If you haven’t heard of Dirty Americans yet, you will soon. A classic swaggering release that combines influences ranging from 70’s Midwestern arena rock to California stoner riffage. For the past month it’s been in heavy rotation in the From Out Of Nowhere offices, check out our review of Strange Generation here and then come back and find out what lead vocalist Myron had to say when he sat down for an exclusive interview with FOON editor Rob Kern. Dirty Americans have already made their mark in Europe and are now back home and ready to roar across North America in support of Strange Generation, which sees a stateside release date of March 22, 2005.
FOON: First things first, lets give everyone an introduction to Dirty Americans and how you guys came together.
Myron: The guitar player, Jeff (Piper) and I started a band when we were in college called The Workhorse Movement. We were signed to Roadrunner records and we toured with Slipknot and a bunch of the heavy bands, Sepultura, Soulfly and all those guys. Towards the end of that we lost the bass player, so we had a buddy, Pete (Bever) who is in Dirty Americans now, replace him for that last year and as Workhorse broke up the three of us decided we wanted to keep going and maybe do some things that we couldn’t do in Workhorse. We found a drummer that would fit it and we decided to go this route. Go in to that, little more guitar driven and get away from the metal stuff.
FOON: I see reviews and many of them tag Dirty Americans as a 70’s vibe and I almost hate to see that because there is more going on than just a 70’s thing…
Myron: Yeah, we everybody has to tag it in some way. One person says they hear Foo Fighters in it and the next person says they hear Grand Funk.
FOON: I see Strange Generation as more in a timeless rock music vein.
FOON: My buddy and I were watching an old KISS bootleg and he commented that the music could have been recorded last month or thirty years ago; some stuff just has a vibe that goes beyond a decade tag…
Myron: Yeah, it could be on the new Queens of the Stone Age album or whatever. I mean you put two Marshalls and Les Pauls together and that’s what it is, it’s just rock and roll.
FOON: Before I watched the video on the cd I was cranking the music and thought to myself, “Man, this just screams to be cranked in a Camaro…” Then I play the video for “Strange Generation” and guess what? A Camaro shows up within the first 10 seconds of the video.
Myron: The brakes went out in it that morning, we were trying to stop on the ice and sliding all over. It was like two degrees that morning, just cold as hell.
FOON: Did you record the video at an actual school?
Myron: That was at… when Workhorse broke up, I had a year of some long-term substitute teaching. I was teaching Anatomy and Physiology at a school near where I bought a house. That was the high school where I was teaching.
FOON: So they just kind of gave you run of the school for the filming?
Myron: Yeah, I had cut all my hair off and looked the part of a teacher and got away with it for about a month before the kids figured it out. Someone had seen us on the Slipknot tour and all that (laughs). They had to call me “Mr. K.” “Mr. K. were you in a band?” (Laughs) Yeah, shit, thought I was getting away with kinda settling down but it wasn’t too long and we were back in it again.
FOON: The disc came out in Europe last year to great reviews, why the year between the European and U.S. release?
Myron: There are probably half a dozen reasons. One big reason is that The Workhorse Movement saw really big success over in the U.K. and Europe. That made sense to go start there and really build the confidence of the band and build up a story behind the band. That was definitely the label’s idea, they wanted to build something overseas and make it easier, make something more to tell when we come to the states. It’s so much harder to break in the states.
The other thing being the record label wasn’t quite sure what to do with the release. When we put the album out it was still not quite what it is right now as far as rock coming back. So I think they were a little leery about putting a big massive marketing plan behind it; it may not have been the right thing to do at that time. It turns out that the timing is much better now for rock music. So in the meantime we licensed it from Roadrunner to Century Media and that took a little while so that pushed things back. So there are some business things that happened that pushed it back too. But we’re here, finally.
FOON: You toured Japan too, how was the fan reception when you traveled to there?
Myron: Japan was awesome. We had a week of just press, we did a press tour and then the last day we were there we headlined a hall in Tokyo. It was our first show there and we sold out this huge hall, it was just wild. And then the promoters that put that on did the Summer Sonic Festival, they were really happy with us and brought us back over for Summer Sonic. We played with Green Day, MC5, The Beastie Boys, there were like 93,000 in Tokyo and 68,000 in Osaka. It was just massive crowds. It was like fantasyland, our hotel was us, Silvertide, Brides of Destruction and The Go-Go’s all on the same floor of this hotel. Fans were down in the lobby trying to get upstairs, it was just wild. We got drunk with Belinda Carlisle and Nikki Sixx, stuff you only dream of (laughs). I came home and was like, “Good God did that really just happen?”
FOON: You guys did some festivals in Europe too, right?
Myron: Yeah, we did a festival in Madrid, it was Dirty Americans, Jet and Ben Harper headlining. It was cool; we got dragged all over the place. There were some one-off shows where the money made so much sense that we just flew over, did the show and then came back home. Iggy and The Stooges did a reunion tour and played Italy and they offered us a mountain of money to be the only band opening. We can’t get five hundred bucks at a show in Toledo, Ohio but man we can a great amount of money to tour in Italy (laughs), it’s like, “We’re gone, dude!” It was cool, I had never seen Iggy, let alone with the Stooges, they had broken up before I was out of diapers. Man, was he something else, it was awesome. 35,000 people, it was a free show in a park and people came from everywhere.
FOON: You’ve also toured with Ted Nugent, how is touring with The Nuge?
Myron: The Nuge is cool; we’ve done quite a few shows with him. He’s done quite a few one-off shows. He’ll play the House of Blues and we also did some shows over Christmas with him. The last one was at the Palace here in Detroit, which is the home of the Detroit Pistons basketball team, that was our, “we felt like we made it” show. Kid Rock was the opening act last year, Stone Temple Pilots opened a few years back, for us it’s big time. We were riding high after that night.