Listen to New Supergroup Dead Men Walking’s ‘Rock and Roll Kills': Exclusive Premiere
If you believe in the afterlife, then you might have interest in Dead Men Walking, a new group featuring singer Mike Peters of the Alarm, Captain Sensible of the Damned on bass, drummer Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats and guitarist Chris Cheney of Australian rockers the Living End. Their live shows have already become well-known for producing surprise jam sessions with friends like Fred Armisen (playing under his Ian Rubbish alias), former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Lemmy, just to name a few.
We now have an exclusive premiere of “Rock and Roll Kills,” the new single from their upcoming debut album Easy Piracy, which will be released on May 7. You can listen to the song below.
As Peters told us during a recent conversation, the group came about as a result of the friendships that the individual members had built on the road touring and opening for each other.
“I first met Slim Jim Phantom in 1980 when the beginnings of the Alarm started," he recalled. "We supported the Stray Cats on the Runaway Boys tour in 1980, and we struck up a friendship that’s lasted all the way through, and whenever possible, we’ve jumped up and played with each other. The Alarm toured with Captain Sensible and the Damned a few years ago, and that’s when the Captain got roped in. Once Captain joined in with myself and Slim Jim, it just felt like it was something more than just a band to play each other’s music. We all connected in a way that we felt like we wanted to make some of our own music.”
Describing the band as “a real motley crew of musicians,” Peters says that the group eased into things “rather than speeding towards the end result,” and worked together on material off and on for several years. But they didn’t really get serious about completing an album until Cheney joined the lineup last year. “That really provided the real impetus to make the record something real and something that we could play out and we could tour," he says. "He was like the missing link in making it a complete group."
Peter says making a record "was the sum of the chemistry that we have as individuals. ... There’s elements of the Stray Cats, the Damned, the Alarm, the Living End. There’s elements of our histories of growing up through the earliest forms of rock 'n' roll, through rockabilly from the Stray Cats and Slim Jim Phantom, punk from Captain Sensible and the Damned and then the Alarm and the alternative rock of the ‘80s comes into it. Then more modern rock, epitomized by the Living End, and the continuation of a line that you can draw right from Jerry Lee Lewis through Johnny Rotten right to this date. I think that the Dead Men Walking is kind of almost one of the last rock 'n' roll bands standing in the world that actually understands what rock 'n' roll is and where it’s come from."
“Rock and Roll Kills” provides a fitting first impression of the band, according to Peters, who says that “it’s got a bit of everything. All four of us sing on the record and on that particular song. We all chipped in with the lyrics, and there’s a bit of fun to it. It’s the one song that we felt really empowered to play when we played last summer with the shows on the West Coast of America. We started off with “Rock and Roll Kills” and it just smashed the place down straight away."
Peters thinks the song is just as good as some of the past classics by the band's members, like the Stray Cats' “Rock This Town,” the Alarm's “Sixty Eight Guns” and the Damned's “Neat Neat Neat.” "It’s got some of the Ramones in it, it’s got some Elvis [Presley] in it, it’s got some Sex Pistols in it, it’s got a little Green Day in it, it’s got some of the [Rolling] Stones in it," he says "It’s got everything to do with rock 'n' roll, absolutely written right through it from the start to the finish and it’s dead easy to play.”
Comparing Dead Men Walking to other supergroups like Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Traveling Wilburys, Peters says "it’s the sound of our generation, and we’ve all lived the life for long enough and now we want to celebrate it together and bring the best of what we’ve learned under one roof.”
The band will be hitting the road for an initial run of tour dates in early May, and for fans who haven’t had an opportunity to check out the group yet, Peters says that they can expect the familiar hits from the members’ collective past glories in addition to songs from the debut album. “When we play these shows, it’s not just all new material -- we play the big songs that we’re all known for,” he promises. “It’s a bit like a jukebox there. It’s like we’re this walking compilation, and the audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen from one song to the next. But it’s always exciting, and it’s ultimately what music was all about. It’s why we all got into it, because we felt moved by it and I think we can create some damage with Dead Men Walking.”
Dead Men Walking 2015 Tour
5/5 - Seattle, WA
5/6 - Portland, OR
5/7 - San Francisco, CA
5/8 - Santa Ana, CA
5/9 - Los Angeles, CA
5/10 - San Diego, CA
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