Theory of a Deadman singer Tyler Connolly curses the Rocky Mountains.
Canadian bands of Theory of a Deadman’s caliber rarely perform on the West Coast, as border states’ shows mean larger audiences and profits.
“We rarely ever play New Mexico and Arizona,” Connolly says. “We don’t really hit it enough. We just turn around and go back.”
Theory of a Deadman — the musical minds behind hits like “Angel,” “Bad Girlfriend” and “All or Nothing” — will perform with 3 Doors Down at Harrah’s Ak-Chin on Saturday, August 28. He already has his stage banter down.
“I’m going to say, ‘Oh my God. We’re so excited to see you,’” he says during a recent Zoom interview. “We’ll probably be just as excited as everyone in the audience.”
Playing shows again have posed a challenge for Connolly, as it relates to the lack of CD booklets and album liner notes.
“It was fun to put in our thanks —thanks to the family, the people you know, all the endorsers. We would see all of that stuff and we’d love it.
“Now it’s just a faceless thing. I loved reading all the lyrics. Now that I don’t remember some of my lyrics, I Google them—for real. Then I’ll see some fan has written the lyrics and they’re wrong. I say, ‘That’s not what I said.’ That’s how I get my lyrics now.”
The pandemic closed the door on concerts and, subsequently, Theory of a Deadman’s living. In January 2020, the band released its seventh studio album, “Say Nothing.” This one-off gig in Maricopa and Theory of a Deadman’s upcoming headlining tour allow the band to breathe new life into the record.
“We’re actually going to try to maybe play a couple songs from our new record,” Connolly says about what fans can expect. “We came out and then nothing happened because it came out on January 31. The whole world shut down in March. We never were able to tour at all.
“I was chatting with the band yesterday and said, ‘Let’s get together so I can start practicing some of this crap,’” he says with a laugh.
“Dean (Back) our bass player said, ‘What about playing something off our new record?’ Honestly, for us, we try to play the hits, the stuff people want to hear. We’ll also play a lot of older stuff, like stuff from ‘Scars and Souvenirs.’”
“Say Nothing” is a departure for Theory of a Deadman, as it addresses societal issues. The single “History of Violence” addresses domestic violence, while “Strangers” shares the polarizing effect of politics on society. Connolly says he didn’t worry a bit about what fans would think about the new music.
“I always try to tell people, ‘Look, when you started in a band you had no fans,’” Connolly says. “‘So where did the inspiration come from? Were you nervous about it then?’ You don’t know any better. You just make songs and hope people like them.
“We try to approach every record like that and try not to have this pressure about what would the fans like. If you do that, you’ll just repeat yourself over and over and it’ll become redundant.”
Instead, Theory of a Deadman lets the pen go and “whatever comes out, comes out.” Connolly says he and bandmates guitarist Dave Brenner, bassist Dean Back and drummer Joey Dandeneau enjoyed trying new things.
“With this next record, I don’t think we’ll continue going in some crazy direction,” Connolly says. “I think you’re going to hear some older sounds and guitar-driven rock. So, once again, I’m excited to get out and do that.”
Theory of a Deadman kept busy during the pandemic-induced break. Connolly and Brenner spent the pandemic working on “other business opportunities” that will be revealed in the fall.
“We were bored, and the band is doing other ventures, which everybody will find out about soon enough,” Connolly says. “That’s what happens when you have a lot of time on your hands. You just sit around going, ‘What could I do?’”
Connolly and Brenner also passed time with Band Meeting, their podcast that is available on all streaming platforms. Guests have included Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge as well as athletes, musicians and songwriters.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Connolly says. “We put something on every couple weeks. We’ve had rock or country artists, hockey players like Matt Duchene from the Nashville Predators and ‘Noodles,’ Jamie McLennan. He’s retired now, but he was a goalie for a bunch of teams like the Florida Panthers.”
Founded in 1999 in North Delta, British Columbia, Canada, Theory of a Deadman has evolved since it was the first band signed to Chad Kroeger’s 604 Records in 2001.
“I always think, personally, every band has to evolve — unless you’re an AC/DC,” he says. “Actually, I would love to be an AC/DC. I used to love the older U2 stuff like ‘The Unforgettable Fire.’ It was this thrashy rock band. Then they got into ‘Achtung Baby’ and some of that pop stuff, and ‘Zooropa.’ It got weird, but I accepted it because that’s the evolution that bands do.”
Connolly says Theory of a Deadman’s evolution equates to stronger relationships within the band.
“When we make records, everyone just has their parts,” he says. “
“I almost feel like we’re a four piece puzzle in which everyone just puts in their perspective, what they hear on the song.”
Besides internal affairs, Theory of a Deadman and Connolly have watched the music industry change as well. It’s become more of a singles-driven business.
“I feel the music industry is such a machine,” he says. “They just try to squeeze out so many hits. I was thinking that the other day. Time has changed now where we’ve gone back to a singles market.
“I miss the days when I was listening to ‘Synchronicity’ from the Police yesterday. They have a couple tracks on that record that are just like the weirdest songs. I thought, ‘This isn’t even a song. It’s just a crazy acid trip.’ You can’t do stuff like that anymore. Some A&R (artist and repertoire) guy would say, ‘This isn’t a single. What are you doing?’ My answer? ‘We’re being a band. This is what we do.’”
3 Doors Down w/Theory of a Deadman
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 28
WHERE: Harrah’s Ak-Chin, 15406 N. Maricopa Road, Maricopa
COST: Tickets start at $49.50