Theory Of A Deadman Bio
Tyler Connolly - lead vocals / guitar
Tim Hart - drums / backing vocals
Dean Back - bass
David Brenner - guitar
The odds for success are fairly good when Nickelback is in your corner. They're even better when Spider-Man has your back. But when both are working in your favor, even the most daring villain would think twice about battling such a powerful force.
Theory of a Deadman singer/guitarist Tyler Connolly realizes that things are going pretty well for his band these days. After all, this Vancouver group's self-titled debut will serve as the flagship release for 604 Records, the new imprint/record label co-founded by Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger. In addition, Connolly contributed guitar work to Kroeger's mega-hit "Hero," from the platinum Spider-Man soundtrack, while Theory of a Deadman's "Invisible Man" served as the b-side to the "Hero" single and is also included on the Spider-Man soundtrack.
The 26-year-old Connolly realizes the role that luck has played in the band's success. Back in 1999, as Nickelback was fast becoming one of Canada's most popular bands, he just happened to show up at a party in his native Vancouver that was also attended by Kroeger. A mutual friend introduced the two. "Chad's probably heard it a billion times--'Oh yeah, my friend's in a band,'" Connolly says. "I'm sure he rolled his eyes and he went, 'Yeah, yeah." But he listened to our demo and said he really liked it."
After the success of Default--another Vancouver band Kroeger is credited with discovering--Kroeger and his attorney, Jonathan Simkin launched a label, 604 Records. Their first signing was Theory of a Deadman. "Through their production company, they shopped us to some major labels," Connolly says. "Out of all the labels we talked to, the band thought the best one was Roadrunner, so we ended up signing with them." (604 has since entered into an imprint deal with Roadrunner.)
The band—Connolly (vocals, guitar), Dave Brenner (guitar), Dean Back (bass) and Tim Hart (drums)--soon entered Vancouver's Greenhouse Studios to record their debut album. Kroeger co-produced alongside Joey Moy, who oversaw the sessions that clashed with Nickelback's tour schedule. "Chad is one of the smartest guys I've ever met," Connolly says. "You never had to worry about having a song lack certain details, because he would always fill in the gaps or come up with a great harmony or whatnot. When he was gone, we'd keep on recording and send mixes to him, wherever the hell he was. He'd listen and say 'Yea' or 'Nay,' 'Try this' or 'Sounds good. Keep on going.'"
While Theory of a Deadman was in the studio, Kroeger was commissioned to write a song--"Hero"—for the Spider-Man movie and soundtrack. Kroeger teamed with an all-star roster of performers for the song and Nigel Dick-directed video, including Saliva singer Josey Scott, drummer Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), as well as Theory of a Deadman's Connolly.
Theory of a Deadman also scored the b-side to the "Hero" single, with their infectious and rowdy "Invisible Man," which also kicks off the group's debut album. "Invisible Man" and the nine additional songs on Theory Of A Deadman also showcase a guitar-based, harmony-rich, post-grunge sound equally representative of Connolly's two primary musical influences: the classic-rock of legends such as Led Zeppelin and the Doors and the "Seattle sound" pioneered by artists such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Call it modern riff-rock, if you will. "We just try to play the most aggressive music we can, but at the same time, we try to be melodic and come across to as many people as possible," Connolly says. "We want to appeal to 16-year-old girls as well as 35-year-old guys."
Connolly handles the majority of the group's songwriting, both musically and lyrically. "A lot of the songs are relationship songs," he explains. "I think everyone can relate to those kind of songs. To get an audience, you've got to try to relate to the audience and sing a song they're going to understand. In some ways, it makes them feel good, and they're going to want to hear those songs again."
"Nothing Could Come Between Us," the album's first single and video, is a prime example of one of Connolly's "relationship songs." "It's about a guy who just gets sick and tired of his girlfriend," he explains. "She's in love with the guy, but he's not, and it just doesn't work out. It's pretty heavy, but at the same time, it's easy to sing along to and has a good groove."
Another prominent track--and a thematic departure from the rest of the record--is "Last Song," a ballad from which Theory of a Deadman derives its admittedly unusual name. "I wrote 'Last Song' about five years ago, and it was originally called 'Theory of a Deadman,'" Connolly says. "It's basically about a guy who's writing his memoirs before committing suicide. But it's coming at the situation from a positive angle. You can't take life for granted, and if you blow your brains out, there's a lot you're going to miss."
"When we changed the name of the song to 'Last Song,' we had no band name, and we thought of Theory of a Deadman," he continues. "Some people think we're going to be some death metal band, but we're just musicians. All we can do is play our music, and hopefully people will like it."
Connolly says he never would have guessed that a chance meeting at a random party would give Theory of a Deadman the opportunity of a lifetime. "Everyone likes to dream about doing it, but it's a little surreal," he admits. "I'm glad I've been able to do this, because it's nothing but fun. We have a pretty serious sound, but once people get to know us, they'll realize that we're just four guys who like to have fun. But we're going to work hard to make it work."