The Dillinger Escape Plan (also known as TDEP or simply Dillinger) is an American mathcore band from Morris Plains, New Jersey, formed in 1997, named after bank robber John Dillinger. The band went on to release 6 studio albums, developing an influential musical style characterized by chaotic sonic onslaughts, technical complexity, and eclectic experimentation.
The band's final line-up – which consists of guitarist Ben Weinman, bassist Liam Wilson, vocalist Greg Puciato, drummer Billy Rymer, and rhythm guitarist Kevin Antreassian – is currently touring for the last time and will disband at the end of 2017.
The Dillinger Escape Plan evolved from the hardcore punk band Arcane around 1996. The original lineup included vocalist Dimitri Minakakis, guitarists Ben Weinman, and Derrick Brantley, bassist Adam Doll and drummer Chris Pennie. The band was nameless for many months until long time friend of the band Matt Backerman decided to form Now Or Never records and asked the band to both perform on one of his underground basement shows and record what would be his and the bands self titled six-track EP. They quickly, without much thought, chose the name “The Dillinger Escape Plan” while watching a documentary on the John Dillinger, a early 1930s bank robber, famous for his multiple escapes from jail. Brantley didn't show up when the band was recording the 6 song self titled effort with Producer Steve Evetts causing the band to record as a quartet.
The six-track EP was released in 1997, and set them off on a small club tour around northeast America. Shortly before their first tour as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Brantley left the group and was replaced by John Fulton. During this time period, The Dillinger Escape Plan gained notoriety in the hardcore punk scene for the intensity of their performances. Their performances were increasingly wild, and often violent. These elaborate performances, as well as the creative, technical approach of their music led a record executive of Relapse Records to offer the band a multi-record contract. The band agreed to the contract, and recorded their second EP with Relapse titled Under the Running Board. Shortly after its release, Fulton left the band over creative differences. The three-song EP release served to bolster anticipation for their 1999 full-length release, Calculating Infinity.
Before the recording of Calculating Infinity, bassist Adam Doll was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. The accident was a minor fender bender, but because Doll had leaned over to pick up a CD beneath the stereo, the accident caused a small fracture in his spine, inducing paralysis. Guitarist Weinman played both guitar and bass on the album, though liner notes credited Doll as providing a great deal of help. Calculating Infinity was released on September 28, 1999, through Relapse and was met with critical acclaim.
Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, a friend of the band and one of the first people to hear the album, asked the Dillinger Escape Plan to tour with his band Mr. Bungle. Shortly before touring began for the new album, former Jesuit guitarist Brian Benoit auditioned for the band, taking the place of the departed Fulton and former M.O.D. bassist, Jeff Wood, took the place of the injured bassist Doll.
After several months of touring, including appearances on the Warped Tour and March Metal Meltdown, the band and Wood parted ways, with Wood moving on to his own project, Shat, Liam Wilson took his place. Later that same year, the band parted ways with Minakakis. Minakakis credited his departure from the band to the rigorous touring schedule. The band remains in contact with him. Without a vocalist, The Dillinger Escape Plan began a nationwide search for a replacement via their website, releasing an instrumental version of "43 % Burnt" from Calculating Infinity and inviting prospective vocalists to record and send their own vocal tracks. They received many submissions, including one with rapping and one with death growls.
While the search was underway, vocal duties were handled by a number of the band's friends, including Sean Ingram of Coalesce and Mike Patton, who agreed to help the band produce an EP. The plan to record with Patton was in place before a replacement vocalist had been found however by the time Patton had recorded vocals and the EP was released, the band had been touring with Minakakis's replacement, Greg Puciato, for nearly a year. The EP titled Irony Is a Dead Scene was released on August 27, 2002, through Epitaph Records. The EP features Weinman, Pennie, Benoit, Wilson, Patton on vocals, and ex-bassist Adam Doll assisting with keyboards and sample effects.
In late 2001, Dillinger Escape Plan met Puciato, one of the people who submitted a recording to the band. Puciato included two versions of "43 % Burnt", one in the style of Calculating Infinity and one with his own personal spin. The band offered him the job after two practice sessions. He accepted, first appearing at the 2001 CMJ Music Festival in New York City. Soon after, Puciato and the band recorded two songs for a Black Flag tribute compilation. In 2003, the band appeared on the soundtrack for Underworld with the song "Baby's First Coffin", their first original song with Puciato on vocals.
