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Early years and early releases (1997–1998)
The Dillinger Escape Plan was founded in 1997 and emerged from a hardcore punk trio named Arcane. Arcane consisted of Ben Weinman, Dimitri Minakakis, and Chris Pennie. Previous to Arcane, Adam Doll, Craig McKeown, John Fulton, and Chris Pennie played together in the bands Samsara and Malfactor from 1992–1997. Managed by longtime friend Tom Apostolopoulos and guitarist Ben Weinman, Arcane recorded a self-titled demo under the name The Dillinger Escape Plan, in reference to the early 1930s bank robber John Dillinger, famous for his multiple escapes from jail. Now or Never Records offered to release the demo. The six-track EP was released in 1997 by Now or Never Records, and set them off on a small club tour around northeast America. Shortly before their first tour under the new name, guitarist Derek Brantley left the group and was replaced by John Fulton.
During this time period, The Dillinger Escape Plan gained notoriety in the hardcore punk scene for the intensity of their performances. Their performances were increasingly wild, and often violent. These elaborate performances, as well as the creative, technical approach of their music led a record executive of Relapse Records to offer the band a multi-record contract. The band agreed to the contract, and recorded their second EP with Relapse entitled Under the Running Board. Shortly after its release, Fulton left the band over creative differences. The three-song EP release served to bolster anticipation for their 1999 full-length release, Calculating Infinity.
Calculating Infinity (1999–2001)
Before the recording of Calculating Infinity, bassist Adam Doll was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. The accident was a minor fender bender, but because Doll had leaned over to pick up a CD beneath the stereo, the accident caused a small fracture in his spine, inducing paralysis. Guitarist Weinman played both guitar and bass on the album, though liner notes credited Doll as providing a great deal of help.
Shortly before touring began for the new album, former Jesuit guitarist Brian Benoit auditioned for the band, taking the place of the departed John Fulton; Jeff Wood, former M.O.D. bassist, took the place of the injured Adam Doll. Calculating Infinity was met with critical acclaim. Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, a friend of the band and one of the first people to hear the album, asked the Dillinger Escape Plan to tour with his band Mr. Bungle. Over time, their notoriously intense shows grew more so, incorporating samples, a light show, fireworks, fire breathing, and other antics.
After several months of touring, including appearances on the Warped Tour and March Metal Meltdown, the band and Wood parted ways, with Wood moving on to his own project, Shat. Liam Wilson took his place. In 2000, Now or Never Records re-released the band’s self-titled album with added bonus tracks. Later that same year, the band parted ways with Minakakis. Minakakis credited his departure from the band to the rigorous touring schedule. The band remains in contact with him.
Irony Is a Dead Scene (2002–2003)
Without a vocalist, The Dillinger Escape Plan began a nationwide search for a replacement via their website, releasing an instrumental version of “43 % Burnt” from Calculating Infinity and inviting prospective vocalists to record and send their own vocal tracks. They received many submissions, including one with rapping and one with death growls.
While the search was underway, vocal duties were handled by a number of the band’s friends, including Sean Ingram of Coalesce and Mike Patton, who agreed to help the band produce an EP. The plan to record with Patton was in place before a replacement vocalist had been found. By the time Mike Patton had recorded vocals and the EP was released, the band had been touring with Minakakis’s replacement, Greg Puciato, for nearly a year.
The group released their first EP via Epitaph Records, titled Irony Is a Dead Scene. It features Weinman, Pennie, Benoit, Wilson, and Mike Patton on vocals, with ex-bassist Adam Doll assisting with keyboards and sample effects. It marked Doll’s last appearance with the band, until he returned to contribute briefly towards Option Paralysis. The EP contains three original songs and a cover of electronic music artist Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy“. Buddyhead Records released the EP in a limited vinyl version.
In late 2001, Dillinger Escape Plan met Greg Puciato, one of the people who submitted a recording to the band. Puciato included two versions of “43 % Burnt”, one in the style of Calculating Infinity and one with his own personal spin. The band offered him the job after two practice sessions. He accepted, first appearing at the 2001 CMJ Music Festival in New York City. Soon after, Puciato and the band recorded two songs for a Black Flag tribute compilation. In 2003, the band appeared on the soundtrack for Underworld with the song “Baby’s First Coffin”, their first original song with Puciato on vocals.
In 2002 The Dillinger Escape Plan made national United Kingdom headlines when, at the prestigious Reading Festival, Puciato defecated in full view onstage, put it into a bag, and threw it into the crowd.
