Q&A: Sunflower Dead’s Michael Del Pizzo speaks!Books/Art/Culture,News Ken W. Hanley
For fans of rock ‘n’ roll, the world of horror and heavy metal rarely drift too far apart, with each respective fan base bleeding into one another rather heavily. In fact, the crossover between horror and metal is one that’s a time-honored tradition, ranging from the ‘70s with KISS and Alice Cooper and continuing on with acts like GWAR, Slipknot, King Diamond and Sunflower Dead. The latter group, who has quickly become a fan favorite among the metal community in recent years, offers an eerie aesthetic to match their creepy compositions, and last year, hit a new career milestone with their sophomore album IT’S TIME TO GET WEIRD. On tour now (see dates below), FANGORIA recently caught up with Sunflower Dead frontman Michael Del Pizzo to talk about their unique take on macabre music…
FANGORIA: How did Sunflower Dead come together?
MICHAEL DEL PIZZO: Basically, we were all guys from other bands in Southern California that knew each other. Jaboo and I had the idea to put a band together with people that we cherry picked who were the respective rock stars of their bands. We also wanted to entertain people; everyone would have to want to be down with some sort of visual approach. It worked and all the guys we chose were down. Boom; a few months later, we had an album written and a band name based off a short story I wrote and a look that took on the characters from the story.
FANGORIA: KISS, Alice Cooper and others paved the way for bands with a theatrical, Gothic edge. What influenced Sunflower Dead’s sound and performance style?
DEL PIZZO: Look-wise, we actually were more influenced by the look of the vampires in 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. That was the foundation and it grew from there. Performance wise, it’s all about letting go on stage and being in the moment and going with the moment. It’s almost a submissive thing for me: letting the energy take over and just be… weird.
FANGORIA: Your sound is much more melodic than most modern metal. What influenced Sunflower Dead’s music style?
DEL PIZZO: Sound-wise, our goal was and has always been to write great songs with huge choruses that people can sing along to. For that, we are influenced by so many artists it’s unbelievable, and I am not even sure if we really are a “metal” band. Truthfully, especially when we perform live, we are much more of a “rock ‘n’ roll” band that is sprinkled with metal. Like I said, with us, great songs will always be the focus over any type of heaviness so I don’t equate us with metal, especially modern metal.
FANGORIA: Your latest album, IT’S TIME TO GET WEIRD, is a unique evolution of Sunflower Dead’s sound. Can you tell us what went into that album and how it influenced this tour, in particular?
DEL PIZZO: The new album is a direct result from all the touring we did for our debut album. We learned what worked and what didn’t and what Sunflower Dead really was. We learned that smiling and fun is a huge part of our lifeblood and we needed to add that sort of fun to the new album. Touring wise, we are bringing this to life in a great way. It’s a good time to see the band; we are coming up and it’s always exciting to watch a band evolve on the way up.
FANGORIA: What makes the live version of Sunflower Dead essential for metal and horror fans to check out?
DEL PIZZO: You are gonna see a real rock show with a band that is about to fall off the rails at any times. It’s not ideal but it is the truth about how we play life. Every night is a new adventure [laughs]. Horror wise, we look damn cool!
FANGORIA: What’s next for Sunflower Dead?
DEL PIZZO: More touring and spreading the Weirdness to new Evil Seeds all over the globe.
You can catch Sunflower Dead on tour in the following locations:
05-17 in Waterloo, IA at Spicoli’s
05-18 in Braidwood, IL at Top Fuel Saloon
05-22 in Baltimore, MD at Soundstage
05-26 in Mobile, AL at Soul Kitchen
05-27 in Houston, TX at Scout Bar
Tour Supporting Hellyeah with Escape The Fate:
05-31 in Denver, CO at Summit Music Hall
06-01 in Salt Lake City, UT at The Complex
06-03 in San Diego, CA at House Of Blues
06-04 in Riverside, CA at Riverside Municipal Auditorium
06-05 in Las Vegas, NV at The Foundry at SLS
“HELL POP” Tour Supporting In This Moment with Hell Yeah (6-18 to 7-12); Nonpoint (8-12 to 8-20); and Shaman’s Harvest
06-18 in Clive, IA at 7 Flags Event Center
06-19 in Wichita, KS at The Complex
06-21 in Lubbock, TX at Lonestar Pavilion
06-22 in Midland, TX at La Hacienda
06-25 in El Paso, TX at Speaking Rock Event Center
06-27 in Corpus Christi, TX at Concrete Street Amphitheater
06-29 in Birmingham, AL at Iron City
06-30 in Orlando, FL at Hard Rock Live
07-01 in St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live
07-03 in Myrtle Beach, SC at House of Blues
07-05 in Atlanta, GA at Masquerade
07-06 in Raleigh, NC at The Ritz
07-08 in Norfolk, VA at The NorVa
07-09 in Inwood, WV at Shiley Acres
07-10 in Asheville, NC at The Orange Peel
07-12 in Peoria, IL at Limelight
08-12 in Sturgis, SD at Easyriders Saloon
08-13 in Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre
08-14 in Tulsa, OK at Brady Theatre
08-16 in Memphis, TN at Minglewood Hall
08-17 in Nashville, TN at Cannery Ballroom
08-19 in Columbus, OH at Express Live
08-20 in Ft Wayne, IN at Piere’s Entertainment Center