Interview with Paul Wandtke of Dead Original

Candice Sellar: Tell us about your music background, Paul. You’ve quite an extensive background as a drummer.

Paul Wandtke: One of my first professional gigs was filling in for Edsel Dopes side project called Suck or Punch when I was 19. The project never went anywhere but it inspired me to get my act together and learn everything I could about being a music professional. Writing, recording, producing, performing. Prior to that I just drank beer and played drums locally. After studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston MA, I’ve played for such acts as Trivium, Rock of Ages, Kill Hannah and even cruise ships, and even my own Nirvana tribute ’Smells Like Nirvana” which still to this day plays nationally!

CS: How did this current project as Dead Original come together?

Paul Wandtke: Often times being a work for hire musician can be very stressful, tiresome, and VERY VERY boring, esp if the setlists don’t change. With Dead Original, it’s all about less is more, feel and vibe. Putting all of your emotion into something that’s not about a current fad or endorsement, it’s about the music first and foremost. It’s about being real, and being myself. Band’s like Nirvana, Alice in Chains got me into music so it’s kinda like that in the now. I guess I’m dating myself but hey being 34 isn’t so bad it’s like the new 24 in my opinion. I had to go out there the past 15 years and discover what I wanted in the music industry before realizing it’s best to follow your gut and stick to your roots. Ooooooppppps LIVE AND LEARN MAN.

CS: As a drummer – coming forward as the vocalist and frontman really – has that been a difficult transition? 

Paul Wandtke: No, I love it. It feels like breathing. And they say that sometimes that’s the true calling in life when something feels so natural, pure, and emotionally cleansing.

CS: This latest release, “Bought and Sold”, is one of the singles from your album by the same name. Tell us about the song.

Paul Wandtke: It’s about overcoming obstacles and modern day society; commercialism, greed, and money.

CS: As you were looking at putting together this album was there an overall message you were wanting to deliver or do each of the songs stand on their own?

Paul Wandtke: Man it took forever to get this together. HAVE YOU EVER RECORDED your own voice: yuck. It’s embarrassing.

But overall once I got the exp and manned up, It’s for people dealing with depression. It’s for pagans against modern-day “cut and paste” rock music with no feeling and lyrics about hot chicks/new fads. It’s for those that are fans of the past, the band’s of the 90s like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Sound Garden, and more. It’s for kids in the now “hopefully”. Haha, I always try to imagine what bands were supposed to sound like post the grunge movement prior to nu-metal is what I was going for.

CS: How did you go about deciding how to release this album, with so much going on, coming up with other ways to market can be challenging.

Paul Wandtke: Our manager Dennis kept wanting to push it back but we’ve been selling about 2-3 CDs a day via so I said dude, we need to just drop this; PEOPLE LOVE THIS. This isn’t about getting discovered on American IDOL, this is about giving the people that are fans of this style of music; our music! They need to have a collection of songs then we’ll dump album 2 and boom tour, tour, tour. Fingers crossed as we are booking dates as we speak.

CS: What studio did you use for recording? Did you use the same space to create the videos as well?

Paul Wandtke: I recorded it and engineered it at The Music Garage in Chicago, IL Essentially I mixed the album and then sent it for stem mastering via Nick Nativo at The Nook in New Lenox to give it the extra polish it needed! The only exception was a few songs for taste. Fade to Light was mixed and mastered by Chuck at Electrowerks Recording in Darien, IL and  ‘Bought and Sold’ and focus track “Bored Again” was mixed by Sam Huges at Phase Flip Audio in Phoenix Arizona and finallyl Maor Appelbaum mastered Hard to See and Bored Again via Radiant Mastering. I forgot to mention our drummer Sean McCole remotely tracked the bass before we found Mike Petrasek (Bedlem) to join on bass and I tracked the drums/vocals/guitars minus Restrained, Sean added some cool lead lines in the chorus that I hate but secretly love.

CS: Chicago is a great place to play. The history of music along with baseball and hotdogs is well-loved. When things settle down again where would you like to perform?

Paul Wandtke: We just played Schaumberg Boomers for a drive-in theater show with Local H and we’re playing The Piazza in Aurora, IL on Nov 7th but I’d say we’re waiting to play our home town club Cubby Bear in Wrigley again, that’s always a fun time! We usually open for ourselves with our Nirvana tribute if we can’t find a tour or support slot just mentioning because It’s not every day you can tour with Candlebox as we did during their sold-out run back in Nov 2019.

People can see our show dates and get tickets via

Get FREE WORLDWIDE shipping on Dead Original’s debut album featuring over 13 tracks written and produced by Dead Original. Get a physical autographed copy before it hits streaming sites on Jan 8th, 2021 via