag about? Maybe making $10 playing a show and getting some free beer?”

Sounds good to me. For now, The Dead Records are focused on their new EP, which you can pick up on Friday, May 7 at their CD release show at the Brass Rail in downtown Fort Wayne. Toledo’s Extra Extra will open, and the $5 cover charge also scores you a copy of the new CD.

Can’t hardly wait.

Copyright 2010 Ad Media Inc.
- Whatzup Magazine

"The Dead Records And Now We Dance by C. Ray Harvey"

If there's one characteristic most bands have a difficult time capturing on an album it's live energy. This writer has yet to see The Dead Records live, but if songs on albums tend to be less vivacious than their live incarnations then The Dead Records must sweat an awful lot on stage.

And Now We Dance plays out mostly like a conversation in first- and second-person set to a blend of punky upbeat rock music with aspects of post-rock thrown in for occasional variation. The word "emo" is useless in style description these days, but suffice it to say a heavy emotional current runs beneath these songs. The band sounds tight and the production is crisp enough to allow the lyrics to cut through the loud and soft equally well. This clarity is met with mixed results.

Lead singer Aaron Taylor lets listeners know early that he's sorry. Real sorry. In fact, the first track is called "My Apology" and it closes with a circular apology for apologizing. The second track, an up-tempo rocker entitled "Hum Along," sticks to the theme. Taylor throws out sorrys for not singing, playing or writing the songs the way, uh, you want him to. In his words, "If you don't like it, don't listen to it." However, Taylor emphatically insists that he wrote the song for all of his friends and you to sing or hum along to (whichever they/you prefer.) Fair enough: friends up, critics down.

The rest of the album never lets the tempo slow or the singing get too organized. The Dead Records bank on their singer's untamed voice to float bombastically over the top of the tightly wound rock machine chugging away below. Verses about love, alcohol, traveling, regret, etc., all receive arbitrary musical treatment; only occasionally is the texture stripped down to guitar and vocals to contrast the predominant constancy of the full band.

The Dead Records sound like they are ready to make an impression musically as a loud and energetic force in the local scene and surrounding areas. Lyrically they may sound a bit unrefined, but their punk rock sound, while easily recognized, is well-studied and presented here. (C. Ray Harvey)

Copyright 2009 Ad Media Inc. - Whatzup Magazine

"Words Of Wisdom With The Dead Records by Ben Larson"

sat down this week with The Dead Records, a local 4-piece rock band who just released their second album, titled Proud, this spring. I’m going to be honest, when I first sat down with these guys, I expected a polite interview, but not a whole lot of depth. This isn’t because I thought the band was bad or untalented (I’m not into self-flagellation); I’m just not used to talking to bands who are a) as self-aware as this band is, and b) as able to intelligently discuss their aesthetics, motives, and craft as they are. This was a great band to interview.

Made up of Chad Briner on guitar, Sean Richardson on drums, Will Magley on bass, and Aaron Taylor on guitar and lead vocals, The Dead Records were initially formed by Richardson and Taylor (although all of the members have known each other and have been playing on and off together since high school). After doing some home recording, they decided they needed a bass player for their live act, and recruited Magley for the job. In 2008 they released a self-titled album, and in the fall of 2009, Briner joined the band to beef up the guitar sound.

In regards to the music, The Dead Records play rock that is honest and straightforward, but not oversimplified to the point where they become interchangeable with other bands. With a sound reminiscent of a cross between The Gaslight Anthem and Circa Survive, most of the time the rhythms of the songs are held down by Taylor and Magley, giving Briner and Richardson space to move around a bit and play with giving the songs bigger, fuller textures than they might otherwise have. Taylor is an amazing vocalist, too, which seems to be something of an anomaly in bands where the singer is also an instrumentalist. Most of the time, this is because that person is usually a player first, and singer second. In Taylor’s case, however, the opposite is true. “I’ve always tried to get the vocals better than my guitar part,” he said. “I want the vocals to really get out there over the guitars so it’s not like, ‘well the vocals really suck but the guitar’s awesome. That’s why it’s great having Chad play guitar, because I don’t have to think ‘how am I gonna write this great guitar part?’ I can focus just on the vocals.”

