Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Torchbearers of SoCal rock see Buffett as their goal

Dirty Heads longs for longevity in career


Steve Penhollow

Whatzup Features Writer

Published November 7, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

Dirty Heads have been described as “the torchbearers of SoCal rock” and the band’s members came by their torches honestly.

“I was born in Sunset Beach, Calif. … Born right on the water,” the band’s co-founder Jared “Dirty J” Watson told The Inertia website. “My parents were hippies. My dad was a carpenter…. [My brother and I] grew up inside [his] shop. Either my parents didn’t have money for babysitters, or just didn’t care, so they would tell us to go to the beach all day, or come hang at the surf shop.”

Watson met Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell in high school and the duo started playing reggae and hip-hop in Bushnell’s garage.

Watson said he was lured to the garage by Bushnell’s “joke raps.”

“I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard,” he told Vail Daily. “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.”

Hitting Number one

The band’s debut album, Any Port in a Storm, was released in 2008. A song from the album, “Lay Me Down,” reached number one on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.

Dirty Heads have released six albums since, but the band’s feel-good vibe hasn’t changed much. Bushnell said they have always played what comes naturally to them.

“When we started playing, that’s the music that came out,” he told the Albuquerque Journal. “We’re positive people. We like to enjoy life, and that’s what comes out in the music.”

“I’d like to think that we have made our own genre of music, our own sound,” Watson told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “There is the reggae rock scene, which I think we came out of, which Sublime kind of started. But we don’t have a lot of rock. We don’t have a lot of punk. We have just mainly a lot of reggae and hip-hop. … We were very conscious about being very original and taking things from other genres of music. … Taking ideas and doing it our own way.”

Energetic Live shows

The band, which performs at the Clyde Theatre on Nov. 12, is known for its energetic shows.

“We like to start our shows off with a kick in the teeth and it only gets more and more epic as we play song after song,” Watson told the Chico Enterprise. “Interacting with the crowd is a big part of our sets so be ready to participate.”

Reggae is the sort of music that unites people, Watson said, regardless of their differences outside the venue.

“You can come to our shows and you can just strip everything off that you have in your life, all of the stress,” he told the Orange County Register. “You can forget about it, put it on hold for a second and enjoy yourselves because we’re human beings and we can’t just constantly be stressed. What’s the point in life if that’s it?

If you don’t go to a Dirty Heads show, the bad guys win, Watson said.

“All of the corruption and terrorism, all of that (stuff),” he said. “It wins if you can’t go out and enjoy yourself at a concert and connect with other human beings and have a good night.”

The band tours incessantly, which might sound like torture to a non-musician. But Watson describes it as addictive.

“I’ve been doing it so long and it is enjoyable to me,” he said. “I never get bored. It’s always interesting. I could never keep a job back at home. I would just get bored and quit. I would just do the same thing every day. You never do the same thing every day with a band for three months. Then when you’re burned out you can come home and sit in the studio. You miss your friends and family and you come home and say, ‘What did I miss?’ And they say ‘nothing.’ I love my job. These are my dreams coming true. We’re ready to be on tour for the rest of our lives.

Becoming Jimmy Buffett

The band’s ultimate goal, Watson said, is to become Jimmy Buffett.

“You know, as a musician, you want longevity and like Jimmy Buffett goes out and tours once a year, for three months in the summer time, and what’s he do the rest of the year? Make hot sauce and drink margaritas? That’s the end goal,” he said.

Dirty Heads doesn’t want to become famous, Watson said. The band just wants its music to become famous.

“We want to keep inspiring and helping people and changing people’s lives with our music and to continue to grow. We’re not looking for that tabloid celebrity level,” he said. “Jimmy has no radio, no videos … and he’s still selling out and playing to ten thousand people a night. That’s what I call a success. I mean he has Parrotheads and we’re the Dirty Heads, so I’d ask him to take us out on tour. I don’t know if we’d bum his fans out or not, but I’d like to see that. And if you drink enough margaritas, we sound and look great.”

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