Dan Deacon, the electro-pop composer of divinely trashy party jams grew up a fat, funny band geek on Long Island—"I'm fat again right now," he boasts. While studying electro-acoustic composition at New York's Purchase College, he began performing often-disastrous live shows. His first was an apologetically aborted set opening for Tracy + the Plastics, but he still earned the support of WFMU's OCDJ. After college he and some classmates moved to Baltimore and established an artistic beachhead with Wham City, a Fort Thunder-ous live/art/practice/performance space.
"Wham City started as a place where a group of friends and I had shows, made bands, and lived," says Deacon. "Now it's sort of grown into the general idea of what my friends and I are doing artistically in Baltimore."
When not working on his future-shocked artists' utopia, Deacon is touring the country with reckless gusto and total disregard for his own health and sanity—he once completed half of a 58-date tour via Greyhound Bus after his tourmate's car broke down. Spending a day in one of their mobile homeless shelters is bad enough, but an entire tour?
"The Greyhound tour was awesome," insists Deacon. "This tour has been the most stressful one I've ever been on. The first day, I lost all my money on the street while moving stuff from the car to the venue. The next day I got really sick. The car got a flat, so we missed our show in Columbus. I got sicker and had to sit out one night. We got in a car accident avoiding a deer on the highway, totaled the car, but no one was hurt. A bunch of my equipment broke in Providence and New York. I got pinkeye....
"But all the shows have been awesome," he promises, "and the times, other than the stress machines, have been sweet."
Deacon's shows subvert his classical training for the sake of bizarrely poppy performance art. He's his own hype man, shouting nonsense from behind a pile of buzzing and squealing electronics while singing and dancing like a maniac.
"The live show is a cloud made of mirrors dripping dogs into pools of snakes with my singing and dancing, looking at a picture of myself that I took," says Deacon, dipping into his lyrical stash. "There's a table of electronics that I fiddle with like a putz, and I recently added a light show, which I'm pretty pumped on."
Just don't touch the man—you might get pinkeye.