Southwest Oklahoma's Resource For News and Entertainment
Tuesday April 23rd 2019


They’re known for their dramatic live show entailing fake blood, props and dueling metal vocalists, but not many people know what lies beneath the masks and makeup.

One of Lawton’s most popular metal bands, DeadCore has built its success of eight years on the novelty of shocking the average audience with costumes seemingly right out of a horror flick. What many people don’t know, however, is that the band is actually made up of mostly parents, nine-to-fivers, and even a former cheerleader.

Melissa Tehauno, female co-vocalist, said she went through many phases in high school, including cheer leading, before she finally carved a place for herself in the metal scene. A mother of three, she now spends her days working at a local hospital and her nights surprising audiences.

“They see me and they think I’m going to be the background singer and be some singy singy person, and I’m doing the growling,” she said. “I like that element of surprise.”

Other members include her husband J.R. Tehauno on drums, Dayton Keel on guitar, Wes Morin on guitar, Elvis Keel on samples, Bear Bennett on bass and new co-vocalist, Scott Golden.

After parting ways with former co-vocalist Josh Katvala a few months ago, the band said they had to refocus, which is when Golden was added to the mix.

“We got knocked down,” J.R. said. “We found a way to pick up and come back stronger.”

Golden was well-received by the band, and fellow members say he’s a major contribution to their new sound, one they describe as edgier.

“The first time he came out and jammed with us, you could just see the intensity he brought,” Bennett said.

Golden, former vocalist for bands Killer Whale and Green Hysteria, said he is thriving on the live-show theatrics that comes with performing as a member of DeadCore. He compares his face paint on stage to dressing up for Halloween as a kid.

“As a child growing up, every kid wants to be Superman or Batman, and they get one time a year they can dress up and be someone else because it’s entertaining and fun,” he said. “We get to do it all the time.”

Similarly, Elvis Keel said his costumes help transform his personality.

“When I wear the masks, I feel like I’m a character,” he said.

His band mates say it’s the energy his “character” harnesses that they cherish, as do the fans.

“If there is something he can swing on or jump on, he’s going to do it,” Melissa said. “He is a ball of life and, if he’s not there, we really notice.”

With sibling-like bonds, and their own small children running around at their practices, DeadCore is very much a family. And, much like families evolve, so does DeadCore. This evolution combined with some endurance has helped them achieve their success locally.

“Being at the right place at the right time and getting to know the right people who want to give us a chance, and who see something in us, is paying off little by little,” Melissa said. “And it’s very much credited to our fans as well.”

Interestingly, although the band’s name was formed with little meaning (i.e., two columns of words were randomly thrust together until a union was selected) it, too, has evolved.

“I hated the name DeadCore at first,” J.R. said. “Now it means something.”

For more information about the band DeadCore and their upcoming shows, check the DeadCore Facebook page.