Interview + Video Premiere: “Mermaid” by Everyone is Dirty

Oakland-based art-rockers 
Everyone Is Dirty began stirring up a buzz in 2013 with their shambolic, tongue-in-cheek punk vibes and unhinged live shows, which included ingenious novelties like the implementation of electric violin. The bands carefree existence came to a sudden halt when lead singer Sivan Lioncub ended up in the hospital, deathly ill, on a Dilaudid drip due to a penicillin allergy. The irony was not lost on the band, who had just released the successful debut Dying Is Fun LP a few months earlier. Feeling particularly prophetic, Lioncub used her morphine-induced state to pen fresh, insightful lyrics about her predicament while her supportive bandmates began work on their second album My Neon’s Dead. Now on the mend, Lioncub and the rest of the band are gearing up to unleash their latest sonic vision, supported by a West Coast tour.

How has your near-death experience influenced the way you approached recording and releasing My Neon’s Dead?
When my liver failed from an allergy to antibiotics, I felt like a prisoner in the hospital, and was in complete denial. I wouldn’t let the band cancel any shows. We were supposed to play Noise Pop, SXSW and Treefort in Boise and I was convinced we’d be going. It was a hard reality to face when I realized I wasn’t going anywhere. I felt so sad, like I let the band down and I had no control over anything that was happening. Writing was something I could do from the hospital bed. I keep a journal, and my entries from that time are angry, or spaced out, hallucinating fantasies in a Dilaudid stupor. Many of the lyrics of the album were written during this time. We do all of our recording at home, where Chris has his studio, Donut Time, so for lack of being able to tour, we focused on what we could do, which was record. My energy level was scary low, but we recorded anyway. Recording music was a total escape from otherwise terrifying times.

What are your major creative and spiritual influences?
The band collectively agrees that the most influential people come from our families.

My Grandpa, Henry, is a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor. He’s hilarious, generates so much joy, is a musician, a cantor and my biggest inspiration. Grandma fashion, overall, is very important to us. Tyler English (bass) and I both wear a lot of our Grandma’s’ clothes.

Tyler’s Uncle John is an artist and lap steel player and is his biggest influence. He’s super into Japanese and Native American cultures and makes masks out of found materials. He taught Tyler how to sword fight. Uncle John was cutting down a tree and crushed his hand. He wasn’t able to bend his fingers, so he learned lap steel. Tyler watched him play lap steel growing up and it inspired him to play.

Christopher Daddio (guitar/vocals) also has an uncle, Carl, who is his biggest inspiration. A gay man in the 70’s and 80’s, he was an incredible musical theater actor. Chris is inspired by his fearlessness, his ability to transcend what people thought about him and just live his own life, up to his own standard of what it meant to be someone with integrity. Carl is also hilarious, honest and loving. Chris also happens to be our sound engineer and works out of his studio, Donut Time Audio, where all of our albums are recorded and mixed. Working with a diverse group of local musicians like False Priest, Buzzmutt and Ardent Sons, among others, has been really inspirational for him.

Tony Sales’ (drums/vocals) Dad and Uncle, Hunt and Tony Sr., better known as The Sales Brothers played with Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Tony says proudly, as far as rhythm sections, they are the best. He says Hunt always played with a lot of feeling, but he keeps it simple, which is a difficult thing for drummers (or any musician) to do, and is the mark of an expert.Tony’s Dad and Uncle come to our shows and are a constant source of support for us, telling us like it is, how we can improve, etc. I always learn something new when they come see us play.

How has Oakland influenced your vision of culture and music?
Oakland has a rich history culturally, politically, and musically, and I think the sort of pride people have living in the city creates a good environment in which to make art and music. I say murals, protests, modesty, humility, community, friendship, OIM Records, gardening, sunshine.

What has been your most memorable moment playing live or in the studio?
Treefort Music Festival in Boise was a high point of 2017. We played at Neurolux with the Meat Puppets after driving all night in a wrestling fight, which we wrote a song about called “Sorry I Said Fuck You.”

When I’m having tons of fun onstage I don’t remember anything afterwards. I only remember when bad things happen onstage. At the Independent last month a monitor fell on the stage cutting our amp’s power cords. That was chaotic. Tony and Tyler just kept playing. It was pretty funny. There’s definitely a thrill for me when accidents like that happen.

I recently saw Oakland-based Shannon and The Clams at Hickey Fest. They slayed! But onstage Shannon said something like, “The shittier it sounds the more entertaining it is.” That’s a comforting thought.

Everyone Is Dirty West Coast tour dates:

8/4 – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA

8/17- Fresno Tioga- Sequoia Brewing Company- Fresno, CA

8/18- Radio In Studio at KX 93.5 Laguna Beach- Laguna Beach, CA

8/18-Nico & Bullitt Boutique- Los Angeles, CA

8/19 – Spacedust (Echo Park Rising) – 6:15pm – Los Angeles, CA

8/19 – Blank City Records (Echo Park Rising) – 10:50pm – Los Angeles, CA

8/25 – Down Dirty Shake Residency at Milk Bar- San Francisco, CA

9/24 – Desert Stars Festival- Joshua Tree National Park, CA

9/28 – Bottom Of The Hill Record Release Show- San Francisco, CA

photo by: courtesy of the artist