Interview with Patrick, guitarist for Dirty Power 7.23.03

Thanks for giving us some of your time Patrick. Dirty Power is still somewhat of a new name around the metal circuit. I must say that Dirty Power's metal sound has certainly been missed over the last 10 years. You guys just blow me away with the all-out intensity of the band's sound. Kinda like Corrosion Of Conformity, KISS, Thin Lizzy, and the downtuned doomy vibes of Sabbath and Cathedral. Do you think that sort of description sums up the band's style?

P: Yeah, I guess it does sum up a big part of what we do. Every band you just mentioned, I absolutely love. We are the bastard child of Paul Stanley and Tony Iommi. …..and you know, Cathedral should get a lot more props than they do. Forest Of Equilibrium and Endtyme are two of my fave albums.

Looking back at the origins of the band, you were involved with a band called Pansy Division prior to Dirty Power. What kind of genre did Pansy Division fall into? Any comparisons at all to your current band?

P: There are really no comparisons between Dirty Power and Pansy Division. Pansy is a band with a definite theme and political agenda that the songs were tailored to whereas Dirty Power is just about playing rock music. Pansy Division always got labled a “punk” band or “queercore” band when essentially its just a fun pop band. We had people get mad at us for not playing fast and screaming at them enough.

Is Pansy Division still active today?

P: Yes, actually. A new Pansy album is out in August. I play on it and I will be doing some touring with them for it but it will be my last with them.

What made you want to form a 70s style hard rock band and perform music from a genre that pretty much died out in the mid-80s?

P: When Dirty Power was starting we didn’t know or didn’t have a set style in mind. I guess the sound came from some of the bands I worship (Kiss, Sabbath, AC/DC). Steve and I had really started getting into the whole guitar harmony guitar thing, I was getting more comfortable with singing lead and we were trying some things we hadn’t done in the other bands we had been in. So yeah, the sound is very 70’s early 80’s influenced but its also what just felt natural and good. Plus it’s a genre of music that encourages doing excessive amounts of cocaine and that part really speaks to me. We will call the next record “Draw The Lines”……LOL……As much as I like Black Metal, Doom and Stoner Rock stuff, playing it has never been all that appealing to me.

You recruited the services of Nirvana knob-turner Jack Endino for the band's debut record. How did his name come about?

Through Sluggo, who started Dead Teenager. I have known Sluggo for something like 9 years or so. He had this band called AINT here in SF for a long time and they used to do one of my songs, “Drag You Down” which ended up being a Dirty Power song. Anyway, Sluggo has known Jack for a long time and Jack had recorded a few AINT things including their version of “Drag You Down”. So, after we had put our first demo together Sluggo played it for Jack and he really dug it. When Sluggo asked to put out our album he wanted us to record with Jack. Jack Endino fucking rocks and was great to work with.

How did Dead Teenager find out about the band?

P: It was all Sluggo’s fault. He started the label about 4 years ago mostly to put out his own band, The Grannies, and later started putting out other bands albums

I have read many reports that the deal with Dead Teenager is officially over. What happened to end the relationship?

P: Sluggo partnered with Red Devil Management which is run by Ben Rew and Donny Paycheck from Zeke. Ben and Donny also have a band called Camarosmith on Dead Teenager. So, it just became a conflict of interest because us and Camarosmith were vying for the same attention. So, Sluggo gave them the rights to the label, took our record back and now he is managing us, which has been cool and less mental hopscotch.

With so many bands today putting out their own records, is there any plans for Dirty Power to go at it alone for the next release? With the power of the internet and the price of CDRs, it almost seems like the labels are becoming odd-man-out.

P: Honestly, I would rather douche with sand than go it alone. Its really tough to do from the ground up. A major headache! Even the bands that have now set up their own internet labels with any success already had a fan base that was built with the assistance of a bigger label.


