And here’s the moment you’ve all been eagerly anticipating. Following their triumphant return to the stage last year, the legendary Pittsburgh band is back for another show — their only scheduled appearance in this area this year — as well as a brand-new album and line of merchandise!
Without any further delay, here’s a series of questions and answers I exchanged with guitarist/vocalist Brian “Goodbread” Lawrence…
VOS: Hello, and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! How are you?
BL: I’m doing well. Thanks.
VOS: Would you mind introducing yourself for the readers, please?
BL: I am Brian Lawrence, vocalist and guitarist of Dream Death.
VOS: Can you tell me a little bit about your history? For example, how you guys originally got together, and then how you ended up re-forming after so many years of hibernating?
BL: Basically, [drummer] Mike Smail and I grew up as next door neighbors, got the hard rock bug and started playing our instruments. That was at a fairly early age. Not until our later teens did we develop the DD sound. I was out of the music business for quite some time, while Mike (and [guitarist] Terry [Weston]) continued on as Penance for years. The recent DD reformation just started out as us jamming and having fun.
VOS: Dream Death is definitely looked upon as a legend; not just here in Pittsburgh, but all over the metal world the name seems to be revered and people cite you guys as influences. I’d like to know, who are some of the people or other bands that have influenced YOU and shaped YOUR sound?
BL: Back in the day, there was Sabbath of course. NWOBHM bands like Angel Witch, Witchfinder General. Later it was Trouble and Candlemass. In our recent efforts, I’d mix in a little Univers Zero and Magma, although those bands may be unfamiliar to some metal fans.
VOS: How would you describe the Pittsburgh metal scene today, and how would you say it compares with how things were back in the 80s when you first started out?
BL: I’m definitely the wrong person to ask about this. I don’t really follow the scene as it is, but just specific bands and such. In the 80’s it got pretty crazy. By that I mean there were a lot of bands around and a very large group of fanatical fans.
VOS: I’ve heard that you guys all stayed in touch throughout the years you were apart, and recently you just sort of got back together to hang out, and the band reunion kind of happened spontaneously out of that. Is that accurate? When you first made the decision (last year) to announce you’d be playing as Dream Death once again, did you have any idea that the reaction would be as enormous as it was? Also, did it ever occur to you that it could turn into more than just a one-time thing, eventually leading to more festival appearances, and even a new album?
BL: HaHa. The part about hanging out is true. I kind of was re-exploring the music because Mike had asked me to write the liner notes for the Back from the Dead demo compilation. I thought it would be interesting to revisit this style of music in a modern context. By modern, I don’t mean recent trends, but our specific musical tastes and slants as they are today. We started jamming for fun and one thing led to another. The reaction at the reunion show was amazing and, yeah, pretty surprising. Most definitely a night to remember. We probably knew that we were going to continue on a bit when we wrote the new song “Them” (titled “Unwelcome” at the reunion show). It was a great feeling creating something new that we really loved. It didn’t feel like a joke or a bunch of old guys playing. We were committed. At least I hope it doesn’t sound that way to other people. HaHa.
VOS: Speaking of that new album, did you guys write all new material together, or is this some stuff you maybe have had lying around for a while, or some of both?
BL: I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this question and surprisingly you’re the first. Somnium Excessum is 100% new material. I wouldn’t even know where we would find old stuff lying around. Haha. It actually wouldn’t be that interesting to me if we had old songs that we just pulled out. I like a new, creative take on things.
VOS: And the last thing — I’ve been asking everyone this, and I have to tell you that so far the most common answer has been “Dream Death“. But, is there anyone else playing at Winter’s Wake that YOU are especially look forward to seeing?
BL: I’m interested in checking everyone out. Several bands I’m not familiar with. The Gates of Slumber will be cool. I always enjoy Molasses Barge. I’m also interested in seeing Derketa as I’ve never seen them before despite being friends with the band members. Should be a good show!
VOS: We will definitely all be looking forward to seeing you Saturday night, and thank you again for taking the time to do this!
BL: Not a problem. Thanks for the interview, and thanks for the exposure. See you Saturday!
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Dream Death are playing TONIGHT at Winter’s Wake — Saturday, 23 February 2013, at 6119 (6119 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh).