Dead City interview, Cafe nine, New Haven, CT, 10/26/16

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Dead City opened for punk legends The Dickies at Cafe Nine in New Haven this past Wednesday night and it was a stellar show. Singer Joe Dias is about as energetic and colorful as a lead vocalist can be. He is a mesmerizing figure up on that stage and makes certain that his audience has a great time. Bassist Sean Sheridan and drummer Dave Russo provide a background groove as solid as they come and guitarist Pugs is a force to be reckoned with.The current lineup of this band is certainly not lacking in talent. In fact, they may be one of the tightest bands out there in the Connecticut scene right now.

Dias, who is very well-known in the Connecticut hardcore seen as the singer of Lost Generation, has been in the industry for close to 40 years. He’s opened for and played along side of some of the best this genre has ever had to offer.Lost Generation was one of the most in demand and well known hardcore bands on the East Coast in the 80’s. During that decade they released some incredible music and embarked on U.S. Tours opening for bands such as The Ramones , X and The Dead Kennedy’s. As a fan of Lost Generation for decades, it’s always been a  bit of an enigma to me that this band never got the national recognition they so well deserved.

Dias began to collaborate  with guitarist John “Pugs” Licitra to get back to a sound more reminiscent of early punk bands such as The Dead Boys and The Stooges. The Dead City recordings are, to me, the best that Dias has ever made. When the band secured Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome to record with them, it seemed that fate might finally be on their side. But circumstance and fate had something a little different in mind. The band disbanded for over a decade and guitarist Pugs went on to do multiple tours across the U.S and Europe with several other bands (the Suspects from D.C.,Forced Reality,Iron Cross to name just a few).

When the Dead City recordings were packaged and released years later, including the contributions by Chrome, Dias contacted Licitra about touring. Chrome was to join the band at a handful of shows. The music was getting great reviews and tickets to the shows were selling quickly. After a lot of time and concentrated effort in getting the tour off the ground, Chrome who is quite open about his past history of substance abuse, relapsed and was unable to tour. After these well laid plans were scrapped, the band laid low for a while.

A few years later, Lost Generation was in demand again. This time, Dias and Pugs were joined by bassist Sean Sheridan and current drummer Dave Russo was soon to follow. This band worked so well together that they continue to play as both Lost Generation and Dead City, with both incarnations having a loyal and well deserved following.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the interest of classic punk rock bands.. Just take a look at the bands that have played to sold out crowds in the New York and Connecticut scenes in the last week alone. The Dickies, The Damned, The Proletariat…. punk is back in a big way. Whether is nostalgia driven or the need for really amazing and genuine music that takes us where we need to go, Dead City is at the right place and  in the right time to become what they always deserved to be.This band needs to be heard. I have no doubt in my mind that the time is now.

 

J. Tell me how Dead City came to be.

Joey D: Cheetah Chrome played with my band Lost Generation at a couple of reunion shows . We played really well together and we wound up recording some of the Dead Sessions album together. It was something I really felt strongly about doing. That style of music is what I really wanted to play.

J. Lost Generation is a favorite in the CT hardcore scene. Dead City has a different sound. Much more inline with the classic punk of the late 70’s.  What bands most influenced that sound?

Joey D:  I love the New York Dolls, Iggy and The Stooges, The Damned and The Dead Boys. That’s what it punk all comes down to for me. It’s punk at its core.

J. You normally throw a few Lost Generation songs into the set list, like you did tonight. Do you prefer one bands music to the other?

Joey D: I love Lost Generation. I love the fans. I love that people want to hear these songs. They expect them. So I give them what they want. But if I had it my way I’d just play this Dead City stuff. It’s what I feel the strongest about. This is the music that means the most to me. That late 70’s punk sound is what I love. What I feel.I’d been wanting to play this music for a really long time. That’s not taking anything away from Lost Generation. I like everybody I’ve played with and all the fans that come to see us. But I just really like this music more right now. 

J:Cheetah Chrome played with you on the Dead Sessions. Are you still in contact? Do you plan on ever doing anything together again?

Joey D. I’d love to . Cheetah is a great guy.A really talented guy.

J. Pugs, while you and Cheetah don’t play on any of the same tracks on The Dead Sessions, what does it feel like to play guitar on the same album as such a punk icon?

Pugs: I find that having one of my heroes totally killing it in between tracks of me is very humbling to say the least. I look forward to seeing him at Cafe Nine at the end of November.

J. Do you guys plan on doing any more recording?

Pugs:  Dead City (sans Cheetah) definitely talk about recording some new music.

J. Joe, you’ve been around this scene for most of your life and you’ve played alongside some of the best in the genre. In the song “Nothing” you talk about having no real regrets, except not being able to do it all over again. Do you have any regrets? Do you think you’ll always play?

Joey D: I have no regrets. I love playing. I love the people I got to meet and the bands I got to play with. I don’t have to do this. I’m successful in business, this isn’t about that.It’s all about the music. Not money. Not fame. I love it and I love playing. I think I’ll always do it. I can’t even imagine a time when I won’t.

 

Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree that this music is worth hearing.

You can download Dead City on both Spotify and I-tunes.

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