November 1999

by Jason Pettigrew

Pale-Blue TV Light

In the holistic-health field, there is a process called color healing, which states that individuals with certain conditions should wear colors that reflect a healing aura. Green is a preferred calming color, while reds negate the process.

Metaphorically speaking, Deadsy are blue—ultraviolet blue, the kind of color you find emanating from bug-zappers and off-brand black-and-white TV sets. The group’s mix of ’80s electro-nostalgia and down-tuned sludge on Commencement (Sire/WB) results in an album that’s equal parts countercultural flair and glitz.

"We’re just a hybrid of everything we’re fascinated with," offers Phillip Exeter Blue I, known to Entertainment Tonight reporters as Elijah Blue, son of Cher and Southern-rock archetype Gregg Allman. "No one ever thought to take Gary Numan’s keyboards and fuse them with Morbid Angel’s guitars. I love greatness, whether it’s Rush or ABBA." Elijah and Renn spent most of their prep-school years playing Dungeons And Dragons, and thinking about how much of the mythology in fantasy role-playing games equates to rock bands. So Deadsy—Elijah (a.k.a. The Earnest Professor), Renn (a.k.a. Dr Nner), drummer Alec Pure (a.k.a. The Dandy) and bassist Craig (a.k.a. The Beast)—set forth combining elements of glory days gone by to their overcast ’90s groove.

"I think you have to have a passion for music to want to take it to a superhuman, larger-than-life level," says Blue.

"I think it’s also important to leave a legacy behind," adds Renn. "There has to be some underlying legitimacy below the surface of rock and roll."

"It’s got to be more than just ‘rock and roll,’" says Blue. "You want to inject humanity into it. I’m into the idea of human triumph. And rock and roll carries a Shogun-warrior vibe. You have all these outputs—music, videos and touring—all of which I believe are breeding grounds for triumph."

But after all the manifesto-waving, style accidents (Elijah once had the balls to wear a reverse mohawk, the ugliest haircut since the mullet) and the idiocy of "how’s-yer-mom" questions have subsided, the bottom line remains that Deadsy have served up an alluring, pale-blue album. Their first single, "She Likes Big Words," is an unashamed rewrite of "Rio," the famous battle cry uttered by those conquering huns of history, Duran Duran. "Le Cirque En Rose" is an electro-glide that evokes underground European synth-pop with posy Batcave flourishes. A cover of the Sweet’s glam-rock classic "Fox On The Run" seems more like a reclamation than a promotional certainty. It will be interesting to see if Deadsy’s big dreams will manifest themselves in a small world.

"Who knows how any end result is going to be?" Blue asks rhetorically. "David Bowie once said, ‘Artists make culture, critics don’t.’ I volunteer that as a man of science."