Ahwatukee resident Joe Cotela grew up in a room plastered with Korn posters. Singer Jonathan Davis stared at Cotela from his bedroom walls.
Now, as the singer of the white-contact-lens-wearing metal band Ded, Cotela has had the opportunity to tour with his heroes, as well as Stone Sour.
“They’re one of the biggest reasons I ever got into a band growing up,” he said. “Jonathan was the one who put us on that tour. To have his blessing and to have your idols validate what you’re doing is the coolest compliment you could ever receive.”
Ded is promoting its debut album “Mis•an•thrope,” which includes the first single, “Anti-Everything,” the video for which was produced by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit.
“He’s legit,” said guitarist David Ludlow, of Chandler. “I was watching behind-the-scenes videos that he had done. He was moving gear for us and cabinets. I said I would move it, but he said, ‘You don’t have to move anything. You’re the artist.’ It was cool to see how easy going he was.”
The Tempe-based band worked with heavy hitters for this release. John Feldmann of Goldfinger produced the record, while Chris Lord-Alge and Zakk Servini mixed it.
“My first concert ever was Goldfinger and 311,” Cotela said. “To have that happen was serendipity. He really pushed us outside of our box. It was almost uncomfortable. He’s so intense. He drinks a lot of coffee.”
Ludlow said working with such well-regarded producers and mixers was a learning experience. It taught him not to overthink the moment. He admitted he’s a perfectionist.
“Some musicians and artists hurry,” he said. “I’m more of a sculptor. I chip away at it, step back, and chip away again. John wasn’t like that at all.”
Ded – which also includes bassist Kyle Koelsch and drummer Matt Reinhard – is playing a hometown show, 98KUPD’s Big Red Night of the Dead, with Mastodon, In This Moment, Of Mice and Men and Avatar, on Friday, Oct. 20, at Fear Farm in Phoenix.
Born and raised in Arizona, Cotela said living here was inspirational. The Valley music veteran grew up listening to Jimmy Eat World, The Format, Authority Zero and the Gin Blossoms.
Many consider Ded to be an overnight success. Cotela doesn’t see it that way.
“We were super on the downlow for a while,” said Cotela, whose band is nominated for Best New Artist at October’s Loudwire Awards. “We opened for bands at the Nile and Pub Rock and different places like that.
“As time went on, we started getting calls from managers and record labels—notable ones, too. Everybody really likes us. Eventually, our music fell into the hands of John Feldmann. He got us with Benji and Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte), who managed us for a bit.”
For now, Ded’s musicians are doing it for themselves.
“I’ve been in a couple different bands,” Cotela said. “We wrote our album 100 percent to please ourselves. Sometimes you can get a little mixed up and start writing to make other people happy. That’s an extension of vetting people who like you.
“I don’t want to do that. I think I did that for a minute in my last bands and it wasn’t very fulfilling. This is a good time.”