Photo Credit: Khris Poage
Arizona Rockers, Ded, have cohesively strung together their own musical blend of tension and aggression to serve up one of the most captivating debut albums of the past decade. Putting their stamp on the world of Rock with zero gimmicks and tasteful musicianship, the guys are rapidly collecting achievements stemming from their unabashed charisma throughout ‘Mis • an • thrope’ that is palpable and felt. I caught up with Lead Vocalist, Joe Cotela, to discuss the unique connection the band has developed with their fans, ‘Mis • an • thrope’, remaining true to his core within the songwriting process, his horror movie tattoo sleeve and more.
‘Mis • an • thrope’ has been a major hit. You worked with a lot of prestigious individuals, yet you maintain your individuality throughout. Is that what you guys intended to do while creating the album?
Yeah, thank you. That was a great way to put it. At first, we started the band from scratch and just wanted to create music for fun. We had reached a point in which we were over trying to be a part of the music industry. We’ve all been in bands before and we just got sh*t on. I had personally been beaten up in a couple different ways and I reached a point in which I was just kinda done. At that point, we started Ded for fun with the intention of just playing dive bars in Arizona and not trying to be successful. The band ended up getting recognized more and more and just took on a life of its own. The entire time, it put a lot of power in our court because we didn’t care if the band got popular, you know? We knew that if the band did end up gaining more recognition and getting popular, it was going to be on our own terms or else we don’t want to be a part of it. We played that game before. We played the game of trying to make other people happy and it didn’t make us happy.
Ultimately, no matter who you’re affiliated with in life or who you’re lying next to, you’re going to bed at night with you and your own thoughts. If you’re unhappy, then it’s going to translate throughout your entire life.
Yes. It doesn’t feel good in your soul. I had to realize that the hard way. Taking the route that we did, it empowered us a lot to really be ourselves, although we are really fortunate to have worked with all of the people that we worked with. They absolutely did bring a lot to the table and did open up a lot of ideas and doors that we perhaps would have been stubborn about so I think that it was all for the best. We worked with so many legends on the album, it’s crazy.
Not many can say that about their debut album. You guys maintain such a potent connection with your fans. You are building an army that actively promotes your music and movements to others. Not only do they like your music, they like you as human beings. Tell us about the unique fan connection that you’ve built.
It’s incredible. Social Media is such a cool tool that perhaps other bands don’t utilize as much as they could or should. I know that if I comment on one of my favorite band’s pictures, if and when they write me back, I feel great. I’m still a fan and we’re all still fans of music. We don’t want to lose that mentality. I see guys from bands as big as Metallica that are still so grounded and humble; I respect that, and that is who I want to be. I’m not into rock star sh*t. I’m not into being too cool for anyone. Our lyrics are against the ego and all of the superficial pieces of life. I mean, I’m still guilty of it at times, but I’m trying to be more conscious of it and I want other people to be conscious of it too. You have to lead by example. You can’t say one thing and be another thing.
Totally. As you mentioned, your lyrics are cutthroat and really laced with realism. For example, “Disassociate” and “Rope” cut to the bone. That just seems to be part of your makeup of who you are as a human being.
Yeah, I think so. You know, a lot of people ask about what the intention was when I was writing the tracks for ‘Mis • an • thrope’, yet I don’t really think that I was writing about anything in specific. You know, the song gets written and I step back and look and at it and go….
“That’s what I was writing about.”
I shut off my thinking mind and let my body do what it is supposed to do. I think that my thinking mind can get in the way. Our songwriting is all about self-empowerment. It sounds aggressive and violent, and it is, but I don’t want anybody to kill anybody; that’s not what it’s about. It’s about killing it throughout your own life.
Absolutely. Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the tattoo artists that you worked with to bring them to life.
I have a whole horror sleeve that I’ve been working on for a long time! ‘Jaws’ is my favorite movie of all time so I have a piece dedicated to that. I have a Gizmo piece with Stripe coming over his head, it’s a piece dedicated to ‘Gremlins 2’. I have a ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ piece; it’s one of my favorite movies from the 80’s! Have you heard of ‘Maximum Overdrive’? I have a piece dedicated to that Stephen King movie. On the top of my shoulder, I have a ‘Creepshow 2’ piece as well!
