Dallas-based quartet Deaf Pedestrians
were chugging along, playing shows with bands like Staind
, Papa Roach
and making a name for themselves on local radio. Then in June 2007, frontman Charlton Parker wrote the hooky, tongue-in-cheek song "Hail to the Geek" about his nerdy hobbies and awkwardness with girls.
Originally, Parker had no plans to record the number, but when his band mates heard it, they convinced him to track it with them. After a few hours in the studio, Deaf Pedestrians emerged with an undeniable cut that's catchy, funny, spirited and endearingly wistful - a proud declaration of geekdom to their fans and the world.
"That was the easiest song to write because it was pretty much how I grew up," Parker says. "It's really just taking little bits from my own experience. And I thought, 'What would tickle people that have the same interests as me,' and apparently there's a lot more people than I thought."
"Hail to the Geek" starts with a sparse, tinny guitar strum over a deep, spare bass as Parker brags about having a "Spider-Man
t-shirt" and playing "Dungeons & Dragons." Then, he exclaims "It's good to be a geek" and the band bursts in with a fist-in-the-sky rock passage that's as vital and motivational for the teased, taunted and generally unpopular as Radiohead
's "Creep" or Green Day
's "Longview," but a hell of a lot more fun.
"A lot of our songs have humor, but it's not joke music," Parker says. "Music is a medium where people will sometimes not take you seriously if you use humor. And I just think that's ridiculous. You can have a serious movie with humor and nobody dismisses that. We just try not to take ourselves or anybody else too seriously."
As soon as Deaf Pedestrians started sending "Hail to the Geek" to radio stations, they immediately discovered an audience of like-minded youth that related to their undeniable melodies and confessional humor. "Hail to the Geek," which goes for adds at radio on January 15, has quickly become an actual anthem for anyone that has ever had sand kicked in his or her face, and the song has already earned love and airplay from both commercial and satellite radio. The success has snowballed. One MTV executive heard the track on Sirius Hits One and immediately licensed it for the show "My Super Sweet 16". "Hail to the Geek" met with similar enthusiasm at The CW Network, which included the song in three episodes of "Beauty and the Geek." And to date, the song has garnered over 50,000 plays on Deaf Pedestrians' MySpace page, www.myspace.com/deafpedestrians
. In fact, one only has to check out any number of blogs to find truly endless comments declaring "This song is my life...that's ME!"
"There has been this incredible frothing at the mouth response," Parker says. "Now, a lot of people come up to me at shows and ask if I really play D & D, and if I've actually attained the levels of skills mentioned in the lyrics and I can give them the satisfaction of knowing, yes, indeed, I have no life. But the older you get, the harder it is to find people who will play it with you."
"Hail to the Geek" will be included on Deaf Pedestrians' major label debut …and other distractions
, which comes out February 12. Deaf Pedestrians will support the album with a tour of North America that will launch in the spring.