ON THE ENTERTAINMENT SCENE: Biz X Magazine – April/2016
DROP DEAD FAMOUS AND RICK LABONTE UNITE FOR APRIL CONCERT
By Liz Daniel
Playing local bars and events since 2010, many of us in Windsor Esses can remember the local band Drop Dead Famous for their covers of song by U2, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, just to name a few.
They have a great fan base and following, and could have played gigs for years doing covers of their favourite musicians. But, as front man and lead singer Rob Higgins says, “wish all the passion and dreams Drop Dead Famous have, it was time to go to the next level.” With that, they began writing and recording their own original music.
Drop Dead Famous was formed six years ago when Higgins and Chris Blais (keyboards), formerly of Vibe-A-Tribe and No Ordinary Machine, joined talent with Dave Sinewitz (guitar) and brothers Scott Holmes (bass) and Chris Holmes (drums) formerly of Heat Mizer.
They have stayed together because they respect one another’s opinions and rely on each other beyond the band issues. They keep one another accountable and everyone has each other’s back. Combined, they have almost 100 years experience in the music industry.
As with most artists, the band members also have their day jobs. Higgins is a Firefighter and Manager of The Hook and Ladder, 3690 Seminole Street. Scott Holmes is also a Firefighter and his brother Chris, an Engineer. Sinewitz is a Pharmacist who graduated from the University of Toronto. Blais is a Visual Arts Digital Technician and has produced music for television, radio and independent films.
Higgins recalls playing gigs as small as a wedding in Toronto, where they made sure everyone had a great time, to opening a sold out July 2014 show for Theory of a Deadman in Barrie at Sound Empire, which was like a dream come true for the band. They used this to drive them to want to be known for their own music and not just the covers they have been famous for in the area.
Drop Dead Famous has been recording original rock/pop song at SLR Studios for over two years and have 13 songs mastered. They release them electronically as they finish each song to get them into the hands of fans as soon as possible.
Blais is a technology genius and works hard to their music good exposure. Their song are on “iTunes,” “Songkick” and many other sites and have downloaded all over the world, as far away as New Zealand.
The feedback has been extremely positive and it gives the band inspiration to keep working on their art. Singles on “iTunes” include: “Better Go,” “Find Myself,” “Lost your Way,” “Survive Tonight,” “For You,” and “Dream.”
One of their newest songs, “The Other Side,” was written to reflect all the losses of family and close friend the band members have experienced over the years.
Higgins says, “The Other Side is a little heavier type of tune as it is okay to be sad and angry about losing loved ones. People will try and console you, tell you that in time it will get easier, it is all with great intentions. But, it doesn’t always help. The song goes out to everyone who has lost someone too young, too soon.”
They are very self-sufficient, handling their own marketing, digital presence, video sync for live performances, posters, programming and more.
When asked how long they will keep playing, Higgins states “every time we work on a new song, we start getting so excited. As long as we still get that feeling, we will keep going. I will be in a wheelchair still singing and hoping my false teeth don’t fall out! If we ever win the equivalent of the lottery in this industry, we want to give back as much as possible to the community.”
For the first time since June 2015, Drop Dead Famous will be playing a full-blown show with amazing lights and sound on Saturday April 30 at The Olde Walkerville Theatre, 1564 Wyandotte Street East. Fans are excited, not only to see the band, but each other as they have a tight following.The band is joining good friend Rick Labonte who is celebrating the release of his new record, “On A Mission.”
After the bands play, Drop Dead Famous’ own “DJ” Blais will be spinning tunes and the dance floor will open for more fun. The crowd will be full of many mature music lovers ready to dance and have a great time.
The concert will donate a portion of the proceeds to The Windsor Professional Firefighters Honour Guard and tickets are $10 in advance and available at The Hook and Ladder or at The Olde Walkerville Theatre. Tickets will be $15 at the door the night of the concert. Doors open at 7p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.
Labonte will be performing with his band The Formula and other special guests at the “On A Mission” CD release party April 30. He wrote, arranged, produced and financed the album himself, recording at Polaris Recording Studio in Windsor. The Formula includes Chris VanLare, Wayne Bracewell, Al Kenney and Dan Laframboise. Labonte has been fortunate to have 26 additional local great musicians on his album including Jeff Burrows of The Tea Party, with The Formula being the core band on the record.
A self-described father, musician, singer/songwriter, trade unionist and social and environmental activist, Labonte’s day job is at FCA Windsor Assembly Plant.
He says “every song is different and so I brought in different musicians to suit each song. The support in the local musician community is incredible. With the economy the way it is and with less venues to play, you would think it would be more cut throat. But, there is so much solidarity, support and collaboration. I wanted as many of my friends on the record as possible. ‘On A Mission’ is a statement of my experiences along the way from 20 years in experience in the music industry.”
Drop Dead Famous and Rick Labonte are eager to play for their loyal fans and followers and celebrate their music together on one exciting night. Both bands can be found and liked on “Facebook” as well as the website: DropDeadFamous.org to keep up with current music releases and events such as the April concert.