Interview: Brett Detar of The Juliana Theory

The Juliana Theory

Brett, first off, I want to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview. You’re music has been a huge inspiration to me, as well as many of the readers on

Thank you! It’s no problem at all. 

I think the first question on everyone’s mind, is will ever see a farewell tour, or maybe a farewell show? 

Well Caleb, unfortunately for the kids who wanted to see us one last time in the States, our final show was in Cologne, Germany. We did not want to do a farewell tour because the last thing we wanted to do was to prolong our breakup. It’s been rough enough just breaking up, let alone 6 weeks of shows under that knowledge. Also, there were a lot of logistical things that got in the way of doing one final show Stateside. 

Can we expect a solo project from you, or anyone else in the band?

At this point, It’s hard to speculate what any of us will be doing in the future musically. More than half of the band has already started full time jobs, so I doubt that most of them will have time for a formal musical project. They’re all true musicians though. We all deeply love music, whether it’s what we do for a living or not. I certainly see most of the guys always doing music for themselves, but I highly doubt that any of them plan on embarking on serious solo careers or starting new full time bands any time soon. As far as I am concerned, I have no real plans at this point, but I’m not done in the music world. 

What do you plan on doing now post TJT?

Personally, at the moment, I am dedicating most of my time to finish building my recording studio and start to do some projects there in the very near future. I’ve been building a studio and I just made a massive financial investment into it yesterday. It’s turning out to be pretty awesome and I plan to do some production projects there and elsewhere. The first major one that I need to begin working on is The Takeover UK’s debut album. 

User Tony Pascarella asks: “Do you think the band’s breakup will affect your status in future releases of Emogame?”

This is my favorite question. I think my status in the Emogame is pretty much screwed. I’d like to pass the torch on to Steven from Anberlin. He’d make a great video game character. 

With the recent announcement of your break-up, did you expect such a huge out pouring from the kids?

I did not expect the kind of reaction that we got at all. I knew that some of our fans would be really sad, but I never expected the 3,000+ long, personal messages that we have gotten from fans – going into great detail about what our band and our music has meant in their lives. It has been extremely heartwarming and humbling to read and hear all of these things. It’s been amazing. We’ve been really blessed. Our fans are the best. We are very thankful to each and every person who has taken the time to write to us. 

What bands out right now do you feel deserve a break?

Hmmmm, that’s a good question. I guess it depends on what you would consider “a break.” If “a break” means a record deal, then it would have to be The Takeover UK. They’ve got way too many good songs written to not be signed yet. If we are talking about current artists at a level lower than I think they should be commercially in the States, then I’d have to say Ryan Adams, The Cardigans, Kent, Fugazi, and Lovedrug for a start. If we were talking about bands and artists that SHOULD have gotten more of a break or more credit back when they were still around, that would be a very, very long list. 

What was the best tour you guys were apart of?

That’s another very tough question. I am not even sure I can answer that. We did a lot of tours in our day. Touring with Zao and the Takeover UK and Open Hand was one of the most fun tours we ever did. Zao are like our brothers and we had wanted to tour with them for years and years, so it was great when it finally happened. A lot of the early tours seem to be the most memorable. We always used to do a bunch of shows with River City High and those are some of the best dudes in the world. We always had such a blast with them – setting off fireworks, throwing garbage bags into their van, and just causing trouble. We did a co-headlining tour with Something Corporate a few years back that was extremely fun. Warped Tour was pretty cool in 2001. Our first trip to the UK with Funeral For a Friend opening was a great time. Touring the States with Anberlin, Number One Fan, and Bayside was a good memory. There are a lot of great guys in those bands. I could probably go on and on, but we always had fun. 

User “van_Morrison” asks: “Why the headset microphones? (they just look so foolish)” 

User “TommyGunn” asks: “Yeah, I remember the headset mic era…it was painful. I think they stopped wearing htem because so many people were laughing at them. But they definately wore them.” 

To this day, that is one of the most hilarious and completely false rumors I’ve ever heard about the band. I’ve owned up to nearly every dumb thing we’ve ever done, but I won’t own up to that because it’s just not true. The first person who can find and show me any genuine photograph of anyone in the ‘theory wearing a headset microphone can have every single piece of musical gear I own. 

User “TommyGun” asks: “Who do you think has a bigger ego…yourself or Jason Gleason?” 

Hmmm, I wonder exactly which bitter Tooth and Nail Records employee or ex-employee this is? 

Over your career as a musician, what was the most amazing moment for you, and for your band?

