The Damnwells …setting a new path with new record, No One Listens to the Band Anymore

Every band that sets up in the basement or garage has the dream of getting that big shot: opening slots on bills with your heroes, rock stardom…a major label record deal.

The Damnwells have lived that dream, opening on tours for bands such as Cheap Trick, signing deals with Epic records and recording big budget albums. The lead singer of the band, Alex Dezen, also holds one of my favorite rock and roll moments- watching him sing “Surrender” with Cheap Trick , his face frozen in a grin like a child who has met Santa…

The Damnwells have also experienced the sometimes-devastating reality that follows achieving the rock and roll dream- being dropped by the label and left to their own means. Unlike so many bands that go through this experience alone and unnoticed, for the Damnwells, the rise and subsequent letdown was documented in the film, Golden Days. (now available on DVD)

“One of my best friends had an idea to document our rise to stardom, and was able to capture so much more,” said Alex Dezen , lead singer and songwriter of the band, by phone. “I am very glad that he was there, because it helped deal with all the stuff that was going on.

For many bands, the death of the major label dream is also the death of the band.  Not so for the Damnwells… Alex Dezen turned this experience into a rebirth.

After the drama of recording the album, Air Stereo, Dezen returned to school- earning his Masters in Creative Writing from Iowa. “Returning to school was what was needed to refresh after the experience documented in Golden Days,” said Dezen.

During this time, Dezen and band recorded an album called One Last Century, and in a strange twist, gave it away for free via Paste Magazine. This seemingly counterproductive decision turned out to be a shrewd move. Using the email addresses captured in the giveaway, the band began a fundraising campaign via the website pledgemusic.com. The initial goal of raising $20K was exceeded by more than 200%. These funds are allowing the Damnwells to release their new disc without going into debt. The fans have become the record label…

Utilizing this “new” method of fan-support is not that odd to Dezen, “For centuries, artists would be paid to produce art for a benefactor- supported in total by the recipient of the art, ” said Dezen. “This is really no different, just a return to those days before capitalism took over art.”

The result of this fan-funded project is No One Listens to the Band Anymore, a record that fully represents the lyrical and melodic mastery of Alex Dezen, and the concise mood-fitting music the band is known for. The release more than delivers on the expectations of those supporters who donated over $40,000 to make it happen, with highlights being the stunning, “The Great Unknown,” and “Let’s Be Civilized.”

The album was released on March 15, and is available on iTunes and through the band’s own webstore.

March 29 finds the band returning to North Carolina soil for the first time since 2006,  with a stop on their headlining tour dropping them at King’s in downtown Raleigh.

“During the fundraising on pledgemusic, we kept hearing people say, “Come to North Carolina”, and discovered we have a pocket of fans in the state, so we are happy to be able to play there on this tour,” said Dezen.

Every band begins with a dream, but not every band is adept at adapting those dreams to the reality of the musical landscape of the 2000’s.. The Damnwells are not only evolving, they are helping to set the new model.

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father, husband, musician, employee, writer... in that order

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