When Sam King wrote the song “Pepperspray” more than two years ago, he had no idea how prophetic the song would be.
“I swear we’re not psychics,” says the Get Dead vocalist. “But, it is a little strange. The whole album is like that, and it’s this trippy thing. But, people have been feeling this way for a very long time, and we could kind of see it coming—we were just tapping into that. That’s the only way I can explain it.”
“Or maybe I should start reading palms or something,” he adds with a sad chuckle.
The now-poignant song is from the band’s latest release, Dancing with the Curse, out today on Fat Wreck Chords.
It’s the caliber of music that is needed right now—urgent, rallying, and optimistic. King steps up his game and storytelling, elevating his raspy vocals to new cadences and heights while the rest of the three band members play with an intense, different energy, pushing themselves in sonic and lyrical areas that Get Dead has never ventured before. In the case of the album’s title, the “curse” is a reference to self-destructive behavior—both individually and as a society.
“You’ve got to navigate this terrain the best that you can and dance with it,” he explains. “You do what you can to make yourself happy and help those you care about. I hope this record gets people through these rough times, but I also hope it pisses people off enough to go out there and stand up against this shit.”
The surprising album kicks off with the surreal, hip-hop-punk track “Disruption.” This song sets the bar for the rest of the album, opening the door for other moments like genre-challenging, electronic elements on “Glitch,” “Confrontation,” and “Take It.” While it’s a fitting opener for the rest of the album, “Disruption” wasn’t originally intended to be the first song.
“I grew up in the ’90s skateboarding, and hip-hop has always been a big influence on me,” King says. “From when I was 16 until about 20, I would make hip-hop music. Since I was about 16, I’ve been doing hip-hop on the side, and it’s like an exercise for my brain. So, I accidentally sent one of those tracks over to Fat Mike—I thought I was sending him rough demos for the album. And on the second draft of the album, he told me he loved it and it’s was going to be the first song.”
Much to the chagrin of their growing number of fans, it took the San Francisco band more than two long years to make this album. When asked why it took so long, King doesn’t wax romantic in his completely honest response.
“I think the label will attest this. We’re probably the most unorganized group of human beings on the face of the earth,” he admits. “It just took us that long to get our shit together. But, I’m glad we didn’t rush it because I think it’s a really good record.”
That unhurried care is evident in the quality and creativity of these songs, which were produced by D-Composers (Fat Mike, Johnny Carey, Baz Bastien, Yotam Ben Horin) and Chris Dugan (Green Day). King says they wanted to make a more positive album than the memorable, darker-themed Honesty Lives Elsewhere.
“The last one was about a friend’s suicide,” he says. “For this record, we wanted something more positive but still realistic about all the shit that’s going on. This album is a step forward.”
Pick up a copy here.
Photo courtesy of Get Dead