Chart-topping reggae act Dirty Heads, opening for Matisyahu, remember their garage days and celebrate a new phase

Chart-topping reggae act Dirty Heads, opening for Matisyahu, remember their garage days and celebrate a new phase
Dove Shore Photography

Like many bands before it, the Dirty Heads started out in a garage about a decade ago in Huntington Beach, Calif., with no other agenda but to have fun.

"We met in high school," says guitarist-singer Dustin "Duddy B" Bushnell. "We'd all just sit there in my garage and literally make stupid beats on the crappiest Casio keyboard ever. We'd have 10 of our buddies in there, drinking 40s and making up rap songs. It was just hilarious. It was fun."

Something funny happened on their way to a happy high-school memory. "[A manager] contacted us and said he wanted to manage us. And we were like, 'Yeah right, this guy's got to be on crack, but we'll go to that free lunch,'" Bushnell says. "He got us some meetings with record labels. One of them was Warner Bros., and they actually signed us.

Again, we were like, 'What the hell is going on here? This is retarded.'"

After landing at Warner Bros., the Dirty Heads were given the full major-label treatment. One of today's leading producers, Rob Cavallo, who has worked with groups like Green Day, My Chemical Romance and the Goo Goo Dolls, became involved in the group's debut album.

Unfortunately, upon its completion, the music industry was reeling from a downturn and labels diverted their energy more and more to top-earning acts. The seemingly charmed life of the Dirty Heads had taken a turn.

"We made the album and it didn't really get released," Bushnell says. "It was just sitting around. We didn't know what was going on."

Fortunately, the band was able to leave Warner Bros. on good terms – and take the master tapes with them. Finally released by boutique label Executive Music Group in 2008, Any Port in a Storm put the Dirty Heads on the national music map. The outing, which included guest appearances from M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold and keyboardist Billy Preston (yes, the one that played with the Beatles on the Let It Be album), yielded a single, "Lay Me Down," that became one of the biggest alternative-rock hits in recent years, holding the No. 1 slot for 11 weeks.

Obviously, this gave the Dirty Heads a good head of steam heading into its newly released sophomore effort, Cabin by the Sea, which continues to spotlight the group's cheery brand of reggae and hip-hop-influenced pop. A bit more mature and serious side to the band's music emerges on songs like "Spread Too Thin" and "Day by Day." But overall, the Dirty Heads remain the same good-time group that simply wanted to have fun in the garage.

"We always try to bring a nice, fun vibe to the show,"

Bushnell says. "We're excited to get out and play."

The Dirty Heads with Matisyahu

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30
House of Blues
1490 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista


Matisyahu in-store performance at Park Ave CDs

5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30
2916 Corrine Drive


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