In theory, when a band’s three previous records have all been certified platinum, you think one of two things – either they are going to be pretentious ego maniac rock stars, or they are going to be nervous wrecks, holding their breaths in anticipation of how their new album will be received.
Guitarist Dave Brenner and bassist Dean Back of Theory of a Deadman are neither of these things. Instead they are the quintessential average Joes – guys you’d want to share a beer with on a lazy summer afternoon and jam out to some good ol’ rock and roll.
What was the journey in creating this new album?
Dave: You know it was weird, this album came together real quick. I remember all of a sudden it was a new year, Road Runner [Records] had heard some of the demos and said let’s get in the studio. We’re like, okay, ready!
Dean: It came together really quick. We originally planned on going home for awhile and writing more songs, but it just flowed so well while we were down there, we had the whole record done in one shot.
Were there elements from past albums you wanted to build on for this record or get rid of completely?
Dave: Not necessarily. I think you always want to build on the good parts of the last records and I think based solely on the decision to use Howard Benson and Mike Plotnikoff again, who did our last two records, we feel we’re coming from a good place in our band’s past.
Where is all the frustration and aggression from songs like “Hurricane”, “Out of my Head”, and “Love is Hell” coming from?
Dave: Yeah, Tyler is all fucked up [laughs].
Dean: Tyler’s been on a journey.
Dave: Most good songwriters will draw things from their personal lives and somehow translate them into something anybody can associate themselves with, so I think that’s what he does. He reaches into his own life…Sometimes you can take something that seems not so terrible and make it sound more terrible than it is. Tyler just needs to see a psychiatrist.
There’s a track on the album with an interesting spin on “The cat came back the very next day”. Where did that idea come from?
Dave: That’s right! I remember sitting at Tyler’s house and we were in LA for four days. He says, “Remember the cat came back?” I said yes. And he said he wanted to redo it and call it, “The bitch came back”. The thing about it is that it already is such a catchy melody. It sticks in your head instantly, but we found out that pretty much is just a Canadian thing because we were in the States and none of them ever seemed to know what it was. We were like, “What? It’s a nursery rhyme. We grew up with this.”
Dean: It’s such a familiar melody that as soon as you hear it, you’re like, “Where’s that from?”
I found a lot of humour in tracks like “Low Life” and “Gentleman”. Have you guys taken on the role of shattering fairy tale romances?
Dave: Humour has become a big element for us and it was something we always had right out of the gate…We started adding humour into the band mostly with Scars and Souvenirs. It just felt so natural to us to see that Scars had so much more success than the previous two records. The humour element helped identify us with our music. It’s not something we want to shy away from, but it’s not something we want every song to be. At the same time, we are a bunch of jokers and goofs. It suits our music.
We’ve all heard of the man-hating, female empowerment anthems. Are songs like “The Truth Is” and “Bitch Came Back” a response to those?
Dean: A lot of lyrics can be taken the other way too. Guys can be bitches too. Sometimes the guy is the asshole. It’s not always the girl.
You experiment with some horns, strings and a ukulele on the new album.
Dean: The studio has so many toys lying around.
Dave: Sometimes you want to approach a song and see what the song needs and maybe it’s not necessarily something you are comfortable with or do frequently, but we’ve put strings on “Santa Monica” and “Not Meant to be”. The horns it felt like that’s what the song wanted so we said let’s try it…For us it’s about experimenting and having fun in studio.
Technology-wise, has the way Theory makes records and share music changed since the first album?
Dean: I got a Twitter account. That’s crazy. Ten years ago when we started, tweeting to fans was unheard of, but now, that’s the way to industry is. You got to stay connected to fans.
When are you back on home turf?
Dean: The way touring is now, you got to get a package of many bands, so we have to get the right bands together and do it properly.
Dave: [Canada] is not something we’ll ever turn our backs on. We’ll be back. This is our country.
In celebration of the new album The Truth Is…, we are going to play a game by the same name.
The truth is the best part of touring…
Dean: Being able to get on stage every night and play for the fans.
Dave: Now the truth, free booze, no purple M&M’s. Just joking. But free booze is nice.
The truth is our fans…
Dave: Are the greatest fans in the world. Our fans are very patient.
Dean: Three years between records is a long time.
The truth is I’ve never…
Dean: Been to mars.
Dave: I wish I could say that, but it just wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is I will never skydive.
The truth is my iPod is full of…
Dean: 90s music – the stuff that I grew up on.
The truth is the new album…
Dean: Is in stores July 12th.
Dave: The truth is the new album is the best album we’ve ever written. Just like every record prior to that was the best one. I can’t wait until the tenth album. It’s going to be a masterpiece.