“Adderall Highway” by Dead Heavens

Dead Heavens have released a video for “Adderall Highway” from their recently released debut LP. The band is led by Walter Schriefels of Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, and Rival Schools and features members of White Zombie, Cults and Into Another. “Adderall Highway” is one of the oldest tracks in their catalog, appearing on the band’s first 7 inch before it’s inclusion on the album, Whatever Witch You Are.

The track is given new life here in a scrappy, DIY-style, partially animated video, that was shot on the band’s recent West Coast tour and imagines the members of Dead Heavens grappling with an alternate reality version of SnapChat.

Walter Schriefels on the video:

“’The Adderall Highway’ video was an added bonus of our last West Coast tour. Mortis gave us cameras (might have been phones) and told us to bug out, sing the song best we could. We had little idea of what it would ultimately look like but we had a great time doing it and had complete faith in Mortis to come up with something interesting. They did not disappoint as you can see.”

The first thing usually noted about Dead Heavens is the hardcore, punk and post-hardcore provenance of its members, from its revered frontman and guitarist Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Rival Schools, Vanishing Life, Quicksand) to guitarist Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica), bassist Nathan Aguilar (of Cults), and drummer Drew Thomas (Youth of Today, Bold, Into Another).

“Many of these songs are love songs,” Schreifels explains, “Basic Cable is about love but a modern love that’s lost its way—when couples are stuck at home, binge-watching or glued to their phones, absently doing the dishes, unsatisfied until they finally realize that what they really need is to just go outside. This song is for when they finally get out there.”

Dead Heavens first coalesced during a solo tour for Schreifels, in 2013, with Thomas and Aguilar as backing band. Swapping and trading music for road listening—Cream, My Bloody Valentine, White Fence—together the three distilled the musical mood that would soon characterize Dead Heavens. Upon returning to New York, Aguilar reacquainted Thomas and Schreifels with musician, painter, and sound engineer Paul Kostabi, who felicitously still owned the reel-to-reel on which Schreifels had recorded Gorilla Biscuits’ Start Today in 1989, and—in another claim to fame—had coined the title of Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion. Their sympathies obvious, then, they leapt into recording at Kostabi’s Thunderdome Studios, and welcomed on Kostabi as a second lead guitar. A shotgun home studio set in the marshes of Piermont, New York, Thunderdome also guarded a trove of ’70s recording reels from Black Sabbath, The James Gang, and Jimi Hendrix—reels that played between takes and liberally infused the cauldron with an inspiringly darker magic.

But as the title tells you, Whatever Witch You Are enjoins us to radically accept this darker magic, “in the sense of accepting a strong, strange, powerful woman who freaks out people precisely for all her powers,” Schreifels says, “and not just in love, but acceptance in a modern world that can often isolate us, and make us feel like freaks. For the full 36 minutes of this record, we want people to be able to embrace this freakishness.” Even when our world’s havoc-tossed, and our heavens dead, the lifers out there will always shrug it off and ready themselves for the strange new era.


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