Independent rock band Dirty Honey is giving audiences their first preview of its new album.
The band premiered its new single, ‘California Dreamin” Friday through Rolling Stone magazine. The lead single from the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut album — scheduled for release April 23 — it is not to be confused with The Mamas and the Papas’ ‘California Dreamin’. Dirty Honey’s song is its own original work, not a cover.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘California Dreamin” is an up-tempo composition that is grounded through the performance of John Notto on guitar and that of front man Marc LaBelle. What is so interesting here is that a close listen leads to comparisons to the sound and vocal styling of Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose in this case. Notto’s performance meanwhile makes for its own comparison to works from Rose’s GNR band mate Slash.
Thanks to the song’s production, Corey Coverstone’s work on the drums cuts through clearly as he keeps time. Bassist Justin Smolian’s low-end adds the final element to the song. The whole of the group’s work makes the song a strong first impression for the forthcoming album, as it creates its own unique neo-classic rock style composition.
The video for ‘California Dreamin’ even throws in its own tribute to Guns N’ Roses as Notto is shown by himself in one scene in a very Slash-esque pose as he performs his solo in the song’s bridge. At other points, the band is shown together as it performs. There are also other various images, such as a woman walking through a door in the desert, and making her way through a forest.
LaBelle talked about the song’s lyrical theme and how the song’s video plays into that theme during a recent interview.
“Lots of people come out to California, chasing a dream, and sometimes, people just don’t make it,” said LaBelle. “California isn’t always the ‘land of milk and honey,’ dreams don’t always come true here, and that’s the perspective this song and video take. The video is a dream through California that showcases the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Dirty Honey started work on its new album in October. The band was originally set to record its new record in early 2020 in Australia, but a continued travel ban between the two nations led the band to head to a studio in its hometown of Los Angeles instead. Producer Nick DiDia (Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine) is joining the band through Zoom to craft its new record.
LaBelle offered some insight into the move in a prepared statement.
“Back in March, we had a handful of songs that were in various states of completion,” said LaBelle. “But now, not being able to tour, we’ve had the time to finish them, feel really confident about them, and write more. We’re going into the studio with twice as many new songs as we had back in March. The pre-production for this new music has been handled exactly the same way as it was for the EP; Nick was in Australia, we were here in Los Angeles, and we were sending demos back and forth. Recording the music remotely is what’s different this time. But Nick brought in Brendan O’Brien’s engineer, Tom Syrowski (AC/DC, Chris Cornell), who’s been in the room with some incredible artists, so it’s going to be great.”
“The adventure factor of the past two years definitely played a role in the new songs,” added LaBelle. “I look back over that time, and it’s been an incredible ride…All of the support we’ve had, being played on our hometown radio station, something I never really thought would happen, it’s just crazy.”
Coverstone recently added his own thoughts on the album’s delay.
“Because of the pandemic, we had a lot more time to write and prepare, which was great,” said Coverstone. “It meant that we were able to workshop the songs a lot more, and I think it really made a difference.”
Dirty Honey released its debut self-titled EP last year. Following the EP’s release, the band joined tours with bands, such as The Who, Guns N’ Roses, and Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators to spread its music. The band was named the #1 International Breakout Artist of 2019 by Canadian Rock Radio. Additionally, the band became the only unsigned act last year to reach #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart with its single ‘When I’m Gone.’
As if the tour and chart honors were not enough, the band was named among the UK’s Louder/Classic Rock magazine “20 Great Bands To Shake Up the 2020s.” Dirty Honey was nominated in the Best New Rock/Alternative Artist category at the 2020 iHeart Radio Music Awards, too, adding to the band’s acclaim.
‘Rolling 7s,’ the band’s second single reached #4 at Rock Radio. It has generated more than 4.6 million views since its premiere on Sept. 23. LaBelle’s vocals in the song are reminiscent at times, of Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose, and of Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant at others. The song’s bluesy guitar line will appeal to fans of bands, such as Blackberry Smoke, The Allman Brothers Band, and Aerosmith to a lesser degree. Yes, that seems like an odd combination, but it is there and it works in this song’s case.
Speaking of Aerosmith, the band debuted its cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Last Child‘ on Jan. 24 as an Amazon Music Original. Dirty Honey’s take on Aerosmith’s original, which was originally featured on the band’s 1998 album Gems, stays very much true to its source material.
LaBelle does an admirable job of making himself sound like Steven Tyler as he belts out the song’s lyrics. His band mates — Notto, Justin Smolian (bass), Corey Coverstone (drums) — do their own part to pay tribute to the classic tune.
More information on Dirty Honey’s new record is available along with the group’s latest news at:
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