Carly DuHain and the rest of Drop Dead Red are still drinkin', still keepin' it real

The Sacramento band invites listeners to get drunk, cry, curse and laugh

<p><b>Who's buying this band the next round?</b></p>

Who's buying this band the next round?


Celebrate Drop Dead Red's record release at 10 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street. Cover is $10. For more information, visit

The Carly DuHain Band started teasing the release of its second album InsideFires in 2012. It’s 2015, and the record was just completed.

What the hell happened?

“A shit ton of stuff,” DuHain says.

A shit ton of great stuff. But also some terrible stuff. And a bit of an identity crisis.

“We found ourselves getting pigeon-holed into categories we didn’t belong in,” DuHain says.

Because of one country-esque drinking song, the band got labeled as Americana. By everyone. Including this publication. But DuHain writes rock music—bluesy, alternative, gutsy rock ’n’ roll.

In December of 2013, the Carly DuHain Band evolved into Drop Dead Red, named after DuHain’s tattoo of a sassy pinup bearing the same three words. And DuHain works hard to make sure everyone knows that Drop Dead Red rocks.

Drop Dead Red still features guitarist Gabe Aiello and drummer Tony Ledesma (Autumn Sky, Odame Sucks). Joe Castro (All About Rockets) now plays bass. In January, Brittney Vanessa joined the team, providing guitar and backup vocals.

Most importantly, the focal point remains: DuHain’s rich, booming voice, electric personality and haunting lyrics.

“I write so people know they’re not alone,” she says. “We’re all brokenhearted and messed up at some point. Then we can get together and laugh about it.”

Song has long been DuHain’s vehicle for sharing horrifying, personal tales. InsideFires promises to be heady, emotional listening.

“The album covers physical and emotional abuse, self-abuse, self-harm, being haunted by bad choices and relationships and where you may have gone wrong in your life,” DuHain says, adding that it also touches on overcoming physical ailments. DuHain has lupus, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, which has at least once sent her from stage directly to hospital.

DuHain had also been, admittedly, partying pretty hard the past few years. She makes regular jokes about guzzling down Jameson, and Drop Dead Red is proudly known as a drinking band of buddies. But DuHain’s health problems are seriously taxing, so the band told her to slow down and chill out.

“It was quite an experience to spend more time alone, in my head, taking it easy at home,” she says. “It was the best move I ever made. I got really serious about the music.”

In conclusion, band changes, health problems and financial problems because of said health problems caused the delay of InsideFires. Plus some other stuff.

It took one whole year to record the album, and in December, a successful Kickstarter campaign wrapped up production costs. Out of 11 tracks, only five from DuHain’s years-ago vision actually made it on the record.

Drop Dead Red is stoked to finally drop it at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub on Friday, March 13. The record release doubles as a benefit show for the Front Street Animal Shelter, with raffle prizes as varied as a hand-knitted sweater to a private dinner prepared by a local chef. The members of Drop Dead Red are all very passionate about their pets—DuHain’s 15-year-old cat’s bladder crystals also may have caused some financial delay with InsideFires.

But what comes next? DuHain emphasizes that this is going to be a big year for Drop Dead Red—hopefully the year the band goes from “project to success.” A Pacific Northwest tour is in the works. And DuHain already has an evolution of sound in mind, with a permanent brass section and cello.

“I’ve been stuck in the ’90s for a long time, but I’d like to add more sweeping, emotional, instrumental sounds,” she says. “Nothing too indie darling—we’re never going to write a song about spoons in our kitchen.”

For example, if you buy InsideFires, there’s a bonus downloadable track about drinking around a fire pit. Heavily. Hide it from the kids.

“There are a lot of bad words on there,” DuHain says, laughing. “It’s not safe.”