MANKATO — A helpful friend gave Joe Dandeneau the crucial tip that landed him in the drummer's seat for Theory of a Deadman.
About four years ago, then-drummer Brent Fitz left the Delta, British Columbia-based rock band to join Alice Cooper on tour. Before doing so, he called his good friend Dandeneau to help him land an audition.
But Fitz gave him one more tip:
“He told me, ‘Whatever you do, say that you play video games.’”
Sure enough, after surviving the first audition in Los Angeles and making the cut from 20 drummers down to two, Dandeneau was just beginning his second audition with dinner in Vancouver when guitarist Dave Brenner asked the question.
So, do you play video games?
“I said, ‘Yea, I play video games,’” Dandeneau said. “At the time, I didn’t play at all. I totally lied to ‘em.’”
Fib or not, it worked out well for Dandeneau.
Before joining Theory, Dandeneau kicked around in a couple cover bands, often playing Theory’s tunes. As a drummer who prides himself on his pocket playing -- that is, a style of play that emphasizes the timing and rhythm components of drumming -- said the band’s no frills, pop-rock style matched his own.
“There are no gimmicks in a Theory show,” he said. “It’s straight-forward, lay-it-down rock tunes. I’ve always thought that band would work really well for me.”
Almost a calendar year since the release of their fourth album (”The Truth Is ...”), Theory of a Deadman has found a formula that works, delivering anthemic post-grunge rock ditties that fans have turned platinum, even while critics have been largely lukewarm.
Singles from the latest album include the ballad to the bedraggled “Lowlife” and the ballad to breaking up “Bitch Came Back” (in addition to “Hurricane” and “Out of My Head”).
After the band hit upon a platinum-selling sound on 2008’s “Scars and Souvenirs,” the latest effort shows no signs of altering a profitable (and popular) formula that leverages bad women, bad relationships, bad breakups and bad memories for relatable lyrical material.
“We don’t regret writing any of our songs,” Dandeneau said. “People do relate -- and we’ve got a fan base and a career because of it.”