The Nearly Deads are a lively bunch. Just last week the Nashville rockers stopped by to share their feline-friendly track Punk Rock Kitty Cat right HERE. Today, singer Theresa Jeane (aka TJ) and lead guitarist Steven Tobi return to do tag-team battle with my soul-sucking questions. Let’s see how lively they feel after that.
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
TJ: Theresa Jeane, 5’6”, Pisces
Steven: 5’9″, Sagittarius, 5Head
What is your musical origin story?
Steven: TJ and I met at a concert when we lived in Tampa FL. We played in separate bands and both had an interest in moving to Nashville for better musical opportunities. After moving up, my band’s singer decided he couldn’t make the move so we needed a singer. TJ asked if she could audition. Clearly she got the gig and the rest is history 🙂
What’s your latest project? Tell us everything we need to know.
TJ: We have been working on an acoustic album that will feature some of our deep cuts as well as old favorites in a way never heard before! We are also processing the past few years and coming up with content for a new full-length album. So, it will be a very creative and productive year for us! I just released my second solo single Cold Day in Hell, a nice pop departure from our typical sound! I’m really proud of the song and I’m glad quarantine gave me the time to pursue my solo endeavors.
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
Steven: That’s a tough question. We would love to be completely unique but I don’t think absolute originality exists. We are all inspired by something and more often than not, those inspirations show through. Maybe what sets us apart is the combination of our influences and our message (Fans of Rock, Punk, Pop and Orchestral music; Nerds for pop culture, movies and video games; promoters of positivity, self confidence and the pursuit of happiness).
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
TJ: We hope that you’ll learn to love yourself, accept your flaws, and realize that you’re not alone. Through writing these songs, I discovered those things about myself. Finding your tribe and surrounding yourself with like minded people is life changing!
What album / song / artist / show changed your life?
Steven: So many great and tough questions haha. It’s really hard to narrow it down. I would say the Smashing Pumpkins personally changed my view of what a band can be. Unfortunately I wasn’t exposed to them until after their breakup in the late ’90s. I had heard their songs on the radio and wanted to know more so I bought their greatest hits album. Hearing the diversity in their career, from classic and heavy guitar riffs in Gish, to the epic and theatrical hits in Mellon Collie, to the industrial and electronic track in Adore; it showed me that an artist can really be creative while still retaining an identity. Outside of the Pumpkins, Billy Talent and Coheed played a big part in my guitar playing style. Then the Danish band Mew blew my mind and perception of sound, rhythm and songwriting. Hope that answers it 🙂
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
TJ: I got paid exactly $23 door money to open up for a band called Bad Cat at the Uptown Bar in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. They found me on MySpace.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you have given?
Steven: More tough questions! Best: I will say the In This Moment tour as a whole. We really learned how to fine tune our performance and engage the crowd. Worst: Vegas. We drove way out of the way to fill a hole in our schedule because we were promised heavy promotion and a big payout. Of course we get there, the venue was changed last-minute but no promotion was made about the change, so we played to a crowd of three. We were asked to play two interchanging sets with our tour package, then when it was all over the promoter disappeared, cancelled his burner phone and never paid us. Most Memorable: The Journeys Backyard BBQ Festival. It was our first large crowd and the first time I felt personally validated as a band.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
TJ: Best would have to go to Muse. Their stage setups are always so massive and over the top — they are a must-see band live. Most memorable goes to Fable Cry from Nashville — you never know what they’re gonna throw off stage.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
Steven: This honestly. I’d love to still be writing and releasing music with this band; going on tour and engaging with our amazing community. I’d also like to be doing more composing and seeing what other creative outlets I can get involved in.
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
TJ: Shirley Manson and Garbage 100%! Shirley is such an inspiration to me as both a performer and a human being. She’s iconic.
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
Steven: I love all types of music. Movie scores are what inspired me to be a musician as a child and I still listen to them today. Currently I’ve been listening to a lot of trip-hop and downtempo. Maybe our listeners wouldn’t expect that from me?
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
TJ: My playlists are currently all over the place. I am very into Harry Styles, though. The most recent albums I bought were from I Am The Avalanche and Off With Their Heads.
How about some other favourites? Authors / movies / painters / philanthropists / you name it.
Steven: I was originally going to go to art school to be a concept artist before I got the music bug. Dali, H.R. Giger and M.C. Escher really inspired me as an artist. Jaws is my favorite movie of all time, but I love so many (horror and sci-fi being my favorite genres). Love Tolkien and Orson Scott Card and Chuck Palahniuk.
Who would you be (or have you been) starstruck to meet?
TJ: I’m horrible at stuff like this and get starstruck very easily. I remember being too shy to say more than ‘great set’ to the members of Less Than Jake after a show in St. Pete that I was lucky enough to be backstage at since my friends were in their opening band. However, one time Dan Andriano from Alkaline Trio gave me a high five at a karaoke bar in Nashville and that was really neat.
Tell us a joke.
Steven: What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus.
What do you drive and why? What do you want to drive and why?
TJ: I currently have a Kia Soul and I legitimately bought it because it has a great sound system and can fit my keyboard. Not to sound like a commercial but it’s also great on gas and a really cute car! My dream car is a Ford Mustang convertible because I rented one once and felt like a complete badass driving it. However, it does NOT fit a keyboard, so that one will have to wait!
What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
Steven: The ability to rewind time five minutes. I would correct any stupid things I say or do. 🙂
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
TJ: I really enjoy painting and have a tier on my personal Patreon where I send out small original paintings every month.
What do you collect?
Steven: Way too many things. (horror/sci-fi movies, horror monster figures, Star Wars legos, horror video games, embarrassing memories and regret).
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
TJ: I usually try to bring something “fancy” that everyone will love even though they’re afraid to try it, like goat cheese and fig jam with bread!
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Steven: I feel by answering this I am revealing my age, but I’ll say TikTok and Snapchat.
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
TJ: I currently have a black cat named Eleanor. She is literally my queen. And I’ve had other cats in the past, including McFly, who currently resides with my cousins in Wisconsin and is featured on our track Punk Rock Kitty Cat!
If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
Steven: Host of a travel food show. I’m a huge foodie and love to travel, so wouldn’t it be amazing to get paid to do both!
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
TJ: Best advice: Never move in with a significant other you haven’t known for at least two years.