Miss Machine (2004–2005)
On July 20, 2004, Relapse Records released the band’s first full-length album with Puciato, entitled Miss Machine. Miss Machine sold 12,000 copies its first week, becoming their largest selling release. The album polarized The Dillinger Escape Plan audience; some fans were critical of the band’s increasing artistic and musical departures from their earlier efforts, while others preferred them.
Following the controversial release, The Dillinger Escape Plan began a two-year touring cycle, headlining tours of their own or occasionally providing support for acts such as Slipknot, System of a Down, and Megadeth. These tours were replete with injuries; in late 2004, guitarist Benoit suffered nerve damage (brachial plexus neuritis) in his left hand, and other than a short return to the stage in 2005, he has not played with the band since. Former Fenix*TX guitarist James Love ended up playing most shows in the late 2004–2006 period. In 2005, the band was forced to drop out of Dave Mustaine‘s “Gigantour” slightly early due to a rotator cuff injury and fractured vertebrae Weinman had sustained performing in Anaheim, California at all-ages venue Chain Reaction; Weinman took time off performing with the band to undergo surgery.
In June 2006 the band released an iTunes exclusive EP of cover songs entitled Plagiarism. The title is a reference to the fact that four of the EP’s six tracks are covers faithful to the original songs. They also released their first DVD, a short accompanying piece to Miss Machine (entitled Miss Machine: The DVD). Guitarist James Love played in the band during the recording of their Plagiarism EP. Dillinger toured supporting AFI and Coheed and Cambria in the summer of 2006.
Four shows before the end of the Coheed tour, Weinman flew home for undisclosed personal reasons. In an interview, Greg Puciato announced that actual reasons for Weinman flying home was because of the growing tension between him and Chris Pennie. The night of August 4, the group played their first show as a four-piece in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Murat Theatre Egyptian Room. It was previously announced during an interview on the Jekyll and Hyde show in November 2007, during the Coheed tour, Weinman had briefly quit the band in order to recover from compounding medical and financial problems.
During the time Weinman was apart from the band, Chris Pennie received an offer from Coheed and Cambria to be the band’s permanent drummer when their former drummer left the band. Coheed had been impressed with Pennie after seeing him live, and Pennie accepted the offer. Pennie left the band right before the recording of Ire Works.
Ire Works (2007–2008)
The Dillinger Escape Plan completed their follow-up album to Miss Machine in 2007, entitled Ire Works, produced by Steve Evetts at his studio Omen Room in Los Angeles. Drums were recorded at Sonikwire Studios in Irvine, California. On June 15, the band announced the title of the album as well as confirming the departure of Chris Pennie (who became the drummer of Coheed and Cambria). Gil Sharone of Stolen Babies handled drum duties for the album. Ire Works was released on November 13, 2007. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 142 with 7,000 copies scanned, but was later corrected when it was revealed that Relapse somehow forgot to scan the pre-release album sales, which made the first week total actually around 11,000.
Missing from the new line up was guitarist Brian Benoit, who had left the band because of injury. Although assured his place in the band is secure should he ever be able to perform again, Jeff Tuttle (formerly of Heads Will Roll and Capture the Flag) has taken his place on stage. Tuttle, however, does not make an appearance on the record.
Ire Works had been a critical and commercial success, with the album being on many critics’ top ten lists, making it the band’s most critically successful album. Jason Lymangrover of AllMusic stated that “[if] DEP aren’t careful and continue down this innovative path, they could easily be labeled the Radiohead of metalcore.” On February 6, 2008, the band had two songs from Ire Works broadcast on two television programs in the United States. The song “Milk Lizard” was featured on the CSI: NY episode “Playing With Matches”, and the band performed live the song “Black Bubblegum” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Option Paralysis (2009–2012)
In January 2009 Gil Sharone left the band. Billy Rymer was then confirmed to be the band’s new drummer.
The Dillinger Escape Plan played in Australia, where they joined Nine Inch Nails onstage during the Soundwave 2009 festival, helping them perform the songs “Wish” and “Mr. Self Destruct” as part of the last encore song of Nine Inch Nails’ live show at the event.
On May 27, 2009, it was reported by Benjamin Weinman that the band started their own label, Party Smasher Inc., which is a collaboration with French record label Season of Mist. After having fulfilled their contract with Relapse, The Dillinger Escape Plan released their fourth studio album in March 2010 through Party Smasher Inc and recorded by Steve Evetts. Option Paralysis was confirmed as the title of the new album in a press release by Season of Mist. Puciato has noted that Option Paralysis was the toughest album the group and himself have ever written. In an interview in The Aquarian, Weinman stated that “it was the most organic and less forced than previous works.”
