Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Real Dirt
(on the Dirtbombs)

An excerpt from the best
Mick Collins article ever

I had this idea that I'd take
a bunch of songs by well-
known R&B performers and do rock versions of them for the
fourth Dirtbombs album," Collins says. "But when Greg Cart-
wright [of the Oblivions, Compulsive Gamblers and current-
ly, Reigning Sound] played me Phil Lynott's "Ode to a Black
Man" [from the late Thin Lizzy frontman's solo album, So-
lo in Soho], I said, 'I have to record this song before some-
body else beats me to it!' And in order to record that song, I
to do the entire rest of the album around it. So Ultraglide
in Black came second, when it was supposed to be fourth.

I love it that Lynott inspired this project. I had no idea. It was,
in fact, 2001's Ultraglide in Black that led me to pick up 1980's
Solo in Soho. The latter isn't a complete success (Mark Knopfler's
limpid guitar playing sounds out of place), but "Ode to a Black
Man" is a great song. So is Lynott's punk-rock tribute "Talk in '79."

And here's a bit about
the history of the band:

MT [Metro Times] contributor and former Dirtbomb Chris Handyside remembers the show [the group's first gig] starting with Mick introduc-
ing the band as "Two black guys, a Jew, a Mick and a Newfie walk into a bar and the bartender says ‘What is this? Some kind of joke?' No, it's the Dirtbombs." However, a live recording from the show reveals Mick's intro as: "Not only do we suck … we're loud!"

Frankly, this is the kind of article that makes me question my
very existence. Seriously. Over the years, I've reviewed count-
less Collins records
, interviewed the man, and played his music
on the radio, but I could never sum up the mega-faceted singer/

songwriter/guitarist as brilliantly as writer Michael Hurtt does
in his epic feature. It's a must-read for anyone interested in
Motor City rock from the 1980s to the '00s—even for those
who aren't down with the Dirtbombs, the Detroit Cobras,
or the White Stripes (although that certainly wouldn't hurt).

Endnote: Ultraglide in Black's "Chains of Love" appears—twice!—
in Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. According
to the band's bio, they've also sold one of their songs to...wait for
it...Wal-Mart. And yet, Hurtt notes that Collins still lives at home
with his dad. Frankly, the guy could use a little coin. To quote
DVD Verdict, by way of the US judicial system: Not guilty.

I'll add a link to my review of We Have You Sur-
rounded once it's been posted. In the meantime, click here
for some kind words about the new disc from The Weekly's
Hannah Levin. The Dirtbombs play Neumo's on 5/13. For
more information about the group, please see their official
. Images from Model D and

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