Unplugged is good in Theory

Theory of a Deadman musicians are looking at boning up on their piano-playing skills for their first acoustic tour that stops on Jan. 24, at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre.

Theory of a Deadman musicians are looking at boning up on their piano-playing skills for their first acoustic tour that stops on Jan. 24, at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre.

None of the four band members have ever played a piano on stage before, said bassist Dean Back. “We all just tinker around on the piano …”

Yet a quick-study pianist could be needed if the band is to perform an unplugged version of The One for a live audience.

Back noted the song, which was reworked for the group’s latest acoustic EP, Angel, was originally recorded mostly on the electronic keyboards, with very little guitars and drums.

Playing an acoustic version in concert will either take one of the musicians becoming a more confident piano player — or the music will have to be arranged differently.

“That song will be one of our biggest challenges,” said Back, but “it’s fun to challenge yourself.”

The bassist is excited about stretching his B.C. band in a new “out-of-the box” direction.

He believes acoustic shows require a more intense energy. Rather than jumping around with electric instruments, Back said, “you have to keep the audience engaged when you’re just sitting on a stool … It shows your range as a musician. It also showcases the strength of your songs and your ability to get the emotions across to people.”

He encourages fans to come out, saying it’ll be a “great opportunity” to hear their favourite songs from a fresh perspective.

The Delta, B.C., group has dabbled in many genres over the years, including country, post-grunge, alternative rock — even novelty tunes, since a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour is a Theory of a Deadman trademark.

It can be heard again on the band’s latest single Blow from the album Savages. The musical rant about everything from Chris Brown to the National Rifle Association is obviously striking chords with listeners. Back said it’s climbing Canadian charts and has cracked the Top 10 in the U.S.

“We often hear it’s hard to break into the States,” added the bassist, yet the band’s previous single, the love song Angel, went all the way to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart.

Back explained, “the U.S. market has always been a focus for us. We’ve regularly spent time touring in the U.S. as well as Canada.” And the effort is paying off.

Theory of a Deadman was formed in 2001 by vocalist/guitarist Tyler Connolly and his friends: rhythm guitarist Dave Brenner and Back. The group changed drummers several times, until Joey Dandeneau joined in 2009.

Back noted their strong friendship has sustained them through tough times and close quarters.

“It really does help to have the same sense of humour. We know each other so well, we’re like a family. We see some other bands and they all hate each other or they’re not happy… but in 14 years we’ve never even gotten into a fight.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $49 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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