Dead To Me Is Never Going To Die
The career arc of Dead To Me is one that, for better or — often — for worse, was totally unplanned. Formed in the mid-2000s by former One Man Army vocalist-guitarist Jack Dalrymple along with bassist-vocalist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico and drummer Ian Anderson, the guys quickly got to work on what would become their debut album. The result, 2006’s Cuban Ballerina, was a sharp piece of punk, one that nimbly defied categorization. The melodies the band crafted were effortlessly hooky, recalling pop-punk without the juvenile sneer, while injecting bits of ska; the kind found on Clash records instead of those from any third-wave revivalists. It was a record that blasted forward in a mere 25-minutes, sounding inspired and referential to punk’s past without ever devolving into staid, predictable genre worship.
After their follow-up EP Little Brother, Dalrymple would leave the band, but his former bandmates would soldier on with Nathan Grice, cutting a record that was far more dub-inspired than what came before. But like Dalrymple before him, after African Elephants, Grice would soon leave, and the band would rework its lineup. By this point, Dead To Me began to resemble a luxury home resting on an eroding coastline: At any second, it could be washed away entirely. Following the release of 2011’s Moscow Penny Ante, it seemed that, finally, all those shakeups had gotten the best of them. The band slowly retreated from sight, and it seemed as if — after three records and a handful of EPs — Dead To Me had finally met their demise.
I want to be the band that has good songs, but actually sings about shit that matters… real shit.
Then in late 2014, the band was showing signs of life. Dalrymple returned to the fold after a six-year absence, and alongside guitarist Ken Yamazaki, it appeared as if Dead To Me was finally getting its feet on stable ground. The band played shows sporadically, working on new music until the I Wanna Die In Los Angeles EP surfaced in 2016. Those three songs were as charged as anything the band had done before, showing that no amount of time off could soften their approach. And at the center of it was Annicharico, singing bluntly about his newfound sobriety, forcing himself to be accountable to his band, his fans, as well as himself, as to what happened during the band’s absence.