Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Stardeath and the White Dwarfs to play in Tulsa

March 13, 2009

This Monday, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs will be coming to Bob’s (inside Cain’s Ballroom) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and concertgoers can be sure to expect a high-energy, experimental performance.

Dennis Coyne, singer and guitarist of Stardeath and the White Dwarfs, describes the group’s live shows as having “a lot of lights, a lot of loud music, and a lot of fog.”

“It’s absolutely psychedelic,” Coyne says.

The group’s musical style fits with these aspects of their live performances.

“It’s loud and bright in every sense of the word – loud and bright in sound and in color,” Coyne says of the band’s sound.

Stardeath and the White Dwarfs formed about four years ago, and its members hail from Oklahoma City and Norman. Coyne says he got started playing music by being around it a lot as a kid – he’s Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips’ nephew!

“I grew up around music my whole life, and by being close with the Lips,” Coyne says. “Growing up, it was always around, so that really had to give me some interest in it.”

Coyne says that Wayne helps the group “in a way that any good uncle would,” but that he also helps and influences Stardeath and the White Dwarfs musically.

“It’s awesome,” Coyne says of having Wayne as an uncle. “There’s nothing to complain about except that he’s hard to keep up with because he’s such a hard worker.”

As a band coming out of Oklahoma, Coyne says that he has always liked the Oklahoma City and Norman music scenes. And, in addition to this, he says that it’s nice having just enough bands in the area without having an overload of competition. Oklahoma’s low cost of living is also a benefit.

“Being a band from Oklahoma is great because everything is cheap,” adds Coyne.

About seven months ago, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs was signed to Warner Bros. Records, but when they first found out, the group was working as a road crew for the Flaming Lips. They were so busy that Coyne says the group didn’t have a lot of time to consider the news.

“It was weird because we didn’t have time to digest anything,” Coyne says. “We didn’t get the news until we had arrived in England and were setting up for the Lips.”

The band recently finished their full-length album with Warner Bros., and it will be released in May. Also for the label, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs collaborated with the Flaming Lips on a cover of Madonna’s “Borderline.” The song is included on a compilation of Warner Bros. Records covers, released for the company’s 50th anniversary. Coyne says that “Borderline” was chosen carefully.

“Well, you wanna do something absurd, but not too absurd, but also not so serious that it’s boring,” he says.

The recording was completed long-distance – at the time, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs were recording in Oklahoma, and the Flaming Lips were working on Christmas on Mars in New York. They worked on the track in their two separate studios, emailing pieces back and forth, and working out issues by talking on the phone.

Currently, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs are running a very busy tour, playing a show in a different state almost every night.

“The schedule sounds brutal, but once you get rolling, it goes by so fast,” Coyne says. “There’s no sleep, and you’re driving a lot, but doing a lot in a little period is better because it keeps you on track.”

The band stops in Tulsa, in their home state, this Monday, March 16. The show is scheduled for 9 p.m. at Bob’s, inside Cain’s Ballroom. Be sure to check out Stardeath and the White Dwarfs for an energetic, psychedelic spectacle, and to support an Oklahoma-bred group!

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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