No Banjos and Bearded Hipsters: An Interview with Dead in 5

Dead in 5 have got a new album coming out and Playing With Chaos had the chance to ask the band about their Detroit roots, gear, and what it feels like to be the underdog. Oh, and pornographically shaped ice luges. We thought that would get your attention! Read on rock lovers!

Dead in 5 is Dana "Deadly" Forrester on bass, Robert Libres on vocals, Peder "The Terminator" Seglund and Brent "X19" Hall on guitar, and Ryan "The Kilted Warrior" on drums. They have recently released a video for their song "Let's Get The Party Started." The song will be on their sophomore album titled Wreck Your World, which is scheduled for release April 20, 2014. One look at this video (you can check it out here) will give you a pretty good indication that this is no spinning tea cup version of rock'n'roll. I had a chance to review their first album and loved what I heard. The song is also part of a feature film titled "Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies." In anticipation of the release of Wreck Your World, the band took some time out of their schedule to give us their insights on all things rock'n'roll. And yes, we'll get to the pornographically shaped ice luges too!

Playing With Chaos (PWC): How did the band meet/come together?
Robert Libres (RL): Dana, Peder, Brent and Schim were in a prominent and successful rock band in Detroit called 60 Second Crush. I was also in a very successful Hard Rock/Metal band called Mansfield Park that had recently ran its course -so I was somewhat of a free agent.  It’s funny because earlier that summer I had talked to Dana's husband James about getting a side project together with he and Dana.  We agreed to put it off until fall because we were all busy with our own projects. As it turned out the singer from 60 Second Crush decided to hang up his microphone. I got a call from Dana. She asked if I wanted to come down and jam –and as they say the rest is history!
Peder Seglund (PS):  Timing is everything.  Both of our original bands fell apart around the same time…so we joined forces.
Dana Forrester (DF):  The chemistry was instant – we wrote “Pressure Head” within five minutes of jamming together. We knew we had something very special here with the five of us.
PWC: Your debut album has quite a heavy sound, and to me sounds almost like a cross between Led Zeppelin, Motorhead, infused with some elements of Alice in Chains. Who have been your influences?
DF:  I think the beauty of this band is we come from different musical tastes but we all end up on the same page when it comes to song writing and performing live.  I’m a huge fan of The Cult, The 69 Eyes, Soundgarden. Social Distortion and Rob Zombie plus Goth influenced bands like Collide, Sisters of Mercy, Siousxie and The Banshees, Love and Rockets and stoner rock bands The Sword, and Wolfmother. I love the sheer fun and energy of the Supersuckers and Nashville Pussy.
RL: My influences are many -Frank Sinatra, Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, Freddy Mercury, Steve Perry, Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, Ronnie James Dio, Glenn Hughes to name a few. Current singers who inspire me are Chris Cornell, Erik AK and Eddie Vedder.
PS:  I’m an old school punk rocker at heart. My playlist would be the Sex Pistols, The Stooges, and Jane’s Addiction– turned up to 11.
Ryan (RS): I’m an 80’s hair band fan…Poison all the way! And of course Neil Peart!
PWC: There is a balance of guitar riffs reinforced by very melodic vocals and a thunderous rhythm section. How does your band approach the songwriting process?
RL: Our song writing process is fairly simple since we have amazing chemistry. Brent, Peder or Dana present a guitar or bass riff - and if we all like it  - we’ll start crafting a song. Schim will drop the drum beat and I usually improvise the vocal line and arrangement until I come up with something we all like. Sometimes I'll use lyrics that I’ve already written or I’ll write lyrics based on a concept- it just depends on the mood of the song.


