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Close Up: Interview with Dirtblonde

by Amy Roberts. Published Wed 24 Feb 2010 11:14

The term ‘cool’ has been expressively and adoringly chiseled into the marrow of Dirtblondes’ body of rock’n’bone over the many years of their loud, gnarly, scuzz shattering career.

It’s fixated on every review, winking feverishly at hipsters everywhere with the stamp of approval that Dirtblonde are an official rock’n’roll dream. The real deal. Jagger. Iggy. Leather. Snarling.

So when I ask them about what a typical Dirtblonde day entails, their response is refreshingly uncool by the standards of modern rock’n’roll cliche.

‘A day in the life of Dirtblonde?’ Ivan begins, laughing, ‘would probably be a boring one. For me at least it’d involve listening to jazz and stroking my cat’.

Lula smiles in agreement, she’s wearing a Twilight t-shirt which again is totally anti-cool by the provisos of being in a shit-hot band. To those of us who harbor deeply secret Edward Cullen fantasies, the move is cool-as-fuck. Most of us have to hide our collection of Twilight paraphernalia under the bed next to the porn.

‘There’s nothing worse,’ Ivan elaborates, ‘than people trying too hard to be rock’n’roll all the time. Save rock’n’roll for onstage - you don’t have to be like that all the time. I mean, Iggy Pop plays golf and Mick Jagger’s always been pretty mellow’.

They go on to say how they don’t really listen to the sort of loud music you’d imagine of them at home. Instead they prefer a bit of John Coltrane, Moondog, Dusty Springfield or a spot of Cat Power whilst cooking.

Liverpool’s a weird city. Maybe the epidemic is nationwide, but the trend for creating impenetrable cliques and scenes within the local gig market is one Liverpool finds itself foul to year in, year out. Dirtblonde, it seems, are very much the outsiders in this arrangement. It almost seems that they’re more appreciated outside of their home city, than they are in it.

‘It’s not contrived. I mean, we’re not trying to be outsiders, we just don’t belong to any scene.’ Lula shrugs, ‘I think every city must be like this - it’s pretty competitive’.

‘It’s frustrating’ Ivan continues, ‘I don’t know what it is, maybe because we’re influenced by more American music like Sonic Youth or The Stooges. We’re not really influenced, I don’t think, by the same stuff as the rest of the bands in the city’.

So what do they think of the Liverpool music scene at the moment then?

‘There’s a lot of different scenes around - I mean you’ve got the retro Zanzibar lot, and then you’ve Class A audio, and Pete Bentham’s free rock’n’roll stuff...and then you’ve got a lot of the-’ Ivan winces trying to think of a polite way to proceed, ‘-shitty local bands. Uninspiring.’

Lula adds ‘But there’s a lot of great music in the city. We’re both loving the Anti-pop label - The Dead Class, The Temps, The Fraktures. The Long Finger Bandits are great too, and Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies’.

They love, they say, bands with a lot of energy - it’s something they always come back to, a quality which is incredibly evident in their own guttural, brazen-kinesis of a live show. They cite performances by The Dead Weather and My Bloody Valentine as the most notable gigs they’ve been to over the years.

Lula explains, ‘It’s easy to be cynical about The Dead Weather because they’re a supergroup and Alison Mosshart is a bit of a poser or whatever. But they were just so raw and had such a good time - they weren’t trying to prove anything. Alison Mosshart was just so unbridled and getting in everyone’s face. It was so exciting’

Whilst Ivan - a man with possibly the loudest guitar sound Purple Revolver has heard in recent years - thinks back dreamily to the My Bloody Valentine gig

‘It was just how loud it was. You could feel it in your body - the physical nature of the sound! Such energy, again’.

Dirtblonde are a band also notable for their experimentations with mixing spoken word pieces with rock’n’roll. Lula herself had a book of poetry published last year - At 3 o’clock I Think Of Sex And Death - and also co-ran Heartbeats, a rock’n’roll poetry night which has sadly escaped Liverpool’s clutches and moved down to London.

‘It’s always on the cards that I might bring it back on here’, Lula grins, ‘but I never set out to be a poetry promoter. I don’t want to be in charge of starting a poetry group or anything like that. Heartbeats was just fun - we wanted people to develop their performance, and get confidence about their work and move it out of their bedrooms and share it with people. We heard a lot of amazing work at those nights’.

We end with the token Smash Hits hypothetical question. Dirtblonde are at a party. It’s lame as fuck. They’re falling asleep. They open one last beer when Lo And Behold! A bloody genie pops out! He says he’ll grant them the presence of any 5 people of their choosing to arrive at the party and save the night, who do they pick?

Their eyes light up.

‘We have this discussion all the time!’ Ivan beams, laughing.

‘God, we do seriously discuss this all the time, and now that you’ve asked us I can’t think of anyone’, Lula adds grinning and spooling her mind through past ‘dream dinner party’ discussions.

‘Kevin Spacey!’ Ivan shouts out, ‘Oh! And Stephen Fry. And Jeff Goldblum! And Paul Rudd too. We have to have Paul Rudd’.

‘So I guess there’ll be no women, then?’ Lula interjects, laughing.

‘No, no - what about that comedian? Janeane Garofalo? She’d definately be coming to the party’,

‘And the Cheerleading coach from Glee - Jane Lynch. Her too. Definately’.

So what have Dirtblonde got in store for the future?

‘We’re gonna re-record and do a music video for our song Brooklyn. We’re gonna film it in the Laundromat on Aigburth Road’ They smile at each other in excitement. ‘It should be cool. Laundry rock’n’roll...’

Sounds awesome. We’re sure it’s going to be anti-cool, cool as Dirt.

Dirtblonde words: http://dirtblonde.wordpress.com/
Dirtblonde music: http://www.last.fm/music/Dirtblonde
Dirtblonde photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8861519@N03/

At 3 o’clock I Think Of Sex And Death by Lisa Jones (AKA Lula) is available to buy online here:
http://spikepublishing.wordpress.com/buy/ and is also available from Probe Records and News From Nowhere.


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