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From left to right: Dead Guy, Emmy Lazarus, Doctor Shocktor, Imhotep Jones / Photo: Courtesy of Candace Moser Stafford

This time last year, a few Columbus musicians really got into the spooky spirit of the season. Inspired by classic and campy scary stories, they formed “a Halloween punk band” called The Recently Deceased, paying homage to Beatlejuice’s Handbook for the Recently Deceased.

“I think the genre that we would fit into is kind of like ’60s garage rock,” vocalist Emmy Lazarus says. “That’s really what drives the music. And I think I would describe it like, ’60s rock meets The Munsters.

“So we’re not trying to be really, really scary,” she continues. “We’re trying to be fun and spooky and be a band that, you know, a lot of different people – even if you’re not really into the horror genre or scary movies – can feel like they’re having fun with.”

Though the band has only recently joined the ranks of the undead, expect to see appearances by The Recently Deceased on Fridays that fall on the 13th year-round and, of course, throughout the Halloween season.
—Emily Thompson

Broad & High Presents: “Halloween” by The Recently Deceased

Meet the Musicians

Emmy Lazarus

AKA: Emmy Beach

The character: “I am Bride of Frankenstein. I love horror movies and specifically like the classic, universal horror movies. And I’ve also had a little bit of a Bride of Frankenstein aesthetic anyway. I’ve got a lot of hair, which lends itself well to it. … Lazarus signifies rising from the grave, and it’s very spooky.”

Doctor Shocktor

AKA: Eric French
Fave local acts: Mummula, Jeepers Creepers

The character: “I’m the evil scientist of the band. It’s unknown whether or not I am in fact deceased or just ghoulish in nature. So essentially it’s my character’s job to keep the three dead characters in the band functional. And I do that through a series of very shady science experiments that involve harsh and possibly illegal chemicals, all while harnessing the electric power of lightning and the electric guitar.”

Fave local venue: “Ace of Cups. Marcy (Mays, owner,) is a successful musician, and she runs the club from understanding the point of view of both the musical act and the establishment, which makes for a much better experience for both sides.”

Imhotep Jones

AKA: Michael De Bonis
Fave local act: Bava Choco

The character: “I wanted to pick something that I could be anonymous in — so I could sort of disappear behind the character — and also something that had that sort of classic horror movie feel to it. The main idea that came to me was, what if a mummy woke up and then went to, like, a skateboard shop to buy some clothes. And so that’s the look I was going for.”

Dead Guy

AKA: Corey Gillen
Fave local act: Ghost Soul Trio

The character: “I’m just a dead guy. One of the most important dead-guy zombies in history was the first zombie that showed up in Night of the Living Dead and was just random Dead Guy in a cemetery. He never got a name.”

Broad & High Presents: “The Werewolf” by The Recently Deceased

Fill in the Blank

If you like ___, you’ll like The Recently Deceased.

Dead Guy: Beetlejuice.

Imhotep Jones: Beetlejuice.

Say it one more time, guys.

Dead Guy: Yeah, Tim Burton, Beetlejuice. A lot of that flavor is in the music and the vibe as well.

Emmy Lazarus: If you like The Munsters. If you like The Addams Family. If you like when Halloween decorations come out in July, then you’ll like The Recently Deceased.

When I’m not performing, I am ___.

Emmy Lazarus: Well for me, if I’m not playing music, I am re-watching Friday the 13th movies. If we’re talking “Freddy vs. Jason,” I am Jason all the way.

___ is Central Ohio’s best hidden gem.

Dead Guy: Is Studio 35 a hidden gem?

Emmy Lazarus: Let’s say Studio 35. I freaking love that place. We love to watch Fritz the Nite Owl at Studio 35. They do late-night, campy B movies. They also host Bad Movie Nite, which is another feature we like to make time for. But in general, Studio 35, it draws on those classic movie houses. It has some good beers, too.

Imhotep Jones: And I’ll say, just because it’s on that same street, Elizabeth’s Records. That’s my favorite record store.

The best food in Columbus is ___.

Dead Guy: Ray Ray’s (Hog Pit).

Emmy Lazarus: Oh, yeah.

Imhotep Jones: I’ll give a shout out to Baba’s. It’s on Hudson and Summit (streets). It’s like a breakfast sandwich place, but they’re also doing dinner. They just started doing dinner recently. You can get, like, smoked ribs.

They’re great because the menu’s really small — I love a place where there’s only four choices, five choices. Really good hamburgers. But their breakfast sandwiches are really spectacular. And it’s just a really great mom-and-pop place. It’s a husband and wife who run it.

Emmy Lazarus: I love like ’50s- and ’60s-era diners, and there’s one in Upper Arlington that’s been there since like the ’60s. It’s called Chef-O-Nette.

Dead Guy: Honorable mention going out to the blood bank and the great hospitals in town.

Pineapple on pizza is ___.

Imhotep Jones: Disgusting.

Emmy Lazarus: Delicious.

Dead Guy: It’s fine.

Doctor Shocktor: The best topping.

On Inspiration for the Band

Emmy Lazarus: It was in our basement, actually, our first show (on Halloween 2017). Eric and Corey are in a lot of different bands together, have been over the years. And I think they needed an opener for a show at our house. And we decided, like, why don’t we put together a fun little few campy songs? And that’s how it came together, really.

Imhotep Jones: Actually, from my perspective, they were having a Halloween party, and Eric said costumes required. And I was just like, “I don’t know, man. I have a kid. I don’t know if I have time to get a costume together. Can I just show up?” He’s like, “Costumes required.”

And a couple days later, he comes into the lunchroom (at work), and he says, “We’re starting a Halloween punk band. Me and Emmy are doing it for the show. And I was like, “Uh, OK.”

And like five minutes later, I walked into his office and was like, “How do I get in on this band?” And he was like, “Well, you said you couldn’t even get a costume, dude.” I’m like, “I’ll figure it out.”

Who writes the songs?

Emmy Lazarus: I love telling stories, and I love coming up with a concept and working with Eric to figure out a melody sometimes to really put all the pieces together. But up to this point, I’ve been writing all the lyrics, and [Eric] and I work together to get the bones of the song put together. And then we’ll come together as a group and work it out. And that may change as the band gets some more time.

Where do you find inspiration?

Emmy Lazarus: I also love the horror genre of the 19th century – like the Victorian era, where we start to see Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s when we really come into this gothic horror concept. That is also an inspiration for some of the songs that I like to come up with.

Dead Guy: If the prim and proper renaissance weren’t so prim and proper.

Emmy Lazarus: Yeah! It’s like there’s always something lurking in the shadows.

Dead Guy: If punk rock suddenly showed up with people in hoop skirts and …

Emmy Lazarus: And pocket watches. … Something else that I haven’t mentioned is that my favorite movie is Beetlejuice. And our band name is kind of inspired by that movie and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased that they have. And so that’s where the (band) name came from.