Death from Above 1979

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Death from Above 1979
Death From Above 1979 @ Wellington Square (25 9 2011) (6202050121).jpg
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Dance-punk, noise pop
Years active 2001–2006, 2011-present
Labels Last Gang Records, Ache, Vice Recordings, 679,
Associated acts MSTRKRFT, Femme Fatale, Black Cat No. 13, Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains
Members Sebastien Grainger
Jesse F. Keeler

Death from Above 1979 are a Toronto-based[1] Canadian dance-punk duo. Their only full-length album, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, was released in late 2004 on Last Gang Records. The band broke up in 2006, but announced a reunion in 2011.


Death from Above 1979 members are Jesse F. Keeler on bass, synths, backing vocals and Sebastien Grainger on vocals, drums. They were signed to Last Gang Records for the world with license arrangements with Vice Recordings in the U.S. and 679 Recordings in the UK and JVC in Japan.

Although they reportedly met at a Sonic Youth concert, Keeler and Grainger sometimes jokingly claimed to have met in prison, on a pirate ship, or in a gay bar, leading some journalists and fans to believe these hoaxes. They also claimed to have lived in a funeral home at one time. In 2005, the video for "Blood On Our Hands" won a VideoFACT award at the MuchMusic Video Awards. They played "Romantic Rights" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, with Grainger drumming for the first half of the performance and Late Night's Max Weinberg on the same drum set for the second.

Name change[edit]

The band was originally named "Death from Above," a name which appears on their second recording, Romantic Rights EP. The duo changed their name after a legal dispute with New York City dance music label DFA Records.

The reason for the seemingly arbitrary date of 1979 comes from Sebastien Grainger's birth date. Sebastien responded to being asked why they chose 1979 by saying "1979 is the year of my birth, 1979 is the year of Off the Wall, 1979 is the year of The Pleasure Principle, 1979 is the last year of the last cool decade, 1979 is scratched into my arm, 1979 is scratched into my arm, 1979 is scratched into my fucking arm."

He also stated in an interview given to MTV: "I was born that year, and it's never going to be wrong."[2]

It was speculated that the seemingly random year came from Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 classic Apocalypse Now. The words "Death from Above" can be found on a logo on the Huey Helicopters that carry Martin Sheen and his crew to the infamous beach in Vietnam. However, Grainger claims this is simply a coincidence.[3]


As of August 3, 2006 the band officially disbanded. Jesse F. Keeler posted the following message on the official Death from Above 1979 forum:

I know its been forever since I wrote anything on here. I'm sure by now most of you assume the band isn't happening anymore since there are no shows, no work on a new album, etc. well. I wanted to let you know that your assumptions are correct. We decided to stop doing the band... Actually we decided that almost a year ago. We finished off our scheduled tour dates because there were good people working for us who relied on us to make a living and buy Christmas presents and pay rent etc. We couldn't just cancel everything and leave them out to dry... Plus I think we wanted to see if we would reconsider after being out on the road. Our label was really hoping that we would change our minds, so they asked us to keep quiet about the decision for at first. Well, it's been quite a while now and we are still very sure the band won't happen again, so I guess it's time to say something.(...)

—Jesse F. Keeler, [4]

On MuchMusic's television program The New Music, Keeler further explained why the band split. He claimed it was due to disagreements with bandmate Grainger on many levels, including creative differences, music style, and more.


On 4 February 2011, Sebastien Grainger officially announced, on the band's website, that the band was reforming.[5] Along with this blog post, the band's official website was updated. The band performed a new song while performing at EdgeFest on July 14, 2012 at Downsview Park in Toronto. On September 18, 2012, a Canadian tour was announced; the band revealed that they had written new songs, but needed to perform them live in order to "make them any good."[6]

On October 28, 2012 the band's blog was updated in lieu of excitement for their first of twelve shows around Canada. In the post, Sebastien cited that they were "coming to share new material, and to work out the kinks." The band was originally scheduled to perform at Governors Ball Music Festival in June 2013, but later on announced that they were having unexpected trouble while working on new music and cancelled their appearance. On July 11, 2013, the band confirmed that a new record is in the works on their Facebook page after canceling European shows due to a "medical emergency". They are, however, stated to be performing at Rifflandia in Victoria in September 2013, and played at Wakestock Music Festival in Ontario in August 2013.

