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Dirty Heads to perform in Vail Thursday

Courtney Riley
criley@vaildaily.com
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyDirty Heads, a reggae rock band from Orange County, Calif., was named one of the "Best New Bands of 2010" by The Rolling Stone Magazine.
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Jared “Dirty J” Watson, the lead singer of the Californian reggae rock band Dirty Heads, described Colorado as the band’s home away from home.

“There’s a lot of love for Dirty Heads in Colorado,” Watson said. “We have a lot of fans and a lot of friends there.”

The band will be playing at the Teva Mountain Games; the free concert is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail.

“We couldn’t be happier because Vail’s awesome,” he said. “Most people want to go to Vail over the winter, but Vail in the summer is really, really cool.”

He said he is looking forward to watching the Teva Mountain Games the most.

Mike Imhof, vice president of operations and sales of the Vail Valley Foundation, said the Dirty Heads possess the mindset of getting out and doing what you love to do, which is much like the athletes in town for Teva, as well as local residents.

“We’re kicking off summer here in the Vail Valley,” he said. “The band’s cool, California vibe would be a great thing to bring to the mountains.”

Vail is the first stop on the band’s summer tour, which includes 13 performances across the nation, as well as Canada.

But this isn’t their first cross-country tour. Last year, Dirty Heads played 200 shows throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Our fan base is growing,” Watson said. “Hopefully we’ll be getting overseas.”

Watson and his friend Dustin Bushnell formed Dirty Heads in 1996. The two met at a party in high school and began writing songs and playing music together after Watson heard Bushnell’s self-written “joke raps.”

“I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard,” Watson said. “If it wasn’t for Dustin, I never would have gotten in a band. The only thing I cared about was skating at the time.”

The band then grew with the addition of Jon Olazabal (percussionist), Matt Ochoa (drummer) and David Foral (bassist).

Olazabal was previously in Bushnell’s older brother’s band and knew Watson and Bushnell from school. Ochoa and Foral met the band members through mutual friends.

“They fit really well,” Watson said. “We became friends really quick, and it all worked.”

The band named itself after a phrase found in the chorus of an earlier song the members wrote.

“It’s something we’ve been called before,” Watson said.

Watson described the band’s genre as reggae rock with hip-hop and acoustic influence.

He said a lot of bands blend genres together, but Dirty Heads sound sets them apart from the others.

“We do it in a way to where we made our own sound,” he said. “It’s very distinctive.”

Some of the band’s musical influences are ’70s reggae, Sublime and the Beastie Boys.

“You can do whatever you want with music if you think it’s good,” he said. “You can take [inspiration] from anywhere, from any band.”

The band’s debut album, “Any Port in a Storm,” was released in 2008, followed by a special edition of the album (released in 2010), which included new additional songs like their hit single “Lay Me Down.”

Dirty Heads is working on a new album, but there is no set date for its release.

“We don’t have a big whiteboard with goals on it. We want to be successful and we want to play music for the rest of our lives,” Watson said. “I don’t ever want this feeling of ‘this could be gone tomorrow’ to go away because then you just get lazy. We just try and think about … doing what we’re doing and writing good music for the people that like it.”

Courtney Riley is an intern at the Vail Daily. Email her at criley@vaildaily.com.


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