PWC: We're major gearheads here at Playing With Chaos. What does your live/studio rig consist of? 
RL: I use Shure Beta 58 microphones exclusively
DF: I rock a Musicman Sterling Bass, a Musicman Sub Bass, AMPEG rig and Ernie Ball strings.
PS:  My weapon of choice is my Les Paul Voodoo guitar, played through my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.
RS:  PDP drum kit, Zildjian Cymbals and Promark sticks.
Brent Hall (BH): Being from the Detroit area there has never been a moment that I’ve not been able to go and see a guitar player that will give me a year’s worth of guitar lesson in one short 45 minute live set. And as I sat there being blown away, It became clear that the ones that are the best are simply plugged straight into their amps turned up to 10. So I felt it was my duty to do the same. I settled onto a Mesa Triple Rectifier plugged into 8 V-30s speakers and what’s life without a Morley Bad Horsie 2 Wah? My guitars are a Gibson Midtown custom and a Gibson Deluxe plus Ernie Ball Cobalt strings. Picks? I use the first one I find on the floor.
PWC: It's no secret that Detroit as a city has suffered economically in the recent past. That being said, there seems to be an artistic renaissance that is on the verge of blossoming in the city, and it looks poised to continue to add some of the most influential artists in music history. How has the city's unfortunate circumstances helped shape your sound/attitude as a band? Do you identify with the city's struggles through your fans/families?
RL:  I think DEAD IN 5 is a direct product of Detroit. Our sound and attitude come from the hardships this city has been and still is enduring. Our sound evokes the gritty determination of the hardworking people of this great city and we are proud to be a part of the so-called new Renaissance.
PS: There’s no musician hungrier than a Detroit musician. We are determined to prevail against all odds – much like our broken and beaten down city. There’s no place for wimps in Detroit or the music industry. Rock or die.


PWC: Another thing we like to tell our readers about is where band members are coming from musically speaking. Some bands have musicians that practice very regimented routines, while others have band members that only play in rehearsal and live on stage. Where do the band members fall on this spectrum? Did anyone take lessons to learn their instrument or are they self-taught?


RL: I had formal piano lessons when I was a kid but as far as my vocals I feel like I've been blessed with a God given talent. I’ve had no formal training and basically do everything by ear.  I usually can’t even tell you what key I'm singing in -I just do it, lol
BH: My Mother and a host of friends taught me how to play as early as I can remember, having lived on a hippie commune as a kid. After that it was each and every Detroit guitar player. The good ones showed me what "to do" and the bad ones showed me what not to do. In the meantime my family deals with my OCD -playing 6 to 12 hrs a day - making holiday dinners extra special!
PS: I’m self taught - the punk rock way. Learning to bang out chords was my therapy and prevented me from getting into real trouble. Music is more than a creative outlet for me – playing regularly is imperative for me to maintain my sanity!
DF: It’s all about feel, groove and intensity for me. I play not to show off chops but to support/enhance the song. Playing live with Dead in 5 is the most glorious bass boot camp ever – it’s quite a work out!
PWC: The state of rock music is currently in a state of transition, so let me ask this: Rock music  - dead or alive, and why is that so?
DF: Commercial rock radio continues to be the dinosaur – limiting listeners to 20 or 30 songs a day, usually via payola. So the hope for Rock and Roll is the Internet. It helps bands like us reach out to anyone – from Peoria, Illinois to Berlin, Germany. Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter are all amazing (and free!) tools where rock music fans can discover new music without depending on small-minded mainstream media to tell them what to listen to.
PS: Bearded hipsters playing banjos, holding hands and whining about their girlfriends is NOT rock and roll. Rock and Roll is about sex and danger – played with raw intensity…and that’s what Dead in 5 is all about. We won’t let rock and roll die – ever!
PWC: What are your upcoming plans in terms of touring/live shows?
DF:  When we play in clubs – we try to make every show we play an event. Whether it includes bringing a spanking booth (school girl uniformed dominatrixes wielding leather paddles), the Doppelganger Circus Sideshow, pornographically shaped ice luges or anything really crazy. Our shows are never just another bar night – we bring the music AND the PARTY!
PS:  We are playing a ton of festivals this summer – including The World’s Largest Brat Fest in Madison, WI (May 25), Hogrock Festival (June 13 & 14) in Cave Rock, Illinois, Rock the Farm (July 26) in Paris, Ohio and more to be announced – so come on out and rock with us!
PWC: Do you have any special thank you's or message for your supporters/fans/etc?
RL:  I just want to thank my Wife, family and everyone else who has supported me through my rock and roll journey, And to all the naysayers, haters and anyone who ever doubted me or my resolve to do what I love, here's a big FUCK YOU!!!
BH:  To any & all people that have allocated even a moment of their time to Dead In 5 - just know that we work hard to be worthy. Rock is not dead and we are the proof!

While you're waiting for the new album or for Dead in 5 to play your town, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and ReverbNation. Just think of all the fun you'll have with those ice luges at their show! You might want to leave your banjo at home, however.