On July 8, 2014, the band released a new single, "Trainwreck 1979", and announced more details of their upcoming studio album "The Physical World". The album will include 11 songs and the band will tour extensively in support.[7]


Studio albums[edit]

Remix album[edit]


  • Heads Up (December 15, 2002)
  • Romantic Rights EP (April 13, 2004)
  • Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) (Death from Above 1979 EP)|Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) (July 12, 2005)



  • "Romantic Rights"
  • "Blood on Our Hands"
  • "Black History Month"
  • "Black History Month" (Sammy Danger Remix)
  • "Pull Out"
  • "Sexy Results" (MSTRKRFT Edition)
  • "Trainwreck 1979"

Related bands and projects[edit]


MSTRKRFT is an electronic duo made up by Jesse F. Keeler and Alex Puodziukas, who often refer to by his stage name, Al-P. Two MSTRKRFT remixes can be found on Death from Above 1979's 2005 release Romance Bloody Romance. MSTRKRFT's debut album, The Looks was released on July 18, 2006. Their second LP, Fist of God was released March 17, 2009.

Bad Tits[edit]

Bad Tits, is Sebastien Grainger's band with Joshua Reichmann, formerly of Jewish Legend and Tangiers. The duo began playing shows in early 2010, with Grainger on drums and samplers, Reichmann on guitar and keyboards, and both singing. They released a debut vinyl 7" and digital EP titled Garbage Night on the label Hand Drawn Dracula. On February 26, 2012, Sebastien Grainger announced on his Twitter account that Bad Tits had changed their name to Deserts.[9] Desert's Twitter account posted about having been recording music shortly after.[9]

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains[edit]

Sebastien Grainger released an EP with The Mountains titled American Names and later a self-titled LP, in 2008. The band toured for a year and a half, opening for such bands as Metric, Albert Hammond Jr & Bloc Party in North America and Europe. They were signed with Saddle Creek Records in the USA, Outside Music in Canada and JVC in Japan.

Femme Fatale[edit]

Femme Fatale was a band that featured Jesse F. Keeler before Death from Above 1979. It is considered to have a more hardcore sound than Death from Above. Sebastien Grainger played drums for Femme Fatale in live shows, however during recordings, Keeler played all the instruments, as well as wrote all the songs and sang all the vocals. Femme Fatale is no longer in the works, due to the live aspect of it being often too difficult, and other top-priority projects such as MSTRKRFT.

Black Cat No. 13[edit]

Black Cat No. 13 was a band that also featured Jesse F. Keeler, and was started in 1998, lasting until 2000, when the band split due to musical differences. The band released all vinyl releases which are very hard to find and are considered collector's items by Death from Above 1979 fans. Unlike Femme Fatale, Sebastien had no role in Black Cat No. 13, though Al-P produced many of their releases.



Sample of "Romantic Rights", from You're a Woman, I'm a Machine.

Sample of "Dead Womb", from Heads Up.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Twitter / SEBASTIEN GRAINGER: any Wikipedia users out there? if you're so inclined can you change the DFA1979 site to state we were Toronto based, not Montreal. true say.". 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  2. ^ "News - You Hear It First". 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  3. ^ "Death From Above 1979 – Discover music, videos, concerts, stats, & pictures at". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  4. ^ iB::Topic::memo[dead link]
  5. ^ "Some Words". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Ok". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  7. ^ "" Alex Young, Death From Above 1979 detail new album, world tour, 2014
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 146. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ a b!/DesertsToronto/status/173678620655624192

External links[edit]