The band's second studio album (their first album with Puciato), Miss Machine was released on July 20, 2004, through Relapse. The album polarized The Dillinger Escape Plan audience; some fans were critical of the band's increasing artistic and musical departures from their earlier efforts, while others preferred them.
Following the release, The Dillinger Escape Plan began a two-year touring cycle, headlining tours of their own or occasionally providing support for acts such as Slipknot, System of a Down, and Megadeth. These tours were replete with injuries; in late 2004, guitarist Benoit suffered nerve damage (brachial plexus neuritis) in his left hand, and other than a short return to the stage in 2005, he has not played with the band since. Former Fenix*TX guitarist James Love ended up playing most shows in the late 2004–2006 period. In 2005, the band was forced to drop out of Dave Mustaine's "Gigantour" slightly early due to a rotator cuff injury and fractured vertebrae Weinman had sustained performing in Anaheim, California at all-ages venue Chain Reaction; Weinman took time off performing with the band to undergo surgery.
Four shows before the end of the Coheed tour, Weinman flew home for undisclosed personal reasons. In an interview, Greg Puciato announced that actual reasons for Weinman flying home was because of the growing tension between him and Pennie. The night of August 4, the group played their first show as a four-piece in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Murat Theatre Egyptian Room. It was previously announced during an interview on the Jekyll and Hyde show in November 2007, during the Coheed tour, Weinman had briefly quit the band in order to recover from compounding medical and financial problems. During the time Weinman was apart from the band, Chris Pennie received an offer from Coheed and Cambria to be the band's permanent drummer when their former drummer left the band. Coheed had been impressed with Pennie after seeing him live, and Pennie accepted the offer. Pennie left the band right before the recording of Ire Works.
The Dillinger Escape Plan completed their follow-up album to Miss Machine in 2007, titled Ire Works. On June 15, the band announced the title of the album as well as confirming the departure of Pennie. Gil Sharone of Stolen Babies handled drum duties for the album. Ire Works was released on November 13, 2007,through Relapse. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 142 with 7,000 copies scanned, but was later corrected when it was revealed that Relapse somehow forgot to scan the pre-release album sales, which made the first week total actually around 11,000. Ire Works had been a critical and commercial success, with the album being on many critics' top ten lists, making it the band's most critically successful album. Jason Lymangrover of AllMusic stated that "[if] DEP aren't careful and continue down this innovative path, they could easily be labeled the Radiohead of metalcore." On February 6, 2008, the band had two songs from Ire Works broadcast on two television programs in the United States. The song "Milk Lizard" was featured on the CSI: NY episode "Playing With Matches", and the band performed live the song "Black Bubblegum" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Missing from the new line up was Benoit, who had left the band because of injury. Although assured his place in the band is secure should he ever be able to perform again, Jeff Tuttle formerly of Heads Will Roll and Capture the Flag took his place on stage. Tuttle, however, does not make an appearance on the record.
In January 2009, Sharone left the band. Billy Rymer was then confirmed to be the band's new drummer. The Dillinger Escape Plan played in Australia, where they joined Nine Inch Nails onstage during the Soundwave 2009 festival, helping them perform the songs "Wish" and "Mr. Self Destruct" as part of the last encore song of Nine Inch Nails' live show at the event.
On May 27, 2009, it was reported by Weinman that the band started their own label, Party Smasher Inc. Party Smasher launched as a recorded music collective. The band stated that Party Smasher is not technically a record label but a "creative umbrella" for all things related to The Dillinger Escape Plan. The band released several demo snippets on their YouTube channel of songs from their upcoming album. Furthermore, a website for the record was set up, linking to all of the studio update videos and demo snippets. During their North American East Coast tour with Thursday in December 2009, the band sold download cards at their shows that entitled the customer to a download of the 10 song album upon its release with 3 additional exclusive bonus tracks. The song "Farewell, Mona Lisa", debuted on Liquid Metal SXM on Christmas Day, 2009; it became available for download on January 19, 2010. "Chinese Whispers" was debuted on Full Metal Jackie’s syndicated radio show broadcast on 29 stations throughout the USA on the March 5, 2010, and was subsequently played on the next two days. On March 9, the blog MetalSucks featured the online debut of the song. The band released their fourth studio album, Option Paralysis on March 22, 2010, through Party Smasher in partnership with Season of Mist Option Paralysis was confirmed as the title of the new album in a press release by Season of Mist. Puciato has noted that Option Paralysis was the toughest album the group and himself have ever written. In an interview in The Aquarian Weekly, Weinman stated that it was the most organic and less forced than previous works.
The Dillinger Escape Plan started the Option Paralysis touring cycle with a short North American tour with Thursday in December 2009, followed by a headlining run in Feb/March 2010 with Darkest Hour, Animals as Leaders, and Iwrestledabearonce. While on the tour, the band received a Golden God Award from Revolver Magazine, for "Best Underground Band", which Weinman and Puciato accepted. After a short trip to Europe, they participated in Warped Tour 2010, playing June 24 through August 15. After that the band embarked on a massive European headlining run.
During a January 12, 2011 interview on the Metal Injection Livecast, Puciato announced the band is currently in the process of writing new music which would either surface as an EP later in the year or a full-length album the following year. However, in 2011 The Dillinger Escape Plan continued to tour, accompanying Deftones for a nine-week-long North American trek from April to June. Touring continued with former labelmates Mastodon, both in the US in late 2011 and the UK in early 2012, followed by their second appearance at Soundwave Festival in Australia, as well as dates with System of a Down in New Zealand and Australia. The group also played its first shows in Malaysia and Bangkok, as well as their first South American performance, headlining the second stage on the first night of the prestigious Rock al Parque festival in Bogota, Colombia.
On August 17, 2012, the band announced via their Facebook page that Tuttle had left the band to pursue other projects in music and film. On November 24, the band played at the California Metalfest show alongside bands such as Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. While playing this show, a mystery guitar player was noticed filling in for former rhythm guitarist Jeff Tuttle, who had left the band in August. A couple of weeks later, during a phone interview (on the Metal Injection Livecast) while in the studio recording their new album, Weinman announced that this mystery guitar player was James Love, who had played with the band briefly while they toured in support for their album Miss Machine.
On February 18, 2013, the band announced the title of their new album, One of Us Is the Killer, On March 12, they released the first single from the album. On April 23, The Dillinger Escape Plan released the first music video from One of Us Is the Killer, The video for the song "When I Lost My Bet", it was directed by Mitch Massie and was posted on the band's Facebook page and Sumerian Records' YouTube account. Subsequent videos released from the album were "One of Us Is the Killer", "Hero of the Soviet Union", and "Paranoia Shields". The band released their fourth studio album, One of Us Is the Killer on May 14, 2013 through Party Smasher in partnership with various labels around the world, including BMG for Europe, Grind House for Japan, Remote Control for Australia and Sumerian Records for North America.
While touring North American in April 2014, the band released the non-album single, "Happiness Is a Smile". The single was only released as a seven-inch vinyl and a cassette and was only available the buy on this tour. On July 14, 2014, it was announced that the band would be playing for two weeks as the opening slot on the Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden North American tour. This decision was made following the disbandment of Death Grips, who were originally chosen as the opening act.
In July, 2015, Ben Weinman announced during an Australian interview that the band will return to the studio in November to record the follow-up to One of Us Is the Killer. In the following year, BBC Radio 1 premiered the band's new single "Limerent Death", which is to be featured on their upcoming sixth studio record Dissociation. In a following interview with Noisey, Weinman said the Dillinger Escape Plan would stop performing, with Puciato later saying "we're breaking up." Puciato was quoted saying that the band still enjoyed writing, recording and performing together but nonetheless "we started to reach what felt like a thematic conclusion to our band", comparing the decision to a filmmaker who enjoys the current film his is creating but can't continue the process indefinitely. Weinman said "we are going to do the cycle for this album and that's it." Dissociation was released on October 14, 2016, through Party Smasher in partnership with Cooking Vinyl.
On February 12, 2017, during their European farewell tour, The Dillinger Escape Plan was involved in a vehicle crash after a truck collided with their bus near Radomsko, Poland. 13 people were injured in the incident, but the band members were not seriously hurt.
The Dillinger Escape Plan are to be honoured at the 2017 Association Of Independent Music Awards. The band will receive the "Outstanding Contribution To Music" prize at the ceremony at The Brewery, Clerkenwell, on September 5.
The Dillinger Escape Plan announced their departure from Relapse Records in 2009. They had become dissatisfied with the music industry and music media, and decided to create their own record label to release their fourth studio album. Commenting on the dissolving "indie band culture", Weinman stated, "back in the day there were record labels that you trusted, loved and you bought everything on it and you discovered a lot of great new music because of it. You listen to every single song back to front a million times, it'd be worn out to death before you moved onto another record. You'd read everything in the booklet, you'd read all the lyrics, you'd read all the notes, you'd discover something new." Speaking to Kerrang! about the decision, he said: "The most important thing was to keep evolving and changing. We didn't want to be stuck in some long contract that won't be relevant in a few years time... Or possibly even tomorrow. So half out of necessity, half out of choice, we decided to do this ourselves. The hard part is figuring out whether you're sacrificing your creative side because you're so busy with the business. That's the challenge and we're figuring it out".
Party Smasher Inc. first emerged in 2009. Party Smasher launched as a recorded music collective. The band stated that Party Smasher (which was originally erroneously reported to be called Photogenic Records) is not technically a record label but a "creative umbrella" for all things related to The Dillinger Escape Plan. In an interview with Alternative Press, Weinman stated, "Well, I should clarify that it's not exactly our attempt to run a record label. That's not something we could be good at, and it's obviously not something anybody's good at these days. [Laughs] It's more a situation where we now have a name for this umbrella that covers every business and artistic decision we make–whether it's Dillinger, side projects or whatever."
The first release through the Party Smasher label was the band's fourth studio album Option Paralysis, the album was released in partnership with Season of Mist. The second release was the band's fifth studio album One of Us Is The Killer, the album was released in partnership with various labels around the world, including BMG (Europe), Grind House (Japan), Remote Control (Australia) and Sumerian Records (North America). The third release was a non-album single the band released titled "Happiness Is a Smile". The single was only released on seven-inch vinyl and on cassette and was only available the buy on the band's North American tour in 2014. Party Smasher also released the band's final album, Dissociation in partnership with Cooking Vinyl.
The Dillinger Escape Plan is often regarded as one of the pioneers of mathcore, a genre rooted in both hardcore punk and heavy metal. Their style has also been described as metalcore, progressive metal, experimental metal, noisecore, and avant-garde grindcore. John Adamian of the newspaper Hartford Courant described them as "a kind of knotted, complex, abrasive math rock. Listening to it sometimes feels like being ground between a system of elaborate gears. Chromatic turns and cycling patterns notch all the pieces together. The guitars are often dissonant, shifting into double and triple time, with vocals that deliver a blow-torch scorch. DEP makes prog metal that embraces an avant-garde level of coiled and meshed intricacies." Over time, their notoriously intense shows grew more so, incorporating samples, a light show, fireworks, fire breathing, and other antics.
According to Ben Weinman, the band's initial influences ranged from death metal bands such as Morbid Angel, Carcass and Death to diverse bands such as Deadguy, Today Is The Day, Neurosis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson and Cynic, as well as electronic music artists Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Venetian Snares. He stated: "there weren't new [metal] bands or old bands creating new albums that were pushing anything [new], so I started searching different places for inspiration".
Many artists have cited The Dillinger Escape Plan as an influence or have expressed their admiration for them, including Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, Metallica, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, Rody Walker of Protest the Hero, Periphery, Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari, JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights, The Fall of Troy, As I Lay Dying, Jamie Lenman of Reuben, Joe Talarico of Man Overboard, Every Time I Die, Leprous, Shining, Despised Icon, Arsonists Get All the Girls, Gwen Stacy, Ben Kotin of Such Gold, Scribe, Mutiny on the Bounty, War from a Harlots Mouth, Aric Improta of Night Verses, Aaron Neigher of The Saddest Landscape, The Arusha Accord and Destrage.
In 2002, The Dillinger Escape Plan made national United Kingdom headlines when, at the prestigious Reading Festival, Puciato defecated in full view onstage, put it into a bag, and threw it into the crowd before smearing the rest onto himself, proclaiming "This is a bag of shit, I just wanted to show you this so you'll recognize it later on throughout the day", in reference to the quality of music he felt was appearing that day of the festival. The band's set was one of the highest reviewed of the entire festival that year, and was later included in a list of the top one hundred Reading or Leeds performances of the decade. Upon returning to Reading in 2016, Puciato played the opening song "Prancer" sitting on an onstage couch reading a newspaper and drinking tea.
Like almost any other progressive metal band's, the lyrics are nonstop dystopia.
Contemporary grindcore bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan [...] have developed avant-garde versions of the genre incorporating frequent time signature changes and complex sounds that at times recall free jazz.
[...] And we shared a stage with The Dillinger Escape Plan and Every Time I Die on Warped, and they’re probably the two bands who’ve influenced our band more than anyone in the world. [...]
[...] I do still appreciate what Every Time I Die and The Dillinger Escape Plan are doing and have done. They are two bands I have liked for years and they're still making really good CDs even after all these years. [...]
Sam Carter: [...] The Dillinger Escape Plan are such a massive influence on Architects. Back in the day, that’s what we wanted to sound like when we were younger.
Lars Ulrich: I think one band that really excites me it's the Dillinger Escape Plan, I think they're great [...]
Robert Trujillo: Dillinger Escape Plan is a band that I really enjoy. I think they’re progressive, they’ve got a lot of energy and angst, but at the same time they can break it down and actually play a clever, cool, soulful song. [...]
Dave Mustaine: [...] I remember one of the first times I did that I took out this really great band called The Dillinger Escape Plan. I couldn't understand it, but I just knew they were really exciting. It's the stuff you don't understand you most often miss out on. I wanted to understand so we took 'em out on Gigantour and it was a great experience, I thought they were terrific. And that was my introduction to that type of crazy, cerebral metal.
[...] And early on I found bands like Opeth, Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan, bands that really made me think “wow, this is where the real shit is happening. This is where all the really experimental music is and where all the really talented musicians are going these days.”
Q: You probably get asked this quite a lot, but who / what are your musical influences?
Rody Walker: [...] The Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape plan have always been big ones [...]
Q: [...] the five albums that have shaped you as a musician and why.
Misha Mansoor: Calculating Infinity by Dillinger [...]
Spencer Sortelo: [...] Between The Buried and Me and the Dillinger Escape Plan have had a huge influence on us. [...]
Andrew notes that while there is very little the band are directly influenced by musically, they strive to achieve a level of quality set by their peers. “There are people who I follow who are musicians who I feel like, they set the bar somewhere and you just try to come in at a level that’s equivalent to them,” he says, and cites The Dillinger Escape Plan [...]
Q: [...] the time signature changes and jumping back and forth between themes…that sounds to me like it’s more in line with bands like the Dillinger Escape plan [...] Are you into those bands?
Thomas Erak: Oh yeah, man! [...] I love the old Dillinger stuff especially. I mean, Miss Machine was like, incredible. I love that shit. But the first time I heard Calculating Infinity, it was like having my brains blown out with a machine gun!
Q: What bands have influenced you personally?
Nick Hipa: [...] In my late teens it was the super extreme bands like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. [...]
Q: As I Lay Dying have played with a ‘who’s who’ of hardcore. So when Tim has a band he wants to recommend, it must be something far above the pack of genius. What has impressed him the most as of late?
Tim Lambesis: As musicians, Dillinger Escape Plan. They are phenomenal. Not only do they play with total precision, they move around more than most bands playing power chords and stuff.
[...] When we started, bands like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan were the kind of bands that we’d go see and be blown away by, that’s what we wanted to do. If we could ever play a show and kids were going that crazy to our music? That was the goal when this band started, those guys were our heroes. [...]
Both Nine Inch Nails and The Dillinger Escape Plan are bands that have relentlessly chased and forged their own unique style and have inspired a bunch of bands and artists coming after them, including Shining. They have both been of great inspiration to me.
Brent Schindler: [...] I would say: Poison the Well, Beloved, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Slipknot and Thrice. Those would be the top five influences of this band. [...]
When we started out, bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan [...] had a huge influence on us. [...]
Our main influences definitely are Tool, SikTh, The Dillinger Escape Plan [...]
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