Band Website

I have to confess that I discovered Dirty Power through the power of file-sharing. Someone had described the band in the same vein as Cathedral so I downloaded the album. Of course I purchased the album the same week, and told others about the band as well. From a musician's standpoint, is there a benefit to file sharing?

P: File sharing is awesome, I just think its seriously abused. I download stuff all the time just to hear different bands and I buy the album if I like it or to get demos and live tracks. It just seems like the word “download” has replaced “buy” when it comes to music. Its just one of those tough issues for me to have a firm answer on. A band like ours, right now, is just hemorrhaging money, so downloading can help and hurt. On one hand it allows for easier exposure but even if people dig what we are doing but are satisfied with just playing the downloaded MP3s, its hurting us because every ten bucks we get is a necessity. People keep saying that it’s the same a trading a tape, but the reality is that media like CDR’s, tapes, etc. are taxed for money that goes into paying artists royalties which may be miniscule, but hell, its something. Sharing an MP3 file is not traced or taxed. So when it becomes someones sole way of getting music, that’s when it bothers me. I don’t think a lot people realize how many artists shit blood from stress over the music they are listening to, the creation of it can be just fucking painful, and if you like someones band, not giving something back just seems like an enormous disrespect. The other argument is the “high price” for CD’s. I guess if you think of the album you are buying as being disposable, then $15 for something you listen to and toss on a shelf is too much. I still have and play the CD copy of Van Halen “Van Halen” that I bought 15 years ago and at $14.99 I’d say it was a pretty fucking awesome investment.

Are you guys working on any new material now? When can we expect the next release?

P: We have new stuff, probably a couple of albums worth of loose ends right now. We haven’t really started sifting through the new stuff to complete all of them though and we haven’t yet properly supported the first album, which we start touring in Sept for. I just don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and get burned out. I would love to have something ready and out by spring next year but we need to find someone to put it out, cuz we be broke.

Has Dirty Power gained a good following thus far? I'm sure with the band's background you are getting all sorts of different fans at your shows. Are the metal fans embracing the band or do you see more of a punk audience at your gigs?

P: I can never gauge how good our following is, I just don’t know. A couple of bookers here think of us as “headliners” but, fuck man, I don’t want that kind of pressure……LOL….. The crowd does seem to be pretty much across the board but I wouldn’t say it has that much to do with the bands background, not really many punk rockers, more of the metal people. It was tough gigging at first since we don’t lean too far into any genre that people are used to getting in a club. So, sometimes some poor little Death Metal crowd would have to sit through our classic rock assault…..LOL…..but they never seemed to actively hate us. The punk rockers just seemed to be puzzled by us.

What new bands are you digging these days?

P: At the moment, Strapping Young Lad is my favorite band, that new album SYL just kills me and I am so bummed because they are playing with Cathedral and I will be on tour. I was seriously going to try and follow the tour up and down the coast for at least 4 shows. I haven’t seen Cathedral since 91-92 and its killing me. Maybe we’ll tour with them someday.

The last couple of records I bought were the Sea Hags who were a pretty straightforward rock band from San Francisco from like 89, sorta GNR ish. The other thing I bought was VON, also from San Francisco, who were this early underground Black Metal band that I guess only ever released 2 demo tapes. They were cited a few times in that book Lords Of Chaos as an influence. I had always wanted to check them out and now finally someone has re-released the demos.

How in the hell did the name Dirty Power come about?

P:My friend Fergus was working in this industrial building and someone had written “dirty power” with an arrow pointing to a socket. He was going to use it for his own deviant agenda until I stole it for mine. I thought it sounded cool and so did the other guys. I guess it’s a tech term for an inconsistent current within a power source, I just thought it sounded saucy.

Well Patrick, once again thanks for your time. Keep us up to date on all the Dirty Power happenings. Good luck man!

Cool and thank you. I’m sure the next time we talk I’ll need either a bodybag, a rehab center, or a job.

PatrickEric Compton7/23/2003

Dirty Power
Eric Compton4/2/2003

<< back >>