Dead Meadow - The Nothing They Need
Dead Meadow released their first album in 5 years on March 2nd, 2018 - Titled The Nothing They Need... and it's everything we want. After 20 years of slow jams, hard hitters, and psychedelic tunes, this D.C. native group is still hitting the nail on the head.
If you know me personally, you have undoubtedly heard me sing their praises, and will likely not be surprised to hear how excited I was to find that they were returning to SLC for one of the last stops on their tour. They put on a fantastic show at Urban Lounge this last Saturday with local group 90's Television and West Coast band Shannon and the Clams. Rocking until almost 1:00am... The stage was lit with groovy, neon colors (photos below) and they played all of our favorites. It was one of those shows that you wish could go on forever. But... the best part? Steve Kille (bassist) was kind enough to answer a few questions for me backstage after the show! After that long of a set, I was incredibly surprised that he agreed to let me talk to him for a bit, and even more shocked by how sincerely nice and patient he was. Seriously, if you get a chance to chat with him, do it. What a great guy!
Before I get into sharing his insight on this great group and some of his fun stories, I want to take a moment to appreciate this album...
The Nothing They Need has 8 tracks, the first of which is titled Keep Your Head. This was the perfect choice for opening the album since it sounds very familiar in the best way. While it's still fresh and current, it gives you the immediate comfort of knowing that this will be, in every sense, a Dead Meadow album. It starts out slowly with some soft vocals from Jason Simon, and some heavy electric guitar coming in shortly after. It remains deep and melodic throughout, as most of their best songs do. This is what I would hope to hear when I throw on this psych-rock band, and was relieved to find that after a bit of a break since releasing their last album, they have not decided to go a different direction. It does seem to have a bit of a fuller sound -- which may have something to do with all of the former members of the band returning for this album. Mark Laughlin, Stephen McCarty, and even Cory Shane joined in on the studio hours they put in for this release.
This Shaky Hand is Not Mine takes the cake for my next favorite song. The thing I love about this group is the way they choose to take you on such a journey through their music. Nothing seems rushed or thrown together. This track is a great example of this. It wraps you up and takes you through soft breaks, hard returns, heavy sounds, and ups and downs. If that doesn't explain life for you... you're living a much different one than I am. I have always been a fan of long songs (if they're good, of course) and Dead Meadow knows how to fill the time while keeping you in a trance until the very end, which you hope never comes.
The whole album is really well-done and gives us our "new song" fix with the nostalgia of this long-running band's distinct sound. With heavy classic rock influences like Zeppelin, you can really hear the deep passion and appreciation they have for dreamy, powerful, drawn-out guitar riffs and timeless songs that make you forget about the world around you.
So, what did Steve have to say about all of this? After I got my "Wow, I am a HUGE fan! Thanks so much for doing this" out of the way, I asked him how they have managed to keep going for 20 years now.
Steve: "I have actually been thinking a lot about that on this tour, and it's been really interesting because we have had people come up to us and say things like, 'Do you remember when I met you when I was 19?' and it sort of puts how much time has passed and how long we have been doing this into perspective. It's really people like that and people like you that keep us going."
Dead Meadow was just in Utah not long ago and played a show in Ogden. I take it you enjoy playing here since you are back so soon?
Steve: "Absolutely. We always get a good turn out and the fans here are really great. We definitely enjoy playing in Utah."
What was it like having all of the former drummers come together for this album?
Steve: "It was super cool to work with everyone on this. Made it really special and gave the album such exciting energy. We have made so many albums that sometimes it's hard to figure out how to go somewhere new. Having multiple people's creative input really pushed new, fun boundaries."
Do you have a favorite song from the new album? If so, what is it and what makes it your favorite?
Steve: "I'm really happy with all of them. It really feels extra cohesive with this one and a very full listening experience. It's tough to separate, but with that being said, I'm really happy with how Here with the Hawk turned out. There is a cool thickness that just happened in the production that was a very happy surprise."
Will you guys be working on another album soon or will you be taking a little break?
Steve: "We have ideas. We always have ideas and stuff on the back burner that didn't make it on this album, but really, now is the time to promote and tour. So the only break is on the open road."
What takes up the most of your time outside of the band?
Steve: "I produce other bands, it is a mega time consuming profession."
(When you have a chance, look up some of his production work. If you love Dead Meadow, you will only get more of what you love)
What is the craziest story you have from touring (that you don't mind sharing)?
Steve: "Wow, there are tons of them. Maybe the time when Juan couldn't get through a stop over in the UK on the way back from a European tour because of weird visa issues... had to leave him in the airport to arrange traveling a second flight for him through Russia and then to LA. I think he had a hellish 48 hour solo adventure. That was pretty crazy."
(Poor Juan! That sounds like quite the ordeal)
Is there anything else I am leaving our that you'd like to mention? Take the floor.
Steve: "Thanks to all of our fans that we have shared these 20 years with. They are all interesting too and have made it worth while."
I didn't want to take too much of his time, so I thanked him (probably obnoxiously), shook his hand, and wished him well on the next stop.
I am so stoked to have been able to chat with this rad guy, who happens to be in one of my favorite current bands, and to be able to share it with the rest of the fans. We can't wait until you guys come back for another kick-ass show!
Thank you Dead Meadow for an amazing album and an even better live show.
Thank you Steve for talking with me even though you probably wanted to crash.
Keep rocking hard, as we know damn well you will.
Photos from the show below: