Theory of a Deadman’s Tyler Connolly Talks ‘Savages’ Album, Touring + More
Theory of a Deadman are back on the scene with their new album, ‘Savages,’ and frontman Tyler Connolly recently took some time to speak with ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie about the band’s latest release. Check out the chat, which also includes discussion of the band’s touring plans.
Loudwire Nights, Full Metal Jackie. With us on the show Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman talking about the new album ‘Savages.’ Tyler, generally there’s a three-year interval between Theory of a Deadman albums. Obviously touring cycles account for much of that time, but how much of that three years since the last album were spent writing and recording this new one?
I’d say forever, is that a time frame? Does that work? Forever and a day. This was a long one. This took a long time to finish. I would say at least a year from start to finish. It was quite a while. We usually go in and are out pretty quick. It was worth it. I think we figured something out on this record where taking our time was way better than just trying to get a record out so we could go on tour again. It was way better. We made a great record.
It sounds like you became a recluse to make this album, holding up in your home studio and lyrically immersing yourself in much different subject matter than before. What prompted that change in direction?
A little bit of boredom. Probably the fact that I actually grow tired of writing the cliche Theory of a Deadman songs. I think we built this niche for ourselves in rock where we kind of became known as this type of rock band. It’s funny, I did an interview and people would be like: Tyler, you’re kind of known for the party rock. I’m like, ‘What?’ I think something in me on this record was like, ‘You know, I want to write some songs like I used to write.’ On our first records, the songs are very dark and metaphoric and I kind of got away from that. So on this new one I went back. Our first single ‘Drown’ and quite a few other songs, they’re definitely a lot darker. The whole band was digging it and I think our fans will be very happy with the fresh sound approach.
You said ‘Savages’ brings Theory of a Deadman back to darkness and angst. Why are those emotional elements so important to this band?
We always talk about the fact that it’s our fifth record. Five records is a lot of years for us to be touring and writing records and songs. We notice a lot of other bands, when they get to this part of their career, they become very complacent and you start seeing their albums and style becomes … a little boring. Some of my favorite bands, by the time they get to their later records, you can tell they’ve let off the gas a bit. They’ve gotten content with their touring and fans. For us, it was the opposite. We really wanted to do something that sounded like it was a band coming out of the gate with their first album. There’s some serious motivation on this record rather than us just sitting back and being like, we got it made man, it’s all good. We’ll just go out there play some shows. It felt wrong to feel that way. It’s good. I think all bands should do that, to tell you the truth.
Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts is on this new album, taking the band in a different direction. How conscious were you in pushing musical boundaries without going too far from what people like about Theory of a Deadman in the first place?
That was tough. We have a lot of heavy tracks on this record. It’s probably our heaviest record. But we have this song called ‘Live My Life Like a Country Song.’ It’s so good. We didn’t know what to do with it if we were going to put it on the record or not. But we said, ‘Forget it. Let’s just do it. If we’re going have a song called ‘Live My Life Like a Country Song,’ let’s just poke fun at it and go for it all the way.’
Howard Benson, our producer, whom had just finished producing Rascal Flatts called up Joe Don and asked if he wanted to come sing and play guitar on this track, he was all over it. He was really excited. He did a way better job than we could of emulating. We can play banjo and stuff but these guys are the real deal. It turned out amazing. We’re excited for that track. I think people are going to dig it.
Some shows were just recently canceled because of a medical diagnosis requiring you to rest your voice. First of all, are you OK?
Yeah. We historically have never canceled shows and I think that’s just me being stubborn. It kind of crept up on me and I got really sick. I sat down on the bus and said, ‘Guys, I think I should go home.’ It was just a few shows we did in a row where I couldn’t even sing at all. It was embarrassing. I felt bad for the fans who had paid money, I said, ‘Guys, we’ve got to stop. Me just having a day off isn’t going to do crap, I gotta go home.’ I just went home and went to a doctor and he said, ‘Yeah, you’ve got laryngitis and you need to not talk for a couple of weeks.’ Now I’m back at it and we’re going back out in the middle of July and I should be 100% by then, it’ll be great.
What goes through a singer’s head when he’s not able to sing?
It doesn’t happen to drummers, guitar players or bass players. It’s your body that’s your instrument and it sucks. Being a singer, you bring all of your tension and anxiety on stage with you where if you’re a guitar player or drummer, you can put that into the instrument, it’s easy being a piece of wood. You can smash it if you want. When it’s your voice, you can’t smash your voice on stage like a guitar. It’s kind of ironic. It’s frustrating, but at the same time it’s like, you can’t be frustrated or stressed out about it because it affects your voice. It sucks. You really do get the brunt of all the blame and stress. You feel responsible for everybody and it can suck at times.
Tyler, tell us about the touring plans for the summer.
We’ve got an American tour starting in late August / early September. The whole summer we’re going to be playing shows in the States, some in Canada. Mostly summer for bands is all festivals and state fairs. I think we have quite a few shows during the week before we go off into the festivals. Then we head over and do a few shows in Russia in the fall, then the U.K. with our friends in Black Stone Cherry and Airbourne. Then we come back after that and we’re talking about doing a Canadian tour, so that’ll be nice.
Take care of your voice and thank you for being on the show. I’m sure I’ll see you real soon. Thanks so much.
Thanks to Theory of a Deadman’s Tyler Connolly for the interview. The band’s ‘Savages’ album is available at both iTunes and Amazon. Catch them on the road at these locations. Tune into Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
Watch Theory of a Deadman’s ‘Drown’ Video