[Interview] The Dirty Heads' Duddy B Talks Collaborations And Fists To The Face
The Dirty Heads’ Duddy B is finally fronting his Huntington Beach, Calif.-based outfit the way he always dreamed about nearly two decades and two major releases later. Back in high school, it was hip-hop and garage music while soaking in the Southern California beach culture. Now it’s collaborating with Del the Funky Homosapien, a Marley (guess which one) and one half of Hall and Oats (guess which one). Making a living with a road warrior outside-the-genre-box band evolved on The Dirty Heads’ second studio release Cabin by the Sea according to Duddy B.
TheWellVersed.com gets the word on the pressures of a sophomore release, the unique settings, situations and collaborations surrounding creating a self-explanatory unique sound that holds up over time.
TheWellVersed.com: What was it like getting the new record done and putting out new music after so much time on the road?
Duddy B: KROQ, our local station, they started running with [“Spread Too Thin”], which is awesome for us. They are the ones who first picked up Lay Me Down and started running with it. They are a very influential station—a lot of other stations look to what KROQ is playing for new music. It’s [happened] again. That’s exciting.
TWV: You guys make music you can cruise to. What was it like driving around Southern California when you started to hear your music on the same station you heard your favorite acts on growing up?
Duddy B: It’s an awesome feeling. It’s like that Thing You Do, it’s pretty much like that, when you’re freaking out. It’s pretty much like that…Of course it’s always awesome when you hear it in your hometown because you know all your friends and family are listening.
TWV: What were the biggest takeaways you had from touring going into recording the follow up to Any Port in the Storm?
Duddy B: It definitely helped in the writing of this album. Not only are you touring with a bunch of awesome bands, you watch them. You learn from them, but also you really get vibe off the crowd. What they get into. When you go to write your song, you’re almost thinking like, ‘Oh man, this part the crowd is going to freak out.’ You almost start to formulate it this is how it’s going to be live. It definitely helps with the song writing process.
TWV: How long were you in studio?
Duddy B: We had a few songs since the last album that we randomly recorded and put down, so we had a handful of songs already. We went to a place called the Sonic Ranch, which is in Texas. You live literally on a peacock farm. There’s a studio in the middle of this farm. You’re just there. We did that for two weeks. No distractions, no bullshit, we did two weeks there. Then we did about another month or month and a half at our local studio, 7th St. recording with our friend. He’s kind of like one of the members of the band. He’s always recorded with us.
TWV: What stood out to you about this process compared to last?
Duddy B: I think the growth of the band. This is our second album. The Dirty Demo we did was pretty much out of my garage. I wouldn’t even count that as a studio session. Our last record, Any Port in the Storm, was really our first time getting in a studio, a real studio, having producers coming in to help. I think this being our second time we were just smarter about it. We were better musicians, better songwriters, and we’ve been playing together for so long.
TWV: How was the sophomore pressure?
Duddy B: There’s always that feeling. You definitely don’t want to be that band where, “I loved their first album, but they’ve changed” and blah blah blah. If the single doesn’t do well, you don’t get another single, are you going to get a chance for a third album?
TWV: Why was “Spread Too Thin” the first single?
Duddy B: We felt like that was similar to “Lay Me Down.” Really what we did was send a handful of songs to KROQ. They wanted to hear new stuff. We sent them about five or six songs that we felt could be good competitors for a first single off the album. They came back and chose “Spread Too Thin.” They loved it, they wanted to run with it, and we’re happy they chose that. I think it’s similar enough to “Lay Me Down” where people will understand it, but it’s not the exact same, which is good.
TWV: Were you eager to get into the studio? I know most of your previous album had been done long before release, so recording isn’t something you had done in a long time.
Duddy B: We actually recorded that album [Any Port in a Storm] at Warner Bros. It wasn’t working out there so we sat around for a year-and-a-half with that album, couldn’t do anything with it. We asked them if we could leave and have that album. They were super cool about it. They were like ‘we don’t have an idea where to fit it. We don’t know what to do with it. Take the album.’ They gave us the recordings. That was pretty unheard of for a label to do.
A year-and-half and we signed with a new label, EMG, then we toured on it for two-and-a-half-years, so it was pretty much four to five years ago we recorded that. Getting in the studio and getting new music out was definitely a relief. We had a bunch of songs throughout the four years that we recorded. We ended up keeping four or five songs that made the album. Then we recorded a bunch of new ones too.