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Hits breathe new life into Dirty Things' album

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011

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A backyard barbecue is responsible for putting the Dirty Heads on the map.

The Southern California quintet — which mixes hip-hop, ska and acoustic flavors into its rock — released its debut album, “Any Port in a Storm,” in 2008 to only modest notice. But last year, the group gathered in the back yard of singer-guitarist Dustin “Duddy” Bushnell with new Sublime singer Rome Ramirez.

“We were just having a barbecue, drinking a beer, messing around on acoustic guitars and we wrote ‘Lay Me Down,’ ” Bushnell, 29, remembers. “We figured we’d save it and put it on the next album.

“Then our manager went to have a meeting with our label for a completely different song. His assistant put (‘Lay Me Down’) on the CD by accident, and when the label heard it they were like, ‘That song’s awesome! We’ll start working it today!’ ”

The company (Executive Music Group) wound up adding “Lay Me Down” and other songs to a new edition of “Any Port in a Storm,” giving new life to the album and to the band. The Dirty Heads continue to work on “a bunch of new ideas” for their second album, and Bushnell says that after “Lay Me Down” he and his bandmates are tempted to just have more barbecues in order to write songs.

“It’s pretty funny,” Bushnell notes. “We had a whole album that we did with producers and a label and all that stuff, and one of those songs was hitting. The one song that hit had nothing to do with the album; it was recorded in my back yard, just messing around, no producers or anything, recorded in one day — and it hits.

“So I think we found out who we are now. The next (album) is going to be more natural, more organic — just us jamming out the songs as opposed to writing and building the songs in the studio and then playing them live. It was too perfect. This way is better.”

The Dirty Heads perform Friday, March 18, at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 with a $44 four pack. Call 313-961-8137 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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