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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Another Dead Clown Releases “This May Not Work”

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Meagan Brus, Christopher O’keeffe, Ian Deming, and Gerad O’Shea make up the core of the band

 

 

 

University of Massachusetts Boston alumnus and former Mass Media contributor Chris O’Keeffe showcases pure musical talent with his band Another Dead Clown in the group’s first full-length album, “This May Not Work,” released June 4.

Based in Astoria, NY Another Dead Clown is comprised of O’Keeffe on lead vocals and guitar; Gerad O’Shea on bass, vocals, percussion, piano, and saxophone; Meagan Brus on vocals, accordion, and tiny keyboard; and Ian Deming on ukulele, vocals, and tiny keyboard.

While many bands strive to be perceived as “united” with the audience during a performance,it can be hard to find bands that practice what they preach. Another Dead Clown gained an early reputation for their all-inclusive performances boisterously refuted any skepticism regarding their bond with the audience.

At the beginning of each show O’Keeffe addresses the crowd with his sincere declaration: “You are all in this band. If you see something happening on stage you don’t agree with, please come up here and fix it.”Audience members joined in and played with harmonicas, ukuleles, megaphones, basses, and even beer bottles.

Another Dead Clown identifies their particular style as “small rock.” “I stole the term from Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing),” O’Keeffe says. “Basically, the idea is that we’re using little instruments to make big songs. I mean, as big as possible when you’re using a ukulele and a toy keyboard. We get ‘indie-folk’ fairly often because of the acoustic instruments, and that’s not far off.”

The recording process for “This May Not Work” followed a similar approach to Another Dead Clown’s early days of collaborative performing. Multiple tracks on the album include added vocals and instrumentals from musicians and friends of the band, which played a significant role in creating asynchronous tonality throughout the record.

Lead vocals and lyricist O’Keeffe wrote half of the songs for the record in Cambridge and composed the rest of them in Astoria. While writing the songs, O’Keeffe was influenced by records such as, “Come on Feel the Lemonheads” by the Lemonheads and “69 Love Songs” by the Magnetic Fields.

“One of my favorite things about that Lemonheads record is how they strategically deployed female vocals,” said O’Keefe. “Juliana Hatfield and Belinda Carlisle are these secret weapons that take things to the next level just when it seems the songs have peaked. I’m lucky to have two amazing female singers on this album.”

O’Keeffe’s prized female singers are Meagan Brus, who is a full time member of Another Dead Clown as well as a professional opera singer, and Karen Garro, who is an amazing songwriter and a longtime friend of the band.

“69 Love Songs” influenced O’Keeffe during the composition process because of its revue-like feel.

“Every song sounds different but somehow hangs together with the theme,” O’Keefe said. “Different instrumentation, different singers, varying levels of candor, irony, and humor make me think every song on ‘This May Not Work’ sounds a little different from every other song. That’s the great thing about recording: the band can be as big and inefficient as you want.”

Diverse elements applied throughout the record have several associations, but “thematically, it’s very much about two people who love each other, who also realized that they are not going to be together romantically but still want to be in each other’s lives.” O’Keeffe added, “It’s really hard to stay in that middle area when the forces of attraction are pushing you back together and the impulse of self-preservation is telling you to cut it off completely.”

“This May Not Work” fulfills the desire to hear a powerful creation of music derived from both individual and collaborative forces. This album is ideal for those longing to hear an ideation of real music that is finely complemented by lyrics composed with sincere, thoughtful purpose.

 

 

Email Allison Gates.