Interview with The Deathtones

Interview with The Deathtones

Today, we sat down with Billy and Mr. Grim from The Deathtones to talk music writing, advice for musicians and much more! Be sure to check out their band The Deathtones below after the interview on Spotify!


What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?

We are inspired primarily by anything to do with horror culture. We’ll watch a movie or read about some serial killer or just get a spark of inspiration out of the blue. Songwriting inspiration can be found anywhere as long as you open yourself up mentally. A closed mind is a dead mind artistically, so it’s important to stay flexible.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Billy: I grew up with oldies radio in the car. My parents are late 1940’s-1950 baby boomers, so they listened to people like Elvis, Del Shannon and Buddy Holly. When I got slightly older it was boy bands. I was 10 in 2000 living in NJ suburbia so there weren’t many metalheads or punk rockers around to influence me at the time, so pop, hip hop and rap took over for about 3 years.
Once I moved to Pennsylvania and started hanging out with my longtime friend Tom I discovered the awesomeness of punk and pop punk. Say whatever you want, but I love the work of Green Day, The Offspring, Sum 41, Blink 182, Social Distortion, Anti-Flag, etc. (And yes to all you gatekeepers, those are all examples of successful punk bands. You don’t have to throw beer bottles and play crappy sounding music to be a punk. It’s a mindset and an overall attitude.)
After that I got into classic rock during my high school years (smoked a lot of herb and listened to a lot of The Doors, Led Zep, Hendrix, Cream, etc.)
I just recently got into horror punk, after playing with my friend, the late Deric Reese (of horrorpunk band Lugosi’s Morphine).
Mr. Grim: I grew up on classic rock, bands like Bob Seger, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, etc. My father was a rocker. My mother listened to everything. I got into heavier rock as I got older. First metal song I can remember hearing was Mother, by Danzig. I was hooked. First metal cd I owned was Rob Zombie, HellBilly Deluxe. From there I went down the rabbit hole of metal, and through my love for Danzig, I discovered The Misfits and the rest is well, Horror punk history…
Is there someone you looked up as a hero?
Billy: As a musical hero? That’s tough. I’d have to go with Mike Ness of Social Distortion. The guy doesn’t take any guff from anyone and writes awesome songs.
Mr. Grim: Dave Lombardo, end of story.
If you weren’t a musician, would you be doing today?
Billy: Working 80 hours a week in a kitchen somewhere.
Mr. Grim: There is no such thing as not being a musician. Music’s my life. I’d be dead.
What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?
To be successful: It sounds hokey, but don’t give up. It took me 15 years of playing and writing before I was noticed by people other than just personal friends and family. Plenty of people will tell you to “grow up” or that you’re “not good enough”, but if you devote yourself to your craft and you have an underlying ability to write, play and perform it will rise to the surface eventually.

To “create music” – Practice. Every day practice something. Run scales, write songs, come up with cool riffs or beats. Always be playing, because it may not seem like much in the moment, but your skills DO develop. It takes time, but eventually you’ll know the fretboard or drum kit like it’s an extension of your body.