Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Dead Letter Auction


Linda Selick-Stockmaster

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 29, 2000

Heads Up! This article is 22 years old.

After two years, a tour, and with another tour in the works, and Dead Letter Auction still seem to remain fresh, excited, appreciative, and very good friends. Dead Letter Auction are a Fort Wayne band of emotional young guys, ages 17 to 23, whose music can best be described as introspective, noisy, experimental rock. Damian, the vocalist and guitar player, describes the band’s music as a release.

Dead Letter Auction are Damian Hade, Jarod Isenbarger, also playing guitar and sharing vocals, Chris Pownall playing bass and John McCormick on drums. With many personal influences, the band as a whole is influenced by national acts like Radiohead, The Cure, Three Penny Opera and Fugazi. Their music is 100 percent original. Ideas prompted by Damian and Jarod are crafted by the band, each member adding to the creation of an original tune. Jarod and Damian are best friends, and find that this helps with the songwriting. “There is just this weird connection that you feel,” said Damian.

Onstage, the members of DLA seem intuitive of one another. A good blend, a good mix of musicians of the same mindset. Simply put, it works.

Fans of Dead Letter Auction are typical kids who attend all-ages punk rock shows. The band is facing a dilemma about seeking some gigs at over 21 bars. Until now, band members thought that they should just book their performances at all-ages shows.

“We struggle with the whole ethic of playing the bar scene,” said Damian, who fights with the idea of playing a show where their underage fans could not attend. “We might try it, and see how it goes. We just haven’t gotten around to it yet,” he added.

The band is a very big supporter of bringing all-ages shows into Fort Wayne and making things happen for the local under-21 crowd. “With a band like ours, you have to make the opportunities for yourself,” said Damian. Dead Letter Auction have played locally at The Backdoor, Northside Park, Shoaff Park and Franke Park and recently did an all-instrumental gig at Purdue University. They also have toured extensively, playing many venues across the U.S.

“The local all ages scene in Fort Wayne is a tight-knit group,” said Jarod. “There is a punk rock scene here, it just needs to be noticed by more kids.”

DLA are currently working on a full-length CD. Prior recordings include a three song demo CD. A split CD with All Pain Aside, another Fort Wayne band, and their song “Housebroken” is on an East Timor benefit CD. Their Idol Hands compilation was released by Ape Records, and they also have a 7″ EP. They have recently purchased some recording equipment and are working on creating and producing the full-length CD themselves.

Dead Letter Auction will be hitting the road in July on their second tour, with stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver. On their last tour, they drove an old 15 passenger van/bus that gave them a ton of mechanical trouble. Their trouble finally peaked with the van literally catching fire. The only salvageable items were two guitars, one can of food and the tires. Despite the transportation problems and inconveniences, they were able to see the country and have some good experiences. They enjoyed seeing the Badlands in South Dakota, and driving along Highway 1 in California. They survived by eating raw potatoes, Spaghetti-o’s, dry cereal and Twizzlers.

“Touring, being in a band, is a privilege that I think is overlooked by many in our position,” said Damian. “Whatever sort of bad luck may fall upon us, I cannot, and will not get too upset about it. Touring is really awesome. It’s a great chance to see the country, meet people, and really think about things, during all the drive time.”

Jarod believes that the band’s theme is all about communication. “It is all personal to the writer,” he said, “but if you can relate, it becomes personal to the listener. That is a really beautiful form of artistic communication.”

All members of Dead Letter Auction are also in other bands. Damian is in XCongress of the CrowX, and Skullyard, with John and a 12-year-old singer named Ian, doing some originals with an 80’s punk sound. Jarod is in the locally popular band Ghoul, which he describes as The Misfits meet Cannibal Corpse. “It’s kinda punk/metal/goth,” he said. Chris is in The Rebel Yell, and John is in the artsy band God Must Be On A Holiday.

You can see Dead Letter Auction perform, before they go on tour, July 11 at Northside. You can also visit their website at http://members.trpod. com/deadletter.

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