Dead Catholics have been part of the Rochester music scene for over seven years. The band has worked through some changes with new members coming and going but the dust has finally settled with a new drummer and an album in the works. We met up with them at their practice space to talk about the new album, the music scene, and how much rage goes into one song.
How did the band get started?
Jacob: It was a cold winter in 2004…. That might actually be pretty accurate. It started about 7 years ago; the band just threw together some songs and started playing. I started playing guitar, but we took Paul on five years later, when I decided I wanted to start playing bass again.
Dead Catholics are completely different then they have ever been before. It has been an ever morphing process and a long long process as well.
Pauly: Jake is the only original member left and he isn’t even playing the same instrument as before. So it’s a completely different band.
Jacob: I started off on guitar, and then fired myself from the band. Hired Paul on guitar, then auctioned for my own band to play bass. Luckily, we accepted me.
Pauly: He hired me, so I felt obligated to vote for him. I was just getting going as a recording engineer. I had worked with Jacob before to work with the Dead Catholics’ last album. It made sense to start playing with them because I knew all of the material just from working so closely with the band.
Because of creative differences we were forced to go our separate ways with our drummer. We have been in this crazy state of flux all of this year with different drummers. We started playing with Brad, and… fell in love with his German Sheppard puppy enthusiasm.
Brad: … Please don’t say it like that…
Jacob: Brad has been putting a ton of work in since joining the band. It has been hours of going over things and getting in sync. There has been this drive that has always existed in this band. People come to practice to work, not just fuck around and get drunk.
Pauly: As much as a group of fuck ups that we are and the shitty music that we play, we actually have a really good work ethic. I don’t know how to be in a band without going 110%.
Seems like in every band, the drummer seems like the hardest spot to find a good fit.
Brad: It is the heart of the band.
Pauly: The drummer really sets the pace for everything that is going to go over it. When I am recording a group I probably put more effort into the drums than anything else, just because it is the foundation that the band goes on.
How is the work on the new album going?
Jacob: Our old album Rock Flower is the only CD we have out, and it was with the old line up from years ago.
Pauly: It is difficult having only one album out because I think, to the audience, that album is what defines our band and the band we have now is so much different than what’s on that CD. With our drummer situation we have had so hard of a time getting the new album out.
Jacob: Most of the new CD is ready to go. Paul and I have already recorded our parts of it. Brad has to learn the music and record his parts before it gets released.
Pauly: The new CD is so much different from the last one. Brad is such a rock drummer, I have my roots in pop rock, Jake is so indie; when you throw all of this in a blender, its going to be weird in your face, catchy, and loud.
Jacob: It is a lot of sound coming out of three people, which means we are doing something right.
What do you think of the Rochester music scene?
Pauly: I think it is better now than it has been in a long time. There seems to be a better sense of community, and higher quality bands now than ten years ago. A lot of great musicians ten years ago but not many bands if that makes sense. I can think of only three bands worth mentioning from the last ten years.
I used to work at CMF doing the home grown show so I was in the thick of it ten years ago. It’s a completely different genre now, and it is awesome. I could name four or five bands that I really dig in the last few years.
Jacob: There seemed to be kind of a lul for a while. I’ve noticed the past two years that a lot of great bands are popping up. Maybe it took a bit for the good musicians to mature and get into the right groups.
Brad: Back in the day, Geneva opera house, there were ton of bands playing there that are great. I’m from Wayne County; I’m not out in the city. I played at the opera house with a bunch of death metal bands that were just wild.
What is the song writing process?
Jacob: The typical Dead Catholic song is going to be about drugs, women, self loathing, and a bit of rage. One of those, a combination of those, or all of them combined.
Pauly: One song in particular Jake wrote for his dad because his dad is too proud to go to the hospital. HE would rather stay home and wither away. Jake wrote the song basically saying go you’re a fucking idiot, go to the hospital you prideful son of a bitch.
Jacob: My goal was to get it recorded and put out before he kicks it.
Pauly: He did go to the hospital didn’t he?
Jacob: Yes, he went to the hospital and is better now; which has totally delayed the album (Laughs) If he were still sick we would be recording faster.
As far as the song writing process goes it involves me sitting around at home getting fucked up and pissed off and fleshing my emotions out on acoustic guitar. I’ll write a riff, or lyrics, or a solo that I like and take it to the rest of the band where we perfect it.
Go see the Dead Catholics play October 13th at Tala Vera