By Michael Del Pizzo (Sunflower Dead)
No More Makeup Wipes!!!
Holy shit! It’s 2018, and once again, the roller coaster that is Sunflower Dead has completely gone off the rails and landed on the tracks of another wild ride! That’s right, after two albums released on our own independent Bloody Bat Records (as the full makeup theatrical weirdos with an accordion), SFD is now makeup-less and signed to a label.
How did this happen? Was there a blowout? Who the hell is in the band now? What label did they sign to? Where is the accordion? Does Michael still like to be given food at shows? All of these answers (plus a few more) will be discussed right here for your enjoyment, boredom, or break from the political nonsense of social media. You are WELCOME!
So here we go. It’s pretty simple. Let’s first address the lack of makeup. While touring the “Weird” album through 2016 and 2017, I started feeling that people were too focused on what they were seeing, and not enough on what they were hearing. I mean, I have a bitching lead guitarist who I feel should be getting way more props. So, I started envisioning SFD without the makeup, spikes and what not, and it seemed cool to me. This is in no way a diss to what we did. We love the theatrical side of our personalities. It was just apparent that it was time to drop it. Why is that you say?
While touring the “Weird” album, a few other band members and I found ourselves getting increasingly more pissed off at how we were getting treated. This was a much different situation from our debut album cycle where we came home happy and enjoying ourselves. Not so much this time.
Though we made great strides in getting our name out with our second album on radio and on tour, we actually lost two band members during the cycle, and the miserable experience of our last tour was with a band that showed us everything we NEVER want to be.
We came home in June of 2017 without a rhythm section, and more determined than ever to push the music much further during the writing and recording of our third album. The goal was to end up with an album that was all about the music without losing the hooks. I love them hooks, so SUCK IT! This had to be an album that spoke for itself. The lyrics had to go from being steeped in metaphor where people were missing my point, to being direct as fuck. The journey had to be dynamic, and the emotional sincerity had to be palpable. No longer would I would be singing “Dance With Death,” and have people think that I am singing about dancing with death, ugh. I guess that is the society we live in, not many want to dig deeper.
Anyways, we wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote, without a rhythm section (mind you) and ended up with like 15 cool demos. We sent those demos to Dave Fortman (producer insano) and he was like, this is the direction for sure. He said something to the effect of… the removal of what was perceived as trite, and the addition of more musical concepts is taking you guys to a whole new level. Well, no shit! (haha) He was right!
Once the album was finished, we sat back and listened, and knew we made the right decision (though it took me the longest to come to terms with the changes). We also knew that this record didn’t need the pomp and circumstance of the makeup. We felt that we accomplished our goal, and now it was time to find a label to release the album.. oh, and find a rhythm section too.
Addressing our former rhythm section…both guys quit for adult decisions which we were cool with. One guy did it like a bitch, and the other did it like a man. We are still cool with the guy who did it like a man. Anyways, it just so happens that a friend of Fortman’s came down to hang during the recording of the album. Apparently, he liked what he was hearing, and asked Dave if we needed a drummer. Lo and behold we did…and BOOM! Brett Weir became our drummer. Dude is rad as fuck. Then Jamie decided to send the rough mixes of the album to a few friends. Christian Olde Wolbers (of Fear Factory fame) who produced our debut album in 2012 was one of those people. Christian is a bro and was like, damn, this record is killer and shows so much growth, I wanna play bass for you guys. Well, that was a no brainer so…BOOM! We had a bassist now. By the way, we used Cordell Crockett from Ugly Kid Joe to track bass on the album (AMAZING), and Chris Hamilton from Downset and Bloodsimple to track the drums. So now had a new album, a new rhythm section and a new look. So who was gonna put this record out..?!?!
Shopping to labels in 2018 in an exercise in NOT killing (haha). Truth is though, I was adamant that I would not independently release another album. I would sit on it for two years if need be (or just break up). Yeah, I am stubborn…no one is perfect. Anyways, our management shopped to everyone and we got every answer possible. From outright NOs, to maybes, to the lame responses like…“it’s cool but we are looking for someone who wear tighter pants” (haha). Typical shit, ya know.
Then EMP Label Group came along and said that they were interested. We felt comfortable with them. I mean it’s owned by David Ellefson (Megadeth), and we are good friends with the label main man Thom Hazaert, so how could we not feel comfortable. We signed on the dotted line, and are very happy about it.
Everything is in motion now, and EMP is doing so much to help us facilitate things. SFD version 3 is coming!!!
So there you go. That’s the nice version (without all the bullshit of the entire last year) put into my words as if you were sitting next to me in a very pc way (haha). Oh and as far as the accordion is concerned, it does not appear on the new album (which is a bummer), but it will be given love at all live shows and hopefully the next album (if we are so lucky to continue on).
Last, but certainly not least…YES! Always bring me food on the road!!!
Michael – SFD