Interview with Dead Cross bassist Justin Pearson | By Thomas Pizzola
Dead Cross are a new group who will likely get fans of heavy music salivating. They feature former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, bassist Justin Pearson of The Locust and Retox, and guitarist Mike Crain, also of Retox, and their self-titled debut album was released via Patton’s own Ipecac Recordings on Aug. 4.
According to Pearson, the band’s formation came about in an atypical way. “There was a series of odd circumstances that brought us to this juncture,” he says. “I had previously worked with [producer] Ross Robinson, as did Dave. Ross sort of summoned us to both play on a demo that Poppy Jean Crawford was working on. It just so happened that Dave had to fill some dates and was without a band, so he and Mike Crain—who was also on that same session—had this idea to get a band and live set together in about 12 days. Much has happened [between] those first rehearsals and now, so I will save you the uninteresting details.”
Dead Cross’ original vocalist Gabe Serbian—known for his work with The Locust, Head Wound City, and innumerable other groups—left the band due to personal reasons after playing a bunch of shows and recording half of their album. Instead of packing it in, they went looking for a new vocalist and snagged an even higher-profile replacement in Patton.
“Patton was brought into the mix via Dave; [they] obviously have worked together in the past,” Pearson says. “I had toured and released albums with Ipecac and some of Patton’s bands, as did Mike Crain, so I think it all just sort of seemed like a natural lineup change. The speculative dynamic has changed in many ways. Perhaps with Patton’s vocal style, the material has an added dimension or two. But overall, it’s hard to say, since we barely scratched the surface with Gabe as part of the band and what it was bound to become.”
The band’s debut album, Dead Cross—which was produced by Robinson—is a raging slab of twisted hardcore and plays to the strengths of all those involved. This is not some tired supergroup cash-in. It’s one vicious and cohesive blast from musicians living in the moment, taking inspiration from today’s turbulent times.
“I’m not sure there is a statement with the album. Having an obvious message, and especially one statement with an album, seems trite at times,” Pearson says. “I would say that the musical and artistic backgrounds that we all come from, in context to current times, [is] sort of the overall message. I would say it’s relevant music in this day and age and just leave it at that.”
Photo Credit SAWA