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A performance by the Dead Superheroes Orchestra on August 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, New Mexico at the Meadow City Music Festival.
A performance by the Dead Superheroes Orchestra on August 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, New Mexico at the Meadow City Music Festival.
88 backers pledged $3,735 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Photos by Julia Groves and Jerry Zhang
Photos by Julia Groves and Jerry Zhang

The Dead Superheroes Orchestra is an electric goth rock orchestra from Chicago, Illinois.  It was founded to explore the outer realms of experience and the supernatural human condition. A mad cacophony of strings, piano, harp, drums, and guitars led by a melodramatic bass vocalist, the Orchestra conjures songs and stories of love, death, and existence in the great beyond.

On August 9, 2013, The Dead Superheroes Orchestra will headline the Meadow City Music Festival in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and present a musical spectacle of epic proportions.  Over 1,000 miles away from its Chicago home, under the moonless sky of the high desert, the Orchestra will be built anew from the finest musical talents of Northern New Mexico to perform for one night on the Old Town Plaza.  Performing 3 hours of dazzling music including brand new compositions and classic Dead Superheroes Orchestra anthems and favorites, this mercenary band of 12 virtuosos will rock until the whole wide world screams along.  

Want to hear some music?  Here's a studio demo of our song "Vexed."  This song was recorded at Rax Trax studios with Mike Tholen.  

Listen to "Vexed" studio demo
by the Dead Superheroes Orchestra.  

This Kickstarter campaign will help us to employ musicians of the highest caliber from Northern New Mexico. Your contributions will help with musician fees, transportation costs, printing, promotion, supplies, and the many other costs associated with a performance of this magnitude.  With your help, we can put together a performance that is positively beautiful.

Money raised on Kickstarter will be used for the following:

  • Hiring musicians for the performance, including rehearsals. We will hire the following instrumentalists and singers: 1 pianist, 1 harpist, 2 violinists, 1 violist, 1 cellist, 1 bassist, 1 drummer, 1 soprano singer, and 1 alto singer. 
  • Transportation for Mark and Craig Winston (our composer and guitarist, respectively) from Chicago to Las Vegas, NM.  Traveling via airplane then car.
  • Transportation of equipment from Chicago to New Mexico.  Mark and Craig will be traveling by airplane, so we'll have to ship some things, like the pedal boards for the guitars, and the pickups and preamps for the strings.  We'll also likely have to ship some scores to musicians as well.   
  • Printing.  There's a lot of printing involved in this.  We need to print individual parts for all of the musicians for roughly 30 songs.  On top of that, we need to print copies of the full scores of all of these songs for rehearsals.  It amounts to several hundred pages of music, not accounting for any need to reprint things due to lost music, or revisions.  
  • Promotions.  This will include online promotions on sites like Facebook, as well as posters and postcards.  
  • Supplies and minor equipment.  This includes things like batteries, cables, binders (for music), stand lights, and power strips.  These are the small things, but they usually end up being the things that are overlooked and can hold up a performance.
  • Kickstarter Rewards.  We'll use some of the money raised to ship merchandise, and cover any of the costs associated with the rewards listed on the right, depending on how wildly popular the rewards are.  Those costs may include pressing of additional CDs, transportation for a graveyard tour or private show, or gruesome amounts of fake blood and scar makeup.

In the event that this campaign goes swimmingly and we raise more than our goal, our first priority would be to hire a photographer and videographer to document the show, so that we can share the experience with our fans and supporters who are not able to attend.  Additionally, depending on how well the campaign goes, we've been entertaining the idea of hiring a small choir to perform choral parts, which Mark has composed for several of the songs that will be performed at this performance. 

Your contributions will help us make this show the best show it can be.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Photos by Julia Groves and Rodger Ruzanka
Photos by Julia Groves and Rodger Ruzanka

thedeadsuperheroes.com | facebook.com/deadsuperheroes

Risks and challenges

Some might call this performance crazy, foolish, naïve... We don’t see it that way. This is an opportunity to do something nobody else we know would dare to do. This is an opportunity to say yes to a wild idea and run with it. This is a chance to do something amazing.

We are planning to assemble an ensemble of 12 musicians, most of whom we have never met in person, and we're organizing this all from over 1,000 miles away from the state in which 10 out of 12 of the musicians live. It will be costly and time consuming, involving many hours of searching for players with the right skill sets, in the right location, and the interest in this project. On top of that, it requires arranging and rehearsing over 40 songs, editing and distributing parts to each player, coordinating a complex rehearsal schedule in far off cities, and coordinating all of the equipment to amplify not only electric guitars, but also acoustic instruments such as violin, cello, and harp.

