Dead Original

Dead Original is a grunge infused rock band out of Illinois. Paul Wandtke leads Dead Original with Rob Lerner on drums and Sean McCole on bass. They blend grunge and simple riffs, with the subtle progressive rock fills over a strong music bed. Recently, while on a short run with Candlebox, we had a chance to catch up with the trio to talk about the future of Dead Original.
Dead Original band pic
Always a pleasure meeting up with you guys. Thanks again for the opportunity to talk to us about everything that’s coming up, including the new album, “Bought and Sold”.
Paul: No problem man! Yeah some things with the album got pushed back. But we’re on track with it now.
Have you been signed to a label now, or are you going independent?
P: Yeah, we’re independent man. We’re working with Papa Roach’s old manager, Danny. I talked to Edsel Dope, from DOPE, which I played drums for them for a bit, and told him about the project, and the new management team. He loved it. The management helps us out as we’re doing this independently. If you listen to people like Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and the guy from Incubus talk about how the industry stole from them. It was a profound thing to hear for us, and that is part of why we went this route. Labels are dying. So, we own this stuff.
What do your lyrics normally talk about?
P: Life struggles, anything traumatic that happened. The book has already been written, ya know? The first single, “Fade to Light” is about the mind of a Kamikaze pilot during Pearl Harbor. It was inspired by this other musician that I was jamming with. He mentioned that I should write a song about a Kamikaze pilot. I thought, “What the hell are you talking about?!?”. But then we were watching these videos, and found out that the Japanese cherished the Cherry Blossom. And that’s what the Kamikaze called themselves, like cherry blossoms falling from the sky. So, that song in the mind of a Kamikaze suicide pilot. Now, we know that what they did was horrific, but we’re all humans, and what was going on in their mind?
The second single we’re releasing, which technically, we’re re-releasing, because of our new management team, will be “Bored Again”. This song is about dealing with depression. The title is a play on words. When you dig into the lyrics. You get the general idea that we are bringing to light, about dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses that plague society.
What are your expectations for this album?
P: We’re hoping to get a steady support from fans who like the old school grunge sound. Going on stage and playing gritty and raw, no backing tracks, and just playing our instruments. We’re just three dudes that just love music and just want to go up and play. We’re a big fan of the power trio. We don’t have a ton of money to afford the fancy equipment, so we just go out there with what we have and just do it.
How did this tour with Candlebox start?
P: We just talked to them. Kevin liked us and wanted us to tour. We just reached out to their management, and asked to get on a tour, they ran it by Kevin, approved us, and put us on these four shows. Originally it was just supposed to be one show. Just the 14th at The Rockhaus in Illinois. But Kevin liked it, and asked us to do the other three shows.
Do you prefer to write on the road, or sit in the studio?
P: Everyone’s a little different. Sometimes, we go into the studio and we just start jamming, and everything seemed to click. Other times, we can be in different areas, working or something, and one of us comes up with an idea. So it all depends. We’re new though, together. I primarily write the music, and most times we get together and finish it. I can record it on the phone, and look back on it later. We can sometimes between songs, just start playing a riff, and we stop quick to record.
What are your musical backgrounds?
P: My background, I played drums for Trivium for an oversees run. I played in “Rock of Ages” the musical, which was cool. Before that was Kill Hanna, which we toured with the Smashing Pumpkins.
Rob: Originally, how Paul and I got connected was through a mutual friend, Victor Salazar. He one of the ones that does some big drum clinics. My brother and I started learning drums and guitar at the same time. So, basically, that’s how I got into music.
Sean: I started off as a guitar player, and I play drums. I played in a few bands in high school, and I came back from school, feeling a little lost and itching to play some music again. A family friend contacted me, and told me about Paul. We started talking and here we are.
How did you come up with the name Dead Original?
P: Well, it was kind of a joke at first. Because there were so many bands with the word “Dead” in it. So I thought, “Dead Original”. “Put a stop to it”. And then on the inside, it means if you feel dead on the inside. I don’t want to make this to corny, (laughs), so I will just say it was a cool name.
What’s coming up for Dead Original?
P: Well, we pushed back the release date for our full album. There’s some of the original copies still available here. But we want to remaster and maybe redesign the cover. We’re looking for tours to jump on.