The Dillinger Escape Plan started the Option Paralysis touring cycle with a short North American tour with Thursday in December 2009, followed by a headlining run in Feb/March 2010 with Darkest Hour, Animals as Leaders, and Iwrestledabearonce. While on the tour, the band received a Golden God Award from Revolver Magazine, for “Best Underground Band”, which Weinman and Puciato accepted. After a short trip to Europe, they participated in Warped Tour 2010, playing June 24 through August 15. After that the band embarked on a massive European headlining run.
During a January 12, 2011 interview on the Metal Injection Livecast, vocalist Greg Puciato announced the band is currently in the process of writing new music which would either surface as an EP later in the year or a full-length album the following year.
However, in 2011 The Dillinger Escape Plan continued to tour, accompanying Deftones for a nine-week-long North American trek from April to June. Touring continued with former labelmates Mastodon, both in the US in late 2011 and the UK in early 2012, followed by their second appearance at Soundwave Festival in Australia, as well as dates with System of a Down in New Zealand and Australia. The group also played its first shows in Malaysia and Bangkok, as well as their first South American performance, headlining the second stage on the first night of the prestigious Rock al Parque festival in Bogota, Colombia.
On August 17, 2012, the band announced via their Facebook page that Jeff Tuttle had left the band to pursue other projects in music and film.
One of Us Is the Killer (2013–2014)
On November 21 the band uploaded a video indicating the new album would be released in Spring 2013, and also used the video to announce they signed with Sumerian Records to release the forthcoming album.
On November 24, the band played at the California Metalfest show alongside bands such as Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. While playing this show, a mystery guitar player was noticed filling in for former rhythm guitarist Jeff Tuttle, who had left the band in August. A couple of weeks later, during a phone interview (on the Metal Injection Livecast) while in the studio recording their new album, Weinman announced that this mystery guitar player was James Love, who had played with the band briefly while they toured in support for their album Miss Machine.
On February 18, 2013, the band announced the title of their new album, One of Us Is the Killer, which was released on May 14 of the same year. On March 12, they released the first single from the album. On April 23, The Dillinger Escape Plan released the first music video from One of Us Is the Killer. The video for track number two, “When I Lost My Bet” was directed by Mitch Massie and was posted on the band’s Facebook page and Sumerian Records‘s YouTube account. Subsequent videos released from the album were “One Of Us Is The Killer”, “Hero Of The Soviet Union”, and “Paranoia Shields”.
In April 2014, the band released a one off non-album song, called “Happiness Is A Smile”, which was released on YouTube and on a 500 count 7″ vinyl only available at their shows.
On July 14, 2014, it was announced that the band would be playing for two weeks as the opening slot on the Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden North American tour. This decision was made following the disbandment of Death Grips, who were originally chosen as the opening act.
Dissociation and break-up (2015–present)
In the following year, BBC Radio 1 premiered the band’s new single “Limerent Death”, which is to be featured on their upcoming sixth studio record Dissociation. In a following interview with Noisey, Weinman suggested The Dillinger Escape Plan would be going on an indefinite hiatus after the tour cycle for the upcoming album. Greg Puciato later clarified that “we’re breaking up. We’re not going on an extended hiatus.” Dissociation was released on October 14, 2016.
While on their European farewell tour, The Dillinger Escape Plan was involved in a vehicle crash after a truck collided with their bus. 13 people were injured in the incident, but the band members were not seriously hurt.
In 2002, The Dillinger Escape Plan made national United Kingdom headlines when, at the prestigious Reading Festival, Puciato defecated in full view onstage, put it into a bag, and threw it into the crowd before smearing the rest onto himself, proclaiming “This is a bag of shit, I just wanted to show you this so you’ll recognize it later on throughout the day”, in reference to the quality of music he felt was appearing that day of the festival. The band’s set was one of the highest reviewed of the entire festival that year, and was later included in a list of the top one hundred Reading or Leeds performances of the decade. Upon returning to Reading in 2016, Puciato played the opening song “Prancer” sitting on an onstage couch reading a newspaper and drinking tea.
- Ben Weinman – lead guitar, programming, backing vocals, keyboard (1997–2017)
- Liam Wilson – bass (2000–2017)
- Greg Puciato – lead vocals (2001–2017)
- Billy Rymer – drums, percussion (2009–2017)
- Kevin Antreassian – rhythm guitar (2015–2017)
- Studio albums