Over the past 7 years, the Dead Superheroes Orchestra has produced performances in Chicago, Saint Louis, Milwaukee, Boston, and Michigan These performances have included as few as 5 musicians, and as many as 30. We have put together collaborative performances with Chicago theater companies, local choirs, and the many adventurous freelance musicians who have been searching for something different in which to take part. On top of coordinating these performances, we have also managed successful promotional and booking campaigns, garnering press in major Chicago newspapers, and booking DSO as the support act for national touring artists including Rasputina.

In the course of DSO's existence, we have encountered many setbacks and challenges, but we have always embraced those challenges as opportunities to do more - to make a performance happen in spite of the odds. The challenges for this particular performance are daunting and complex. In spite of that, we are excited to organize an event with as many challenges as this will present. This is an opportunity to be creative, to learn, to meet new people, and to collaborate with a community of musicians we would otherwise likely not be able to work with.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Digital download of "Vexed" studio demo.

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    Zombie Scabs – We will ship remains of Mark’s zombie assistant to you in a small cardboard box. Scabs make great stocking stuffers and makeup for a night on the town. (Disclaimer: These fake scabs are handmade by Mark using liquid latex and papier mache. The living, nor the undead were harmed in the creation of these items.)

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    ZOMBIE STARE!! – Think you’ve got what it takes to out-stare a zombie? Enter into a battle of nerves and ocular stamina with the living dead through the wonders of the internet! When the terror is done, ask the zombie a question! Plus “Vexed” demo.

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    SCARY-OKE – Got a killer set of pipes? Join us on stage for a song, and come to our dress rehearsal and a voice coaching session with Mark. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    THE DEATH CARD – A collectible tarot card with original artwork. Grants dark and mystical powers to the one who possesses it. Don’t believe us? Get a death card. Plus Vexed demo.

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    "Vexed" demo and autographed poster from this show.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL CONCERT WARMUP - Get our first 2 EPs in digital format: "I'll spend my nights in the graveyard," and "The Last Superhero". Plus "Vexed" demo and poster.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    MINI MONSTER MUSIC – Pick any sentence from the monster's dialog in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (starting at Volume II Chapter III). Mark will compose a 6 to 12 measure miniature song using that text just for you. We’ll mail you the handwritten score. Plus “Vexed” demo.

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    AGORAPHOBIC LULLABIES - Join Mark for an online acoustic concert and Q&A session via your favorite video chat platform. Mark will play some DSO songs for you and answer any burning questions you have about DSO, music, and the mysteries of the universe! Plus Vexed demo.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Autographed copies of each of DSO's first two EPs on CD: "I'll spend my nights in the graveyard," and "The Last Superhero." Plus "Vexed" demo and autographed poster.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    TICKET TO THE SHOW ON AUGUST 9, 2013 - Join us at the Meadow City Music Festival on the Old Town Plaza! Get ready to scream "I'll spend my nights in the graveyard!" Plus "Vexed" demo.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    SUPERFAN - Ticket to the show and autographed copies of DSO's first two EPs on CD: "I'll spend my nights in the graveyard," and "The Last Superhero." Plus "Vexed" demo and autographed poster.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    DRESS REHEARSAL Q&A SESSION – Join us at our dress rehearsal before the show. See how all this comes together and ask us some questions. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    CEMETERY TOUR IN LAS VEGAS - There are such fine graveyards to see in Las Vegas, NM. So fine, in fact, that Mark wrote a rock anthem about them. Join us for a pre-show cemetery tour, learn some lore, and experience the places that inspired the music of the Dead Superheroes Orchestra. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    EVENING WITH A CORPSE (New Mexico or Chicago only) - Need help at the grocery store? Need a date to a wedding? Tired of skating alone? You need the living dead. A zombie will accompany you for an evening of activities. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    SPONSOR A MUSICIAN – What’s your favorite DSO instrument? Cello? Harp? Soprano?! Drums? Pick one. That musician will perform a solo in your honor at the show. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    EVENING WITH A CORPSE (outside New Mexico or Chicago) - Need help at the grocery store? Need a date to a wedding? Tired of skating alone? You need the living dead. A zombie will accompany you for an evening of activities. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    COMMISSION A SONG – Is there a song you are dying to hear performed by a 12 piece goth rock orchestra? Commission it, Mark will compose or arrange it, and we’ll play it on August 9. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    CHAMBER RECITAL - A small DSO ensemble will perform for your event. Violin, Cello, Piano, Guitar/Voice, and Drums. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    GIVE ME THE DARK – Does your party need something extra to make it…different? DSO will perform for your event anywhere in the United States. Plus “Vexed” demo, poster, and digital EPs.

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Funding period

- (30 days)