Who: Drop Dead Julio - website
What: Rock band, in concert, with 2AM Logic - interview
Where: Benton Street Bar & Grill, Pocatello, Idaho - map
When: Friday, October 30, 2009, 9:00 p.m.
How Much: $5 cover at the door
I met Gene Kennedy, of Drop Dead Julio, at a popular casual restaurant, The Blue Plate Diner, in Salt Lake City. I'm not sure exactly when it was, but it must have been early to mid 2007, way Way WAY before Guy Fieri went there.
As we waited for a table, I noticed a gig poster hanging in the window and said to my dining companions, "Hey! Drop Dead Hoolio," I pronounced. "I've heard of those guys; they're getting really popular, playing at all the right local clubs and bars."
That's when Gene came over and corrected my pronunciation, "It's Drop Dead Joolio," with a "j," not with an "h" sound. And we visited a bit about their upcoming gigs, where they've played and where they're going. When I got home, I sent a friend request on MySpace, and we've stayed in contact ever since.
Why it's taken me this long to get an interview, I don't know. And I expect Gene doesn't even remember that first meeting. But I do, and I'm now correcting a long-time oversight.
GK: Drop Dead Julio is about all of us having a great time together. We’re really a fan-centered band. We write songs with them in mind, songs that have energy and catchy choruses that people can sing along to. Whether there’s a crowd surfing blow up doll or we’re just poking fun at each other, the live show is where we connect and have fun with people. Come to our Oct. 30th show at Benton Street Grill in Pocatello or our Nov. 7th show at The Knitting Factory in Boise and see it for yourself!
SLG: Describe your genre of music in as much detail as you like. Maybe list your three best crowd-pleasing songs? Can you explain in what way do you most appeal to your fans?
GK: We’re a rock band first and foremost but we do have that punk-pop side of us as well. You could say it’s a cross between Green Day and Papa Roach. Lyrically we tackle some serious subjects but we also have those party songs too. No matter what the topic, the songs are always upbeat and very melody driven with big harmony vocals. We do some occasional screaming too even though we’re not a “scream” band.
Fans really like “The Break Up,” “The Youth are Disillusioned” and “Breaking News.”
One thing our fans also really like is the fact that we take cover songs and put our own twist on them. For example, watch our version of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. (Click here for video.)
Gene Kennedy – Vocals/Guitar
James Checrallah — Bass
Brian Jensen — Guitar/Vocals
James Julio (Julie-OH)- Drums
GK: We’ve been a band for 4 years now our name is a mocking joke on our drummer.
SLG: Tell us where you're from and currently based in what town?
GK: I’m from Southern California, and the punk scene down there definitely influences my writing. I moved to Salt Lake City from Reno in 2006 and formed Drop Dead Julio shortly after. DDJ is a Salt Lake City band.
SLG: Past shows or venues you'd like to brag about? Past or future shows in the Pocatello area?
GK: We had an amazing summer locally. Drop Dead Julio just played Warped Tour in Salt Lake City, sharing the stage with After Midnight Project. We also opened for The Lemonheads, Royal Bliss and 12 Stones over the summer. 97.5 The Blaze invited us on their Wednesday Rocks concert series at the Gallivan Center. FOX 13 also recently featured the band in a live performance at Liquid Joe’s, and this is actually our 4th visit to the Pocatello/Idaho Falls area.
SLG: Describe this particular show. What can people expect if they come to this show?
GK: We are playing an all-ages rock show at the Benton Street Grill, Friday, October 30. We’ll hit the stage at 10 p.m., play for an hour maybe longer, and then 2AM Logic from Idaho Falls will headline. It’s just our two bands, but we’re gonna throw it down and put on a great show for everyone. Even though it’s all-ages anyone over 21 can drink at Benton Street, and it’s only $5 to get in.
We are also playing Boise Saturday November 7th @ The Knitting Factory with our friends in Abrupt Edge.
SLG: Any comments about the local live music scene, the music industry in general? What do you think is the best way to get your music out there?
GK: It’s work, work, work but, it’s rewarding work! We treat Drop Dead Julio as a full-time job. Every day we promote online and I think honestly, the internet is the best way to get your music out. Playing tight, high-energy shows is also crucial to keeping your name alive, but you have to work hard to get people there.
We’re playing all-ages more and more, because the kids are great to us and they’re so excited about the music. We’re excited too and any chance we have to play for a crowd, any type of crowd, we make the most of those opportunities. All I can say is that we’re living our dream one day at a time!
Back in March we also did a short movie-trailor style documentary on the making of our latest CD, “The Stories We Could Tell.” (Click here to check it out.)
SLG: Recordings? Will you have CD's or more for sale at the show?
GK: We’ll have copies of both our CDs for sale, “Lack of Direction” and our latest, “The Stories We Could Tell.” Those are $5 each and our t-shirts are $10 each.
SLG: How can fans contact you? Myspace? or another website?
GK: Fans can text us by signing up at www.broadtexter.com/DDJ, OR They can email us @ email@example.com.
We can also be reached at www.myspace.com/dropdeadjulio, www.twitter.com/dropdeadjulio and on Facebook. Add us, we’ll definitely write you back!