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Dirt River Radio. Those are three words that spell out debauchery, beer and lots of rowdy music that’ll make you want to make love to your significant other right then and there – regardless of whether you met them five minutes ago at the bar while downing a whiskey on the rocks. These Melburnian lads roll up roots, blues and country into a delicious, wantonly alcohol-infused ball of rock fury. So lock up your daughters - Dirt River Radio’s debut album Beer Bottle Poetry will be unleashed upon the general public on August 3, and their tour bus will be seeing lots of tarmac when they embark on their Devils on the Road tour over the next two months.
Paper-Deer snuck in a quick chat with lead guitarist and vocalist Alex Raunjak in between drinks.
According to your press release, Dirt River Radio started with a “beer-fuelled song writing collaboration” and your upcoming album is called Beer Bottle Poetry. Does beer play a large role in Dirt River Radio?
Hah. We definitely like a few jars but there is more to us than that… We drink Jack Daniels too.
Was there a lot of beer involved with Beer Bottle Poetry?
A lot of the songs on the record are heart breakers, and during the time of writing I was definitely drinking to forget so I suppose yes.
Why should people listen to the record?
I’m proud of this record because I feel it’s the truth. We didn't want to be contrived. We just let it evolve naturally. It’s a moment in time, a postcard if you like.
What does living in a semi-demolished apartment in Richmond do for your song writing?
It definitely affected me at the time. I was flat broke, just got home from a year in Texas and just couldn't afford to move. I had to beg the landlord, it helped give the songs a feeling of desperation.
You’ve supported C.W. Stoneking and played at Apollo Bay Festival, as well as Triple J airplay, getting into the Triple J Unearthed charts and being one of Beat’s singles of the year. What’s the Dirt River Radio secret to success?
Honestly, I think it’s writing from the heart and not trying to be a certain sound or fashion. We’re never going to have long fringes or have our tops off for MTV. We’re just singing about what’s real for us.
Is there a difference between listening to a Dirt River Radio record and seeing you guys stomp around live?
Energy! There’s definitely a huge difference between recorded and live. I think every musician can relate to the difficulty in trying to capture the energy of a live show on record. We also play a lot of rowdier songs and just treat it like a house party.
What does each member of Dirt River Radio bring to the band in terms of personality, alcohol and bad jokes?
Heath is the country in the band. His dad was a hardcore bull rider in the sixties and seventies, and grew up in the bush with his family listening to country, wearing cowboy boots and getting into fist fights. Cam "Darkside" Adams is nicknamed Darkside because there'll be a point in the night where we've partied too hard and he'll just turn “darkside”. No one is safe. I once had to hold him back from fighting a six foot five Russian guy when he knocked on our door at five in the morning and asked us to stop playing piano and drunkenly singing because he lived next door. Blind Mike is the quiet guy of the band. He’s the dependable, solid guy that would do anything for anyone. And Casey is the funny guy, always making us laugh which is very necessary on the road. He can also grow a magnificent beard.
What’s the most awkward thing that’s ever happened to Dirt River Radio?
I once did an interview with Melbourne street press, and was asked, “What song do you hate?” At the time there was a Shannon Noll song about a black car on the radio which I really didn’t like so I said that… Gave it a bit of stick if I remember. The next week, we drove to Adelaide for a show, and at our band room there was a photo stuck to the door of him wearing a Dirt River Radio shirt and smiling for the camera. Now Shannon I’ve heard can be a bit of a brawler, and a good one at that, so we were like “WHAT THE FUCK! SHANNON NOLL IS COMING TO GET US!” We never found out how it got there or by who!!!
- August 1: The Retreat
- September 18: Apollo Bay Hotel, Apollo Bay