INTERVIEW: DIRTY RASCAL TO HIT THE WHEATY NEXT MONTH

Dirty Rascal are a Melbourne super band made up of some Aussie greats like Andrew McSweeney, John Fleming (Scared Weird Little Guys), Jerry Speiser (Men At Work) and Andy Dixon (Officer Friendly, New Geisha).

They combine a powerhouse rhythm section with guitars, mandolin and lush vocal harmonies and they are bringing those very sounds to Adelaide next month.

On Thursday 6th September at the Wheaty. Dirty Rascal will share some new tunes, including latest single ‘Be a Lion’ from their new album You Be the King.

Front man Andrew McSweeney is looking forward to playing in Adelaide for the first time ever.

“The whole thing is a bit of an experience and an experiment for us, the band. We’re trying new things in our set and we’ve got new songs and we want people to have a really positive experience and walk out of there feeling transformed; feeling better than when they arrived. So with all of our gigs, we are just looking forward to the opportunity to play with the songs and enjoy a time with an audience as a collective rather than just a performance,” he says.

While the guys have known each other a while, they came together rather organically, much like they do in the clip for ‘Be a Lion’.

“Yeah, it was kind of John’s idea to do that process,” Andrew says. “The album started off just being a solo album for me. I had a bunch of songs and I’d met Jerry Speiser who used to play drums with Men At Work, and he was actually recommended to me as a producer. We clicked really quickly and he’s great drummer. I said well, ‘why don’t you play drums?’

“So he played drums on the album with another friend of mine, a guy called Lincoln Jones and it was actually just the three of us working and we rehearsed the songs. And then Lincoln was busy with his work and other stuff so Andy came along and just played the last song and then joined as we were forming the band.”

So the idea was just to record an album rather than be a band but the band just naturally formed out of the album. And then my friend John Fleming, who used to be with Scared Weird Little Guys, was doing some backing vocals; he’s a great singer and he’s a great guitar player. He was doing all of those guitar parts and then we had such a good time, we said, ‘hey why don’t you join the band?’ And he just said yes. It was all the timing and it all just fell into place.”

With the seamless formation of the band in mind then, it makes sense then that the single ‘Be a Lion’ is a tune that is well constructed and a really catchy rock song which Andrew loves playing live.

“Be a Lion because is a powerful song, it’s such a great rock song. It almost harks back to The Angels or AC/DC. I love singing it, I love playing it and it’s got a really cool guitar line when I’m playing it. It’s a really fun solo to play, so that’s the one I always look forward to,” he says.

The new album You Be The King is available now and is every bit as catchy as the single, with a range of tunes Andrew says they are planning to share with their Wheaty audience.

“‘Self Made Man’ is a really cool song. ‘Things In Between’, too, I really like. Both of those have got really beautiful string lines on the album too. ‘Things In Between’ is an acknowledgment of the feminine; it’s an acknowledgment of the healing power of Mother Earth and the feminine in my life and in and around me. ‘Self Made Man’ is an acknowledgment of the masculine, so, I like that balance,” he says.

When Andrew isn’t touring and making music, he is passing on his knowledge and talent to those who need it most with Living Music.

“I’ve had my own business for over 20 years and I’ve always worked at playing music and as a musician. I was employed a mob called Aus Music back in the mid 90s and my job was to work with young people in the justice system and create opportunities for them with music. Then in ’99, Aus Music was sold and I had a really good relationship with the Department of Human Services so I asked them if I started my own business, could I keep my job and they liked what I was doing and they said, yeah sure,” he says.

“It was a real blessing, I always did this work again as a way to support my habit of playing my own music, which I’ve always loved but it’s very challenging to make a living out of. But I’ve realised, in that time, the amount that I can do with my music in my community, the amount of good that I can do with it. It’s not just about me singing and playing my own songs and making records and doing gigs, it’s about working with people who are struggling in some way and bringing in a positive influence whether it was through mentoring, expression or performance.

“Through that, I’ve learnt the healing power of music in all sorts of ways and how it connects people into the community. We still work with the youth justice and it’s mostly hip hop these days. We do a lot of writing and recording at our studio in North Melbourne and I also have a music school there as well, so I’ve got a bunch of teachers helping out there and working with the local community, teaching them how to play instruments.”

You can catch Dirty Rascal at the Wheaty supported by Kelly Menhennett on September 6 at 8pm and it’s FREE. More info HERE.

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