Listening to Rock ‘n’ Roll allows you to break through the numbness that overtakes you when you’re feeling helpless. It teaches you that desperation is a temporary state and can be overcomed with a song…. They’re moments amid the chaos that reveals a band’s care and precision—a sliver of silence on either side of a monstrous drumroll combined with soaring guitars and howling vocals can rise above the hellish shambles that life may have. Music can bring up all sorts of memories… It can lift your spirits and can connect with feelings of heartbreak. It allows you to remember being in love for the first time and capture the angst of growing up in a mad world.
The list of bands to come out of L.A. is like a who’s who of rock history. In its heyday during the 1980s, the hard rock and glam metal locale helped revitalize a flagging Los Angeles music scene. Bands like Van Halen, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe and Skid Row held sway over the city.
In 2019 Dirty Honey turned the rock and roll community on its head… they captured the hearts and minds of music fans throughout the world! After two Top 5 Rock Radio airplay tracks L.A.’s “Favorite Sons” are about to release their debut album in April. Like their E.P.’s, the record is produced by Nick DiDia; but due to Covid the studio work was done via Zoom since he lives in Australia. You would think that the “connection” would be lost but according to vocalist, Marc LaBelle,“It was business as usual.” Let the truth be told there is no sell-out; the album has a monstrous wallop! Rock historians tend to arrange rock bands into a recurring pattern of emergence, appropriation, and decline. I don’t believe it… Rock is far from dead.. If Zeus wanted to create a rock and roll band on earth.. He summoned Dirty Honey!
When concerts start again, Dirty Honey are one of those bands that once you see them live, you know that you want to see them again and again.
We at Rock Bands of L.A.com had a chance to listen to the album and this is our take on a few of the tracks. The opening song “California Dreamin” relates the challenge of dreams not coming true…There is a loneliness to living in a bustling, urban environment like Los Angeles.We frequently get swept away with the lifestyle of partying and ultimately feeling a false sense of freedom and happiness. We succumb to superficial encounters with the hope of finding a meaningful connection. Another song, “Tied Up” has that big beat signature that has become a Dirty Honey trademark, along with a catchy anthemic chorus. If you were are a fan of 70’s rock band, Humble Pie and you like your music with lots of “piss and vinegar” along with some rock and roll swagger then look no further! The final song gives a glimpse of Dirty Honey’s evolution, “Another Last Time” which has keyboards and background vocal which resembles early Faces, Rolling Stones and Black Crowes songs with a meaty melody and a tight groove.
The story behind Dirty Honey as told by Marc LaBelle and drummer, Corey Coverstone is too reflective not to tell. We at Rock Bands of L.A.com wants to write the narrative behind Dirty Honey… They are my favorite band so writing this review is a labor of love. Admittedly, I am a Dirty Honey “Superfan”.
Tied Up… Dirty Honey
We’ve learned that LaBelle has a fashionista’s eye for John Varvatos clothes and Nick Fouquet hats. When he wants to decompress and chill you could see him riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.When he first came of L.A. you lived in his car.. and showered at a local gym. We also found out that Coverstone spent his young years at his grandparents’ farm in Oregon… He learned a lot about mechanics from working on tractors and later he had an affinity for muscle cars. He got into meditation and Yoga and considers himself as a shaman of sorts. We had the opportunity to interview LaBelle and Coverstone and its my pleasure to tell this amazing tale… Also, I had the opportunity to get a few queries from the Dirty Honey fan page…
Rock Bands of L.A.com: I think there’s a lot of stress in being rock and roll saviors. Do you feel pressure? Do you feel that Dirty Honey has become more confident; especially here in Los Angeles where rock and roll has always been a important facet of the Southern CA. lifestyle…Radio always wants to put music into certain categories…Active Rock … Classic Rock..etc. Do you consider yourselves a “classic rock” band? You do not need to be old to be classic!
