jeanne crump talks to the SoCal crew as they prepare for their New Jersey show this week …
For a band that has only released one album, The Dirty Heads have had astonishing success. The Southern California reggae rock dropped their debut album, Any Port In A Storm, in 2008. They’ve since toured with Sublime With Rome, where I first discovered them at The Stone Pony’s Summer Stage in Asbury Park, N.J. Rolling Stone named them one of the best new bands of 2010. Now, they’re embarking on a national tour with Gym Class Heroes this fall.
I had the chance to speak with vocalist/guitarist Dustin Bushnell as the reggae punk-rockers prepare to play Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J., on Oct. 21.
Pop-Break: I think everyone is anticipating a new album, and according to the band’s Tweets, you guys have been hitting the studio. Can you tell us about that?
Dustin Bushnell: Well we’re in El Paso,Texas, right now at the Sonic Ranch on this rad farm where we’ll be recording the album for the next few weeks. It’s a lot different than we’ve ever done, it’s a much different process but we’re having fun with it. We’re just really excited to be getting some new music out.
PB: Your last album, Any Port In A Storm, was mixed by Mario C., who has worked with The Beastie Boys, Molotov and Flobots. Is he going to be working with you on this album as well?
DB: He is. He is actually going to be producing this album.
PB: Oh cool, that was actually my next question.
DB: Yeah, well it was cool when we worked with him last time because he mixed the album, but when someone mixes your album, you basically give them a finished piece of work and they’re going to go through and make it sound nice, but now he can work with us on the songs as we actually create them. We’re really stoked to be working with him.
PB: So I see you’ll be hitting the road almost everyday through October and November with Gym Class Heroes.
DB: Yeah, I’m excited for this — we’ve done one headlining tour which was our last one, and we’re not headlining this but it is a co-headline and it’s going to be really cool going out with another band and stepping up the venue size. We think that crowd is going to respond really well to this.
PB: Have you guys worked or toured with the Gym Class Heroes before?
DB: We’ve done one or two shows with them, it wasn’t like a tour, it was just more of festivals we were both on. We’ve seen them play though and their crowd really gets going, they have good vibes and a lot of fun. That’s what we like to have at our shows too and that’s when we started thinking we should do a tour together.
PB: I first discovered you last year on The Stone Pony’s Summer Stage while you were on tour with Sublime With Rome. I read that Rome Ramirez is a friend of yours. Is that true?
DB: Yeah, he was actually just one of the young kids that would hang around the studio that we recorded at and he wasn’t in a band, he wasn’t Rome from Sublime, he was just “Romulous” as we would call him, and he was just our buddy. One day we invited him over and ended up recording “Lay Me Down,” and the song just sat around for awhile. Then six months later, it’s No. 1 on the charts and Rome is singing for Sublime.
PB: Now back to the new recordings. Your last album had quite a few guest appearances on it, such as Slash. Can you talk about what you’ll have coming up on this one?
DB: Not really, but there will definitely be some surprises. We love working with new people. You throw one new person into the mix and everything changes. You get new ideas that you would of never thought of before.
PB: And I have to ask, I read that your name The Dirty Heads was taken from an incident where you and vocalist Jared Watson we stealing beer from a convenient store and someone yelled, “Get back here, you dirty heads!” Is this true?
DB: You know, every time someone asks this question, I get a different story. [laughs] Actually, our older brothers and parents would call us dirty heads. We were punks. We wanted to take their beer, and that’s just what they would call us.
For more information on The Dirty Heads, visit their official website, www.dirtyheads.com.