Dirty Little Secret is a part of a wave of new bands emerging on the Los Angeles scene bringing fresh energy and credibility into rock ‘n’ roll, a genre that has taken a two-decade-long lashing from the emergence of dehumanizing techno, jock rock rap-metal and cookie-monster tough-guy thrash.
Dirty Little Secret mixes artsy attitude, pop sensibility and dadaist irony in its musical melting pot.
Spending most of its time across town, playing at burgeoning Eastside indie/alternative rock venues in Silver Lake and Echo Park, the band is set to perform at the Good Hurt, a Mar Vista venue that’s seeking to bring the rock energy westward.
Showtime is at 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 13th, at the Good Hurt, 12249 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista. Admission is $3. Ages 21 and over are admitted.
Also performing are We Should Run, The King Cheetah and Jet Fuel. The show has been organized by KXLU, Loyola Marymount University’s punk-tinged radio station.
Dirty Little Secret bassist James Barain had some thoughts about the indie rock scene and the type of rock acts that seem to be breaking through in popular music.
“I’m really optimistic about what’s going on now,” says Barain. “I’m excited that the jock rock rap-metal thing is over and getting out of everyone’s system.
“Even KROQ makes fun of it now when they were one of its main proponents just a few years ago.
“During that period, we would just say, ‘OK, we’re gonna keep our mouths shut and wait for this to end.'”
Barain lists The Killers and The Strokes as popular bands he’s happy to see become successful.
Many new rock bands popping up in the Los Angeles scene have been reared on the independent spirit of doing things, perhaps not representing a complete rift from major labels, but at least struggling to break free of some of the washed-up molds and bad rock world stereotypes. Some bands are taking influence from some of the more authentic moments of rock ‘n’ roll, like the beat boom and psychedelic free-spirit of the ’60s and the punk attitudes of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Barain says he welcomes and appreciates the still emerging face of the next generation of rock fans.
“We don’t see as many frat boys on the hunt for mosh pits and brewskies as was common at rock shows a few years back,” says Barain. “The fans seem pretty intelligent. Some care about political or social issues, others don’t.”
Dirty Little Secret has been busy building up regional buzz, but hasn’t dived into any touring situations quite yet.
“We do want to tour, but we don’t want to just hop in a van and tour through the states and play to ten people,” says Barain, describing a common, often disillusioning tactic by ambitious young rock bands. “We just don’t think that it makes much difference.
“We’re more just focused on producing a record of good songs and when people start to acknowledge it, we’ll go on tour.”
And it won’t be long, he says. Barain anticipates a tour of England and Australia following an EP scheduled to be released by an Australian label in about six weeks.
Members of Dirty Little Secret have experienced both the major label and independent label routes as musicians and in musical production (Barain and Dirty Little Secret singer Louis Castle have recently engineered a yet-to-be-released album by the band Giant Drag for an Interscope Records affiliate) and Barain offers this assessment.
“The major label mold is not necessarily something I’m into, but most independents are not that different,” says Barain. “It’s the same [expletive] on a smaller budget,” he says of independent labels.
“I don’t care if a label is major or independent. What matters is that who’s running it is someone we can meet and really feel that’s into the band.
“Someone that would listen to it in their cars and sing along, someone that we would see at our shows.
“When someone seems genuinely into the band and not just putting it out there, sitting back and waiting to see if it makes a buck, it’s much more beneficial.”
Aside from all the bad press that the Los Angeles music scene gets due to clubs on the Sunset Strip where bands have to pay to play, and L.A.’s reputation for jaded audiences and questionable practices by some promoters, Barain’s opinion of the Los Angeles music scene is pretty positive.
“Los Angeles really has a great music scene,” he says. “The Sunset Strip pay-to-play scene is dead. Only a band from Upland would be suckered into that.”
“There’s a great scene at Spaceland in Silver Lake, The Echo in Echo Park and at downtown art galleries.”
And what about the music scene in the Venice and Mar Vista areas?
“The Westside has had the reputation as being dead for quite a while as far as new bands are concerned,” Barain says. “I’m hoping that the Good Hurt will prove to be a worthwhile place and put those feelings to rest.”
“All I know is on their Web site they have those bartenders in skimpy nurse uniforms with their [breasts] popping out and that’s really what I’m pretty excited about,” says Barain.
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