New Deathbru 4 U
A drunken conversation over a tasty curry last Friday has spurred me onto thinking about recording some new material for my band. For the last five years Deathbru has been neatly folded away as I’ve been doing proper adult things like buying a house, preparing for marriage and dealing with life in general.
Harry Deans, Jon Viola, Luke Andrewszewski and I formed the band way back in 1992. The name ‘Deathbru’ just popped into John’s head and it stuck. Whilst the name itself is rather suggestive of death metal or hard-house, we had neither the inclination or ability to play ‘music’ from any easily categorised genre. Back in 1992 I was the only real ‘musician’ of the band and I use the term loosely at that. Harry and John were the main vocalists, I handled keyboards and Luke attempted to play guitar.
That was until we booted him out in 1993 citing the usual ‘musical differences’. Of course it’s hard to nail down what exactly those musical differences were since, as I stated before, we weren’t exactly musical. Being of a musical bent wasn’t necessarily paramount to the survival of the band and we managed to release two albums a year in 1992 and 1993. By ‘release’ I mean we recorded four ‘albums’ which were then distributed to our friends and family. My mum was slightly concerned that one of our tracks, Dead Devil (not a heavy metal track), featured the words ‘calling up the devil’. I swear she thought we were on a one-way course to hell.
In 1994 we started understanding the recording process a bit more and having done some work experience in a real recording studio, our next album “Return to the insane Mother” was markedly more polished than those of the previous years. It also spawned our most accessible tune to date in the highly catchy Golgotha: place of the skull. Many see the album as our creative peak. Spanning jazz, folk, rock, psychedelic and even classical music it didn’t contain two tracks that sounded remotely similar. Harry Deans was on form with his unique jazz-piece “The Holy Trifle” which progressed the musical style he’d pioneered on the debut album in the track “The Hitman Song”.
1995 was a difficult year for the band. Following on from Return to the insane mother was never going to be an easy task. Nevertheless, The Churchill Album appeared just under a year after the last LP. Containing none of the instant accessibility of Golgotha, it wasn’t without it’s gems. Dr Gelignite and the flying dots was the lead track and saw the bands first foray into the world of heavy metal (albeit in a rather convoluted and non-conforming guise). Rastaman and 70s keyboards were perhaps a little underrated but still managed to showcase Deans’ dry wit and enigmatic vocal style.
The band then did nothing until 1999. I was in a number of other bands and musical projects but Deans was happy out of it. John Viola had long since disappeared from the radar and has only recently been found alive and well with child. We cobbled together a new album, Time’s Arrow, which demonstrated how far our musicianship had progressed in the intervening four years. I say ‘ours’ by which I mean mine since the music you hear on the finished album is largely written and performed by me. The is probably why I don’t particularly like the end result. Harry performed a lead vocal on just the one track – Hawkwind Earth and Fire. Having always enjoyed working in the band unit, I drafted in a few guest players to play on various tracks. On two of the best tracks I even got a female singer to tackle the vocals. Looking back, this might have been a mistake as it simply didn’t sound like us anymore. One trip-hop sounding track was even titled Harry Deans where you at?
These sessions were highly productive and we even managed to release a second full album of music, Becoming Ralf, featuring much of the stuff we’d left off Time’s Arrow. I actually prefer to listen to it than the polished Time’s Arrow as it seems to have a little more of the rough sounding essence of the Deathbru of 1992. That was 1999. It’s now nearly 2005. The gap is now longer than between The Churchill Album and Time’s Arrow. However, we now have enough new music to make a new album. Crucially, Harry has written songs and is keen to record them. The album, provisionally titled “Assume the Foetal Position” should be recorded forthwith. I just need to get my head around all the recording techniques now available in this new digital age.
This brings me back to my opening sentence. I had a drunken conversation over a curry on Friday with my mate Alex who’s really into recording stuff and tonight I’m popping round to his studio to run him through a potted history of the band with the eventual aim that he’ll produce our next magnum opus. I’m really looking forward to laying down some new tunes. The fruits of our endeavours will undoubtedly be made available on the web in the middle of 2005. That’s the cool thing. We now have a much bigger distribution channel! I hope to post a few of the old tracks up here for your delectation. So watch this space.