Theory of a Deadman return to Rocklahoma

Vancouver, British Columbia based Theory of a Deadman will take the stage at Rocklahoma on Saturday, marking their second time at the festival in the last three years. We recently spoke to bassist Dean Back about learning to play, the formation of the band and life on tour. The band’s most recent album, “The Truth Is…” debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 chart and has produced hit songs “Lowlife,” “Bitch Came Back,” and “Hurricane.”


“My parents both played sports, so I was involved with baseball, soccer and hockey as a kid. Neither of my parents were musical, but I had a buddy that I went to school with that I remember going over to his house after school one day and he had a guitar in the living room. I asked him if he played guitar and he said yeah I take guitar lessons. I thought that was pretty cool because that was something that I never was exposed to as a kid, so I went home that day and asked my folks if I could take some guitar lessons. My parents always believed that the more exposure to other things the better, so they signed me up for guitar lessons. Me and my sister at the same time actually and I kind of got hooked right there.”

“In grade twelve, I got a job at a restaurant. There was this one dude that we did our job interview together, and I recognized him from my guitar school. It was Tyler (Connolly), our lead singer and guitar player now. It was one day afterward that we were sitting at the bar in the restaurant talking about maybe putting a band together, and his buddy that worked at the restaurant also played and it kind of took off from there. Dave (Brenner), our other guitar player, was in another band in the area. His band broke up and a couple of members of our band left so there was a bunch of juggling around and the first Theory of a Deadman lineup came to be.”


“We had a bunch of bands in Vancouver that were doing some stuff locally. It was awesome because the bands in Seattle would make that two-hour trip up to Vancouver all the time. Vancouver had a great live music scene back then, it’s really suffered now, but back then it had a great live music scene. All these great bands always came through Vancouver, so it was awesome to be able to see them.”


“I don’t know if there was actually a moment. The biggest day was getting the record deal and having to quit our day jobs. Back then I was actually making a decent living and it was kind of a financial risk to say I’m going to put this all into the band and see where it takes us. We were young enough then that if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out and we would land on our feet. I still want to do bigger and better things.”


“Rocklahoma is always a good time. All of these summer festivals are always such a great time because the music industry, especially rock and roll, is a pretty small circle. All these bands we’ve toured with before and seen before for the most part and it’s like a big camp reunion kind of thing. To be able to go and see the guys and say hi and to congratulate them on their success it’s a great opportunity. It’s also great for fans. In Vancouver we used to have awesome summer festivals, Lallapalooza came every year, I remember going as a kid and being able to soak in all of these other bands, some of them you may not be aware of, and finding new favorite bands at these festivals is great.”


“Rob Zombie is always a great show and I’ve never seen Megadeth before, so I think that will be pretty awesome. That’s something else about these festivals, we get to see bands that we’ve never played with before.”


“I love playing both, they’re both completely different. Playing a festival is great because you get thousands and thousands of people to play in front of and it’s a great chance to win over some people that may not be too familiar with your band. It’s a great opportunity to make new fans, so that’s always a great challenge. It’s always awesome to go and do your own show in a club where everybody is there to see you and is familiar with your music and can sing along and have a good time.”


“It is easy and it’s hard. It was a lot easier early on. I have two little girls at home now so taking off on the family is a little bit hard on me. When we’re off though we’re off so I get to go home and spend 24 hours a day with my family. Being on the road and being able to play a show every night for fans. We’ve seen a lot of bands that they might not like each other or they fight on the road and stuff but I think we’re truly blessed that we get along as good as we ever did when we were teenagers in the basement. We’re best of buddies and we have a blast out here. It is hard to be away from family and friends, but it’s also great to live out our dreams.”


“Lately I’ve been getting up pretty early. Then usually it’s trying to find some lunch. We usually have some interviews during the early afternoon. Then there’s a sound check, then some meet and greets then it’s get ready for show time. Sometimes there is a little nap involved. Right now it’s the NHL playoffs, so usually we’re watching that even though our Vancouver Canucks are out, we’re still big hockey fans. We have a play station 3 and we play a bunch of video hockey. I try to get to the gym once in a while and try to get some workout in and that’s really the day. Its usually down to a pretty set schedule.”


“We were up in Ottawa and Tyler had got some sort of food poisoning or a 24-hour flu and it just kicked his ass. We had to cancel the show, but he sort of pulled through and we had a show the next day. It was a big festival show and there was a big ramp off the front of the stage. Tyler was walking with the microphone and talking and they had the spotlights quite low so he was blinded and he walked right off the front of the stage. Fortunately for Tyler, he landed on top of this 350-pound security guard. I remember watching him and him disappearing and hearing the sound of a guitar falling on a skull.”


“There’s always been a great talent  in Canada. I don’t know if there’s one certain thing that’s opened the doors. The internet has been a big deal. All these bands that aren’t from America are more in the kid’s faces with the internet, Youtube and iTunes. It’s more of a global music scene than a country.”


“A lot of fun, crowd participation and a lot of singing along. We have a lot of fun up there and we feel that it’s our job to make sure everybody else is having as much fun as we are. We’re excited for Rocklahoma and we can’t wait for everyone to come out and have a great time."