Life Lessons from the Miner

A mutual friend had told me that Dean was about to start promoting his new solo project, along with their debut album “Life Lessons” and his new company: “Plan 916” where with the help of Owner Matt Kustom he has developed his own signature guitar pickups. This prompted me to listen to his new album and get some insight into how he formed this new project and his history as a musician

Brandishing a persona that appears to be a hybrid of Johnny Depp and Stone Cold Steve Austin who happens to know how to shred on guitar,Dean has been performing live since 2002 with his first band,which was formed in the previous year: Eyeless,and then with Deathstick,Verfallen and Salvage. He then went onto tour with more notable acts like: The Independents,Black Cat Attack and Darrow Chemical Company and currently is a member of Darkness Descends and Children of October,and surprisingly a Hip Hip act known as the Draf and Retro Glam. However, “Life Lessons” steers away from his other projects in that are mainly in the Horror punk and Metal Genres

“The album is a story of my hard life lessons I’ve had to learn these past few years, everything from love to death and happiness to in-depth sadness a pure emotional journey. I thought that watching your loved ones die was scarier and more identifiable then werewolves and vampires”

Earlier in life,Dean became inspired after hearing a variety of music from Beethoven to Nine Inch Nails and in particular guitar players including : Eddie Van Halen,Dimebag Darrell,Daisy Berkowitz(of Marilyn Manson),Jimi Hendrix,BucketHead and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Dean tells us how he took his leap into the world of becoming a musician: “On the eve of my 13th birthday I was bestowed an item that changed my life forever, a 1997 Ibanez RX40, blue with a white pick guard HSS(Humbucker,Single Coil,Single Coil) with a blond headstock and rosewood fret board and I later added some stickers and customized it with the help of Plan 916 with some custom built HSH(Humbucker,Single Coil,Humbucker) pickups. I love that thing…. its my favorite guitar still and I play it on stage to this day”.

Since then Dean has added 8 more six strings guitars,2 of which are acoustic as well as 4 seven string guitars, and 2 eight strings guitars. All of which were made by Ibanez with Plan 916 pickups.

Growing up as a Child of two avid music lovers, Dean was fortunate enough to have met many Rock Legends including Ace Frehley of Kiss,at one of the first concerts his Mother took him too. As well as Peter Wolf and the Members of Fog Hat and Bad Company.

This was only a mere taste of what Dean would experience later on as a live musician. The fore mentioned bands he played with over the years have shared the stage with many well known artists like : Fear Factory, Static X, ICP, After the Burial, Periphery, Atilla, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Gotham Road, 40 Below Summer, The Independents, Possessed, Cheech and Chong, George Clinton and the P funk all stars, The Ghetto Boys, and many more.

All of these experiences, both musically and personally lead up to Dean creating his new album: “Life Lessons” that I recently listened to and which had several things that made this album stand out. In particular the song and the character that Dean himself created to represent this new solo project: “the Miner”. As he goes to explain in more detail here:

“The Miner is the Mascot of my solo project. Its Symbolic to me of my transformation away from certain evils in my life to focus on the positive. it was inspired by a small pewter figurine that I was staring at when i was writing my first song during a small split between me and Darkness Descends. I had an image in mind and I explained it to artist Jeff Stevens From Jackson Tennessee, he owns Tattoo Station, where I get my ink. The image was also worked on by James Rowe and Laura Desantes-Olsson.”

The song itself keeps consistent with Dean’s Hypnotic vocal tones. This song however, also is reminiscent of the drab psychedelic sounds of the 1960’s in particular the Beatles “She’s so heavy”

A few other tracks of note that I want to mention (without giving away too much so that listeners can appreciate the album’s quality as a whole and find their own favorites) include a pleasant surprise carefully placed in the middle of the album the instrumental “Lean in,Lean toward,Lean with” like the title suggests, this wordless poem tell a story of it own, it allows each listener to imagine their own unique story as they hear the fluid guitar pattern changes from bold strumming similar Latin folk rhythms to arpeggiated chords.Another song that I really enjoyed was: “Everything Fades” loaded with direct lyrics that anyone that has suffered heartbreak can relate to, also offers an upbeat tempo and an out of the box power metal guitar lick

In the future Dean hopes to continue to collaborate with fellow music lovers, but for now will focus on working with Plan 916 that just created his own signature set of Miner guitar pickups,new music from Children of October and Darkness Descends and especially his new album “Life lessons” now available for download that will be released on cd later this month and his own line of merchandise including skateboards. After all, there is always the future full of surprises that all are just waiting to see unfold.

For more information on his new album “Life Lessons” and Merchandise please visit:

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