Yes!! YOU can make a difference….
One Fan and the Band That Almost Wasn’t
by Curtis Crane
My background includes historical study, teaching, writing music and at times fooling some people into thinking I can play guitar. For better or worse, I am the founding member of the machine that is KillDevil Theory.
I have been involved with this group of musicians and performance artists under different titles since 1997 – along the way we’ve been called everything from “the most creative new metal band in years” to “the worst band in the world.” So much happens in 20 years – but to get you up to speed, this is us in 2017:
My life begins and ends with God, family, music, football, and friends. Being a member of this group has made me who I am today. I get a rush of adrenaline when the lights go off and I hear those first few notes to signal the start of our shows. I look forward to that moment of relaxation at the hotel at 3 am after the show where I like to listen to my bandmates – my second family – talk and laugh at what we did wrong, what we did right, and what we’ll do tomorrow. I love the Mexican food shacks in downtown El Paso that we’ve been stopping at for years so I can buy a plastic cup filled with Chili Rellenos. I can’t wait to get into my beat up pickup on a hot Southern New Mexico summer morning to hit the road and I can’t wait to get home again to see a little face pressed against my living room window waiting for me.
None of this would have come about if not for an email message I received years ago.
As a young musician in the early 1990’s, I had decided wholeheartedly that I did not ever want to throw everything I had into taking chances on a career as a performer or recording artist. I was skeptical of absolutely everything involved with the music industry, from the record companies (both major and independent) to the promoters, booking agents and venue owners. This attitude was most definitely a byproduct of the post-glam era of the 90’s and the rise of the anti-celebrity. The rockstar was dead. Kurt Cobain was the new template for all aspiring musicians and anti-celebrities. Everyone wanted to get signed to an indie label, everyone insulted the corporate end of the industry, everyone was becoming a self-absorbed, self-righteous idiot.
There was NO CORNER of my musical experience that wasn’t tainted by this attitude – from my times at college, studying music theory and composition to my stint with a touring rap-metal band during the first heyday of the Limp Bizkit/Green Day/Nirvana rock revival in the 90’s and 2000’s.
There was definitely a stereotype for a rock musician back then….and I was not it…lol.
I was ridiculed for going to college to study music.
I was ridiculed when I questioned why we got paid so little for doing so much.
I was ridiculed by the hipsters of the day for not including political correctness, veganism, feminism, socialism and a whole lot of other “isms” in my song writing.
I was told that not dressing a certain way or following a certain song structure was proof I didn’t care about the music or it’s “message”.
I was accused of being…
I would surely never succeed as a musician. The life of a performing artist was clearly NOT my “path of least resistance.” I accepted this and retreated into a life of making money through jobs that were not my passion mixed with other dreams like coaching football, keeping my performing career at a hobby level. I played in several bands, all of them with great people, all of them deserving of more success than they ever achieved. One of those bands was especially designed to fail. It was the ultimate expression of freedom and pushing the envelope, and it was everything I wanted to share with the world.
“KillDevil Theory” played its first show in the second half of 2006, and was declared a dead entity by the fall of 2007. The music community of our area let out a huge sigh of relief. Never again would anyone have to play alongside, promote, or contend with the embarrassment that was KillDevil Theory.
Sometime the following year, something happened…and this is where YOU come in, my friend…
It was a surreal experience for 2007. What I got was an email from a fan – from someone outside our town who had somehow HEARD of this “weird progressive band,” how everyone hated them, how they wrote songs of critical social commentary, religion and history like a few bands in the 80’s and on top of it actually tried to play challenging music…how they played 12 minute songs, and how they sold a 3 song ep for just one dollar. He was excited about independent music, he was excited about the variety of the bands in our area, but most of all he was excited about KillDevil Theory.
After reading and replying to the email, I went back into the basement and began re-recording and re-mixing some demos…music that I knew was good, music that I knew was not loved by all my immediate peers, but music that I now knew someone out there valued. Maybe there were more people out there who would, too.
I looked to see if I could find anyone else outside our backwards town that would dig what we were doing, and I did – two hours away in El Paso,Texas. I called up our singer (and my current wife) Deanna to tell her that we needed to reform the band, find a new drummer, and start playing again- we had even booked a show.
2008 ended with a bang – our new sense of self-worth was empowering beyond belief. By the end of the year our reputation got us a spot at a festival out of town where we played to an arena filled with the most diverse and receptive crowd we could ever have hoped for. After the show we did not have enough cd’s and t-shirts to go around. The following spring, we wrote 6 new original songs and we hit the road for the first time.
And all because of an email message from one total stranger.
I hope that now at the end of this (my first ever personal blog entry…yeah – for real!) you might take just one minute to add your thoughts or a comment below – we’d really appreciate hearing what you think of our music, this story, and what we should be sharing with you in the blogs to come! Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience as an individual, or as a fellow artist? KillDevil Theory owes its continued existence to one single email message, I guarantee if you ever drop me an email, your message will carry just as much weight, and that you’ll get a reply.
…and I’d like to see other members of KDT sharing this blog space with me in the near future – I need some ammo to sweet talk some of them into it, so if you’d like to see that happen, take one quick moment to leave a comment below help me out!
Welcome to our tribe! (with your support, hopefully we don’t get voted off the island)