Dead Confederate brings Southern-psychedelia to Vail |

Dead Confederate brings Southern-psychedelia to Vail

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

Mention the words Southern rock and bands like Lynard Skynard and Molly Hatchet come to mind. Images of Confederate flags proudly waving overhead while band members and fans alike take swigs off of whiskey bottles are easy to picture.

Breaking the stereotype of what a Southern rock band should be is just part of the uphill struggle Southern Indie-rock band Dead Confederate faces in the music industry.

“Our music is kind of dark and I wanted something kind of dark but also kind of militant,” said rhythm guitarist and vocalist Hardy Morris about their name. He also said that the name Dead Confederate is a small jab at those who have preconceived notions about what Southern rock is.

“Just because you’re from the South and playing rock and roll doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an Allman Brother,” Morris said, though he is a fan of much of the classic Southern rock the band is distancing themselves from, he said.

The members of the band Dead Confederate are finding their niche in the music world. The rock band from Athens, Georgia is often compared to other groups like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket, or a really mean Pink Floyd; they’ve undergone a few changes since they came together two years ago, such as songwriting style, with a shift toward personal lyrics, and the way they play ” a much more in-your-face, energetic style than before.

“All of our songs are based off of personal experience. You know, it’s all pretty personal stuff,” Morris said.

Through the process of growing up and growing together Morris said the band and their music matured; age and experience helped them figure out what path to take.

They sought to focus more on the intimate, writing side than the performing side of things. This process led to the recording of their self-titled EP. Their music took on a darker feel when bass player Brantley Senn wrote “The Rat” ” a song decrying the abuses of religious power ” and showed it to his bandmates. They knew they had finally found their direction.

“(‘The Rat’) kind of fit what everybody in the band did very well and … we’ve enjoyed playing it a lot and it kind of latched on like ‘wow, we finally found something we’re actually good at,” Morris said.

A reworked version of “The Rat” will be featured on Dead Confederate’s first full-length album, which the band’s recording now.

The band’s sound could be described as a Leviathan slowly rising from the ocean depths until it lumbers onto the shore to wreak havoc and carnage on unsuspecting villagers. Morris’s yelling/singing is painfully relatable (and actually understandable) as guitars and drums rage and then subside and then rage again into psychedelic-grunge territory. Their intensity on stage stems from their no-frills, no-gimmicks approach to playing.

“We’re so in our own world up there. We play the exact same for four people as we would for four thousand,” Morris said.

Dead Confederate defines success in simplistic terms. Morris said that as long as Dead Confederate can keep making records and touring, the rest will fall into place.

“I’m not worried about making millions of dollars or anything,” Morris said.

Touring and recording are the only ways to get your name out there and win over listeners, according to Morris, who said that he doesn’t think that anything he could ever say will convince people to like Dead Confederate. They must see and hear the band with their own eyes and ears and decide.

“We’re kind of one of those bands where either people like our band or they don’t like it at all, you know, it’s not very in between. It’s pretty much, like, dark and loud. Either people want to hear dark and loud or they want to f—— run out with their hands over their ears,” Morris said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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