Trail of Dead: Conrad Keely on So Divided, Tacos, Medical Marijuana, Olympic Blvd

trail o dead

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead is currently touring to support its newest album So Divided,which will be released by Interscope on November 14. I gave the new album a listen and I have to say, it has its moments. The last track in particular vibes serious Course of Empire / Queensrÿche nostalgia. That can’t be a bad thing.

Recently I got the chance to pose a few questions to the band. New album aside, I had desperately wanted to ask Jason: Some Los Angeles residents might not realize that you opened the “Beauty Bar” in Austin earlier this year. How is that venture going, and do you have any plans to transplant more of Cahuenga corridor to Austin? Say for example The Spotlight. Would you consider opening a “The Spotlight” if the opportunity presented itself?

While Jason was not available, I hit the jackpot with frontman Conrad Keely. Admittedly most of my questions were food related. I was hungry at the time. Nonetheless, Conrad tolerated my bullshit and even answered a few questions with typical Conrad aplomb. Trail of Dead are slated to arrive in Los Angeles at the end of the month. Read the interview below and find out how you can win a copy of their new album.

How did you get hooked up with Amanda (from Dresden Dolls)?

We are kindred spirits who hate everyone equally. Actually, she’s on her way here this evening. I asked her to sing Smile Again with us tonight.

The recent diatribe (10/22/2006) on your website seems to indicate that:
(a) you are not in favor of sleeping on a bus,
(b) you hate taco bell but will tolerate it and, most importantly,
(c) you are particularly unhappy about online music thievery.
If there were a way to combine all three items (touring sleeping arrangements, online thievery and taco bell) into one value menu food item, what one word or phrase would you use to market the new ’triple-decker taco’ that results?

I have to rescind that recent statement, as I had not tried the Cheesy Gordita Crunch until the third night of tour. I also have to make the guilty admission that with the recent heightened health consciousness of the American public, certain fast food places have actually improved.

I’ve noticed that you have another Austin-based band, “I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness” listed on the links page on your website. For better or worse, I’ve been mashing your band name with theirs for a not inconsiderable amount of time. Suppose for an instant the two of you were to combine, though. Which would you prefer to be called:

A) “…And you will know us by the chosen love-trail of darkness”
B) “I love you dead…and you will know that I have chosen a trail of darkness.”
C) “…And you will know that I love you by the trail of darkness which I have chosen. It is dead.”
D) A and C
E) B and C
F) Other:________
G) None. Fuck off

Have you ever read “Under the Banner of Heaven”? It’s a book about Mormonism, and basically how fucked up that religion is. No more than most, I assure you.

Dodging bullets, Conrad. Fine. Foolish question, admittedly. Next up: Each time ’Naked Sun’ from your new cd comes on my car stereo, some assjack invariably cuts me off on Olympic Boulevard. Was this intentional?

No, we actually meant for you to be attacked and beaten to death by clowns, but I suppose that will do.

As previously discussed, you don’t care for Taco Bell. Who’s got the best taco in Austin?

Your momma’s. No, seriously – a place called “Mi Madres”.

Mi Madres?

No, seriously – a place called “Mi Madres“.

I thought for sure you would say something like Guero’s. Have you spent any time eating tacos in LA? What are some of your favorite taco spots in Los Angeles? There’s a great taco stand called ’Tacos Por Favor’ not far from the Los Angeles Interscope offices. Have you ever eaten there? If you make it there, LA’s resident taco blogger condones the chorizo taco. I concur.

I can’t think about food right now because I just smoked some medical marajuana, and the thought makes me nauseous. I just went to Barnes & Nobles, however, and I bought a discount book called Stuff of Dreams: from the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts. Mostly art nouveau jewelry and ceramics.

Focus time. Now that you live in New York, how often do you eat at Gray’s Papaya?

When I’m in New York I prefer to eat out of dumpsters. I don’t believe in waste.

Any closing words for the Angelenos reading this?

You people rule. Carry on my wayward sons.


trail o deadUPDATE: Contest closed. Winners will be notified.

The first five people to e-mail me at with a full name and mailing address will receive a copy of the new Trail of Dead cd. These cds need to be mailed. If you do not remember to include your mailing address, you are fucking disqualified. As with all Yum! Brands, Inc.* ventures, this operation is strictly first-come, first-serve. Don’t delay.

Trail of Dead
plays the Fonda with Blood Brothers Nov 30 & Dec 1. Keep your eyes glued to the site for possible ticket giveaways closer to the date of show.

*Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with over 34,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. Four of our restaurant brands – KFC, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – are the global leaders of the chicken, quick-service seafood, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. A&W Restaurants is the longest running quick-service franchise chain in America. In 2005, Yum! Brands generated more than $9 billion in total revenues, including company sales and franchise fees.