The past year has seen Dan Sheehan traversing the states from the Northeast to the Southwest to further his mission to "keep rock real in the 21st century." On stage at famed rock venues with The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy or perched atop coffee house stools fron New Jersey to Arizona, you'll find Sheehan putting every last ounce of his heart and soul into preaching his musical message to those who would listen. Since 2008 Sheehan has a lot more listeners to share the message with, getting airplay for his 14-song effort The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy on over 200 radio stations in North America and Europe and having dotted the landscape from East to West with lineups of various sizes and guitars of varying electronic capacity, not to mention getting featured in podcasts created around the globe. Heading back to the studio in late 2009 to record a follow up with his gigmates, Sheehan is looking forward to the road into the next decade having spent a decade or so getting to the view he now enjoys.
The original Banter lineup
At the end of the last millenium Sheehan was living in Boston where he founded the seminal alt-rock band Banter, a band that played famous stages throughout the Northeast U.S., released singles and albums on their own label and through Digital Bear Entertainment, got featured on New England Cable News and made multiple “song of the year” charts in indie rock magazines. Looking to move beyond the scope of New England, Sheehan brought the band to his home city of New York in 2003 but soon took a hiatus from playing live to record what would become The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy, a masterful album of classic- and alternative-influenced rock that displays Sheehan’s diverse writing and performing talents, with Sheehan handling all vocals and instruments sans drums (played by ex-Morrissey batterer Spencer Cobrin and session man Roi Star). With material ranging from ballads and folk rock to hard rock and “prog grunge,” The DSC provided Sheehan with multiple performing outlets as Sheehan might be found rocking New York City’s Knitting Factory with a four piece band at one show and belting it out over his acoustic guitar at a Phoenix coffee house the next.
Autumn of 2009 finds the live version of the DSC, featuring Sheehan, bassist Gianluis Rosado and drummer King Baby heading to the studio to record a follow up to the self-titled DSC disc, several songs of which have already been debuted at 2009 live shows ranging from college radio hits to modern day rock/pop masterpieces. Look for Dan and the DSC previewing these tracks at a campus or venue near you, and don’t count out another Banter reunion at a music fest in 2010!
Transcript from an interview with Dan Sheehan:
Why this name?
My parents named after the Irish ballad, "Danny Boy." The conspiracy part comes from not liking boring names like "The Dan Sheehan Band," "The Dave Matthews Band," or even "The Alan Parsons Project" which is too dull sounding. I wanted to have something more like "The Jimi Hendrix Experience." My first band, which never played any proper gigs, was briefly called The EZZ Conspiracy, and I liked the whole mysterious conspiracy idea so I went with it. It worked out well for an album cover concept, too, I think.
Do you play live?
The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy plays live in the New York area, and looks forward to touring in 2008. My past group, Banter, was a regional band, touring much of the Northeast United States. I have also performed solo with acoustic guitar, in the United States and abroad. The current band is Dan, Bobby King Baby, and Mike Lynch (of the Anything People) on guitar, drums, and bass, respectively.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
The internet is a great way for emerging artists to get their music heard and the legal sites provide a great opportunity for artists and music fans alike. Unfortunately, the plethora of illegal sites offering music that was not offered by the artists themselves are seriously hurting musicians at all levels. Hopefully people will come to realize the damage they are doing by using these sites and develop a new sense of ethics about the whole downloading thing.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Bring on the bidding war!
The Band History:
Although guitarist/singer Dan Sheehan’s name has thus far eluded the major labels, his music nonetheless has reached the ears of thousands who have heard his songs on radio and TV and through successful internet marketing since his days fronting the Northeast-touring rock band, Banter. In the late 90s, Banter’s Side One EP got Sheehan and co. play on college radio while the single Springtime in February and its B-Side graced New England Cable News Mike Adams Sports Hour. Banter’s 2002 release Urban Pastures brought Sheehan’s music to commercial airwaves propelled by airplay on Boston-area stations WBCN, WAAF and WXRV and went on to significant indie success on the web, with numerous chart placements on American and European music sites. Before Banter’s disbanding in 2004, Sheehan started having chart success on the web under his own name, with home recordings of demos he’d written and recorded outside of Banter, which became the seeds of his current project, The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy.
The DSC picks up where Banter’s classic/alternative rock roots left off but tackles new territory in the wake of Sheehan’s liberation from the democracy that was the band he once led. Opening track The Valley starts off the 14-song collection with an Arabic drone reminiscent of Banter’s Open Wide but then veers into a series of hooks that take the song to hard rock heaven, while songs like the instrumental Another Morning and the harmony-laden Tired Eyes reveal a softer side to Sheehan’s songwriting not charted in the Banter days. Rock Song (named after actual rocks, not rock music) delves into Dylanesque three-chord folk rock while Collateral Damage, is a biting rap/rock indictment of America’s apathy toward civilian casualties of war and humanitarian efforts. Epic Fantasy Adventure Song charms with its self-conscious prog-ness, while straight ahead rockers like See Kay and Melting Snowman summon the spirit of the grunge era. While A&R reps might frown upon the sonic diversity of The DSC, music fans driven to downloading the few standout singles from a death of formulaic albums will be refreshed by Sheehan’s musical boldness as did fans of pioneering rock acts of the past.
The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy also makes a significant statement on music production, pushing the limits of DIY recording with Sheehan playing everything from bass to slide whistle and ably tackling most of the engineering and production work. Notably helping him along are ex-Morrissey skinsman Spencer Cobrin sharing drumming duties with session man Roi Star and a few guest engineers including ex-Toadies guitarist Darrel Herbert. The DSC Live made its debut appearance in New York in September 2007 with The Anything People's Michael Lynch on bass and backing vocals and Bobby "Zebrafreak" of King Baby on drums.
Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Meat Puppets, Screaming Trees, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic, Rush, and many more.
New York, baby. Boston and San Fran are pretty cool, too. I used to think Barcelona was the greatest until I got violently mugged there.
Please check out my official website and my MySpace page.
axes: Heritage 150 classic, Seagull acoustic, Fender Geddy Lee jazz bass
amp: Fender Hot Rod DeVille
recording: ProTools LE
Official Website: http://dansheehan.net/
MySpace Page: http://myspace.com/dansheehan