With the band's "Best Of" project, The Finest, releasing on Tuesday, a little more action has begun to stir within the Dead Poetic camp. Vocalist Brandon Rike breaks his longterm silence to set the record straight for fans on just what is going on with Dead Poetic...
Brandonís Statement. I Am The Horseís Mouth.
I have tucked myself away into my own little world for so long, that I honestly do not know what the general rumors about Dead Poetic are. I just skimmed the internet, getting a general concensus, and have found that there are many assumptions with what exactly happened to Dead Poetic, and what is left. I feel that it is my duty, to break my silence, crawl out from beneath this rock, and explain, the best that I know how, what is actually taking place.
I want to be sure that you understand that I am writing this from my point of view. Many of the statements you have read about the band, have been very nice in regards to me. The truth is, however, that I AM the reason for all of our band's inconsistencies. My involvement in Dead Poetic has been a roller coaster over the past 4 years, and the stress has been exhausting.
As many of you know Dead Poetic self-destructed in late 2004. The rebirth of the band came in 2005 when Dusty, John, and Jesse joined Zach and myself to form the new incarnation of the band. The chemistry between us was perfect, and we were all on the same page musically. We did a headline tour in the summer of 2005, and spent the remainder of the year writing Vices. We recorded the album during February and March of 2006. I also got married, and moved to Columbus, OH in March of 2006. We could not have been happier with how Vices turned out. It is, by far, my favorite DP album.
We did a headline tour in the summer of 2006, and planned for big things with the release of Vices. During the middle of 2006, we were re-working our team. We picked up new management, a new booking agent, and new found label support. All of our ducks were in a row, so to speak, to make Vices a success.
Now, about me. I am a twenty-four year old adult. I am married, I own a house. I have a small design company in which I operate out of my house. I buy my clothes at Target and TJMaxx. My pants aren't tight. I get my hair cut short on the sides. I have a grocery store discount card on my keychain. I eat grape nuts and granola for breakfast. I take bike rides with my wife. I watch Survivor. I am renovating my house. I will be finishing up the tile work in our bathroom this weekend. My wife and I finally found the drapes for our living room. I have to go rake the leaves tomorrow morning. I subscribe to the Sunday paper.
Four years ago I lived in a van. "Home" was my parent's house. I slept on floors. I smelled farts all day. I played crappy venues and loved it. I jumped into the crowd at shows. I had twenty dollars to my name. I ate fast food every day. I smelled like smoke, beer, and Axe.
My point is, four years ago would have been the time to take Dead Poetic to the next level. Now, I'm a has-been who doesn't care at all about "making it" in music. I have run out of steam. The life I have now, with my wife, being a full-time designer is the life that I want, and have always wanted. I am finally where I want to be.
Being a dude in a band is odd at times. You can never truly appreciate where you are, because you're focused on making it to that next step. If you are selling units, another band is always selling more. You starve for the attention of your label, but never get satisfied. This, at least, was the case for us. I cannot think of a single moment I truly appreciated where we were, because the goal was much further away.
The high point of our bands success was in 2004 with the release of New Medicines. This was the worst year of my life. My band was falling apart, causing me to lose two of my best friends, Chad and Josh. In hindsight, friendship was much more important than any progression of our band. The right thing to do would have been to call it quits before New Medicines ever happened - this would have saved me, and them, a tremendous amount of grief. I have to live with it, I suppose.
After the mess of 2004. I was out of breath. I was exhausted. I had nothing left, except for a love for creating music. Creating music-- Not leaving home for months at a time, not dealing with contract negotiations, not living in a van, not any of the other complications that this love of mine has brought. Just creating music. The feeling of creating a song that you are happy with, and one that expresses what you were feeling at that time - that's what I'm in love with. This love has proven to be one that will remain with me for the rest of my life.
In early 2005, Dead Poetic consisted of Zach and myself. Jesse Sprinkle called me, and offered to be our new drummer. Dusty Redmon then called me to play guitar. His friend, John Brehm later came to play bass. I had three great musicians fall into my lap, how could I turn it down? This line-up promised to be one that would gel extremely well, and would all be on the same wavelength musically. I was excited about the music we would make together. I was excited about how we would relate together.
I kept trying to find ways to be able to appear as a full-time band, but do a little amount of touring as possible. My first love, Art & Design, was taking up the majority of my time, and I was excited about staying busy with work. I am an artist first, and always have been. Music has been something that has come along. We only did one tour in 2005. We did another summer tour in 2006.
Vices turned out exactly how we wanted it to. Recording was a blast, but I was flying back and forth between Ohio and Seattle. We wrapped recording around March 21, 2006, and I was getting married on March 26. I'm the type of dude who planned every portion of the wedding - so I was being torn between the most important day of my life, and possibly the most important album of my life. Music has seemed to be that thing I love with all of my heart, but never really have time for. I need it to work on my terms, and when there are four other people involved, things get complicated. I couldn't help but feel like I was dragging the guys along for something that my whole heart wasn't into. This guilt is what made me stay. I was ready to clock-out a long time ago, but I felt like I needed to stick with it for them.
That sounds admirable and all, but it can only last so long until you become a wreck. I was becoming a wreck. My wife and I had moved to Columbus, and life was good. Really good. My home business was doing great, and I had plenty of work coming in. We were enjoying every second of life. Fairy Tale stuff.
