Sounds like: Kid Dynamite, CIV, and Shook Ones.
This file contains some early guitar demos, a live practice, the first demo, Not Falling Apart Anymore, Our Problems Are Better Than Your Problems, and all artwork and lyrics.
You can also download both official recordings here.
Why Would Anything Good Ever Happen?
A Look Back At We’re Not Dead
A retrospective by
We’re Not Dead started as a continuation of Years From Now while I was freezing my ass off up in Richmond, Virginia. I wrote the first few songs (“Down Together” and “We’re Not Dead/Absent Friends”) and they lay dormant for almost two years. When I moved back home to Florida, I joined Axis and eventually got our drummer Tommy to agree to a punk side-project. I enlisted my friends Shane and Mike from Years From Now and got our old friend Derrick from Total Recall to round out the band. We recorded a shitty version of our first record, Not Falling Apart Anymore, in late 2010. We scrapped it and re-recorded the whole thing with Rob McGregor up in Gainesville in 2011. The general consensus among us was that we’d made something special.
We’re Not Dead is best band I’ve ever been in. It’s the band I would’ve started when I was 19 if I’d had a clue. Except it wouldn’t have been as fun because Tommy was probably still shitting in his diapers back then. Which – knowing Tommy – would have made him about nine years of age.
I love our music, not only because I would listen to it even if I hadn’t wrote it, but also because I got to play it with some of my best friends: Shane, Derrick, Mike, and Tommy. We’ve all played in bands together over the years, but this was the first time I felt that we were constantly having fun. I’ve enjoyed all the bands I’ve been in – especially Axis. It’s just that there was something extra-fun about We’re Not Dead. No matter what we were doing, we were always laughing.
This less-than serious attitude was, of course, detrimental to us being a “successful” band. We didn’t rub elbows with anybody important, we didn’t suck-up to bigger show promoters (anyone who says you have to sell tickets to play their show should fuck off), and we didn’t befriend the “right” people who might’ve put us on Warped Tour or introduced us to Man Overboard or some shit. But we did everything exactly the way we wanted to: fast, short, sing-along punk songs, twenty minute sets, $5 shirts, free CDs, and exclusively all-ages shows.
We didn’t take ourselves too seriously because, except for Tommy, we were all in our late twenties and early thirties. Regular, everyday life is far too serious and We’re Not Dead was our way to forget about that for a while.
I’m proud of the two recordings we made and I’m especially proud of the lyrics I wrote. I wanted to write songs about my town, my friends, and the music that’s connected all of us for better than half of our lives. And I think I did alright. Not to mention everyone in the band sounds awesome on the records, despite the fact that we made each one in less than sixteen hours a piece. Rob McGregor at Gainesville’s Goldentone Studios always comes through when you’re on a tight budget.
Being in this band also taught me a few things, the main one being that I can be a curmudgeonly, old shit sometimes. I didn’t think it was possible to make any new friends (real ones) at age thirty, but the guys in Bad Luck proved me wrong. Along with their roadie Erik and Sam and Huff from You Okay?, We’re Not Dead gained somewhat of an extended family through the Bad Luck crew. It’s not often that a band meets a band and each member genuinely gets along with one another and enjoys the others’ music. With Bad Luck this was precisely the case. I found myself bonding with kids a decade younger than I because they were fun, kind, hilarious and real. They didn’t buy into the glitzy, commercial bullshit that’s over-saturated so many people their age. It also doesn’t hurt that they make incredible music. The minute we talked shop about …And Out Come the Wolves, I knew we’d found a group of truly kindred spirits.
Speaking of Rancid’s seminal record, one of We’re Not Dead’s finest moments was doing a Rancid cover set for Bad Luck’s Cold Bones release show. We played “Roots Radicals,” “Maxwell Murder,” “Journey To the End of the East Bay,” and a few others before we ran out of Rancid songs and finished the set off with some of our own. That was a great night and we got to play songs that changed our lives in honor of our friends and the great album they’d released. And I wouldn’t want to forget the Christmas show we played in 2013. We didn’t learn a Christmas song like we’d been asked to, but we did have a Festivus pole. We were lucky enough to shoot a music video as well. Our friends Chris Tharp and Brian Glenn came out to New Smyrna and filmed one of the most wild shows I’ve ever been a part of.
We’re Not Dead played our final two shows in 2014: one at the Lions Den in Daytona and one at the Boondocks in Melbourne. We had a great time at both, but the Daytona one especially. Almost everyone I give a shit about was in the Lions Den that night. It was a great feeling to have such an intense reaction in our hometown. It reminded me of the shows I used to go to at the Coffee Connection and Nicely’s when I was 20 years old. Though Billy probably would’ve hated hooking my iPod to the PA so we could bookend our set with The Golden Girls and Seinfeld themes.
We were planning on releasing a third record, but it just wasn’t feasible. However, we did have a few new songs that we never recorded (“Fuck the Florida Curse” was one) and I’m disappointed that they’ll probably never see the light of day. The new record was set to have a theme inspired by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I even had the title: Even I Would Tell Me To Fuck Off.
There was no definitive reason why we broke up, which is why I’m still very sad about it. It just seemed like no one had time anymore. And being together as friends was always the best part about the band.
In early 2016 we did a reunion set at the final Lions Den show. We had Jesse fill in for Mike on guitar and Justin for Tommy on the drums. It was great being able to add two of my very good friends into the line-up, if just for the night. But, even though we got a great crowd reaction, the set just wasn’t fun. It had nothing to do with the new members – they played the songs perfectly. But the overall feeling was that we were beating a dead horse. The band was finished.
It’s tough to let go of the things that drive and define you. But sometimes you have no choice. Maybe one day we’ll pull it back together for a few shows, or a recording. There aren’t many people who would care, but then again, We’re Not Dead was always for us.