Band: Dirt Cheap
Members: Russell Brooks, Mike Guerrini, Joe Nelson, Chris Thompson
Who we talked to: Brooks
Describe the band's sound and style: We're a cover band, and we play '70s rock 'n' roll. What we do best is Bon Scott-era AC/DC. For Saturday's show, we'll be performing an entire set of just that. It's not a tribute. There (are) no gimmicks. You won't see Mike or I running around the stage in a schoolboy uniform playing guitar. We'll leave that for the other guys. Our emphasis is on the early material and the sound that really established (AC/DC) before their commercial success. You won't hear "You Shook Me All Night Long," but you will hear "Down Payment Blues." Saturday's show at Fat Daddy's .
How did the group form? All of us played in various bands throughout the years. We've known each other for a long time. We wanted to do material that no one else has done. If we were going to play covers, we didn't want to play the same worn-out old stuff. From the beginning, we always picked the b-sides (and) the deep tracks from various bands from the '70s. Most of the material we do ... never even cracked Billboard's Top 100. It takes a lot of guts to play this stuff. It's real electric, no-nonsense, straightforward stuff. Honestly, I haven't seen any bands do this for an entire set. It demands a lot of energy and ... it's a vocal chore. The response has been really good, so we figure we'll just stick with ... music with that kind of energy and volume. You're definitely going to go home with your ears ringing.
Are you focusing on recreating songs note for note, or are you re-interpreting them? There's only one way to do that music. You can't really re-interpret that music. It's such a distinct sound that if you're going to do it, you have to do it right. And you have to respect it. That's the only way it ever comes off right. If you try to interpret it your own way ... you lose the energy. You have to not so much study it note for note, but you do respect the music ... and that's how you present it.
What are the challenges of preparing for a show like this? When we rehearse ... you don't want to blow yourself out playing at these volumes. Vocally ... you really have to have what it takes. A light practice is always in order before (a show). It's like eating a light meal before you're going to run a marathon. You have to prepare for it - and memorize all the lyrics.
Are you hoping to do an AC/CD set again? This is new to us. We're beginning our first lap ... around. When we start up a set, and we strike that first chord ... and then Mike delivers that first line, the looks on people's faces (are) like they're just shocked. It's worth lugging all the gear on a Saturday night just for that - to see people's response. We're real happy doing it, and, sure, we'll keep it up as long as people like it. I think ... it's going to catch on pretty good.
Listening to some of AC/DC's early music, can you hear the band's influences? They were influenced by ... Little Richard, and early rock 'n' roll (and) Chicago blues from the '50s. You have to really play this music. There (are) no effects. There's no samples. There's no loops. There's no mixes. You either have it or you don't. (AC/DC's) early sound that really established them is different than what came later commercially. That stuff was very polished and very produced. The stuff that we focus on ... was a raw, electric sound.
Has AC/DC in turn influenced musicians? Sure. They've influenced bands ... like Kix, Rhino Bucket (and) Dirty Looks. Those bands probably started off doing what we did, and it morphed into originals of their own that had that sound. Eventually ... we might come up with material of our own using their formula - not that it's something new. Other bands have done it in the past. If you're going to play straight rock 'n' roll ... that's the bedrock. That's where it begins.
How did you come up with the band name? Is it an AC/DC track? You would think so. I bought a junk car, and the owner wrote that on the windshield. It was meant to be. This whole thing is new. We've only been together since this past summer. This all just kind of happened within the last couple months - the name, the band, the junk car. Everything's just starting to click right now.
If you go
The Martini Bros. and Dirt Cheap will perform 10 p.m. Saturday at Fat Daddy's, 2510 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township. For details, visit www.fatdaddys.com.
To connect with Dirt Cheap, visit the band's Facebook page.
Listen to the interview at flipsidepa.com.
Read more meet-the-artist interviews at www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.