Sunflower Dead – InterviewBy William Simpson • Sep 7th, 2015 • Category: Artist Interviews
Interview by William Simpson
Sunflower Dead is a new metal band out of California with a fresh sound and a driving desire to entertain. The band, consisting of Michael Del Pizzo, Jamie Teissere, Leighton “Lats” Kearns, Jimmy Schultz, and Jaboo, are standing on the eve of the release of their sophomore album, “Its Time To Get Weird”. They have out done themselves with this hard hitting album. The Sunflower Dead will be a tour favorite before long and their music will be a must on everyone metalhead’s iPod. StageShottz Magazine had the honor of sitting down with vocalist Del Pizzo to discuss the bright future of the band.
StageShottz Magazine: For those fan that have not heard of Sunflower Dead, tell me a little about the band.
Michael Del Pizzo: The band started back in 2012 when we released our debut record. It was produced by Christian Olde Wolbers, the original bassist of Fear Factory. It’s kind of an interesting band because it’s made up of a bunch of guys from other bands in the Southern California music scene that have achieved some sort of level of success. We have guys that toured with In This Moment, Buckethead, Memento. One of my band members was in a band that was signed to Munky from Korns record label in the mid-2000s. We put together the rocks stars of all of these other bands and we decided to something a little more than just a bunch of guys in jeans and tee shirts. We were going to go more of the Alice Cooper or KISS route and entertain people and Sunflower Dead was born. It was actually based off of a short story that I wrote called The Sunflower Dead. So we took on the idea of the characters, put out this record in 2012 and been touring the US for two and a half years with bands like In This Moment, and All That Remains, and bands like that. We just our first European tour this July with Snot and we did some shows with Korn. We have just been building it up for the past three years.
SSM: you are getting ready to release you second album called “Its Time To Get Weird”. Tell me how this album is different from your first album.
MDP: Well, “Its Time To Get Weird” is tentatively scheduled to be released on October 30th. It’s a different record because number one, we did all the touring for the first record and we really learned who we are and what we wanted to do and what works and what doesn’t. All those things we learned on the road went into the writing and recording of this record. What you are getting this time is an extremely polished version, concise band that know exactly who they are and what that want in the new record “Its Time To Get Weird”. The fun that we started having on the road and on stage really comes across in the record. We walk this fine line, we are a dead serious band but we are also having a lot of fun. It’s a hard line to walk because sometimes you get to much fun and be goofy or be too serious and come off pompous, so we walk a fine line.
SSM: You made a conscience decision about who you brought into the band, your look, your show, going national right from the beginning instead of playing the local scene, has all of that made this band tighter and more endearing to each other and give you a higher desire to thoroughly entertain your fans?
MDP: Fir me, and I think for everyone in the band feel that this is the best thing they have ever been a part of. When you have a group of guys together and you find out you have such great chemistry when you play together, it’s not something you take for granite. Everybody is always looking for that band that they have the chemistry in and we’ve all finally found it in this band. It’s something that we really make sure that we never take advantage of because if you lose a member or something goes a little sideways and it’s gone. We definitely have that chemistry and we enjoy it.
SSM: Being a fairly new band, you have shared the road with some major artists. What have you learned personally and as a band from those artists?
MDP: The biggest thing is to keep professional and try to keep the emotion in check because when you are on the road it becomes a very trying time because you’re exhausted and emotions can run hot and there are always problems every day on the road. Just try to keep it cool and try to be consistent with your live show, as consistent as you possibly can. The biggest I have noticed with the bands at the top and the bands that are playing locally is the consistency in their performances on top of the magical chemistry these bands have created with the members they have. That’s what we try to pick up, be professional and treat people with respect even when you are in a terrible mood. It’s hard sometimes but that’s something I have seen the great bands do and that’s something we try and do.
SSM: What is an experience you have had in music, either a show you went to or a show of yours or someone you met, that you take with you and can look back on and smile?
MDP: you know when I was a little little kid I was at my friend’s house and we were looking at a bunch of old videos and this video came on and it was Twisted Sisters’ “We’re Not Going To Take It”. I had never heard of that and I didn’t know what it was and when the father in the video would ask the kid “What do you want to do with your life” and the kid said “I wanna Rock” and started spinning around and turned into Dee Snider. I just looked at my friend and I said I didn’t know what that is but that’s what I want to be. I just knew that’s what I wanted to be. That just kind of sums up the rest of my life, I just wanna rock and that’s what I do.
SSM: If you could sit down with anyone, living or dead, from any genre of music over lunch and pick their brain, who would it be and why?
MDP: There are so many people I wouldn’t mind sitting down with, you know my idol vocally is Steve Perry from Journey and I would definitely want to sit down with him from a vocal standpoint but from an entertainment standpoint I would actually like to sit down with Madonna and talk to her about her career and the art of entertaining and keeping people enthralled with what you are doing. I would like to get her perspective on that because she is a master of that trade.
SSM: One last question before I let you go, is there anything else you would like the fans to know about Sunflower Dead?
MDP: Yeah, something that’s interesting on our new record, the title track “It’s Time To Get Weird”, its actually me and Jonathan Davis from Korn singing. We are actually doing a duet together on the song and its really killer. Keep in touch with us on Sunflowerdead.com and on our social media, facebook, instragram, twitter, you know, the usual suspects. There’s a lot of stuff coming up for this band and it’s going to be a fun couple of years.