This is the Official Website of: δεαδ τonguεs
The Unofficial Rock and Roll Band of the Stanford Linguistics Department
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[History] [Members] [Alumni] [Recent and Upcoming Gigs] [Previous Gigs] [Press] [Bookings]

2013 Ivan Fest

At the end of the The Structure and Evidence in Linguistics workshop, better known as Ivan Fest, some of the world-wide membership of Dead Tongues assembled for a concert lead by Ivan Sag on the keyboard, Dan Jurafsky on drums, Peter Sells on bass guitar, Geoff Pullum, Steve Wechsler and John Beavers on guitars. The vocalists were Liz Bonawitz, Elisabeth Norcliffe, Marisa Tice, Laura Staum, Eric Acton and Geoff Nunberg.

The videos of this performance are HERE!


The previous incarnation of the band, which started in early 2011 in Penny and Ivan's living room, included a couple of ringers from Berkeley (see band history below).

2011 Gig


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A Short History of Dead Tongues

In 1980 or 1981 (no one remembers which), Geoffrey Nunberg and Ivan Sag (who were coteaching an undergraduate introduction to linguistics at the time) were encouraged by then UG major Sheila Leary to enter the Faculty talent show that she was organizing: Professors in Performance. Together with drummer Jim Sallis (a psychologist) and bassist Jim Willson (an electrical engineer), they formed the first version of the band that came to be known (after a department-wide contest to name it) as `Dead Tongues'. Ivan has played keyboards (and done some singing) in every incarnation of the band and Peter Sells was its bass player from his arrival at Stanford in 1984 to his departure in 2007, apart from a brief hiatus in the early 1990s.

During the 1980s, DTs underwent considerable musical evolution, as well as changes of personnel (see the DT Alumni listings), playing at various campus events, private parties, and outdoor concerts. The band even had a regular gig for a while at the B-Street Bar and Grill, a `gay bar' in San Mateo. During this time, the band usually had a `chick singer' and a horn section. In 1989, DTs made their first road trip, flying to Tucson to perform at the Linguistic Institute hosted by the University of Arizona. The band broke up in 1991 and remained dormant for almost a decade.

It was in 2000, when the department needed music for the IGALA conference party, that the modern incarnation of the band first emerged. Actually it was cobbled together from local folks and conference participants, but was so much fun that Dead Tongues has been going strong ever since. Dan Jurafsky's arrival to Stanford in 2004 marked the first time that all members of DTs were affiliated with the Linguistics Department. In 2005-2006, we performed four times, including a gig at the 2005 MIT-Harvard Linguistic Institute, where we had 200 linguists drinking and dancing late into the night. This remained as the band's zenith until the 2007 Linguistic Institute, held at Stanford, where the experience was even more awesome. Some videos may still forthcome...

Peter Sells' departure from Stanford at the end of 2007 and the graduation of several key band members triggered a four-year hiatus in the band's activity. But with the return to Stanford of Mike Frank (former SymSys undergraduate), the reformation of Dead Tongues became a real possibility. Two more pieces had to fall in place: First, several grad students expressed an interest in singing with the band, and Mike also suggested Liz Bonawitz, the lead vocalist in bands he played in at MIT, who had recently moved to UC Berkeley (as a postdoc in Cognitive Science). Finally, guitarist Terry Regier, who had played in bands with Dan years ago while they were in grad school, returned to UC Berkeley (as a faculty member in Linguistics and Cognitive Science). Les jeux étaient faits! And out came the current version of the band.


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The 2001 Incarnation

On June 2, 2001 Dead Tongues gave a concert at Cordura Hall. Sound and video recorded by Lauri Karttunen, edited by Annie Zaenen.

The 2002 Incarnation

On October 12, 2002 Dead Tongues played at the NWAV 31 party at Cordura Hall. Sound and video by Lauri Karttunen, editing by Annie Zaenen.

The 2005 Incarnation

The June 4, 2005 concert at Cordura Hall features (future Linguistics PhDs) Elizabth Coppock (Linguistics PhD, 2008), Lis Norcliffe (Linguistics PhD, 2009), and Laura Staum (Linguistics PhD, 2009) on vocals, Ivan Sag on keyboard, Peter Sells on bass guitar, Dan Jurafsky on percussion, Lauren Hall-Lew (Linguistics PhD, 2009) on saxophone and John Beavers (Linguistics PhD, 2006) on guitar.
The 2007 Incarnation

Dead Tongues was very much alive from 2005 to 2007, More information about the 2007 band (which has generated an Austin, Texas offshoot -- Gavagai) can be found HERE.

Were we a garage band? Hell yes! And here are the pictures to prove it: singers in the garage, faculty meeting in the garage.


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These URLs have some pictures and some video downloads:

2007 Gigs

Earlier Gigs


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Press:


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Bookings:

Sure, we might be willing/able to play for your party, assuming it sounds like fun, that we're all in town on that date, etc. To discuss, contact Ivan: sag at stanford dot edu


Last modified: Sun May 29 2011