Wow. That looks like work from Paul Acker. Who was the tattoo artist?
It kinda does! The artist’s name is Joseph and he is at No Regrets Tattoo in Tempe, Arizona. He’s been tattooing my entire sleeve so we’re going to finish it up when I get home. We’re probably going to try to sneak in Pinhead from ‘Hellraiser’. My other sleeve is all guinea-pig stuff, but I do have a Bob Marley portrait, as he is one of my favorites. I snuck in an Alkaline Trio piece, an Every Time I Die tattoo, Rage Against The Machine lyrics, a Koi Fish because I’m a Pisces; all kinds of sh*t.
The sleeve blends together really well. You guys have been going strong on the road for a year now. How does it feel going back home to Arizona after touring and experiencing so many different manners of living and walks of life?
Interesting. I definitely appreciate home a lot more. We’ve been touring and making our rounds on the road for majority of the past year, and it has become really nice to simply go back home. Being out on the road teaches you a lot about minimalism. You don’t have as much accessibility on the road. You appreciate showers a lot more. You appreciate brushing your teeth. We miss our families and we miss our loved ones, and it makes you really appreciate them more as well. It’s a cool thing, you know, the old saying that distance makes the heart grow fonder. You take things for granted when you have them at your disposal at all times, so being on the road has taught me to not take some things for granted. But don’t get me wrong, I love doing this. I love being out here on the road, it’s a ton of fun.
Totally. Last but certainly not least, is there anything that you’d like to fill in our readers about that you guys are currently working on and do you have any closing messages for your fans?!
We just released a new music video for our single, “Hate Me”, and the single is only 69 cents on all platforms! It really helps when people get our single and it helps get the word out to even more people. Come out to a show! We are having a blast touring throughout the country and have added more dates with In This Moment. We appreciate you guys so much. Keep supporting the music that you love, whether it is us or anybody else.
Ded Social Links:
In This Moment/New Years Day/P.O.D. dates
2/8/18 – Madison Live! – Covington, KY
2/9/18 – House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH
2/10/18 – Rapids Theatre – Niagara Falls, NY
2/12/18 – London Music Hall – London, Ontario Canada
2/14 – RocHaus – Dundee, IL
2/15 – The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL
2/16 – Route 20 – Sturtevant, WI
2/17/18 – Harrah’s Kansas City/VooDoo Lounge – North Kansas City, MO
2/18/18 – Palace Theatre – St. Paul, MN
Dates with P.O.D.
2/20/18 – The Ruins Bar and Grill w/P.O.D. – Oklahoma City, OK
2/21 – 2/23 – Proof Bar w/P.O.D. – Houston, TX
2/24 – Canton Hall w/P.O.D. – Dallas, TX
2/25 – Jake’s Back Room w/P.O.D. – Lubbock, TX
In This Moment / The Word Alive / Ded Tour Dates
April 8 – Boise, Idaho @ Revolution Concert House & Event Center
April 10 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
April 12 – Chico, Calif. @ Senator Theatre
April 13 – Anaheim, Calif. @ House of Blues Anaheim
April 14 – San Diego, Calif. @ House of Blues San Diego
April 16 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ The Van Buren
April 17 – Albuquerque, N.M. @ Sunshine Theater
April 18 – Denver, Colo. @ The Fillmore Auditorium
April 20 – Las Rageous Festival – Las Vegas, NV
April 22 – Tucson, Ariz. @ The Rialto Theatre/Tucson, Arizona
April 24 – San Angelo, Texas @ River Stage San Angelo Texas
April 25 – Austin, Texas @ Emo’s
April 27 – Pharr, Texas @ Bogus Ford Events Center
April 28 – Laredo, Texas @ Laredo Energy Arena
July 13th – Rockfest – Cadott, WI