The Dead South Releases Vibrant Redition Of System Of A Down’s Song: Chop Suey
With their eagerly-awaited joint covers EPs Easy Listening for Jerks, Parts I & II arriving on the 4th March, bluegrass icons The Dead South are now showcasing their new collection with a vibrant rendition of System Of A Down’s iconic anthem Chop Suey.
Part II of the EPs is a collection of Hard Rock/Punk covers including the System Of A Down favorite, along with “People Are Strange” (The Doors) and Ween’s “Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain.”
These new EPs aim to add a more contemporary edge to the band’s own formative influences, and their reworking of “Chop Suey” into their own distinctive guise makes for compelling listening. Keeping the fast-paced and energetic approach of the original, before being thrown through a fist-pumping blender of raw and unbridled banjo hooks gives their version a wonderfully enjoyable edge that their devout fanbase will love from start to finish.
The source material for the EP two-pack sees The Dead South trace very different musical lineages: one a beloved folk songbook and the other a set of volatile modern outsider anthems. Always playing against type, The Dead South flips traditional bluegrass and hard rock conventions upside down, drawing out an ominous, lurking unease in the bright innocence of Bristol Sessions-era sound, and pulling moments of absurdity and hilarity out from the hardcore bluster.
Part II, inspired by the band’s own pre-show playlist, includes songs by System of a Down, The Doors, Cold War Kids, and The Misfits. The Dead South dust off “People Are Strange,” shedding the lizard skin in favor of an MTV-Unplugged approach. On “Chop Suey,” not a no-brainer for an acoustic band without a drummer, the band transcends the song’s metal origins and doubles up on Scott Pringle’s vocals for a sound as big as the first. Part II also sees the vocal debut of banjoist Colton “Crawdaddy” Crawford, who offers a deadpan rendition of Ween’s “Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain.” Easy Listening for Jerks is the first release that sees all four members taking lead vocal turns.
This pickles and peanut butter recipe, filtered through The Dead South’s distinctly non-traditional approach, paints a fascinating study of the band’s influence and inspiration. Easy Listening for Jerks balances two at-odds sides of the four-piece string band: the world where they’re from, Regina, SK’s punk scene, and the world where they found their sound, the wellspring of bluegrass and acoustic music.
Rich with quality fingerpicking and replete with harmonies, Easy Listening for Jerks offers many new moods of songs we think we know so well. Under a title that recalls the songwriting humor of Roger Miller and Steve Martin’s comedy stylings alike, the EPs offer a surprising and compelling mix of gravity and levity. From Earl Scruggs to Serj Tankian, the two parts of Easy Listening for Jerks find surprising common ground between traditional bluegrass and hard rock in the selection of songs of alienation, misanthropy and adversity. Foggy Mountain Boys, but make it Beetlejuice.
SERVED COLD TOUR
London, UK: Shepherds Bush Empire, Mar 18
Manchester, UK: Albert Hall, Mar 19
Tunbridge Wells, UK: Black Deer Festival, June 19
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Junction, June 21
Coventry, UK: Empire Coventry, June 22
Cardiff, UK: Tramshed, June 23
Petersburg, FL: Jannus Live, May 11
Orlando, FL: House of Blues, May 12
Atlanta, GA: Buckhead Theatre, May 13
Charlotte, NC: Fillmore Charlotte, May 14
Raleigh, NC: The Ritz, May 15
Richmond, VA: The National, May 17*
Boston, MA: House of Blues, May 18
Ithica, NY: State Theatre, May 19*
Philadelphia, PA: The Fillmore, May 20
New York, NY: Irving Plaza, May 21
*Not a Live Nation Date
Paris, FR: La Cigale, Apr 11
Strasbourg, FR: La Laiterie, Apr 12
Lyon, FR: Ninkasi Kao, Apr 15
Toulouse, FR: Le Metronum, Apr 19
Click HERE for a full list of 2022 dates
About The Dead South
With banjo, mandolin, cello, and guitar, The Dead South certainly looks like the part of bluegrass traditionalists. But, as outsiders to the bluegrass world by circumstances of geography, they’re from the Canadian prairies, and by influences, equal parts finger-picking and punk, there are few comparisons to be made for the four-piece acoustic band. With a global following sparked by YouTube, early success in German rock clubs, and now, sold-out shows at iconic venues in many continents, this is no country for old-time string purists.
A brotherhood first and foremost, formed in university and forged on the road, The Dead South are quite comfortable in their role as a total anomaly most everywhere they go. Their progressive, tightly-constructed approach to acoustic music that favors intricate solos and harmonies has brought two JUNO Awards for Traditional Album of the Year, the most recent for the Muscle Shoals-made Sugar & Joy (2019). The Dead South followed up in 2020 with Served Live, a double live album that celebrated and supported the live music industry in a time of crisis.
With their newly-announced double EPs Easy Listening for Jerks, Parts I & II, The Dead South find their own balance between their punk origins and the bluegrass world of their sound. A strong statement about identity, influence, and inspiration, the new EPs show a band stepping out into new musical territory while also staying true to themselves.