Banding with Butterfield: Theory of a Deadman

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A shot from a tour stop in Leeds. Wikimedia Commons

Say Nothing or say something

Theory (or as they’re formerly known, Theory of a Deadman) is a well-recognized name within the realm of Canadian rock ’n’ roll. From the emergence of their self-titled album, to the major success of Scars and Souvenirs, to finding their new sound in their newest album Say Nothing, Theory has been able to produce songs that span the years and provide listeners with something interesting each time.
On the subject of Say Nothing, I was fortunate enough to discuss Theory’s new release with bassist Dean Back, who discussed the album’s relevance, the songs, and what the future holds.

So, the band was originally called Theory of a Deadman, but has since been shortened to Theory, why the name change?

I think it’s something that, over the years, people have started referring to us as Theory. Theory of a Deadman is a long tongue-twister of a name. And I think that, for people that might not be familiar with our music, I think there’s a picture, when you hear that name, I don’t think it represents what the band is all about. I think it also sort of signals an artistic change in the band, we were progressing as a band and our music was changing a bit. And I think it’s easier to say Theory. Other bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, nobody calls them the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they’re the Chili Peppers. Stuff like that, I think it’s easier.

How do you guys feel about the new album, Say Nothing, being so close to release [at the time of writing]?

Oh, it’s so exciting, this record was finished just last spring. So, we’ve been sitting on it for a while now, and we’re super pumped that the day is finally coming tomorrow [Jan. 31]. We’re super proud that the way that this record came out. Our new single, “History of Violence,” is out right now and getting great feedback, people are connecting with it. We’ve started playing it live and the reaction to the song is amazing, and we just can’t wait for everyone to hear the rest of the material.

How do you guys feel coming back to Regina?

Ah, we love getting out to the prairies. It’s been awhile since we’ve been in Regina. We’re excited to get back. It’s funny, ‘cause Canada, we always tour in the middle of winter; not sure why that is [laughter]. We expect it to be cold. I’ve packed my mitts and my scarf, and ready to do it. Yeah, the fans and the people in the prairies are just so awesome, we love seeing them, such friendly people. We’re excited to get there.

Now, there’s a greater focus on heavy topics with the release of this album. How do you go from singing the songs you did in Scars and Souvenirs like “Hate My Life” to singing songs like “History of Violence” in Say Nothing?

Right, I think it’s a progression of the band. We’ve grown up as people and as songwriters. I think those Theory of a Deadman songs in the past have been written, and we’re excited to explore new topics. I think Tyler (the lead singer) as a lyricist, on the last record Wake Up Call, he wrote a song called “Rx.” The lyrics were about the opioid crisis in the world and how it was affecting people, and it was so nerve-wracking to release that song because it was a heavy topic. And something like that is something the band has historically never really done. So, we were really putting ourselves out there, and the song was reacted to so well. And, for a year and a half of touring, there were countless people thanking us for shedding a light on this topic. It made their life easier knowing that there’s other people out there, it created a bit of a community where people could talk about it and remove a bit of a stigma. So I think, that was kind of like the green light for Tyler to lyrically look at other things in the world that are worth talking about and worth getting in touch, and letting other people know that are struggling with other problems that there’s help out there and you’re not alone. It also gives us an opportunity to partner with charities and associations that help people that are struggling. We’re selling pens at our show now, with all of the proceeds going to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. I just think that it’s a progression of the band, and just us growing up as people and maturing.

\For those wishing to catch Theory’s Regina show, they’ll be performing at the Casino Regina on Feb. 13.

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