Editor’s Note: I would have to describe Tyler Connolly of THEORY as one of the most chill people in the music industry today. His band, Theory Of A Deadman aka THEORY have really evolved their sound based upon what his happening in the world, and their music has captured generations of rock fans with their honest lyrics, their passion about bringing issues such as opiate addiction and domestic violence to light and playing sold-out venues all across the country. In this interview with Madness To Creation, Tyler Connolly of THEORY discusses coping with anxiety, memories of opening for Motley Crue, and their very first gig in Ottawa. Fans can find THEORY at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Thanks Tyler for taking the time to interview with me for Madness To Creation! How are you doing?
Tyler: Oh pretty good, thanks for having me!
Madness To Creation: What adjustments have you and the band had to make with social media through this pandemic? Plus random question, are you into Star Wars?
Tyler: Well, I kind of look at it(social media) like Star Wars, you always want to be like a Sith character, no one wants to be Luke Skywalker, everyone wants to be Darth Vader, but honestly I think I’d be Hans Solo, I’d totally be like a loner, I’d have a Chewbacca and having some old piece of crap spaceship, that would be a totally badass life! *laughs*
Madness To Creation: At Madness To Creation, we focus on mental health awareness, what makes Tyler happy and what helps Tyler get through the tough times in life?
Tyler: It’s interesting because from what we do, being home is really not that much different. I was talking to our drummer Joe, and we were discussing how it’s not that much different because when we’re on the road, we’re surrounded by people all of the time, there is no alone time, so you actually get used to it and enjoy it, it kind of gets weird when you’re all alone on the road. You’re sitting in your hotel room and you’re like so bored, but when you get home, the last thing you want to do is to be around people, so you kind of enjoy being quarantined in a way, and we were supposed to be on this spring tour right now, roughly halfway through it. It does get tough, I deal with anxiety, but in a very healthy manner. I exercise quite a bit, I exercised this morning, I have a trainer that I work out with on Zoom, which I might not be able to do, but I always recommend doing some sort of exercise. You can get an app or even on YouTube, there’s people that will always take you through stuff. I do this thing called parasympathetic breathing. Have you heard of that?
Madness To Creation: I haven’t, can you tell us about that?
Tyler: It’s amazing, so I learned this from my trainer as well, it’s really good for people that get anxiety, in a sense it’s like putting the brown paper bag over your mouth, you cram in a bunch of carbon dioxide, so in a sense parasympathetic breathing, what it does is helps you calm down, you breathe in for four seconds, hold in for four seconds and breathe out for eight, and it works, it’s crazy, I do it when I wake up in the morning, it’s almost like meditation, and I’ll just do that. Sometimes, I’ll do it and sometimes I’ll fall back asleep just because it’s so relaxing, so give that a try!
Madness To Creation: What’s the first thing that you want to do when this pandemic is all over?
Tyler: Hopefully it’ll be to hit the road. It’s frustrating when you enjoy the down time, we enjoy it because we always know there’s another tour on the horizon, I think for us when our record cycle is over, it’s a little scary because we’re like, “we’re not going to tour until when”, I don’t know, “until we have a new record”, I don’t know, for us, not knowing when the tour is going to start or when the next tour is going to be, it’s a little scary for us, so yes, the first thing I want to do when this is all over is to get on a plane and go play for sure.
Madness To Creation: Absolutely! I’m sure you’ve had experiences of fans coming up to you and saying, you know one of your songs helped me get through a really difficult time.
Tyler: Quite a bit! It’s interesting because it’s not just one song, oddly enough we get a ton of people connected to a song called “Wait For Me”, which almost sounds like a song for the military, so we have a lot of military people’s wives waiting for their husbands to come home from overseas, we get a lot of people that love that song, or a lot of relationship songs, or our big one that we get is “Rx”, that one was pointed to the opiate crisis in America and with that song it was quite successful, we had a ton of fans who were dealing with that, coping with that, struggling with that tell us how it really helped them, for us that was remarkable that it did, so we were happy.
Madness To Creation: Rx has over 100,000,000 views on YouTube, when it hit that milestone, what was your response to that?
Tyler: Well, I got an email from my sister and in the email she said, “congratulations on a hundred million”, it’s crazy, I guess it’s still surreal, we never thought that song would be a hit, we didn’t really know, so we just like to see it keep going and going, I think it’s exciting because with a song it’ll do well maybe for a certain period of time, so with Rx, it came out a few years ago, it’s nice to see that it’s still moving and streaming, and I think people are still finding out about it and connecting to it, so for us it just makes us really happy and proud, it’s almost like you had a baby! *laughs*
Madness To Creation: Three months ago you released the music video for “World Keeps Spinning”, I would say you guys have evolved into a more socially conscious band, what was going through your head when you penned those lyrics?
Tyler: It is about me, it’s about how I get into this dark place, when I just wake up and get out of bed and everything just feels off, and it’s just anxiety. Sometimes, it can just be a dream, I don’t know where it stems from, I don’t think any of us do, it’s just when it’s one of those days where you just feel like crap and you’re scared to go outside, I don’t really do it that much, it’s exposed myself in a way I guess, but I think after all of this time even with a song like Rx, I think it was actually time for me to do that because I think people respond and say, “Tyler’s human too, he goes through the same emotions that I do as well”, I think I knew I could help some people by saying, “hey, look I’m going to write a song about what sometimes happens to me when I feel like I just can’t eat and I don’t know what’s going on, but something’s going on”, so hopefully that can help people.
Madness To Creation: On a personal note, I saw you guys open up for Motley Crue up in Minneapolis, take Tyler today and the Tyler back then, what advice would you give him?
Tyler: The Motley Crue tour? We did a couple of tours with them, it was so much fun, we had such a great time on that tour, I wish I could say, “just have some fun”, but we really did, I don’t know, I think that everything just went so well, I don’t know if I would give myself advice, it was just so fantastic and Minneapolis is a great town, we love playing there, so I’m sure it was a great show.
Madness To Creation: Couple of fun questions that I have, what memories do you have of your very first Theory gig?
Tyler: We played at this place in Ottawa, Ontario, which is the capital of Canada I’m pretty sure *laughs*, it was at a little bar called Zay Fraught that held a couple hundred people, and not one person showed up, the only people that were there was the opening band, they watched us and we watched them, that was our very first gig, I think. I don’t think we even cared, “we’ll figure it out once the doors open”, there were thongs hanging up at the bar, and we’re like, “okay, let’s go play”, it was good, we did quite a few shows early on, I remember on the first record we would play a show and at the end of the show, we would just jump off of the stage and go hang out with the fans cause there were like seven of them and we would just sign some stuff and it’s great cause those people are still our fans and it’s cool to run into them somewhere, and they would be like, “I was at your very first show” or “I was at this show in 2002 and there was like no one there and you guys hung out”, and I’m like, “yeah, it was at this place”, so they’re surprised that I remember it and I’m like, “yeah, I remember all of those gigs”.
Madness To Creation: Give me a song that no matter how many times you hear it you never get tired of it.
Tyler: “Goin’ To California” by Led Zeppelin.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add?
Tyler: I think we’ve pretty much covered it. “Say Nothing” is out now, go check it out if you haven’t done so, and “World Keeps Spinning” is out on radio, it’s trucking up the rock charts, so if you want to give that a listen, that would be fantastic, you can stream it as well, and the video is out on YouTube so you can check that out as well.
And there you have it! Their tour with Breaking Benjamin and Bush has been postponed/cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, get your Theory fix by checking out “Say Nothing” in its entirety below:
* Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine