Before The Deadmen, Justin Jones and Josh Read had built independent careers and forged a friendship as singer-songwriters in DC. Jones was raised on a diet of Otis Redding and The Band in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. He picked up the guitar at an early age and eventually moved to Washington because, in his mind, that was the biggest music town in the region.
He got a job bartending at the famous 9:30 Club and on his off nights put out a succession of self-released records. Jones went on to release two records through Thirty Tigers, and toured North America extensively.
Read came to DC by way of South Africa. Immersing himself in the DC music scene, he founded the now defunct Gypsy Eyes label, releasing records from Vandaveer, Brandon Butler (ex-Canyon and Boy’s Life), John Bustine and his own band, Revival. After a few years and a dozen releases, the label folded and the members of Revival left Read to join Son Volt… leaving Read without a band.
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