On Dead To Me’s very first release—the wildly underrated Cuban Ballerina—bassist-vocalist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico was quick to put his issues with drug and alcohol addiction on display. The album’s final track, “Visiting Day,” saw Annicharico singing about his experiences inside and outside of rehab, letting the world see the struggles he had long internalized. But it’s those same issues that explain why the San Francisco punk band has been silent for the last five years.
After the touring cycle in support of 2011’s Moscow Penny Ante ended, Dead To Me seemed to be over as well. But, when the band announced its new three-song 7-inch, I Wanna Die In Los Angeles, Annicharico set the record straight: “We weren’t taking a break. I was pretty busy bottoming out with a crippling opiate and alcohol addiction. I was dysfunctional and basically didn’t leave my apartment for a couple years.”
The A.V. Club is streaming the EP’s title track below, which sees a now-clean Annicharico reflecting on what would happen if he were to go back to his old ways. In typical Dead To Me fashion, “I Wanna Die In Los Angeles” features incredibly bleak lyrics set a against the band’s buzzing pop-punk, turning Annicharico’s struggles into a massive sing-along. Not only that, the EP sees the return of founding guitarist-vocalist Jack Dalrymple, who left the band following the release of 2008’s Little Brother. Annicharico had some words to share about the song’s genesis:
“I Wanna Die In Los Angeles” was written with the idea that, at this point in my life, if I relapse and choose to go back to using drugs and alcohol the way that I have in the past, that I might as well be saying to myself that I do indeed want to “Die in Los Angeles.” I have a history of periods of sobriety, followed by bad relapses that last years at a time. After my last run, I ended up in a psych ward and was completely non-functional. I’m coming up on two years sober now and it’s important for me to remember how bad things were. With time and distance it gets easy to sort of downplay the severity of my drug and alcohol use, so the song is a bit of an exercise in accountability, as it were. It’s a weird one too because the song is super fun to play however, to be hones,t I don’t really like to sing it because the lyrics make me feel depressed. Especially the part about how people would probably say “he was almost decent, but I’m glad he’s through,” in reference to what it would be like if I did relapse again and not make it back alive. But I think that’s the point, to take a look at the reality of the potential repercussions of my using.
I Wanna Die In Los Angeles is out October 21 via Fat Wreck Chords, and pre-orders are available now.