DATE: OCTOBER 23, 2020
FROM: MITCH SCHNEIDER/ANDREA FAULK
DEAD ROCK WEST
TURN UP THE HEAT WITH
POLITICALLY CHARGED SONG AND VIDEO,
“REVOLUTION IN THE GARDEN,”
OUT TODAY ON BLACKBIRD RECORD LABEL
Photo Credit: Mark Dektor
Acclaimed Los Angeles-based band DEAD ROCK WEST, led by vocalist Cindy Wasserman and singer-guitarist Frank Lee Drennen, return today, October 23, with a politically charged song and video “Revolution In The Garden” on Blackbird Record Label. The video was premiered October 21 via American Songwriter with a piece by Paul Zollo who noted that “the new passionately incendiary single by the acclaimed Americana-plus band Dead Rock West, led by Frank Lee Drennen and Cindy Wasserman…is a great song and remarkable record, expansively produced by David J Carpenter, and delivered with urgency by Frank and Cindy together, bringing back the dual spirit of John Doe and Exene in X.”
“Revolution In The Garden” marks a potent new sound for DEAD ROCK WEST whose 2017 album More Love was produced by punk rock legend John Doe of X and who’ve toured with X, Dave & Phil Alvin, and Peter Case. The band’s line-up is rounded out by Geoff Pearlman (lead guitar), David J Carpenter (lead bass guitar) and Phil Parlapiano (lead piano + keys). On the new song, they’re joined by Matt Lynott of The White Buffalo on lead drums, indie artist Patrick Dennis (lead percussion) and The Section Quartet (strings).
“Revolution In The Garden” is sonically propulsive and lyrically a powerful call-to-action with lines like “The voice in our head/The voice on the tube/The voice tellin’ us/We’re all gonna lose.” The video was directed and shot by Drennen in the Frogtown area of Los Angeles. Its quick-cut edits underline the urgency of the song which was written by Drennen and indie rock artist Patrick Dennis 30 years ago when they played in a duo called The Homer Gunns from Leucadia, CA near San Diego. “Revolution In The Garden” feels more timely than ever. The track was produced by David J Carpenter, mixed by Dave Way and mastered by Dave McNair.
DEAD ROCK WEST
“Revolution In The Garden”
Frank Drennen: We wanted something that sounds epic. Big as life. A sound that reflects the urgency of the lyrics. We wanted a big rock ‘n’ roll sound. We wanted to destroy the idea that Dead Rock West is merely a neat little Americana group from the West Coast.
Cindy Wasserman: I knew that we had to record it, but we had to figure out how to do it remotely because it was deep Covid. No one was meeting up, and none of us had seen each other since March. Geoff’s [Pearlman’s] riff really set us off on our path, and then Matt Lynott of White Buffalo stepped in to guest on drums. Phil [Parlapiano] brought these crazy keys in that took it somewhere else. And then we called Dave Way who is the mix master. We’d worked together on our album More Love so all we said to him was, “Pretend that you don’t know us when you mix it. The rest is up to you.”
Frank: This song was written 30 years ago by me and Patrick [Dennis] when we played in a duo called The Homer Gunns from Leucadia, CA near San Diego. A simple direct to DAT recording was produced by Dave Sharp from THE ALARM but never released. It was written in response to the Bob Dylan song “When the Ship Comes In,” except ours was a rolling 6/8 folk punk reaction to what the future looked like through our 20-something eyes.
During the time of lockdown here in L.A., I began sifting through boxes and boxes of home cassettes collected over the years and fell upon this song. Cindy insisted we recorded it because of the times we are in–strangely just like the times 30 years ago–only worse in some ways it seems. I said to David J Carpenter that I was into recording it only if we rocked it out. So that’s what we did! It gives me kind of that sonic propulsion The Who does. Cindy and I sang the words matter of factly with power but let the lyrics speak for themselves.
This is the first song we have recorded where nobody was in the same room at the same time (usually we’re all in the same room). So David J Carpenter became the producer and master hub of recorded activity and Cindy and I sent a guide track and then Dave [Carpenter] made a click track and sent that down to CHAOS Recorders in San Diego where Matt Lynott from the White Buffalo recorded his bad ass drums. From there, everyone recorded from their respective home studios.
David J Carpenter: One of the things that struck me most is the timeliness of the words. Although they were written about 30 years before, they seemed to be so incredibly dead-on to our situation at the time. Quite honestly, at the time I was listening to a lot of The Who music and when I heard the song, my thought was it was very folky. But I felt like I heard something bigger and more associated to a lot of music I was spending time listening to at the time. I don’t want to make too many references to The Who, but it was a big influence on this track and the way I felt like approaching it. The lyrics had a sense of classic “My Generation” level of feeling. I wanted try to bring that our musically. It ended up being very powerful.
Geoff Pearlman: I loved the fact that it has Frank’s raw punk energy behind it. Frank seems to write brilliant ballads or just brilliant tunes in general, but his punk side comes out often and this is one of those times. And I like that energy. I think we are living in crazy times, and our song seems to reflect what’s happening naturally. Everybody was feeling pretty aggressive.
Phil Parlapiano: I stayed away from acoustic instruments as this record was a little bit more electric-oriented, a little bit of a departure from things what we’ve done in the past. David Carpenter also had a few ideas in there with some of the synthesizer things he threw in that I elaborated upon. Then putting some piano on it. I was really thinking of Classic Rock from the late 70s, from a big English band around at the time it reminded me of (wink). Although the song itself does not remind me of that band at all.
Patrick Dennis: This song was written in thick of rock n roll boot camp for Frank Drennen and I. 30 years ago we were wide-eyed 20-year-old kids heaving the world onto our shoulders, sweating in a garage over two dueling acoustic guitars. Frank and I felt like we were watching the world head in precisely the wrong direction and so we vented. Hard. “Revolution In The Garden” was finished, performed, played live on radio, in clubs, in theaters, at hot dog stand openings, grand plans were made, a recording was produced by Dave Sharp (of THE ALARM), the band broke up and the song got buried in a box for the next 30 years. How were we to know when we were writing these words 30 years ago, how much more sadly timely they would be now in 2020?
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