Biography and Profile of Theory of a Deadman

Theory of a Deadman
Theory of a Deadman. Photo courtesy Roadrunner Records.

Theory of a Deadman were both helped and hindered by their connection to their fellow Canadian rockers, Nickelback. Like Nickelback, whose Chad Kroeger signed the band to a label deal at the beginning of the 21st century, Theory of a Deadman play hard rock that emphasizes a man’s-man grittiness. The rock songs tend to be adorned with thick slabs of slow, distorted guitars, while their ballads have the same groaning angst that Kroeger made his specialty.

Still, these comparisons didn’t keep Theory of a Deadman from being successful in their own right, although nowhere near the level of Nickelback.

Origins

Formed in Vancouver, Canada, Theory of a Deadman are a trio consisting of frontman Tyler Connolly, bassist Dean Back and guitarist David Brenner. They’ve used different drummers on their albums and on tour, but none of them have been officially added to the group’s lineup. The band came to the attention of Chad Kroeger after Connolly gave him a demo. Soon after, Kroeger signed Theory to his label, 604 Records.

Standing in Nickelback's Shadow

The band’s 2002 self-titled debut rarely strayed from the Nickelback sound, not surprising since Kroeger contributed to much of the songwriting. Connolly’s voice displayed a similarity to Kroeger’s deep-toned delivery, and the songs dealt with relationships and disillusionment. As a way to boost their songs’ visibility, Theory of a Deadman created a video for the ballad “Make Up Your Mind” that featured a beautiful actress as its main character.

This strategy would continue to be incorporated for future singles. Ultimately, Theory of a Deadman was a bigger hit in the band’s native Canada than in the U.S.

Playing With 'Gasoline'

2005’s Gasoline was filled with more songs about bad girlfriends, but Theory of a Deadman managed to move away from the Nickelback formula a bit, such as on the pop-minded “No Surprise,” which was another example of a video that put a sexy woman front and center.

Though Connolly’s lyrics were candid and vulnerable, too often his attacks on his ex got uncomfortably close to feeling misogynistic. (Ironically, in the band’s videos, the women were usually the wronged party.) Gasoline landed four singles onto the Mainstream Rock chart, and the album cracked the Top 60 of the Billboard album chart.

Finding Success With a "Bad Girlfriend"

Theory of a Deadman enjoyed their greatest radio success with 2008’s Scars & Souvenirs. The first two singles, “So Happy” and “Bad Girlfriend,” were both big hits, finding the group adopting a flashier style that sounded less indebted to grunge. Connolly hadn’t adjusted his subject matter much – his central theme remained “Women: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” – but at least the group’s songwriting was becoming more hooky and engaging. And, suggesting their appeal with a largely male fan base, the women in their videos were getting sexier and sexier.

The Truth Is...

On July 12, 2011, Theory of a Deadman returned with their fourth album, The Truth Is.... The album was preceded by the first single, “Lowlife,” a salute to being a hillbilly. That year the band co-headlined the second annual Carnival of Madness Tour with Alter Bridge.

Savages

Theory of a Deadman's fifth studio album Savages was released on July 29, 2014. The album's first single, "Drown," released on April 22, 2014, is notable for its heavier lyrical content than the band's previous work an a sludgy sound reminiscent of Alice in Chains. The title track second single, "Savages," released on September 16, 2014 is a heavy rocker featuring Alice Cooper on guest vocals. 

Current Lineup

Dean Back – bass
Dave Brenner – guitar
Joey Dandeneau - drums
Tyler Connolly – vocals, guitar

Key Songs

“Say Goodbye”
“So Happy”
“Bad Girlfriend”

Discography

Theory of a Deadman (2002)
Gasoline (2005)
Scars & Souvenirs (2008)
The Truth Is... (2011)                                                                                                                               Savages (2014) 

Trivia

  • The band’s name comes from a song title off their first album. Ultimately, the band decided they liked the title so much that they used it as their band name. The song was renamed “The Last Song.”
  • Tyler Connolly is married to actress Christine Danielle, who appeared in Underworld: Evolution and In the Land of Women.
  • Theory of a Deadman have toured with 3 Doors Down, Saliva and Three Days Grace.
  • Tyler Connolly played guitar on “Hero,” the Chad Kroeger contribution to the Spider-Man soundtrack.


(Edited by Bob Schallau)