Central Illinois’ Meth Dealer is a hardcore band made up of four members: Beau Schleder, Macauley Allen, Tyler Brown and Daniel Ledbetter. BRP’s Lauren Van Houwe sat down with the guys to discuss the history of the band, what to expect from them in the future, and to teach us what rockin’ is all about.
[Photo cred: Michael Herrick]
When did you become a band?
BROWN: Beau and I started the band in 2013, I believe. It was myself, Beau, our friend Alex and our friend Nick. We also had a second vocalist, Tony, who wound up moving to bass shortly after our first handful of shows.
Where did the name originate from? Who made it up?
BROWN: Honestly, I can’t even remember [laughs]. Do you remember, Beau?
SCHLEDER: Tyler approached me about starting a band and wanted to call it Meth Dealer. I thought Tyler liked Breaking Bad, so at the time I was all about it. He didn’t even like Breaking Bad at all though. The name was a complete joke, one that we had no plans of continuing with for this long, but it just stuck.
Since you’ve started the band, you guys have had a few member changes as well, correct? What was it like to find backups and/or replacements?
BROWN: We’ve had so many different lineups. Currently, it’s myself, Beau on bass, Macauley on guitar and Daniel on drums. Prior to this lineup we’ve had probably six or seven other members here and there. It’s been kind of difficult finding new drummers but we always have been lucky in finding the people that we’ve had.
When did you all first get into hardcore? Did you grow up with the genre?
ALLEN: I would have to say it happened in late middle school or early high school. I remember going to ska shows when I was in eighth grade with some friends of mine at the McKinley Foundation in Champaign, Illinois. I grew up listening to bands like Metallica, Slipknot, Slayer and a lot of others. The list is huge.
BROWN: I feel like Slipknot is really a common band between the four of us. That was our real gateway into heavy music in general.
SCHLEDER: The first hardcore band I listened to was Throwdown around when Haymaker came out. Hardcore is awesome, but I wouldn’t say I grew up in it. I’m about where Mac is on things when it comes to music.
ALLEN: Yeah Slipknot is the shit. I just liked how real it felt when listening to their self-titled album and Iowa in particular. It definitely eventually led me to listening to more lyrically aggressive music.
LEDBETTER: I probably started getting into hardcore whenever I was about sixteen or seventeen years old. Growing up, I was listening to Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.
How many tours have you been on and what was the longest?
BROWN: We’ve been on one tour and it was just for about six or seven days in July of 2015.
SCHLEDER: That run was down to Oklahoma and then up through Arkansas and Kentucky.
BROWN: With Macauley being in school, it makes our schedule harder to do extensive touring.
What was the most memorable thing about that tour?
ALLEN: Destroying a Toilet.
LEDBETTER: That was amazing [laughs].
BROWN: We played in this super creepy basement called ‘Sol House’ in Little Rock, Arkansas.
SCHLEDER: I thought Mac broke the window in the room [laughs].
LEDBETTER: Not to mention that the basement flooded the night before.
SCHLEDER: And we weren’t grounded. We could have died.
BROWN: Probably the wildest show we’ve ever played. Little Rock went crazy.
That’s crazy intense [laughs]. So how many releases do you have out now?
BROWN: We currently have two EPs and one single out. We’re in the process of working on our new material now.
What’s the writing process like?
ALLEN: I would say a lot of it is collab work between Beau and I. Everyone has their input when it comes to writing the music and probably even lyrics. Usually Beau or I will work on riffs of our own and present them to everybody. We are definitely a band that writes music together. I don’t think we have one song where one person just came up with the whole idea themselves. Everyone has their own niches I think. I know I can hear everyone’s style in each of our songs and I think that it is awesome.
“We are definitely a band that writes music together. I don’t think we have one song where one person just came up with the whole idea themselves. Everyone has their own niches. I know I can hear everyone’s style in each of our songs and I think that it is awesome.” – Macauley Allen.
What are lyrics usually based on? Personal issues or something else?
BROWN: A lot of what I’ve written has been based on personal issues and just problems I’ve dealt with from people in my life.
What is one thing you struggle with as a band?
SCHLEDER: Schedules [laughs].
ALLEN: Yeah, I live a pretty busy life outside the band. It’s hard to make time sometimes.
BROWN: Same for me. My job keeps me busy and getting time away from the show is difficult.
Do you all live in the same area? If not, does that also make scheduling hard?
BROWN: Beau and I live in the MethHouse together. Daniel lives in the middle of nowhere and Mac lives about 45 north of us in Bloomington.
What are two things people don’t know about you as a band?
ALLEN: I sing opera… a lot.
SCHLEDER: I sleep… a lot [laughs]. But most of us watch hockey regularly [laughs].
Who do you record with? Are you guys DIY?
BROWN: We’ve done all of our releases with Brad Tuttle at Seventh Sounds Studios in LeRoy, Illinois. Brad’s the man and has always been really good to us since we’ve started.
What is the most rewarding thing that you get out of playing music?
SCHLEDER: For me it’s seeing people go off to our music and sing along.
BROWN: Just being able to go and play really. I think we’ve all made tons of friends from playing over the last couple years, including each other, and that’s just been the best parts for me.
ALLEN: Playing the music we play is a great way for me to just shed a lot of negative thoughts. I love seeing people get excited about what we play and have a great time as well. But overall it’s just a great outlet.
LEDBETTER: The most rewarding thing for me is seeing everyone sing along and have fun. I love hanging out with all my friends and playing the drums in this band helps me release my anger in a positive way.
“Playing the music we play is a great way for me to just shed a lot of negative thoughts. I love seeing people get excited about what we play and have a great time.” – Macauley Allen.
Are there any other bands/artists outside of the hardcore scene that all of you listen to that’s your guilty pleasure music or go-to bands?
SCHLEDER: I’m not really ashamed of any music I listen to, but my go-to is Blink-182.
ALLEN: Well, I love classical music. So I guess my go-to is probably something in that avenue. Specifically in operas. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. Human voices filling up 1000 plus patron houses with just their tiny little vocal folds.
DANIEL: My go-to would probably be Coheed & Cambria. They have been one of my favorites since I started playing music.
BROWN: Probably my favorite band outside of the heavy music realm is mewithoutYou. Probably the best band to sit back and relax to, and even just vibe to. BRP
Written by Lauren Van Houwe
Edited by Chelsea Renee Scofield