Then the summer came. I'll never forget the first night after being married that I did not sleep next to my wife. I rolled over on a lop-sided air mattress and looked at my tattooed, heavily-pierced friend sleeping beside me, and had a small panic attack. I had just suddenly shifted from a life all-together, back to band trying to "make it," and it freaked me the eff out. My wife, was sitting at home, all alone, sleeping in an empty bed - and I could not get it out of my head. I felt like an adult trying to act like a teenager again, and I could not make sense of it. The light was just off.
I wasn't a "band guy" anymore. I was a man whose heart was at home, with his wife. No matter how hard I tried, I could not deny that fact.
I shifted to another mode in order to last for the entire tour. I had to detach myself from who I was. My conversations with my wife were brief, and without real emotion. I found that it was easier to have no emotion, than to deal with the fact that I was desperate to be with her.
We came home, did a couple festival dates, and shot a video. Things were picking up for the band, but I was gone. Our new management and booking agent had lined up a main support spot on an upcoming Red Jumpsuit Apparatus tour. RJA were picking up steam, and this would have been perfect for DP. There were talks of an Incubus tour following that. The moment that I knew I was truly gone was when I got the news of these tours, and all I could think about was if it would interfere with Thanksgiving or Christmas. The time when things seemed to be taking off, was the time when I knew that I could not tour any more. I had enough left in me to do the RJA tour, and then that would be it.
I decided to be selfish for once, and to think about what I wanted. I could convince myself to hold on forever if it meant keeping the guys happy -- but I knew I was a wreck inside, and I had to do something. I called Zach and told him the RJA tour would be my last. He saw it coming. We spent the next week contacting other frontmen who could possibly fill my shoes, and allow the band to tour Vices the way it should have been. Though we called a few singers, we both new that DP was not one of those bands that could continue with another singer. I had always been the driving force behind the vocal, visual, and lyrical elements of Dead Poetic, and it was very much mine, as well as Zach's. Giving it away would be like putting my child up for adoption.
Jesse called me about some family issues he was having. He was thinking about pulling out of the tour as well, and helping us find a fill-in. Once Zach heard this news, he began to feel like it was time to quit beating a dead horse.
I was forced to call Dusty and John, and drop the two bombs on both of them: That this would be my last tour, and that Jesse could not do the tour. I wanted to get their opinions on what we should do. They both saw no point in doing the tour.
We did not do another tour. We have not played another show. I am still rebuilding some of the relationships.
The majority of our fan base did not "get" Vices. Silly us, for creating music we liked, with disregard for what people wanted us to create. We stand by the album, and are extremely proud of it.
The truth is, I dragged these guys along for something that had the potential to be great, but I, myself, did not have enough energy for. I was wide-eyed at the opportunity to create music with a group of guys that had such great chemistry, but I failed to be honest with myself, and honest with them. While Vices is a great record, and I am so proud of it, I am so sorry for wasting everyone's time.
Jesse and I were on the same page, somewhat. Zach, John, and Dusty really got screwed. Zach and I have been friends our whole lives, and continue to be. Dusty and John were rightfully angered and frustrated with me. I have recently begun rebuilding my relationship with Dusty, and am on good terms with him. I've recently contacted John, and hope to restore things with him as well. These guys were possibly the greatest group of guys I could have been in a band with, I just wish it could have happened a lot earlier than it did. Some days I wish we could just get together and hang out -- we got along THAT well.
We've stayed pretty silent for most of 2007. We do have one more record left on our contract with Tooth & Nail, and Zach and I have every intention of doing one more album. Jesse has expressed interest in doing another record as well. Dusty is in The Almost, and is finally getting to experience some of the things he wishes he could have with his former bands. John is a tattoo artist, and doing great, from what I hear.
Dusty was the first to break the silence a month or so ago. He made a statement, via Absolute Punk, that Dead Poetic had indeed broken up. To his knowledge, this was a true statement. He was trying to be honest with our fans who were left in the dark for a year.
Jesse recently made a statement that the band has not broken up, and that we do plan on making another record.
This long essay you're reading is my statement. I will try to give it to you as bluntly and honestly as I can...
We plan to record another album. We love making music. We do not plan to tour.
What's the point? If you have spent nearly half of your life dedicated to your band and your music, then you would understand. Making music is something that I've grown an addiction to. No matter how much I push it away, I always end up needing it again. I will never stop making music. There is no point, really. I think that's why I'm excited about it.
Music is very much a personal thing to us. We are excited to write an album without the thoughts of what people will think. We are excited to write an album that we know will not sell. We will be enjoying the opportunity to create music. Creation without expectation is proving to be a wonderful thing. Making music for the sake of making music. We can honestly say that we don't care what any one is gonna think about it, and I think we truly mean that.
Tuesday will be release of "The Finest," a collection of songs that Tooth & Nail has chosen to release before the holidays. It was not our idea, and see it as a bit silly. Zach and I wanted to give you something new, so we recorded an acoustic version of "In Coma." Zach also wanted to include some of the demo songs from the Vices sessions.
Don't wait up for us, but we will keep you posted on this long road to record number four.
Sorry for the nonsense. Thanks for the interest.
For more on Dead Poetic, visit our Artists Database.
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