...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Biography
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is a rock band from Austin, Texas. Jason Reece and Conrad Keely—both singers, guitarists, and drummers—started playing together as teenagers in Hawaii. In the late 1980s, both moved to Olympia, Washington, where each played in various bands and Keely enrolled at Evergreen State College. (Mukilteo Fairies was one of the Olympia bands Reece played in.) The pair moved to Austin, Texas in 1994, where they formed …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead with bassist Neil Busch and guitarist Kevin Allen. Keely and Reece, who took turns playing drums and guitar, each wrote four of the eight songs on the debut album …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (1998 Trance Syndicate).
Trail Of Dead toured the United States in 1998 and 1999 and released their second album, Madonna (1999 Merge). The band toured the United States again the following year and spent the summer in Europe, where they played the Leeds Festival and the Reading Festival and recorded a Peel session. Trail Of Dead returned to Europe in November and December for another tour, this one ending in England with a series of dates opening for Foo Fighters. Major label Interscope signed the band in 2001, releasing the “Relative Ways/Homage” CD single, a taste of the upcoming third album Source Tags & Codes (2002 Interscope). Trail Of Dead opened Queens of the Stone Age’s fall 2002 North American tour.
The Secret of Elena’s Tomb EP (2003 Interscope) and the album Worlds Apart (2005 Interscope) were the last releases the band recorded with founding bassist and occasional songwriter Neil Busch, who left in the summer of 2004. Danny Wood joined on bass and Trail Of Dead added second drummer Doni Schroader, formerly of Forget Cassettes. This five-piece lineup recorded So Divided (2006 Interscope). Trail Of Dead left Interscope around the time of their fall 2007 tour with Dethklok, the band from TV’s Metalocalypse. Keely’s angry blog post announcing the split was the subject of a Billboard story. By the following summer, Trail of Dead had formed its own label, Richter Scale Records, and made a deal with Justice Records, releasing The Century Of Self (2009 Justice/Richter Scale), their first album with new bassist Jay Phillips.
Keely has been working on a science fiction novel for many years. In a 2009 interview with Wired, he described it as “a work in progress that I began when I was 16, and set in a world that I began building when I was about 13[…] The focus is about the nature of conflict inherent to living organisms, and exploring the possibilities of whether this innate characteristic of biology would remain with us even in an advanced, space-faring society. It also seeks to contrast the nature of highly technological societies with simple agrarian ones, and how they might co-exist in a future world.”