You can't open a rock magazine nowadays without reading about the latest emo band with hardcore tendencies throwing in a little techno-punk rock and hip hop for good measure. A slight exaggeration maybe, but when was the last time you read about a straight up rock n roll band in the mould of Led Zep or Black Sabbath. Dirty Americans are that band. Born out of the ashes of the Workhouse Movement the guys simply wanted to make the sort of record they wanted to hear and play shows where people had fun and jumped up and down as opposed to jumping up and down and wanting to kill themselves.
Q: A few weeks ago you played Download and you guys really stood out
from the rest of the line-up as one of the few non-metal bands
A: We talked about that last night. Hopefully it's a good thing. Download seems like more of a metal show and it was definitely kinda refreshing not to be a metal band at a metal show.
Q: There aren't many bands that still go for that traditional rock
A: Which is odd, you would think there would be. We’re not trying to do anything. It is just straight up the middle rock for us, just fun rock n roll. When we started this band we just wanted to write songs that we knew we would like to hear ourselves. That's what we've tried to create with our band.
Q: Going from the Workhouse Movement to this band, which I guess is
A: To me it's not that much different. There's a difference in the performing of the songs, but I still play my guitar in the same way. To me I get to solo a little bit more, but I don't look at it as that much different to me. In London there were some people who were definitely Workhouse fans at the show and we see them pop up here and there. Workhouse I think just started scratching the surface, but it just wasn't going to last. It's cool to see that 4 years later people are still interested in what's going on, but I think we're winning over new people too. I've seen a lot of older people who are getting into us because they see us as classic rock and it's kinda cool to see those guys.
Q: And the younger people, maybe 14 or 15 year olds, are getting into
you because unless they've took time to look back to the roots of music they
wouldn't have heard a band like the Dirty Americans before
A: Yeah, they have no idea who probably of half the bands we really like are. I hope after hearing us they go and check some of them out.
Q: As a Detroit band do you see this hotbed of talent that the UK music
press has been hyping up for the past couple of years? Is there really a
noticeable change from 4 or 5 years ago?
A: We get asked that a lot. There's definitely a lot of good band, but there's always been a lot of good bands. I think there's just a focus on Detroit right now because of bands like The White Stripes and Electric 6. Just like Seattle, I think there was always good music in Seattle but as soon as one band broke. In a few years Detroit won't be the hot head, but there will still be tons of bands, the focus will just move on. There's a lot of rock heritage in Detroit back to Seager and Alice Cooper and all that shit.
Right now there's a band called The Fags that we really like. The guy that plays bass with them we worked in the studio with him and he's produced bands like Spunge. Broadzilla are a pretty cool band from Detroit and there are a lot of good metal bands at the moment. We have friends that are out on the road a lot out there and it's cool to see it all happening for them.
the White Stripes there are a lot of garage type bands out like the Von
Bondies. I call them "the the" bands. I don't pay too much attention
to them. When I’m back home, which is like 30 miles North of Detroit, I just
have my stretch of land and my core set of friends. I don't really search these
Q: When you came up with the name Dirty Americans you just wanted to
sum up what the band were about. A moniker, which suggests so much straight
A: And to leave it wide open to interpretation to. A lot of people either immediately think it's political or they don't know what the f**k to think which is kinda cool because at least it makes them ask questions. We go to France and people want to know how did you get the name The Dirty Americans? It's pretty much dirty American rock n roll - there's not much more too it. We don't have an agenda, but if we wanna sing about sex or drugs or f**king politics it leaves it wide open for us.
I don't think we really had any other names. This just rolled of the tongue. When we started talking about our drummer Jeremiah said "I just know I want to be in a dirty American rock band". The light came on and it was - The Dirty Americans!!!
Q: Going back to what we were saying earlier. Why do you feel there are
so many metal bands in the world and not enough Dirty American rock bands?
A: There's definitely a certain energy to metal and hardcore bands. We have a different type of energy to a hardcore band. There sort of stuff is fairly acrobatic and there's a lot of vocal emotion and stuff. Kids are drawn to angst and they're drawn to screaming as a release. We have that, but it's in a different way - we come at it from the opposite side which is jump around, have some fun and a few beers as opposed to jump around and kill yourself.
just don't think kids understand regular rock n roll or where that shit came
from. But it is cyclical and it is coming round. Jet are about as simple as you
can get. The Darkness as well. Who'd have thought 80s type rock would have come
back? I even think we're doing a bit of 80s type rock. I lived through it, but
I never thought that shit would come back. It's relevant though.
Q: Even though you can appreciate Jet and The Darkness, you're the age
where you grew up listening to the classic like Led Zep and all that
A: I was a metal head for a long time. I grew up on Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer and I morphed more into Soundgarden and Monster Magnet. You go back then and Led Zeppelin sounds really cool.
Q: And with your own album you just wanted to make a classic rock album
in that vein?
A: Yeah. We wanted it to sound timeless in a way. We're not going to say we just made our Led Zeppelin 4 or anything, but we wanted it to be that when you listened to it it didn't bore you and there wasn't more than one song that sounded the same. The way that great records were made in the 70s was that they had a great flow to them and were something you wanted to listen to the whole way through.
Q: With fifty songs written for the album I guess you weren't that
short of classic songs?
A: We did a lot of writing. We wrote for 2 years before we went into the studio so we had a lot of stuff piled up. We've got a lot of songs left over, about 40 songs, but we'll write more and as time goes on you change. I thing every good band should change and songs we wrote 2 years ago just won't make the cut or just aren't relevant to our lifestyle.
Q: After this short UK tour you're playing with some pretty big names
in rock. Fill us in?
A: We go home for a couple of weeks and then we're back in Italy to play a festival with Iggy Pop and then we get back to the States and go on tour with Alice Cooper. We've played with a lot of cool bands and when you meet them you're always star struck. Even at Download we were sat backstage with Metallica and all the metal things that I really love, it was like being a little kid. I've never met anyone so far that had let me down cos there's always the worry that they'll be dicks.
I think we're hoping to come back and do another European tour about September or October. It's just about getting the right support slot. I'd love to come over here and play with the Darkness, but I'd play with Whitesnake just to get in front of a good rock crowd. For some reason it seems like we're striking a nerve with the classic rock audience, like the Darkness did when they supported Def Leppard, but you always wanna see kids in the audience with their eyes open wide dreaming that they could be in a band
"Strange Generation" is out now on Roadrunner Records
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