The Dirty Water Club
Forthcoming Dirty Water gigs:
The Dirty Water Club “officially” (as official as rock’n’roll can be) started in October 1996 in the Tufnell Park neighbourhood of north London, at a venue called The Boston, although its originator was the mysterious “Slim Chance” who started it all at the “Wild Western Rooms” at the St. John’s Tavern in London’s Archway.
The club’s name is derived from The Standells' hit “Dirty Water” which glorifies the US city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Past performers have included The White Stripes (voted by Q Magazine as one of the top 10 gigs of all time, Mojo the top 30 and Kerrang the top 100!), The Gories, Radio Birdman, NOBUNNY, Kid Congo Powers (from the Cramps), The Fleshtones, Billy Childish, The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, The 18.104.22.168's, The Horrors and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to name just a few. The club has also seen some original 60s performers, such as The Monks, ? and the Mysterians, Kim Fowley, Sky Saxon, GONN, Michael Davis of the MC5 and more grace its stage.
Dirty Water endeavours to make its events available to all. All we care about is that you dig Rock’n’Roll; everything else is just detail to us, but it ain’t just detail to everyone, is it?
Louder Than War: You’ve come a hell of a way since then. How did the rest of the Dirty Water gang get on board?
“Well, another regular at the club night who became a friend, Paul Manchester, who was originally from Boston, USA, but had been living in London for years already by then, loved the idea of being part of a record label. He also desperately wanted to see a 1979 single by Boston band Lyres re-pressed (which became DWC1003). And I figured that without a helping hand or two, I’d only get around to putting out two, maybe three, records a year.
At his suggestion, pretty much straight away, Diego Dominguez came on board too. And more recently, two or three years ago, PR & publicity supremo Matt Hunter joined us. All of us come from very different backgrounds and our varied skills seemed to fit together quite well, while our similar, but not completely overlapping, tastes in music sees us all doing a bit of A&R, discovering bands that another of us might inadvertently pass by or never even come across in the first place.
Without the huge input from the other three guys I’d probably just be doing two or three releases a year. It’s a big job to do by yourself. Especially as I was still doing weekly gigs when the label started. With a team like this working together we’ve made amazing strides, I think. They’ve helped to develop the label and make it into something bigger than I could have ever done by myself.”
The Gories may be an obscure name, but their influence far outweighs their popularity. Inspired by 1950s R&B and mid-1960s high school garage bands, this Detroit trio came together in 1986 to make incredibly primitive rock’n’roll: jungle drums, two buzzsaw guitars knocking out basic chords and scratchy riffs, no bass, lyrics about cheap wine and bad women.
If, like me, you enjoy your music, raw and uncompromising, the idea of over produced dross for the masses makes you gag, Dirty Water Records are for you. I've been lucky over the last few months to be introduced to a number of artists on their roster through Mudkiss.
Went to see the Black Lips a couple times a couple months ago. Was gonna write one of them academic type papers about it, call it "The Windmill vs. The Dirty Water Club: A Comparative Study of the Black Lips." Maybe submit it to a fancy journal and get myself a "ten year" track position teachin' at Harvard. But my study habits have always sucked, no doubt, in part, to my drinking habits bordering on reckless.
All-girl rock ‘n’ rollers the 5,6,7,8’s were pretty much guaranteed to sell out north London’s small Dirty Water Club off the back of their appearance in Tarantino’s gore-fest tribute to old B-movies, 'Kill Bill'. The Japanese rockers have been around for a while, but it seems to have taken a cameo in an over-the-top homage to a faded genre to get them noticed. This is kind of appropriate.
The Buff Medways are brilliant. Maybe that is a rubbish way to begin a review about them but I had to say it. Surely you are thinking that there is now no reason to read on, as I will most likely spend the next few paragraphs unleashing slobbering platitudes about Mr Billy Childish et al and their inherent greatness.
- Let's Shake Hands
- When I Hear My Name
I think it's safe to say that if there was an award for best moustache in rock then Billy Childish would probably take that hairy award home.
If there was only one reason to be alive then The Dirty Water Club would surely be that reason. They have put on some of the greatest gigs that I have ever been to, and Saturday night’s show was up there as one of the best.