Never Met a Dead Man rehearses June 12. Jesse Major/for Peninsula Daily News

Sequim band to play Mayhem Fest

SEQUIM — Metal band Never Met a Dead Man has been selected to play at this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival in July after winning a battle of the bands at Studio 7 in Seattle earlier this month.

All of the band’s members live in Sequim and write their own music.

They describe their genre as death metal, hard-core and metal-core.

They also said they try to blend a lot of genres into one.

The high-energy Sequim band defeated 11 other bands June 10 and earned its right to play on the Sumerian Records stage at Mayhem.

The Rockstar Mayhem Festival is July 3 at Auburn’s White River Amphitheater, which seats 20,000.

There, Never Met a Dead Man will open for Slayer, Slipknot, Motorhead, As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria and other popular heavy metal bands.

“Awesome,” was the only word vocalist James Finnon, 21, used to describe the opportunity to play at Mayhem.

“I can’t believe we get to play with The Devil Wears Prada,” said Finnon, who is joined in the band by guitarists Kevin Weaver, 21, and Evan Watkins, 18; bassist Collin Kawler, 21; keyboardist Kody Leonard, 21; and Jared Forshaw, 18, on drums.

The members of Never Met a Dead Man had taken a yearlong break from performing.

The hiatus was due to the fact that their vocalist left and also because of financial issues, Leonard said.

Everyone still played music, though, Finnon said.

But now, Never Met a Dead Man is solid and back into it, he added.

The band acquired two new members — Watkins and Forshaw — and decided to keep the same name.

In the previous lineup, Finnon played drums.

Finnon said he went to vocals because the band had gone through four vocalists until he took over.

Finnon said everything the band members had going for them before was unfinished, and Never Met a Dead Man is ready to finish what it started.

The band members noticed that most of their fans actually weren’t in Washington state.

When they checked the demographics of their “likes” on their Facebook page, they noticed a large number of their fans were from South America and Quebec.

The band wants to “close the gaps and move forward,” Finnon said.

On Friday, the band is scheduled to play at the North West Knock Out Festival, which will continue through Sunday at Hell’s Kitchen, 928 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma, with 24 other bands.

The band also is planning a West Coast tour this fall.

Since getting the band together, Finnon said the musicians have progressed into more diverse music and clean vocals, meaning they aren’t only screaming but are singing as well.

The band plans to record a new EP album this fall, and members hope to release it late this year.

Once their Facebook page gets up to 2,000 likes, band members plan to release their new song “Retribution.”

They have a little more than 300 likes to go to reach 2,000.

This summer, Never Met a Dead Man plans to book at least two shows in the Port Angeles and Sequim areas, and said one of them will be only for those 21 or older.


Jesse Major, a recent graduate of Peninsula College and Port Angeles High School, is an intern with the Peninsula Daily News. To reach him, phone 360-452-2345, ext. 5056.

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