The Dead Air Fresheners are a Portland, Oregon, Olympia, Washington, and Seattle, Washington-based experimental and post-punk musical group with a fluctuating and mutating anonymous membership. Recent line ups have been reported to range from Salem, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington (though this is incredibly difficult to verify). They have been described by Portland’s KPSU college radio as “A long-time mainstay of the Experimental Rock Scene.”
The band formed around 1996 as a cassette recording experiment. As a collective they first formed in a dilapidated beachfront mansion on the Eld Inlet in Thurston County, Washington (Eld Inlet is the site of The Evergreen State College); in any event, they first performed publicly in the 1997 on the stage of the Capitol Theater during the 3rd of Olympia, Washington‘s annual Olympia Experimental Music Festivals.
Their instrumentation has been known to include Moog synthesizer, and tape samples, drums, ambient vocals, distorted feedback, electric guitar, computers and digital toys, and digeridoo.[The Dead Air Fresheners state in interviews and whenever cornered in elevators that they do not play improvised music despite frequent perceptions to the contrary. Rather they use a process of Chance Music composition influenced by the work of John Cage (also called Indeterminate music).
The Dead Air Fresheners have collaborated with a trilogy of spoken word artists off an on since 2001 when they began a partnership with the performance poet Chuck Swaim. They worked exclusively providing the soundtrack to Mr. Swaim’s poetry for three self released studio albums and countless live shows until 2003 and produced the rockumentary video of their collaboration Chuck Swaim with the Dead Air Fresheners In Front of the Music.
In 2005 the group found itself once again drawn to a two year immersion behind the mind bending and biting words of satirical science fiction prosaic reconstructionist Jennifer Robin. While as yet no single rockumentary or docudrama has surfaced to tell the tale of those years, but some at least great live shows were still captured to video!
The third piece of the spoken word trilogy fell into place in 2013 when longtime friend of the group zine writer and podcast dj extraordinaire Yet Another Pope Austin Rich of Blasphuphmus Radio began occasionally waving a handful of pages in front of his face while spouting dadaist philosophy and post-Discordian theology in front of the masked electro-butoh troupe of the Fresheners.
While it is the policy of the Dead Air Fresheners not to confirm members past or present who are living, so as not to interfere with the anonymous members social life or career options in the “real world”, we do wish to give honor to the fallen. On August 3rd, 2011 we lost Deanne (Rowley) McAdams who played in the group off and on from 2001 until her passing. Her last recorded performance with the group can be found on this video of a show at the Swamp House in Olympia, Washington April 21, 2011, shot by James Trash of Overdose the Katatonic.
Some of the surviving Dead Air Fresheners performed the following tribute to Deanne on her first birthday after her passing at the Mt. Tabor Theater in Portland, Oregon on November 27, 2011.