DEADMAN can best be summed up by the mythological story of the Phoenix; a great bird that burns fiercely to ashes from which a new, stronger life emerges. But let's start at the beginning....
At the turn of the century, acclaimed producer Mark Howard (U2, Bob Dylan, Daniel Lanois, Lucinda Williams), signed on to produce the first two of DEADMAN’s records, "Paramour" (2001) and "Our Eternal Ghosts" (2004). The Dallas based band, included lead singer, Steven Collins' then wife, on harmony vocals. Steven recalls, “Mark focused on expanding the sound into a soundscape. Traditional production was replaced by sonic exploration in the realm of the traditional song structure. We never thought about “singles” or “radio songs” we just concentrated on making a unique piece of art. On Eternal Ghosts, Mark gravitated toward the softer, hymn-like songs that gave the record its unique identity. We might have missed that without him being there.”
The band has garnered critical acclaim and industry attention, including such honors as Billboard’s Independent Music World Series Award as well as radio tastemaker support from stations including KCRW: Morning Becomes Eclectic and KEXP in Seattle. The band has also performed at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Having received outstanding reviews and having toured the UK, the US and Continental Europe in support of the album "Our Eternal Ghosts", Steven Collins returned home to face what would seem to be the destruction of the band and what would ultimately be the end of his marriage to his wife and band-mate. DEADMAN went quiet, in the beginning of it’s rise.
But much like the Phoenix, Steven Collins, with the support of his current band mates, arose from the ashes of the former DEADMAN and with a blazing fire in his songwriting, he never lost sight of faith, and he slowly rebuilt his vision of the perfect band.
Enlisting powerful Austin veterans, Jacob Hildebrand (Miranda Lambert, Tommy Shane Steiner) on electric guitar, Kevin McCollough on acoustic guitar and backing vocals (George Devore, Matt Powell), Lonnie Trevino Jr. (Monte Montgomery, Mike Zito) on bass, Kyle Schneider (Roky Erickson, Ian Moore) on drums, and Matthew Mollica (Chris Brecht, Rock Bottom Choir) on Hammond B3 Organ, the band's chemistry accompanied by the songs, personal pain, and faith turned DEADMAN into musical steel.
The Saxon Pub is considered to be much like a musical church by the six-piece band. All band members agree, the historical venue's strong spiritual nature was a key factor that brought back DEADMAN's lead singer and primary songwriter Steven Collins’ faith in the music again. “When I started to reform DEADMAN, I did so with very little expectations. The guys that were joining had more passion than I did at that time. When we secured a small residency at The Saxon Pub, I didn’t think much would come of it. But people started showing up, and they stayed and each week the audience was getting larger and they seemed to really be listening and taking in what we were doing. After a while, I realized that what I was doing was not in vain, but was giving people, including myself, an indefinable hope.”
The club was the anchor of the band's rebuilding period. Where souls were healed, stories of faith were shared, and the belief of the music was resurrected. It would make sense that this band would find comfort at The Saxon Pub. The reputation that the venue and its owner, Joe Ables, have for developing and nurturing true talent is preserved in musical history today. These live recordings caught the magic of DEADMAN at a very special moment in their career. It's honest, it's full, it's inspirational, and it just makes you feel like you've been reborn.