XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest news with The Nearly Deads? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
TJ: We just announced a fall tour with our friends Blameshift, and are working on one more for the end of the year. Working on releasing a lyric video for our song “Revenge” off of our new EP “Revenge of The Nearly Deads” as well!
XS ROCK: How long has the Nearly Deads been together?
TJ: We formed in 2010!
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
TJ: I have always played the piano, written music, and loved singing from an early age. I used to play a lot of coffeeshop gigs as a singer/songwriter, but had a passion for punk rock and really wanted to get out from behind the piano! Music has always been a huge part of my life and I love writing collectively with my band mates. There’s always something to learn from someone else, some other way of looking at a song, or some other inspiration that my bandmates bring to the table. I think music should be collaborative and always evolving. I guess that’s what drew me into starting a band, although TND was hardly my first band!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
TJ: That’s a tough question because I love both! I’d have to go with recording because it’s just so much more laid back and chill. You can show up in pajamas and just throw ideas around. The music is much more exciting at that point. By the time an album gets finished and everything is all polished for the live show, a whole new life gets breathed into the song, but you’ve also been living with it for months. I can admit that it gets a bit repetitive playing the same songs every night even though I love performing. You have to engage with the audience to make every night exciting for them, even though it’s the 1000th time you’ve played a song! I guess I love how new everything feels in the studio.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
TJ: One time we got stuck in a snowstorm on our way to a show in Colorado, in the mountains. It was really scary, and they had shut the highway down. We were pulled off with a bunch of other trucks and because we had a trailer we weren’t allowed to go anywhere. There was probably about a foot of snow already on the ground. It was the first snow of the year, so no one was prepared for it. We had been driving for hours and I really, really needed to use the bathroom. There were no gas stations around, nowhere to go, we were just stuck in some sort of pull off area, with TONS of people around. It didn’t look like we were going to be moving for at least a few hours. I had no choice. So, I bundled up, had one of the guys shield me with a blanket, and relieved myself right there in the snow. It was the coldest my ass has ever been.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
TJ: I’ve had people have me autograph their faces before at shows! It’s really hard to write with a sharpie on a sweaty face.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
TJ: Most definitely. The whole band is lucky enough to have supportive families. They help spread the word about us, hand out our CD’s to their friends, and it means a lot to us to make them proud.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
TJ: I really love playing all of the new songs from the new EP, especially “Revenge”.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
TJ: I’m very inspired by Shirley Manson of Garbage. In my early years I was also inspired by The Dresden Dolls and The Distillers. Bands like Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, and The Used made me want to start a band of my own because I loved singing along to that type of music, even though I was classically trained.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
TJ: A dream tour for us would be with Foo Fighters and The Offspring.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
TJ: I’m very proud of our crowdfunding efforts. We have managed to continue doing what we love based on the generous support of our fans. It’s very humbling and we owe everything to our zombies!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
TJ: I would like to think I’d still be involved with music, maybe as a film composer. It’s been my lifelong dream to write music for film and I have a Bachelor of Music in Composition, so maybe one day I’ll still make it happen!
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
TJ: I use Shure microphones and Sennheiser in-ears. I don’t know how rock singers perform without in-ear monitors. It’s a total lifesaver on tour, it’s crucial to be able to hear yourself and not strain over the loud music every night, which leads to vocal fatigue.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
TJ: I don’t really think there is a scene anymore. People don’t go to shows just to go. If you want to discover new bands it’s all done through Spotify or YouTube, and since recording technology is so affordable literally anyone can make a record these days.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
TJ: Most people are surprised when I tell them I grew up in Kansas. I still love it there and think it’s beautiful.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
TJ: I would describe our sound as somewhere in between Halestorm and Paramore.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
TJ: We want to thank everyone out there for supporting us and if you haven’t heard of us before check out our music videos online! We just released a Stranger Things themed video and will be playing a ton of new songs from “Revenge of The Nearly Deads” on our upcoming tour!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with XS Rock!
T.J.: Thank you!