Last month, I started an article about The Nearly Deads’ Revenge album, exploring the EP’s individual tracks and the apocalyptic style that makes the band so fun. It was the product of a Pledgemusic campaign that barely made the quota, but the payback for fans was worth it. The sound was evolved and the production level impressed me; TJ’s powerhouse vocals had no trouble keeping up with the music. But I realized something after 800 words of (well-earned) praise and half-hearted objectivity.
It’s no secret that I’ve been an avid follower of The Nearly Deads since 2012, and to pretend that my feelings are because I think their music alone is superior is ridiculous. I love them because I was a fourteen year old looking for the Marianas Trench merch booth and instead I ran across a group of people that were genuinely friendly and accepting. I love them because the only line I could actually understand that day was “The audience has no idea” and I thought that was the most brilliant irony of my life. I love them because I was an awkward teenager who thought she could break into music journalism and they let me try. I love them because they’ve talked to venues about working with underage fans so my parents could get me in. I love them because once TJ wrote “Worlds Hottest Mom” on my mom’s t-shirt. I also love them because they’re skilled, hard working musicians.
I would love to talk about why I love their new record, because I most definitely think they’re talented and that each song is to be admired. But I think their music can speak for itself, and if you’re interested, then you can find it at one of their shows, purchase it when it comes out next month, or watch the two music videos that are out for the EP. But what I want to talk about more is more personal.
I took nine days out of my life to follow The Nearly Deads on their Break Into Action tour, which was headlined by Eyes Set To Kill and supported by Bad Seed Rising. This tour was a powerhouse of female vocalists, and even many of the local bands were lead or included badass ladies. I started in Newport, Kentucky, and followed them all the way to Trenton, New Jersey, helping out by selling merch. I drove my own truck, I paid for pretty much everything myself, and I spent a total of probably 30 hours driving in a little over a week. It was a great experience because I was fulfilling a dream of mine. The Nearly Deads looked out for me and helped me survive on the road, and I got to see so many local bands that put on a fantastic show.
If you don’t respect touring bands now, you should. By the time you walk through the door, those bands have probably been there for two to three hours getting prepared. If they don’t have their own driver, then they’ve probably taken turns driving anywhere from two to eight hours to get to your venue. They might not have showered. They probably ate gas station food for breakfast and lunch. These bands, especially those that are DIY in every way, put in so much effort and should be supported at all costs. I saw all of this with The Nearly Deads last week. even when everyone was drained and things got chaotic, they still put on a great show and were kind of the people that came to watch them.
Today, I’m travelling to Nashville to see them as a fan. I’m not doing merch, I’m not standing in the background. I’m going to be in the crowd like I have been so many times before. I’m going to sing every song as loudly as I can manage, and I’m going to make that shrill noise that is meant to sound vaguely like praise. I’m going to buy myself a t-shirt and give myself a headache. It’s going to be wonderful.
I love the process of finding and reviewing media, but I don’t want to sell myself or anyone else short for the sake of sounding professional. I think people will always make their own judgments, and my job is to show them why they should care in the first place. So for The Nearly Deads? I tell people the story of how I met them, how I’ve seen them at least twice every year since, and how they give as much back to their fans as they get. That’s what makes them important to me, and I can only hope that shows to other people.