The past year has been very weird – to say the least! – but thanks to our sonic heroes, we stayed positive. Thanks to so many others over the past year we are still here, literally. Now that life is slowly getting back to normal, we can celebrate with the bands that always seem to lift us up. For many of us in Southern California, one of the bands that seem to always make us smile is Dirty Heads
We recently caught up with DH co-lead singer, Jared Watson to get the latest with him and find out what’s up with the band. Surprisingly for Watson, the past year has done a lot to reaffirm perspective on his past, present and future.
To understand the here and now, we have to go back a few years. Back then in Huntington Beach, Watson and his high school pal Duddy loved listening to records in their garage. The two enjoyed discussing music and they would put together mix tapes, and they also launched the first iterations of what would later become Dirty Heads music. Kinda like how the Ramones started out, you know… a band formed literally in a garage!
Fast forward a little and that garage band duo that became Dirty Heads have emerged to be reggae / alt rock juggernauts and emerging music royalty. They still call Huntington Beach, California their home and that’s the thing about Watson, he’s never drifted from who he’s always been.
The band’s debut album launched their meteoric rise in 2008 and they haven’t looked back since. DH today features features Dustin “Duddy” Bushnell as co-lead and guitar, Jared “Dirty J” Watson as co-lead vocalist, Jon Olazabal takes percussion, David Foral on bass, Shawn Hagood does keys, and Matt Ochoa handles drums. Collectively the band is insanely tight as hell and they literally personify electricity on stage.
Their most recent album is 2019’s “Super Moon,” and it’s doing very-very well with the band’s fandom, plus they released a new single last year named “Earthquake Weather.” Other recent kick-ass tunes include the Buffalo Springfield cover of “For What It’s Worth,” and last year’s sleeper single, “Lift Me Up.” Some other hits their fans scream for include “My Sweet Summer,” “Cabin by the Sea,” “Burn Slow,” “Spread Too Thin,” “Lay Me Down,” “Sound of Change,” and “Sirens.” Sure, maybe these songs aren’t at the level of “Free Bird” just yet… but, go to any show and you’ll hear screams for these DH hits.
So where’s the rub? There’s gotta be a rub right? Yes, and no. Watson has always been well grounded and knew what was important in life. Ask any of the band’s fans, and they know where this is headed. You see, in 2017, DH put a song out with The Unlikely Candidates titled “Celebrate.” The song chronicles the life of a band and artist on the road, and how much of life they miss by always being on stage somewhere on the planet. The song is reflective, somber, eerie, downright honest and as sincere as it gets.
When we spoke with Watson about life the past year we asked him if the song “Celebrate” meant more to him now that he’s had the past year to be home due to the global pandemic. He said he hadn’t thought about it, but in retrospect he said it wasn’t the same. Being on the road is a choice, a hard one, but a choice nonetheless. As an artist, you put the weight of the world on yourself because you are on the road because that’s where the profession to because you are on the road since that’s where the profession you chose put you. Your loved ones, friends and those who care about him that know that it’s part of the job and they cut you slack. In the end, you know how much it tears at you whenever you miss a birthday, wedding, or a holiday. Watson said it eats at you and sometimes, there is no sense of absolution. That’s what the song “Celebrate” captured… the essence of being human.
As for time during the pandemic, he went on to say it’s a terrible thing, but that wasn’t a choice. What he’s tried to do is make up for lost time, spend moments with the people in his life that mean the world to him, and enjoy time with the band as friends and not just as a band. Sometimes, that time together is more about the human experience in a way words can’t ever really capture.
Before life started to turnaround for all of us, DH was busy doing what they do. They worked on a new album coming out in 2022 titled “California Island,” and they will share the details soon. AND they are about to drop a greatest hits album that is amazeballs on July 16th.
The song that became a viral TikTok sensation and gave them BILLIONS of streams, “Vacation,” is on there, plus a new version with special guest Pat Monahan of Train. That said, Watson is extremely excited about a song called “Rage.”
They laid down this track with the help of Travis Barker (Blink-182), Aimee Interrupter (The Interrupters), and Grammy Award Winner, Kevin Bivona (The Interrupters). Barker brings what Barker brings, and that should be enough right? Think again, what Aimee brings is a new dimension to the DH sound, and it works! Watson said this song just might be the biggest commercial hit they’ve ever had, and while that’s a bold statement to make, Watson believes it.
“Rage” will also be featured on “The Best of Dirty Heads.” You’ll find other cool tunes on there as well, including “Dance All Night” featuring Matisyahu, “Lay Me Down” featuring Rome of Sublime with Rome, “My Sweet Summer,” “Oxygen,” and “Burn Slow.”
This is “RAGE”
So what’s the takeaway? Despite all the challenges we have experienced due to COVID-19 and all that comes with it, music is saving us from ourselves. Turns out the Rastafarians had it right all along; when you remix a remix, things get back to normal!
As for DH, they are touring again with their pals from Sublime with Rome, and the just came off a very successful kick-off at Bayfest in San Diego. If you can’t make it to SoCal for their show, not to worry. You can take a road trip throughout the country to catch them on their High and Mighty Tour, plus they will also play a very cool festival in Las Vegas on October 10th.
Here’s the skinny, when it comes to Dirty Heads, no matter what show you go to, it’s like going to a high school reunion; the band’s fans travel, and travel big. So be ready for big crowds, and lots of great music from Dirty Heads this summer.
TO ORDER THE BEST OF DIRTY HEADS
2. Dance All Night (feat Matisyahu)
3. Lay Me Down (feat Rome of Sublime with Rome)
4. Stand Tall
5. My Sweet Summer
6. Rage (feat Travis Barker & Aimee Interrupter)
8. Sloth’s Revenge
9. That’s All I Need
10. Cabin By the Sea
11. Burn Slow
13. Vacation (feat. Train)
As for the shows, grab your tickets now and enjoy the food, vendors, art, activities, and of course, the insane bands you can catch at their shows the next few months.