On the Radar: The Dirty Clergy

With a Independent Music Awards nomination and a new album out, Alabama-based garage rock band The Dirty Clergy needs to be on your next playlist. We caught up with the guys to get the lowdown on their new album Rattlesnake, Alabama music scene, influences, and more.

Hey guys! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Who is The Dirty Clergy?
The Dirty Clergy is a garage rock band from Winfield, AL. We began as a folk rock duo and that got boring really quick, so we blossomed into what we are now. A pretty loud, 5 piece, rock band.

Congratulations on being nominated for Best Indie/Alternative Rock Album of the Year at Independent Music Awards! Have you ever received a nomination before and what was your experience like?
This was our first nomination for any type of award. It was a nice experience. The people behind the IMA’s are super nice and they put on a great program for independent artists. They are really dedicated to helping boost the artists to the next level. It’s well organized and is held at the Lincoln Center each year. I look forward to working with these guys more and snagging some of those awards soon. Aside from the 32 hour drive up there and back in such a short period of time, everything was great.

What is the concept behind your Rattlesnake album?
It’s basically just taking you through the steps of a relationship. It’s not really arranged chronologically, but if someone wanted to attempt to put those songs in order they could. It’d take some lengthy listening though.

Your sound has been described as “indie rock pop’n’roll” – who/what are your main influences?
Our influences are all over the place. From Buddy Holly/Everly Brothers to Brian Jonestown Massacre/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.,The Raveonettes, Frank Sinatra. There is a variety of songs on the album, so I’m sure for the people listening they could find at least one they dig. I think it’s more interesting that way. Of course, we could have done a whole album with the same feel as ‘All I Need’ or ‘Strange Love,’ but that would be too easy and people would think they understand us and the direction of the band. No one knows the direction of the band, not even us. I believe that term came from a blog in London. I’m not sure what it really means, but it’ll work.

Describe the current music scene in Alabama.
When we first started it was a lot of cover bands. When we would tell people we were an original band they would ask, ‘So you write your own songs? Wow.’ Like that is just unheard of in these parts or something. The most annoying question we used to get was, ‘What all songs do you play?’… We play our own songs. I felt as if we weren’t supposed to be doing it that way. You know? Birmingham has been seeing a resurgence in original bands. Everyone knows St. Paul, Alabama Shakes, but there’s many others worth checking into as well.

What keeps the band motivated when times get tough?
We have small goals we set and work on achieving those. I guess we could say we are well ahead of the goals, but there will always be something to work towards in music. I don’t like thinking long term, but there’s a lot of things that don’t happen over night and sometimes you want those to happen asap. You just have to remain patient and keep working away to get those small goals. So, I wouldn’t say it gets tough, it just gets depressing sometimes when nothing is going on.

On your debut EP “Breakdown,”  you worked with Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor) – how did you start working with Gordon and how has the band evolved since then?
We came into contact with Gordon online. It was a great experience. Back then we were a folk rock/protest song writing kind of band. I kind of like to overlook those days, even though they were fun. Looking back at that time now, I realize we were not ready to do what we needed to do. We’ve come so far since then.

After we recorded that, we did some things on our own. For ‘Rattlesnake’ we got Lester Nuby III to produce us and I wouldn’t have had anyone else to do that record with us. He was really great to work with and with the background in music he’s had, he’s helped to kind of guide us along the way with some things. I’ll go ahead and say it here, he will be producing our next album as well.

What’s the story behind your name The Dirty Clergy?
I’ll keep that short. It’s about a lying preacher. Just an old lying preacher in our hometown. In no way are we anti-religion or anything like that. It’s just a name that basically means everything isn’t as it seems.

Describe your band in 5 words or less.
Creative, lovely, amazing, misunderstood, strange.

Listen to The Dirty Clergy:

MikeOn the Radar: The Dirty Clergy

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