Million Dead were a post-hardcore band founded in 2000 by Cameron Dean and Julia Ruzicka, after both came to London from Australia. They were joined by Ben Dawson, who had worked with Dean in a record shop in the city. The band's lineup was completed with the addition of vocalist Frank Turner, an old bandmate of Dawson's. The name was chosen from a lyric in the song “The Apollo Programme Was a Hoax”, by Swedish hardcore punk band Refused.
The first Million Dead demo was recorded in September 2001.The band's touring career began with support sets for Cave In, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Icarus Line and Alec Empire. In late 2002, the band signed to Integrity Records / Xtra Mile Recordings, and released their first single, “Smiling At Strangers On Trains”. The video for the single, directed by Adam Mason, proved controversial as it featured scenes of a homeless man urinating through a letterbox, as well as on Dean. The band entered the studio in April 2003 to record their debut album, A Song To Ruin, released in September, along with the single “Breaking The Back”.
In December 2003, following a tour with Funeral For a Friend, Million Dead embarked on their first headline tour of the UK in support of the album, supported by Jarcrew and Minus. In 2004, guitarist Cameron Dean announced he was leaving the band and was replaced by Tom Fowler. After a series of festival dates over the summer, the band re-entered the studio to record a new album. Written and recorded in eight weeks, Harmony No Harmony was released in May 2005, followed by another UK headline tour with Engerica and Days of Worth,and support dates on Finch's UK tour. In September 2005, it was announced via the band's official website that Million Dead were to call it a day at the conclusion of their September tour, as “irreconcilable differences within the band mean that it would be impossible to continue”. The band played their final concert at Southampton's Joiners venue on September 23, 2005.
Since the band's breakup, vocalist Frank Turner has made a career as a solo folk/punk artist. Tom Fowler and Julia Ruzicka played guitar and bass in another band, Quiet Kill (2005–2006) and then Who Owns Death TV (2007–2009), and The Idle Hearts in 2009. Ben Dawson currently plays drums for Palehorse, Mothlite, Queen of Swords and Armed Response Unit. Ruzicka also currently plays bass with Future Of The Left, who have had entries on Dandelion's 2009 Festive Fifty, 2012 Festive Fifty and 2013 Festive Fifty.
Links To Peel
Peel first heard the band when they released their first single "Smiling At Strangers On Trains" in 2002 on Integrity Records. He also selected the song as the record of the month in January 2003 (Peel's Record Box). The single also got attention from other DJ's including Mike Davies, Mary Anne Hobbs and Steve Lamacq. The group recorded a session for Peel's show on BBC Radio One in 2003.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 2003 Festive Fifty: I Am The Party #21
No known commercial release.1. Recorded: 2003-10-02. Broadcast: 25 November 2003. Repeated: 04 March 2004
- Pretty Good Year / Sasquatch / Its A Shit Business / Mute Group
Other Shows Played
- 19 December 2002: 'Smiling At Strangers On Trains (CD Single)' (Integrity)
- 07 January 2003: 'Smiling At Strangers On Trains (EP: Smiling At Strangers On Trains)' (Integrity Records)
- 05 February 2003: 'Smiling at Strangers on Trains (7")' (Integrity)
- 06 February 2003 (Radio Eins): 'Smiling at Strangers on Trains (7")' (Integrity)
- 20 February 2003: Smiling At Strangers On Trains (CD single) Integrity
- 10 July 2003: Breaking The Back (7") Integrity
- 17 July 2003 (Radio Eins): Breaking The Back (single CD) Integrity
- 31 July 2003: Pornography For Cowards (LP - A Song To Ruin) Integrity
- 19 August 2003: Charlie And The Propaganda Myth Machine (LP - A Song To Ruin) Integrity/Xtra Mile
- 20 August 2003: 'I Am The Party (LP- A Song To Ruin)' (Integrity)
- 11 September 2003 (Radio Eins): I Am The Party (album - A Song To Ruin) Integrity
- 04 November 2003: 'I Am The Party' (CDR)' (Integrity)
- 13 November 2003 (Radio Eins): 'I Am The Party' (CDR)' (Integrity)
- 03 December 2003: 'I Am The Party' (7")' (Integrity)
- 25 December 2003: 'I Am The Party (7 inch)' (Integrity) FF #21
- 14 April 2004: 'I Gave My Eyes to Stevie Wonder (CDR)' (White Label)
- 22 April 2004: 'I Gave My Eyes To Stevie Wonder (Single)' (Xtra Mile Recordings)