Trail of Dead's Conrad Keely: So Divided from the Mundane
J. Gordon
2/12/2007 9:57:23 AM

"hey, I live in New York, I obviously enjoy being freaked out"

It really doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Trail of Dead’s co-lead singer, Conrad Keely, would be of the feisty-sort of temperament. caught up with him to talk about the new album So Divided [Interscope], and to squash some silly rumors…

NT: You’re doing after-party DJ sets in six cities on this tour. Will this be a regular thing?

Conrad: I hope not. I think DJ’s are idiots and scum. And they account for over half my friends, which is perturbing.

NT: The author of your website has one hell of a vocabulary. Are you an English major?

No, but I speak English. It’s like a first language to me.

NT: Conrad, your last entry on the website has many jokes about thanking those who stole the record and liked it. It’s hard to know if you’re really bitter --or happy about it. Are you guys a band that believes downloading helps or hurts the industry?

I don’t know if it helps or hurts the industry, I just know that I do it as well, and that it’s fun.

NT: What’s the deal with the frilly Victorian garb you’re all wearing in that press pic Billboard ran?

We’re gay. Do you have a problem with being gay? I hope not, because the world needs gayness in these dark times.

NT: Your last album, Worlds Apart, was freaking amazing, and you were one of the best acts of Lollapalooza 2005. Yet, even with all the critical acclaim, it sold just 50,000 copies. What do you think went wrong?

It was probably another miscount, perpetrated by the Bush Administration. Once we have a democrat in the White House I think our record sales will improve dramatically, just you wait and see.

NT: Is it true that the new album, So Divided, was originally meant to be an EP? How did it evolve into a full-length?

Recording was going really well and we were having a lot of fun, so we said, Hey, why sell ourselves short? Let’s just make it a full length record! Oddly enough as soon as we did that, recording started to go really badly, and we became miserable as usual.

NT: It was reported that you guys considered leaking the new album on the Internet, to beat someone stealing it and doing the same.

Yes, I heard that rumor, and I thought it was the stupidest thing I ever heard. If you spend nine months planning a surprise party, why would you ruin the surprise one month before the date?

NT: Is the song, “Stand in Silence” about the experience with Worlds Apart, or is this a statement on the band’s uncertain future, or is it something else entirely?

No, it’s actually about working on this record. It’s about how shitty things were going after we decided to go for a full length. But on a deeper level, it was also me asking myself, ‘what the hell is this about?’ I tend to read into mundane, everyday things like rock music a lot deeper than they deserve to be investigated.

NT: Have you heard from Guided By Voices’ Bob Pollard about the cover you did of “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory” on the new CD? What did he think?

I heard he liked it, but he was (understandably) annoyed that I forgot to mention him in the credits. So I wrote him an apology. Of course, I think it’s kind of funny that I also forgot to mention that we wrote the other songs in the credit. I think at the time I was more focused on getting the artwork right than the credits page, so I need to work on that next time.

NT: How has the tour with the Blood Brothers been? It was a surprising and somewhat unlikely match.

It went really well. I have the world of respect for those guys and what they’re doing. I think the world needs unlikely matches, otherwise shows become so dull. Why do people seem so afraid to challenge each others audiences? We should be constantly reminding young audiences, hey, look, all bands don’t have to sound the same!

NT: There is talk that the band’s future is unclear as everyone has left Austin for NYC except for co-founder Jason Reece. Will you comment?

Actually Kevin still lives in Austin, so that’s still home base. Only Danny and I live here. If for some reason it doesn’t work out, then oh well. There are more important issues facing the world right now than the future of some band.

NT: Speaking of Jason Reece, that “Anti-Jason Reece Club” is just insane! It’s like a goofy idea by a bunch of idiot frat boys gone completely psycho. Kudos to Jason for beating the crap out of those four dudes in Milwaukee all by himself, but hell, watching your back for that kind of hostility has got to take its toll. Now that the guys have been charged with assault, is it safe to say it’s over and done with?

What in THE hell are you talking about? Is this some other world I’m not privy to, some alternate reality? This is all news to me. I’ll ask Jason when I see him though.

[Ed.—There’s a bunch of stuff about it on, as well as on]

NT: Conrad, we’ve heard you have had several stalkers too; the most recent incident being when you knocked a display on a girl at a NYC Best Buy to get her to leave him alone. How commonplace is this for you guys?

I don’t know where you are getting your news from, but I like it! The more misinformation we can spread about my life, the better. And if you’re making this stuff up, well done!

[Ed.- This was also on the news page, dateline 8/25/2006. I am starting to think all this news is fake!]

NT: At what point does a fan stop becoming a fan and start to freak you out?

I think as soon as a “music appreciator” becomes a “music fan”, they start to freak me out. But hey, I live in New York, I obviously enjoy being freaked out.

NT: Did Interscope ever have to sue for the illegal use of your song, “Relative Ways” in The OH in Ohio movie trailer?

Jesus Christ! Obviously we need to sit down and talk some time, because you seem to know waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more about my band than I do. Where the hell have I been this last year?

[Ed.- see news story on, dateline 8/21/2006]

NT: THANK YOU! Trail of Dead are the greatest!

Thank you! Keep rocking in the free world!


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