Merry Christmas: Hey, Caesar! heads for House of Blues

Published 1:43 am Wednesday, December 24, 2008

With news of their early Christmas present, local band Hey, Caesar! has plenty of reason to jump for joy. They will be leaving at the end of this week for their very first tour and the group booked a sweet gig at the House of Blues in New Orleans, which they describe as a dream come true. Christmas will indeed be very merry for these young musicians.

Seven members strong, Hey, Caesar! has undergone a couple of identity changes. “The band originally started almost two years ago. It was called Epoch to begin with,” said Alex Craig, keyboard player and back-up screamer for the group. He is one of the group’s original members.

As Epoch, pronounced “epic,” grew weary of having people mispronounce their name, they changed it to Anson Maddox. It was also about this time, they lost one drummer and picked up a new one.

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Recently they morphed again, and this time the transition seems almost magical. Things are happening quickly for Derek Keene, Alex Craig, Billy Moesta, Sean Fried, Burne Sharp, Daniel Roland and Eddie. Some of these members are new, some returning and two are even commuters (Keene drives in from Brookhaven while Burne commutes from Natchez) but most all of them have been musicians for as long as they can remember and all of them are looking forward to their new venture.

Why Hey, Caesar!? It’s an enigmatic name the group says derived from a song title and it serves as a motto for the founding members. They describe themselves as a group of underdogs that have been rejected by other bands, but they were able to pick themselves up and find each other. Now they are living the dream.

Influences for their songs are life and video games. Craig said they wrote a whole song dedicated to the video game “Halo” for X-Box.

As for their sound, they say it’s hard to describe, drawing inspiration from a plethora of other bands, but they concluded it’s best described as “techno hardcore.” Craig said someone derived the term “Electronicore,” but mostly you just have to listen. All the music is original, with the bulk of it being written by Moesta and Fried.

Collectively the group is extremely grateful for their recent accomplishments. They also owe many thank you’s to a family friend, Rebecca Dunfee, who donated a van for the 2,500 miles they will travel very soon. The winter tour will kick off this Saturday, December 27 in Greenbrier, Tenn. Incidentally, this is the first time they will perform together as Hey, Caesar!

The “Killing the South to Survive” two-week tour is named after their recently completed hard copy CD, “Killing is the Only Way to Survive” — a line from the “Halo” song. The CD will be available for purchase starting Friday, December 26. It was rushed to be finished in time for tour sales. The group recorded it at home on a computer program called FL Studios which provided the drums. They will record a more professional version, with live drums by Sharp, at a $2 million studio in Marietta, Ga., in March, 2009.

All of the tour dates are listed on the band’s Web site,, along with the House of Blues date, which is not a part of the tour. On January 17, at 6:30 p.m., Hey, Caesar! will be part of an all-star line-up at HOB New Orleans that includes From Legends to Nancy, Confessor and In Every Nightmare. Pre-sale tickets for this one-time event are available through Hey, Caesar! for $10. For more information, call Moesta, 601-347-3830, or Fried, 601-590-1514, or visit