Marc LaBelle: When you put it that way…You have to make music that is authentic and that you really enjoy. Its gotta’ have soul and speaks to people… If you are doing that then you are doing it right…Music isn’t going to resonate if isn’t genuine. The band believes this strongly! Rock and roll is the “pillar” of our musical tastes. As far as the stress factor… there’s no stress if you’re doing what you love.. We feel that we are a more confident rock outfit… we have a better grasp on what we’re doing… Our songwriting got better and we are able to translate ideas into songs. The definition of “classic rock” means that there’s nothing else like it.. Let’s be honest, rock and roll comes from the blues… but you can still be unique within that realm. Any time I think that you’re breathing new life into rock and roll you’re doin’ something right…
Corey: It feels good that we’re releasing a “full” length record…People were into our early songs and we think this is going to be a major statement for the band.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:I dig the new album… You open with “Calif Dreamin’” and it reflects Marc’s view of his reality.. . Sometimes your dreams for whatever reasons don’t come to fruition … Corey, you came from Portland, Or. and Marc from Up-State New York… Were your dreams about getting into a rock and roll band? The theme of the video for “California Dreamin’ has an “Zen” like vibe… in fact Corey has a background in meditation and yoga… while making the album was there a spiritual revelation occurring? Is there a central theme with the album?
Marc:When I was young I started getting into Aerosmith and decided then I wanted to be a singer in a rock and roll band..it seemed like a fun lifestyle.. Playin’ gigs and hangin’ out. The desire just grew and grew… Admittedly, some things got in the way but I always came back to performing.. While recording the album we never considered that there would be a central theme…but we knew that being credible would mean it couldn’t be overly produced and that we considered what would be the most fun to play live. This is the thread throughout the album. I listen to albums all the time where the production changes from song to song but this album definitely is consistent track to track.
Corey:Growing up I had aspirations to play drums and join a rock and roll band.. During the recording I did feel a spiritual “completeness” and knew this was the place I wanted to be. When we were recording, “California Dreamin” there were these left over David Lee Roth monitors…with his name printed on the back…. The recording console had been used for recording some great rock and roll albums…It just sounded awesome to us..
Rock Bands of L.A.com: Let’s talk about the new album in more detail…..you did the remote thing with Nick… Did it make it more difficult to make the album? The press always would say that Dirty Honey charted high on the “rock” charts.. even without a label! My fave song, no question is “Another Last Time”.. with keyboards and background singers… This is a wonderful direction for Dirty Honey’s evolution…
Marc: We love “Another Last Time”… it has elements of the Black Crowes.. Humble Pie and The Stones…. The keyboards were played by a friend of ours, Nigel Hall.. and the guy crushes it every time! From start to finish it really was the most complete portrayal of what was in my head…. It came out exactly how I wanted it to… with the addition of background vocals and keyboards…When it came down recording with Nick being in Australia it was the pre-production where we put the real work in.. we didn’t have this huge budget to make the album.. the hours at times were tough but we just had to suck it up. As far as your question regarding material being new.. the entire album was fresh ideas..
Corey: “Another Last Time” was a departure for us.. and it gave us the insight that we can go into different direction we want… Nick Didia, our producer doing the album remotely worked pretty seamlessly.. Via Zoom, we each had cameras on each of us…The only issue was the time zone difference…
Question from the Dirty Honey fan “Hive”… her name is Pam Pugh Miller:If you weren’t in a rock band what would you be doing? Did you take music lessons or are you self taught?
Marc:I always loved music.. but if I didn’t make music I would try to become a pro hockey player…Any free time I can get I love writing my motorcycle..
Corey: Most of my early career at drums I had to put in the work.. I had to take in the information that my teachers were sharing with me… I walked a unique path and try to make it my own.. It was too expensive for me to go to high level music schools.. Believe it or not I still take lessons from time to time. Overall I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by some amazing musicians…
Here’s another question from Dylan Mears: Marc, what are your musical influences?
Marc: I dig so many vocalists… I would say Steven Tyler and Chris Cornell..
I have to thank Marc and Corey for their time and thoughtful answers. You guys rock!!.. Of course Mary Pokluda and Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald for their help and patience…