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"It's gone beyond the point of where I want to be some kind of rock hero," Best adds. "I want people to finally hear what I've been doing for the last 18 years, to see something come from the fruit of our labors." And they do labor -- practicing regularly, playing as many shows as possible and bombarding fans on their e-mail list. Best designs original full-color posters for all the shows, and the band pastes them up all over town. They often spend more money promoting gigs than they make playing them.
On February 19, the new Houston label Rad Roach will unleash the Down and Dirties' debut CD, Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed. Produced by Alex Reverberi (who helped engineer The Eminem Show) and Greer, it's a potent blast of accessible 1970s hard rock, chock-full of catchy hooks and melodies. As the title suggests, the subject matter on Stewed doesn't stray far from the primal rock-and-roll fare of fast living. For this band, it's all about having a large time; the power chords are big and fat, and the drums are mixed loud and up front. Their musical approach and tongue-in-cheek attitude harks back to a time before the term "heavy metal," and in the best AC/DC tradition, they bring shit-eating grins to the faces of their listeners.
To put it in a nutshell, as the band does on "Madman," the Down and Dirties pose the following rhetorical question: "Sleep all day and party all night / what's so wrong with the rock and roll life?"
Currently their plans for the rock and roll life are to use the CD to shop for an independent record deal stateside. (Disney-owned Hollywood Records had discussions with the band but passed after deciding they were a little too rough around the edges.) Long-range plans include a possible move to Los Angeles and a European tour, as the Italian and Spanish media are already hip to them.
The band acknowledges the recent rock resurgence and press garnered by groups such as the White Stripes and the Hives as helping dislodge the bubblegum that clogs the charts, but mostly they're holding out for history to repeat itself. Just as a tidal wave of punk welled up during the stultifying right-wing Reagan years, they predict a similar trend, should Bush win a second term. "Eventually America is going to turn around," says Greer. "With Dubya in office making all kinds of dumbass mistakes, that's going to bring around rock even better. With the economy going downhill, people are going to go back to the slums and start rocking out again."
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