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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Retro rockers Dirty Honey swings with swagger

Aerosmith plans to resume its final tour at some point in 2024. When the iconic band’s “Peace Out” jaunt is over, it won’t be the end of the sound Aerosmith created, which is bluesy rock, that swings and is delivered with profound swagger.

Dirty Honey, a band out of Los Angeles, is cut in the same cloth as Aerosmith with a pinch of Black Crowes and a healthy dose of Led Zeppelin tossed into the mix. The retro rockers hit fans with a healthy punch to the gut.

“When you’re compared with an Aerosmith, that’s amazing,” drummer Jaydon Bean said while calling from Denver. “I’ve always loved the way Aerosmith swings. That’s been ingrained in the way I play from a young age. There’s nothing like that heavy, bluesy sound.”

“Can’t Find the Brakes,” Dirty Honey’s second album has an old-school feel with big riffs, soulful tunes that range from rockers to ballads. The songs sound organic because they are since the group refuses to play to a click track, which is essentially a metronome that you can hear over a set of headphones or speakers.

“Most bands these days play to a click track,” bassist Justin Smolian said while on the same conference call. “But when you play to a click track you can’t get that swing. It doesn’t allow for that freedom of movement in the beat. A lot of rock bands rely on the click track but we don’t need it.”

Producer Nick Didia (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam) is used to working with acts that avoid the click track. “Nick nailed it producing ‘Can’t Find the Brakes,’” Smolian said. “Nick is this guru-ish style producer who guides you with his intuition. He knows what we’re feeling. It was the best experience ever working with Nick.”

Part of what made it such a great time for Dirty Honey, which also includes vocalist Marc LaBelle and guitarist John Notto, was recording in Byron Bay, Australia, where the American expat DiDia resides.

“There was a nice beach there,” Bean said. “It was fun hanging out at the beach and the coffee shops but the best part was working on the album. We were very productive. We demoed 20 songs and what landed on the album was what we thought were the best songs. It wasn’t about how many ballads are on the album. It was about what songs are the best and that’s what made the album.”

Dirty Honey, which formed in 2017, will showcase songs from “Can’t Find the Brakes” and their eponymous debut, which was released in 2021 when the band returns Friday to the Knitting Factory.

The band hopes to hang out in Spokane like it did when the group last played the Knitting Factory in September 2022.

“I ended up at 4000 Holes and bought some vinyl,” Smolian said. “And I met someone there, a local grower, who got me really stoned. It was a great time.

“I don’t know if that time can be topped when we get back to Spokane, but I’m hopeful.”