There’s no other way to say it, but as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has been rough to say the least. March Madness gave way to March Sadness and over the last few weeks each time we get good news; it’s followed-up with dire predictions. Luckily, there’s hope on the horizon and good news too.
Being creatures of habit, we find comfort in our routines. Two things that make us smile is our music and our sonic heroes. As fate would have it, those heroes have stepped it up and they’ve been helping us deal with life in today’s reality. They’ve done many things, but what stands out of late are the live stream performances, PSA’s and new music… these new tunes are food for the soul. That in itself has helped us heal a little bit each and every day. As the music Gods weighed their options, some bands found themselves in a unique position to put out new music right when we needed it most. They didn’t wait or any blessings, signs, overtures or omens. Instead, they did what musicians do. They pressed on to make things happen. Such is the case with a legend in the world of Alternative Rock, John Easdale and his electrifying band, Dramarama.
As a backdrop to this story, I first met John back in December of 1990. Not sure if he remembers our first meeting, but I do. I’ve chatted with him a few times since then, so he may remember me now. For me, that was the first time I got to see him perform live. I remember that day very well, I was working for a radio station in Burbank at the time, KROQ 106.7 FM in LA; and Dramarama was playing our inaugural acoustic Christmas show. It was a wild night, full of so much promise for all the bands.
I recall standing next to Mike Ness of Social Distortion when Dramarama took the stage. I recall most everything about that night, as if it just happened yesterday. It was that soul piercing sound that could wake the dead that I remember most. I also recall everyone in the building singing along to every word of each song. I could tell Ness was enjoying the tunes; I knew right then and there that this band would be around for a while.
Since then, Dramarama has been the face of ALT Rock, or Modern Rock or whatever you want to dub them. Their music is heard everywhere on the planet, especially on radio. They’ve literally become part of our soundtrack of our lives with hit songs like “Last Cigarette,” “Haven’t Got a Clue,” “What Are We Gonna Do? ” “Wonderamaland” and their uber-hit, “Anything-Anything.”
Just like all legends, Easdale often speaks out when he finds a legit reason to speak out. It’s what many artists that can reach the masses have always told me. Guys like Ness, John Lydon, Dave Wakeling, John Doe and Jello Biafara have told me that speaking truth is a must, but it comes at a price. Collectively, they’ve had their own brushes with being the voice of truth. They’ve all said at one time that they feel almost obligated to speak from the heart about things that matter. They all said it in their own words of course, but that’s the intrinsic message. Just like his brothers and sisters that speak truth, Easdale often finds much applauded support when he speaks, and the haters also hear his words.
Nevertheless, Easdale and Dramarama remain a force in the world of music, and for me, I can honestly tell you that he and his band mates are the good guys in the world of music. They often lend their name to organizations and causes that stand for something good and decent.
That said, John’s been talking about new music for the past year, and now that we’re in this weird state of stay at home orders; the timing couldn’t have been better to get us that promised new music.
The thing about music, for years… bands like Social Distortion, Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys have always worn their hearts on their sleeves. They get mad props for that, and they also get unrelenting criticism too. It’s a delicate balance sometimes, and sometimes it’s not. It’s been said that if you’re prone to speaking truth, just be sure you have a fast horse. Because in the end, words have the power to attract strong minds, and weak ones too.
The new album is called Color TV, it’s their first release in 15 years. Inasmuch as some of the songs may have a theme that could align itself with today’s social media news cycle, honestly…. nobody saw this coming this time last year. Easdale told us that the themes throughout the album were written many years ago, it’s just a weird coincidence that these themes have the substance they have today.
Songs from the album include a couple of tunes released over the past few months. Those songs would be “Swamp Song” and “It’s Only Money.” Considering today’s uber-charged political climate, and the new stimulus package, you would think Dramarama had a crystal ball with those titles.
The new single is “Up To Here.” In the song, Easadale expresses his feelings as he normally does. He doesn’t come off someone that’s preachy and out-of-touch. Instead, he shares the feelings many of us have. Being fed up with the status quo and the lack of answers for many of today’s challenges. The album deals with the trials and tribulations of truth, love, and addiction. Themes all of us can relate with.
Here’s the thing about Dramarama, they are the everlasting optimist. If you ever chat with this band, you’ll get this sense of their eternal sunshine; no matter what’s going on. You don’t know how, but they leave you with the impression that it will all work out, no matter what it is. That’s a big reason they are so beloved by their fans. Their fans know this bands cares about them.
With a new album on the horizon, they have a press release. It says Dramara is rooted in grit, punk energy and American songbook energy; that’s ALL true! If you ask me, it sells them a little short. Anyone who follows music can tell a good voice when they hear one; and Easdale is at the top of his game. His interaction with crowds and the command he brings is something you can’t buy or teach. His love for music and his fellow human beings are as authentic as it gets. The band itself is powerfully electric and their sound and vision can jump start any soul.
Today’s Dramarama features Easdale on vocals, Mark Englert (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Peter Wood (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Mike Davis (Bass), and Tony Snow (Drums). Collectively, they bring power and passion to the stage, and their fans feed off that. It doesn’t hurt that they’re all down-to-earth good people. That’s the takeaway from Dramarama, they’re just like you and me, only difference…. they just happen to be in a band that plays really good music!
We all know that life has its challenges, luckily there are people out there helping us all get through this thing called life. Check out the new single, it’s out now. The album, Color TV, comes out May 1st. It’ll be available everywhere on the planet; wherever you normally get your music.
What Are We Gonna Do?
Be Bold, Be Fearless, Speak Truth and Add Music As Needed