That’s a hard question to answer as well. There are so many great memories. Just being able to play music for a living for as long as I have, that alone is just huge. One of the memories that stand out to me personally, more than almost anything else, is the first time I ever recorded an album in a studio. It was “Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest” when I was in Zao. I tell this story on the Zao DVD, so it might not be new to everyone, but I was in the studio for all of the drums and guitar and bass. I never really left. We had finished all of the music on the songs, but Dan had not lied down any vocals yet. I left the studio and went into Barry’s (the producer/engineer) house to play some primitive version of SimCity on his old computer while Dan did his first set of vocals. After he had finished doing his tracks for the first song, the drummer for Zao at the time, Jesse, came running into the house to tell me I had to come out to the studio to hear the vocals. This was the very first time I had ever heard a completed song I had done for a record in a REAL studio that someone else was paying for me to record in. It was “Lies of Serpants, a River of Tears” the first track on the album, and Dan’s vocals sounded insane. I was in awe. I’ve had so many amazing moments in music since then and before them. I remember my very first show with my very first band (which featured Chad, and Chip from the ‘Theory as well as Marty from Zao). The first time that TJT played London was a huge memory for all of us too. That show was amazing and will probably always remain my favorite TJT show. 

User “operator” asks: “With the breakup of the Juliana Theory, and the loss of Russ from Zao, would he take up guitar duties with them again?”

Well, Zao is pretty happy as a four piece now, and they’ve never sounded better. Besides, I’m not nearly good enough of a guitar player to keep up with Scott or Marty! 

User “Shatter_Glass” asks: “How much “Dapper Dan” do you go through a week?” 

Excellent question. I’m more of a Murray’s guy when I’m in the mood for pomade. I’ve got quite a few old empty cans of the stuff from back in the day. 

On your myspace page, you said you have over 30 songs that were written for deadbeat sweetheartbeat. Is there any chance we’ll see a b-sides album? 

I would not say that a B-Sides album is out of the question, but there certainly has been no motion to put one out. We tried to do it recently. A few weeks ago, Tooth and Nail put out a “greatest hits” record from our years on that label. It’s pretty lackluster, to say the least. There are no new tracks on it (not even new mixes). There is absolutely no incentive for our current fans to buy it. I guess it is a decent introduction showcase of our older material for new fans, but we were never in favor of it being released as it is. We had asked Tooth and Nail to make it a double disc, complete with all of the songs from both of our early split cd’s as well as a lot of unreleased and very rare b-sides and early demos from “Emotion is Dead” and whatnot. They didn’t want to spend an extra cent on it, so they said no. We were already not worth any type of investment to them. They just wanted to milk every last penny they possibly could off of our name. There’s nothing like a “greatest hits” collection from a band with no hits. Haha. 

When you said that deadbeat sweetheartbeat was a goodbye album, did you mean it was a goodbye to TJT as well?

At the time, I did not mean it that way. Calling it a “goodbye album” was based much more on the lyrical themes of the record. As a band, we had hoped to keep going for a long time after this record. We had an inkling in the very back of our minds that if the record did very poorly commercially that we would probably be forced to end the band, but we did not honestly think that things would go as bad as they did. 

User “HoboAdam” asks: “Do you find it ironic that a year or so after Emotion Is Dead came out, emo became so huge?”

It’s not a surprise that this scene of music blew up. You could feel it bubbling underneath for a long time. This kind of thing happens all the time. It’s just like ever other rock music scene that has gotten big and then died down at one time or another. In the 60’s there was mod, then in the 70’s there was folk. In the 80’s there was punk and hair metal. In the 90’s there was grunge. The cycle continues. Emo is hair metal. It’s the new ska. 

Being such a huge influence on a lot of people my age and younger, who were some of your influences growing up, musical and non musical?

Well, when I got into playing music, a lot of my heroes were local musicians. I looked up to a lot of people that I could see playing in bands at all ages shows around town. There were a few bands that I would go see every single time I could. One of them was an amazing hardcore band from our town called Passover. Before that, there were a few other bands from around my home that I was mildly obsessed with. Of course, I had favorite bands that were a lot bigger – bands like Rush (my first arena concert), Neil Young, Fugazi (my first national club show and the first band who I ever covered at my very first show), Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, and the list goes on. My parents and my grandmother were highly influential on my musical development as well. My dad was in a singing group when I was really young and I used to go to their rehearsals and shows. I remember watching them and singing along. My grandma and my mother pretty much forced me to take piano lessons, and I think that was the foundation of me playing music. 

I asked you this question awhile back, but now that you’ve played a couple of tours with your last album, is it still your favorite you’ve recorded, or has that changed? 

”Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat” is still my favorite TJT record. Playing the songs out live continually only strengthened that. 

Thank you for making incredible, and memorable music. Do you have any last words for the readers of

First Caleb, thank YOU for doing the interview and thanks to Jason Tate and everyone else at for supporting us so much and helping us out. Thanks to all of our die-hard fans throughout the years that made everything we did possible. It was a wonderful ride that we will never forget and we are grateful to everyone that helped make it what it was.

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