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#34 Dramarama: Everybody Dies

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/26/2012
Dramarama remains one of New Jersey’s most underrated bands of all-time.  During the ‘80s, the boys from Wayne had the distinction of holding the #1 fan voted song for KROQ in California (“Anything, Anything”) and WHTG in New Jersey (“Last Cigarette”) yet never truly rose above cult status elsewhere.  They broke up in 1994, but their songs lived on through live shows by lead singer John Easdale.  

In 2004, VH-1 sparked a resurgence in interest in the band when they were featured on the show Bands Reunited.  Timing couldn’t have been better as the band was preparing for their first release in a decade.  Original bandmates Easdale, Peter Wood, and Mark Englert formed the core of the band.  In the years since Dramarama had broken up, the band’s co-founder Chris Carter had moved on from his days as a musician to become a popular DJ in Los Angeles and declined an offer to return to the band.

With Everybody Dies, Dramarama not only created an album to please long-time fans, but proved the hard rocking alternative band still had plenty of juice left.   The title track is every bit as good as their biggest hits.  Written in honor of a close friend of John’s who had passed away, “Everybody Dies” is a surprisingly upbeat, almost fun song about death;  “Good Night America,” which might be one of Dramarama’s most political songs to date, is a bittersweet look at how the country’s future looks bleak; and “Physical Poetry” shows that the band can still write pop songs as well as anyone.

This album contains dreamy, almost psychedelic songs, mixed with rockers and singer-songwriter numbers that continue the band’s legacy of great music that never sounds outdated... even thirty years later.

Highlights include “Everybody Dies,” “Good Night America,” “Physical Poetry,”  and “Dropping The Curtains.”

From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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