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Deadman Alive and Well in Modesto

It's hard to believe that Theory of a Deadman singer Tyler Connolly's life is really as bad as it sounds on the group's hit song "I Hate My Life."

The 34-year-old rocker admits his life is actually pretty good. While in the song he complains about a frigid wife, a bad job and little money, he actually loves his wife, Christine Danielle, is living his dream and has enough cash. But that doesn't mean he never has a bad day.

"I have to deal with record labels," he said in a phone interview from a tour stop in Knoxville, Tenn. "Sometimes it's frustrating. It's not all flying on jets and limos and stuff. I'm still able to relate to those everyday (problems) even now."

Rock 96.7FM is bringing Theory of a Deadman and the bands Halestorm, Adelitas Way and Taking Dawn to Modesto Centre Plaza on Monday.

Formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, the group was the first act to sign with Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger's 604 Records in 2001. The band's name comes from a song title early in its career.

"We thought it was cool," said Connolly, who now lives in Los Angeles. "We were a young. It's hard to come up with a band name that's original."

He sometimes regrets the name now because it turns some people off and some think the band must be morbid and scary. But after nearly a decade in the business, it's too late now to change it and the name has stuck.

The group is now promoting its third album, "Scars & Souvenirs," released in 2008. Connolly wrote some of the songs with his wife. Many people criticized him at first for collaborating with her, but it turned out to be a great decision, he said. Those songs, including "Bad Girlfriend," have been among the most successful of his career.

Connolly said he and the band work hard to keep growing and getting better and never get stale. He hopes Theory of a Deadman never becomes complacent like some of the older, graying rock bands.

"They become comfortable with what they've done in their career, they become unmotivated," he said. "They don't strive to write a better song and get more fans. We haven't come close to reaching that. We're still so motivated to try to get new fans."

Connolly is known as a cynic about romance and has written lots of woman-hater songs, in part because his mother left the family when he was in high school. But, lately, he has been trying to write more positive songs. One is "Sacrifice," which was used in commercials for the 2008 summer Olympic Trials.

"It felt really cool to write something out of the box for me," he said. "I thought it was convincing."

People who attend the group's Modesto concert should expect a mix of hard-driving songs.

"Tell people to expect a lot of great music," Connolly said. "They should pace themselves. There will be surprises here and there."

For more about Modesto area arts, visit www.twitter.com/lisamillegan or thehive.modbee.com/artsbeat.

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