Any Cleveland metalheads out there? Back in the ’80s and early ’90s there were a couple of clubs on the West Side (Shadows, The “Real” Flash Gordon’s) where you’d likely hear live metal 7 nights a week- and I’m talking all sorts of different metal, from the poofy-haired spandex variety to blue jeans-and-leather-pants thrash. Something about Dead Child‘s debut, Attack (Quarterstick Records), reminds me a lot of those days and those clubs and reading import copies of Kerrang and Aardshock that I’d occasionally find at Chris’s Warped Records or Shattered or My Generation.
Three of the 5 Dead Child members have spent time recording and/or touring as members of indie rock noise legends Slint, an almighty band in their own right but not exactly what one might call “metal”. Hell, if you’ve got an hour to read through the impressive resumes of the players on Attack, you might even call Dead Child a supergroup of sorts though, once again, you probably wouldn’t have guessed a band made up of these members would churn out basement metal that pays homage to the likes of Priest, Maiden, Metallica, and all the other obscure shit that never made it to MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in 1987.
The most (only?) recognizable name in Dead Child is David Pajo (pictured wearing a vintage Dio t-shirt presumably many years ago) whose guitar playing career has included a full-time gig with Slint as well as temporary positions with Billy Corgan’s post-Smashing Pumpkins project (Zwan), Tortoise, Royal Trux and a few others. He’s also recorded more than a dozen solo albums under various names (Aerial M, Papa M, Pajo).
A comment by Jill Ebenezer in the Donewaiting message board (“You can file them under ‘taking a quarter off of college metal’ along with Sword, Mastodon, Early Man, 3 Inches of Blood, etc. Basically, ‘metal’ you can listen to and your mom won’t get upset aka safe metal) inspired one of the best interviews I think I’ve ever done (made great only by Pajo’s answers).
Before getting to the interview (a must-read if I do say so myself), take note Columbus metal fans: Dead Child will be playing this coming Friday night (April 18) headlining Ruby Tuesday’s (1978 Summit St) with support from Prosanctus Inferi, Sword Heaven, and deadsea.
MP3: Sweet Chariot
Message boards are lame, anonymous users with the freedom to say what they want without being held accountable. That being said, you’ve been taken to task by a few posters on the Donewaiting message board essentially as being a “fake” metal musician. And Dead Child has been mentioned in the same breath as bands who supposedly previously wouldn’t claim their “metalness”, if you will, but now are perceived as jumping on the bandwagon. So I ask you, Mr. Pajo, would you care to silence your anonymous, hiding behind a name, “critics”?
This is a bummer but I anticipated this kind of backlash. It’s a risk for us to call ourselves a metal band and it would be just as easy for us to drop it. But we set out to form a metal band so why refer to it as anything else? I’m trying to get away from this elitist bullshit! Besides, aren’t there more fruitful efforts to pursue while we orbit on this tiny pebble than sorting out what’s metal and what’s not? Metal is a broad fucking term – ultimately, it’s just music and attitude.
I understand the sentiment though – poser metal (hair metal) was a real problem in the 80s and I used to hate those guys/bands. But these days it’s not so much of an issue, except for that nu metal shit. Hot Topic metal. I think you’ll see more and more people like me coming in (or back) from other genres that have finally ‘seen the light.’ I think this should be welcomed because it will help expand and fortify the genre. It’ll be interesting to see what develops from these new influences. What I’m trying to say is, I understand that metal is precious to you and you have every right to be suspicious but please judge us on our music. Not our recorded history (which only tells a fraction of the story). If it’s not your cup of tea, we are easily ignored.
I don’t know why people would think we’re jumping on some sort of bandwagon, it’s not like I’m milking the market dry. I’ve had prominent people in the indie rock world, people who I thought were friends, turn their back on me for “committing career suicide.” Quarterstick is pushing the record as hard as they can but we’re all still broke, sleeping on floors, averaging $100 a show, playing to tiny crowds. I’m 40 years old, We got $0 the last two times we played out and they were legitimate shows! I’ve been doing this shit for a long time. Yes, I gave up a successful career in the indie rock world and my old friends don’t talk to me any more. But I can’t deny where my heart is, and I can’t help that it’s 100% in metal. Continue reading