This really shows on “Proud,” too. My single favorite part of the album comes on the first track when Taylor belts out “and I ran through the streets screaming here they come” with enough force to punch a hole in the wall. That guy can sing his ass off. “I’ve always said that the number one thing is vocals,” he continued. “To musicians it’s not, but to the general public it is. Because most people are listening to the music and they’re listening to the lyrics. Nobody’s listening to music as they’re like ‘man, do you hear that bass line?’ Musicians will do that, but generally speaking that’s what people listen to. I’ve been to tons of shows where people are like ‘this guy really sucks at singing,’ and I’m like ‘yeah but the music’s awesome,’ and they’re just like ‘ah, the guy sucks,’ and that’s it. So that’s why I want to make [the lyrics] as good as I possibly can, because that’s what most people listen to.”

Since forming, the band has played in Pennsylvania, Washington DC, the Carolinas, Florida, and Missouri, among others, and the experience has left a mark on the members, namely, they know where to play and where not to play. “We’re trying to do more in Chicago, because that’s a huge music market,” said Richardson. “And we’re trying to stick close to the mid-west this time, because if you’re playing in Ohio or Chicago and you meet a cool band, you can hook up with them later. If you’re in Florida and you meet a cool band, what does that do for you? Nothing. We’re trying to get a small circle going and then build on that.” What he means is that, if you’re an unsigned band, and your ability to tour is hampered because all of your members have day jobs and lives, it’s best to maximize your opportunities, and not waste time and energy on areas where it will be impossible to gain a foothold.

Other aspects of touring that have a served as learning experiences for The Dead Records will play are making sure that they play with a local band, and the idea of the “built-in crowd.” According to Taylor, “At first we were like ‘let’s just book anywhere we can,’ but then you realize that’s just stupid, because you drive all this time, and then nobody gives a sh*t, and then you’re like ‘well that was a waste of time.’ So now when we book a show we want to know ‘ok, who are your local bands? Can we get these bands to play with us?’ so we can have a crowd come out.” This is an aspect of booking shows that seems painfully obvious, but a lot of venues seem to totally miss. If you’re in Ohio, and you have unsigned bands from Indiana and Oklahoma playing, but no local band support, how do you expect to draw a crowd?

Taylor also said “I’ve never understood it, but some of the places we play at, they don’t have built in crowds. Like, if there’s not a band there, no one goes there; which is weird to me. I never see that here. So when we book a show without knowing that, and we show up and they say ‘did you bring your crowd,’ we say ‘no, we drove 3 hours; we don’t have a crowd here.’ Those are usually the bust shows, because no one’s coming out to hear a band they don’t know unless you have some locals playing with you.” “It doesn’t seem to effect our performance though,” said Briner. Richardson added “yeah, if you’re driving all that way, and you have your mind set on playing a show, you might as well just play it as hard as you would anyway, because it’s like ‘there you are; that’s your chance.’”

And this is the mark of real professionalism that gets bands invited back places, and earns them a following. You play a bar, and there may only be 4 people there, but if you’re good, and you play well anyway, your next show may have 100 people. I have seen this happen myself.
- Fort Wayne Reader


And Now We Dance, Full Length (2009)
Proud, EP (2010)
Rabbitsfoot, Full Length (2012)



There is nothing that The Dead Records want to do more than tour the country and in doing that have as many people as possible hear them. TDR believes that they can seperate themselves from the rest of the bands out there trying to "make it" because they are extremely charasmatic and bring an energy to their live performances that does not seem fake or overdone, just pure enough to express to anyone who gets the chance to see them that they are playing music because it really is what they enjoy doing. In todays day and age where any band can record an album, make a facebook page and push for 1000 likes, TDR is striving to show folks that they are a band that wants to stay in the music scene for some time. TDR is not another run of the mill 21st century internet band. They are truly pasionate about every song that they play and want their songs to resonate with the society we have now.