The venue is empty with the exception of the band, their crew, and us. From the stage, a melody echoes purposed for sound check. Jared, the lead singer of The Dirty Heads, is bouncing around the stage- hair long, tangled, with a hat on top and barefoot. The band decides they are done rehearsing and beckon me back stage. This is The Dirty Heads. They are cool, collected, filled with a California casual style. Raised in the laid-back nature of Huntington Beach, CA their music reflects the serene beach and skate scene of the SoCal community of their youth.
The Dirty Heads got their start in high school with lead singer Jared Watson, Dirty J, and guitarist Dustin Bushnell, Duddy B. The name they anointed their band, The Dirty Heads, was rumored to stem from a beer smuggling operation the boys were apart of with employed by older brothers. This rumor is dashed by the omission by the band that the term “The Dirty Heads” was a name that people just started calling the band based on a song lyric. That is Dirty Head’s style- going with the flow so much that their band just acquires a name from the fans.
Influenced by bands such as Sublime, the Beastie Boys and Tribe Called Quest these bands, “opened our eyes to mix a bunch of genres in [our music],” Jared Watson. Inspiration comes from all different areas from one cool word, to other music, to in the words of Duddy B, “one word that someone says and you’re like oh that’s a cool word…different things, every day life, and different things.” Their music ranges from reggae styled jams to rap with slamming guitar rifts. It’s an indefinable genre because of the intermingled influences that has inspired their songs. When Dirty J and Duddy B discuss their music their faces become tight and serious as if the notion of people understanding their music is the sole purpose of their existence. You can see the value and love they have for their art form written across their faces.
Off stage life brings out a more vivid emotional reaction from the musicians. They both express a deep longing for the normal world when they are on the road- how being away from home intensifies the meaning and value to their brief time off from touring. “ “ Taking a tangent away from the serious longing of home life, the men of The Dirty Heads joke about taking over the tailgating circuit and their desire for tailgating to lead them to become “the next Jimmy Buffet”. Continuing the side tracked interview, a crew friend of theirs comes out from a back room shower and sits down in his towel next to the band and I. Without missing a beat in his playful nature, Dirty J immediately tries and succeeds to rip this man’s towel off inspiring the man to naked through the room and out the back door.
I ask them about life off stage, and both Duddy B and Dirty J express a longing for the normal world. Dirty J tells me of the different sides of life on the road from excessive amounts of sleeping to creating a slide in the center of the bus to push people down. Why? Just because The Dirty Heads can. The “because they can” attitude is immediately displayed when a crew friend of theirs comes out from a back room shower and sits down in his towel between Dirty J and I. Without missing a beat, Dirty J immediately tries and succeeds to rip this man’s towel off resulting in this friend to run naked through the room and out the back door.
The freedom The Dirty Heads exemplify in their lives, from their crazy off stage antics to the passion for a life unregulated by rules that they put into their music, is a wonder to watch on stage. Between a combination of lights, crowd enthusiasm, and of course the music, The Dirty Heads is a force to be reckoned with.