Beginning with one of the finest pickup lines in ages (“I’ll be the best day of your life”), Verónica (released July 16), the debut album from Boston’s Dead Boots, delivers sticky good rock ‘n’ roll filled with gnarly hooks, bewitching harmonies, and the kinda chooglin’ chug all the indie kids only wish they could conjure up. Their Bandcamp page says, “Dead Boots is a ragged, hard rock band the likes of which has not been seen since 1974, but sounds like it will still be good in 2074,” but their Facebook page nails it more succinctly: “Rock is back, in the form of us.” And they’ve got the balls, chops and sexy ass tunes to back up that talk, too.
Formerly known as TAB the Band, Tony Perry (lead guitar), Adrian Perry (vocals, bass), Ben Tileston (drums, vocals), and Lou Jannetty (guitar, vocals) bubble over with punk and pop energies, their tunes crackling with a sock hop shimmy vibe even as they lay down hard rock whomp. Early Cheap Trick, The Sonics, and the boogie stoked machismo of Thin Lizzy are all touchstones but grasped in their timeless qualities rather than some classic rock kabuki show. Sweat and muscle covers everything, balanced by hearts on sleeves waved around where anyone can see them, the wildness of ’77 with its lingering Ramones and Clash DNA given recombinant charm in this young quartet.
Verónica, incorporates some of the sharp stab of TAB’s fab 2008 debut Pulling Out Just Enough To Win (which made this writer exclaim, “Holy Bon Scott on a buttermilk biscuit!!”) with just the right amount of sophistication, a modern polish that nonetheless makes room for diversity and textural variety we associate with great 70s rock. Adrian Perry has a big, inviting voice that gropes one effectively and the band plays with snap and focused strength, giving the songs what they need to lift a smile and send feet shuffling. What we’re saying is Dead Boots is the whole package, and they bull fight, too.
We asked the guys to share a slice of their minds in DI’s signature questionnaire and they were kind enough to oblige.
- 1. Great music rarely happens without…
- Adrian Perry (AP): You need a motivated group of people. And there needs to be respect among the group. Even if there’s conflict, there should be a sense that everyone is being heard and everyone is invested in what’s going on.
Louie Jannetty (LJ): Yar (I agree with Adrian)
Ben Tileston (BT): Musicianship, an ability and want to grow as a musician, and above all else, discipline.
- 2. The first album I bought was…
- AP: Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles
Tony Perry (TP): The B-52s by The B-52s
LJ: Dookie by Green Day
BT: Same as Lou, Dookie by Green Day
- 3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
- AP: “One More Time” by Them. Just an incredible vibe on that track. Filled with reverb. Van’s voice is searing.
TP: “Fitzpleasure” by Alt-J. Totally blew my mind and have never really heard anything like it. Plus they kill it live.
LJ: I really enjoyed Suck It And See by the Arctic Monkeys (Album and song). Just really nice songwriting.
BT: I don’t have a wig…this is au naturel, baby.
- 4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
- AP: A musician-lawyer.
TP: A racecar driver (Rally racing specifically).
LJ: An Archeologist
BT: An astronaut/musician
- 5. My favorite sort of gig is…
- AP: I always love festivals. Folks are generally open-minded about checking out new bands (which is what we are to most people). Plus it’s a lot of fun to check out the other bands and meet other people in the music community. Now let’s all hold hands.
TP: I also love festivals. The energy is always so great, but there is also something special about playing a packed sweaty club.
LJ: Yeah festivals are fun. A lot of good energy. It’s fun when we are playing and fun when we’re are just hanging out. Overall, a good time.
BT: I’m with Adrian on this one.
- 6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
- AP: The less they know, the better probably.
TP: I really like pizza.
BT: I’m single and looking.
- 7. I love the sound of…
- AP: My daughter’s laugh. Cliché perhaps but there is no sound I love more than that.
TP: I would have to say the sound of engines.
LJ: A crackling fire. Ice clinking in a glass. idk…those are just pleasant sounds.
BT: The sound of loon calls in Maine late at night during the summer and light waves rolling on the shore when no one is around.
- 8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
- 9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
- AP: We have had many memorable meals on tour. Tough to narrow down. Gus’s fried chicken in Memphis is a must any time we pass within 100 miles of it. And every meal we have at Jack in the Box is special. The tacos have a nuclear quality that is unmatched. The “meat” is sealed in a grease pouch with the vegetables and the what-have-you (some sort of sauce? other materials?), and then there is that slice of American cheese that is lovingly draped alongside one side of the shell. Divine.
TP: Agree with Adrian again…
LJ: Tony nailed it.
BT: Hit the nail on head.
- 10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
- AP: We’ve had some good ones. Quebec City had a great crowd. Lollapalooza in Chicago was great. Love the audiences in the UK. The south is always a blast (Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock). Frankly, we’ve had more good than bad, so we’re pretty lucky.
LJ: Quebec’s audiences were pretty sweet.
BT: Little towns that don’t have a lot of touring groups come through. They always seem to appreciate the entertainment, even if it’s not their style.
- 11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
- AP: Eating at Jack in the Box.
TP: Jack in the Box and Taco Bell.
LJ: Eating Jack in the box and Taco Bell and forgetting you had left an extra taco under the seat.
BT: Too much Red Bull and Taco Bell.
- 12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
- AP: Tough choice. I guess I ultimately connect more with Zep because I am not an electronic musician. Radiohead has gone more and more in an electronic direction, and while I really still love their material (Kid A is my fave Radiohead record, which set the new course for them I’d say), I have to go with Zep. The production on those records is incredible. The vibe and energy on the records is as vital and epic today as it was when they came out in the 60s/70s. I recently re-listened to Led Zeppelin IV after a long time away. I mean, that shit is out of control. “When the Levee Breaks!”
TP: Agree yet again…
LJ: Yes, Adrian’s answer
BT: Led Zeppelin. Explanation? Bonham.
- 13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
- AP: There was this poster in a truck stop somewhere that featured a zebra and a blue bird and in big letters across the bottom it said, “TEAMMATES”. I had no idea they were teammates.
TP: Thousands of people watching us at Lollapalooza was pretty fucking crazy.
LJ: I agree with Tony.
BT: I’m going to be very literal. I remember seeing this crazy guy talking to his Elmo puppet in L.A., having a full out conversation/argument with his hand. I think Elmo won.
AP: Pet Sounds. I don’t know that there’s a better sounding record that’s been made. Or a record that lifts you like that record does. It takes you through a range of emotions. It’s got everything. The record is so good that I think it gets taken for granted.
TP: I agree with Adrian
LJ: I agree with Tony.
BT: Sgt. Pepper