NAUGATUCK — Winning awards one day. Touring another day. Dead by Wednesday.
Dead by Wednesday, a heavy metal band based out of New Haven, has won the first Connecticut Music Award for Best Heavy Metal Band.
For Naugatuck native and guitarist Ross Ragusa, the award is a step in the right direction for the band, which has produced three albums — Democracy is Dead, The Killing Project, and The Last Parade. They are currently getting ready to tour for the third album.
“It’s a lot different form the first two records,” Ragusa said of The Last Parade. “The first ones were thrashy punk. This one is straight metal, it’s got a punch.”
Ragusa believes the latest album, which was put out on the record labels Fake Four Inc. & DRP Records, demonstrates that the band has found its own sound and direction.
“We like to think it is our Mater of Puppets of records, and we’ve achieved that really well,” Ragusa said.
The band wasn’t always the same line up it is now. According to Ragusa, there were seven members originally. It is now down to a four-piece band.
“Less is more. We have a lot bigger sound with less people in the band,” Ragusa said.
The sounds wasn’t the only thing affected by cutting down on the members in the band. Ragusa said that, with fewer members, touring is a more pleasant experience.
“Touring was rough. We are not on big touring buses yet and back then we only had a van,” Ragusa said.
Although he is now recording albums and winning awards, playing guitar is not a new endeavor for this Naugatuck High School graduate.
“My father has always played guitar. So even as a small child I would strum,” Ragusa said. “When I was 11 my friend and I really took it up.”
Ragusa said he always had a guitar in his locker throughout high school.
The band was formed in 2004 by drummer Christian “Opus” Lawrence and bassist Mike Modeste. Ragusa, who had been playing in a cover band with Lawrence, was asked to join shortly after.
Early on, the band was playing a lot of shows, but had not settled on a name. A friend told them after one show that, if they kept up playing this many shows, they would be dead by Wednesday. As soon as they heard that, they knew they had their name.
Ragusa explained that this was an important time for the band because of the connections it had.
“We had connections with Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed. He put us on his record label. We toured the entire first record,” Ragusa said.
Hatebreed was founded in Connecticut and Jasta is from New Haven.
With their talent and name recognition from being associated with Jafta, Dead by Wednesday had a strong following throughout the area. However, winning the Connecticut Music Award for Best Heavy Metal Band was not something the band had been expecting, Ragusa said.
He explained prior to this year the award had just been an online poll. The band who gathered the most fans to vote for them would win an award.
“We won two years before that, but we were networking like crazy,” Ragusa said.
This year the award show was redone completely and became an actual award show rather than just an online poll.
“We had no idea that they were going to do an awards show, so we didn’t even promote it,” Ragusa said. “We all went in there thinking we didn’t work this year, there’s no way were going to get it. We heard our name called and that was an awesome feeling.”
While the band is pleased that it has won the award, it is still looking to the future.
“I see a very bright future. Eight years of hard work is starting to pay off. A lot of the big dogs are starting to take us seriously,” Ragusa said. “We have a really big tour coming up at the end of the month with Straight Line Stitch.”
Straight Line Stitch is a metalcore band that is based out of Knoxville, Tenn.
Ragusa explained that, when touring locally, the band enjoys playing at Toad’s Place in New Haven. However, he really hopes to be able to play at Whiskey a Go Go in West Hollywood, Calif., again when they tour nationally.
“In the future I see us playing a lot more. I see it happening — the big tours,” Ragusa said.