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Saturday, March 15 • 9:00pm - 9:30pm
Dax Riggs

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Written and recorded in the aftermath of extensive touring behind deadboy's critically acclaimed We Are Night Sky, We Sing of Only Blood or Love is as much the debut of an astonishing new musical voice as it is the culmination of a career (and passion) that's consumed more than half of Dax's young life. His parents having divorced early on, Dax spent his childhood with his Jehovah's Witness mother in Evansville, Indiana. Saturdays Dax, his mother and the rest of their congregation would take to the streets of outlying neighborhoods, on a mission to share information about the coming Armageddon and to save those who would listen. As much as young Dax loved his work, it would come to an abrupt halt at the age of ten, when he accidentally viewed The Elephant Man on HBO. The film single-handedly decimated Dax's belief in a benevolent almighty and sent him on the course that would ultimately lead to We Sing of Only Blood or Love. By the age of 12, he went to live with his more liberal father in Houma, Louisiana (spawning ground of the Swamp Thing for you comics fans). Lured by the oil boom of the early '80s, Dax's father had moved to Houma and secured work as a cook on an oil platform in the Gulf. Dax did his best to adjust but ultimately drew progressively inward, unable to comprehend the local creole. Frustrated, he would ultimately quit school at 13 and move to Florida with a girl who was... "older." With school out of the way, Dax focused his attention entirely on songwriting. Unsurprisingly, his relationship failed and he returned to Houma, where with three like-minded friends, he formed the sludge-metal band Acid Bath at the age of 16. Acid Bath played anywhere they could around Thibodaux, New Orleans and Houma, and spent the winter of '98 headquartered in an decrepit (sometime) porn theater in Morgan City. Nevertheless, its balcony provided a place for Dax and guitarist Mike Sanchez to sleep. Acid Bath signed to indie label Rotten Records, booked a total of four tours and completed one. Plagued by everything from drug addiction to the death of bassist Audie Pitre, Acid Bath called it quits pretty quickly-though they did leave behind a legacy of 100,000+ record sales, a Louisiana scene that spawned the likes of Eyehategod, Crowbar and Down, and John Wayne Gacy album covers. By 2000, Dax had outgrown metal, honed a self-taught style on guitar and piano, and begun playing out under the name deadboy & the Elephantmen-the name being a tribute to the film that changed his life as well as an expression of his less than positive outlook. He spent the next four years auditioning musicians before hooking up drummer with Tessie Brunet, a kindred spirit hailing from the New Orleans Adoption Agency. She began singing in 2003 and was drumming for barely two months, when during a 2004 visit with her adoptive parents, she played a gig with Dax. It went well enough that she ditched the life she'd been leading in New York City to record We Are Night Sky, which was released in 2006 to an unforeseen level of critical acclaim: ROLLING STONE awarded the record a 4-star review and featured deadboy as an "Artist to Watch," unlikely accolades poured in from the unlikely likes of ELLE (Best of the Month), ESQUIRE ("unexpected gems"), MAXIM ("4 stars... a nightmare come true"), WWD and NYLON, as well as the standard-bears at THE NEW YORKER, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, MAGNET, HARP, BILLBOARD and TIME OUT NEW YORK. Following a grueling year of touring that included the most incongruous bill of Austin Texas's 2006 South By Southwest Festival (deadboy/Beastie Boys/Nickel Creek??? No shit) as well as that year's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, Dax and Tess went their separate ways and Dax repaired to Houma to continue work on the songs that continued to pour out over the course of all the touring and downtime that had surrounded We Are Night Sky. On Hallows Eve 2006, Dax hooked up with Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Johnny Cash, Superwolf, etc.) in Houma, who would produce and play a lot of guitar on what would become We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love--but not just yet. Sweeney broke his hand just as those early November sessions at New Orleans' Piety Studios were to begin, resulting in a sad stretch of self-medicated producing with limited musical input. The two reconvened in January 2007 in New York, for a creative spurt spurred by Dax taking in a rehearsal of Sweeney's favorite band, Endless Boogie. Deeming it "a fucking religious experience," Dax promptly asked the band's drummer Endless Andy MacLeod (White Magic, Bright Black) to play on the record. Winter found Dax, Sweeney and Endless Andy on NYC's Lower East Side arranging, and then in Brooklyn recording a bunch of songs at The Rare Book Room with owner/operator Nicolas Vernhes. At Nicolas's studio, Dax and crew would complete songs from Piety and material that Aaron Havill had recorded at Dax's home with the latter-day deadboy touring dudes: Alex Bergeron (bass), Adam Clement (drums), Sean Keating (keys) and Lucas Broussard (backing vocals)--as well as additional guitar from T.K. Webb, Dax's pal J.T. Van Zandt and his buddy Bozo Cyclops, piano and keys from Endless Andy's bro Robt. E. Lee, drums by Sweeney's Chavez cohort James Lo on three songs and more... Ultimately it became clear that the new material had taken on a life of its own, becoming the next evolutionary stage of Dax's career beyond the deadboy moniker. And a scant few months later, Dax would post on his myspace page: "I want to let everyone know that for a variety of reasons I have decided to release my upcoming album "We Sing of Only Blood or Love" under my name: Dax Riggs. I want to thank everyone who supported deadboy & the Elephantmen, it was and will always be more than just a band, it's in my DNA." That DNA runs deep through the rough hewn "Demon Tied To A Chair," "Didn't Know Yet" and "Radiation Blues," all of which will strike warm familiar notes with the deadboy contingent, though they may be a bit more on the muscular side. Those wading deeper in however are in for some pleasant surprises: Dax's vocals straining to more passionate extremes on "Terrors of Nightlife" and "Ouroboros," the ragtag assortment of musical misfits helping Dax bring some serious glam rave-up to "Living is Suicide" and "I Forgot I Was Alive," a complete curveball cover of Richard Thompson's "Wall Of Death," and, yes, a few more nods to the deadboy faithful in the form of "Scarlett Of Heaven Nor Hell" and "Dog Headed Whore" before the album collapses upon itself, spent but still mustering the final throes of "dethbryte" (chopped and screwed by Andrew W.K.). All told, We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love is Dax Riggs stepping out as a markedly grown up deadboy--a work imbued with newfound vitality, intensity and maturity, yet one that still begs anyone's best guess as to where things go from here. deadboy is undead, long live Dax Riggs. We hope.
http://2008.sxsw.com/music/showcases/band/73322.html

Saturday March 15, 2008 9:00pm - 9:30pm
Cedar Door 201 Brazos St

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