Dirty Goods may be based in Newport, South Wales, but don’t start reaching for your best ‘Shameless’ clichés or imagining another band set to display the urban deprivation of their environment. They may be a band with a brain as well as a groove but Dirty Goods are less about chronicling the wasteland they see around them and more about extracting the joy and fun out of their music and their community in a positive way.
A case in point? Newport is full of empty shops like so many UK high streets. Dirty Goods got onboard with the ‘Empty Shops’ project, slept in one of the disused retail units and transformed it into a temporary gig venue, playing in the window to the delight of fans and (sometime) bemusement of local shoppers. As the band explain, it wasn’t to everyone’s taste:
I think within 2 songs we had complaints from the adjacent shops, as over 200 people were blocking half the street. We got about 6 songs in till the police came and shut it all down. It was one hell of a night for the chance to play somewhere totally different and knowing that it probably wouldn't happen again. But I guess that’s what it’s all about.
Another case in point? When their label manager was in the US with another band, they raised the cash to get to LA themselves by holding a series of parties, relying on ‘trips to the cash and carry to buy lager’ according to Wylee and selling tickets to mates to accumulate enough money for the flights. Once there they arranged to borrow gear from bands who were fans of their stuff via Facebook, booked a series of gigs off their own back and ended up playing The Roxy to a crowd including Woody Harrelson and hanging out with local gang members in the YMCA that was their home for the stay, beatboxing for the gang’s rappers. To cap it all the trio then got themselves to New York and played a set of shows there as well.
It wasn’t always like this. When Wylee (Vocals, Guitar) moved to Newport to study at the College of Art and met Woody (bass) and Mikee (Drums) the band didn’t flash into existence. The three had known each other for some time, Newport isn’t a big place and like minds tend to congregate, but that friendship persisted for some years before the Wylee and Woody plus drum machine version of Dirty Goods were laughed at by Mikee post show and responded by getting him to join.
Dirty Goods shows are already building their own mythology. With Newport gigs regularly topping crowds of a thousand, the band’s recent Hoxton show was so over-subscribed that a second, impromptu show in the street averted what could have been a difficult situation.
Somewhere in all this the band have been recording with tracks laid down for their debut release, their debut mini-album and plenty more in store that will be known to those who have caught their live shows for a full album before the year’s end.
Dirty Goods are Antony J "Wylee" Smith - Vocals Guitar, James "Woody" Wood - Bass Keys Vocals, Mikee Gregory - Drums Percussion Vocals.
‘Dirty Goods’ is released on 4th June 2012.