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Vail: 7 questions with The Dirty Heads

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyDirty Heads, a reggae/funk/hip hop band from Huntington Beach, Calif. will perform tonight at the Sandbar in West Vail, Colorado
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VAIL, Colorado ” In spite of the mounds of fresh snow in Vail, Colorado, it’ll likely feel like summer at the Sandbar Friday night when California reggae/hip hop band The Dirty Heads perform. Their music was born in Huntington Beach where founding band members Dustin Bushnell and Jared Watson met in high school in the mid-’90s. The band blends hip-hop and reggae rhythms and beats with feel-good lyrics. It’s the kind of laid-back music you’d want to listen to while playing at the beach or heading to the lake, Watson said during a phone interview this week.

In the past few months The Dirty Heads have been steadily gaining momentum, said Sandbar Manager Dick Dime.

“Their song ‘Stand Tall’ has been getting substantial radio play and they are positioned for continued growth,” he said. “I fully expect them to be as big as some of their contemporaries like 311 and Sublime.”



1. Vail Daily: You’ve been called part reggae, part funk, alternative rap and hip hop. There are lots of words to describe your sound. How do you describe it?

Jared Watson: I would simplify it as reggae hip hop, or a reggae rock type of band. There is a lot of styles on the first album so I can understand why that is. The next album will probably be little bit tighter with one style of music in the ‘Stand Tall’ neighborhood. The first album we wanted to make a little eclectic so everyone could get a taste of of everywhere we come from muscially, from a hip hop song to a really broken down acoustic song to a reggae song.



2. VD: You’ve played with bands like 311, Matisyahu, Slightly Stoopid and Kottonmouth Kings. Do you have a favorite?

JW: My favorite probably was the 311 and Matisyahu tour. Growing up, 311 was one of my favorite bands. Playing with them was a crazy dream come true. Matisyahu is one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen and one of the best live shows. It was the biggest crowds. We owe 311 a lot of our fanbase because they let us play those shows and play in front of 5,000 of their fans.



3. VD: You just played SXSW in Austin. Was that your first time? How did it go?

JW: It was our first time playing. It’s a lot more enjoyable when you can go and not work ” it was so busy that we didn’t get a chance to see any of the good bands. We wanted to see Ben Harper’s new band and we heard Metallica played at Stubb’s but we missed it all. The shows we did play were all ready short, but they were crushing and really good and I’m glad we got out there.

4. VD: Your debut album “Any Port In A Storm” was released in September. How has it been recieved?

JW: Really good. We’re proud of it. Everyone seems to be happy with it. Between the demo and this new album, the fans are still singing every word. That’s what I go by ” our live shows. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of songs on the album that people aren’t requesting at our shows.

5. VD: The album was mixed by Beastie Boys mixmeister Mario C. What was it like working with him?

He’s the raddest guy. He literally looks exactly like a Beastie Boy. He almost looks like Mike D. We got in and he had Beastie Boys plaques and Jack Johnson stuff, and all these crazy instruments. … He totally got the music. We didn’t know if he was going to do it or not ” he’s usually down in Brazil with his family ” but he happened to be around. For a first album to get to meet and see people like Mario C. and Billy Preston, it was insane.

6. VD: That leads me to my next question. “Any Port in a Storm” features one of the last recorded performances with legendary Beatles collaborator Billy Preston. Tell me about that.

JW: It was thrown around a few times between us and the producers but it was such a pipe dream, it was like ‘Yeah right, why would he do this album?’ But through some relationships he got the album and liked it…. He sat down and did each song in one take, maybe two at the most. He sits in this very dimly lit room and just jams. It was the coolest, raddest thing … it was a honor and bless his soul, rest in peace Billy Preston.

7. VD: Your songs seem to have such a positive, happy, fun vibe to them. Is that your philosophy when it comes to music?

JW: Yes, it kind of came naturally to us when we were writing, and that’s where we wanted to go. That’s our vibe, we want to be the band you put on when you need to feel better, or it’s a super nice day or you’re going to the beach or to the lake or you’re partying with your friends. That was our life growing up. We don’t have a crazy, hard story where we grew up in the ghetto, or in some poor redneckville. We all grew up in Huntington in a surf community with good friends and good family, so it’s very natural that we’re positive and we want to put out a positive vibe.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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