The Dirty Rooks have earned a reputation for being one of the best live rock n' roll bands in Chicago. Reviews of the band regularly talk about their "bombastic party sound," call their live shows "enthusiastic [and] blood-alcohol-raising," and tell their readers to "pound a cheap beer (or five) and steady yourself". They've packed Chicago's finest music venues, including Lincoln Hall, The Double Door, Martyr's, The Abbey Pub, and Beat Kitchen with fans hungry for their "party on stage" brand of rock n' roll. They've also opened for national acts The Waco Brothers and Jon Langford, Steepwater Band, Lez Zeppelin, Vintage, Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, and Tin Horse. As their reputation for raucous performances continues to grow, so does their fanbase; The Dirty Rooks have sold albums around the country and internationally.
In late 2009 The Dirty Rooks set out to capture the energy of their live shows in a new album. Sugar Mama, released February of 2010, has accomplished that goal. Ben Rubenstein of Centerstage wrote about the album"…you get the sense that these songs are meant to be played live at a party of some sort" and the A.V. Club wrote in The Onion that The Dirty Rooks, "rouse [listeners] to buy another pitcher...bands like this belong cramped up on the stage, not confined to an iPod," Their February album release concert was a Centerstage "Editor's Pick" and was featured in the Red Eye as one of Metromix's top Chicago concerts in February.
The group's first, self-titled, album (2007) is evidence that this booze-rock element has been there since early on. Newcity's Tom Lynch, "The Dirty Rooks burrow themselves underneath your nails, along with the dirt and scum and filth of the city streets. And they're good...rock `n' roll hasn't been this drunk in a while." The band was just getting started but were already defining a specific genre and doing it well. "[The album] has a pure, classic rock sound with some blues influence... it immediately spins off aromas of cigarette smoke and bad plumbing from some low-lit Southside bar” (Dan Ocwhat, Music Editor of The Real Chicago); "[The Dirty Rooks] move the [blues rock] genre forward and deliver exciting music that spans decades and styles" (TAXI); "most satisfying is the sound of the blues in young hands that, rather than treating the music as a museum piece, twist it to fit the moment." (Mike O'Cull, Illinois Entertainer)
Whether they're on stage or in the studio, The Dirty Rooks are creating a sound that's resonating with listeners and giving them a soundtrack to party to.
Dan Stalilonis - Vocals, Harmonica
Grant Gholson - Guitar, Vocals
Mike Bailey - Lead Guitar
Ben Hunt - Bass
Nathan Urqhuart - Drums
Alan Bailey - Piano, Organ, Accordion
Tawny Newsome - Vocals
Bethany Thomas - Vocals
Packy Lundholm - Organ
Bob Kolada - Trombone
Darius Hampton - Saxophone
Kenny Rudzinski - Trumpet
Sugar Mama (2010)
The Dirty Rooks (2007)
The Dirty Rooks Celebrate New Records
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On another side of Chicago’s padded room of pop music lie The Dirty Rooks, a no-holds-barred, unapol...On another side of Chicago’s padded room of pop music lie The Dirty Rooks, a no-holds-barred, unapologetic booze-rock ensemble that sometimes has up to thirteen members on stage at one time. The band celebrates the release of its second album, “Sugar Mama,” on Sunday at Lincoln Hall, and the group has a reputation for putting on an enthusiastic, blood-alcohol-raising live show that’s all blues, soul and classic rock ‘n’ roll. (Horns, piano, organ, gospel back-up vocals, you name it.) “Sugar Mama,” as could be ascertained by its title, isn’t exactly a subtle record, but it’s damn fun and will surely make you go for, oh, just one more drink, then home, I swear.
“We really wanted to do a better job of capturing the live-show sound,” says singer Grant Gholson of the band’s approach to the new record. The songs themselves have been bouncing around a bit as well. “Some of these songs have been around for a few years,” Gholson says, “after the first album in 2007, right off the bat, we started writing new songs. I think we’ve actually been playing these on stage for a few years, so before we went in to record, we had tuned in to their nuances. We knew what we had to do, as opposed to getting into the studio and being not sure what we want to do. We were a little more organized in that sense.”
The Dirty Rooks have maintained a party-band reputation since they dropped their first record in 2007, and often it’s difficult to overcome the stigma of being a good-time, not-so-serious barroom house band. “I agree with you,” Gholson says, “I think it’s easy to stigmatize a band who [has] a kind of fun-time, party, drink beer [sort of performance.] Yeah, that’s cool, but also we want people to like our music on a deeper level. We probably…I think that what we are consciously trying to avoid is a navel-gazing attitude, too introspective, too minimalist. But I think there’s nothing wrong with people liking a band because they want to have a good time and feel good.”
Or, as Gholson sums up succinctly, “There’s nothing wrong with putting on a record and getting drunk and having a good time.”
Music Shows: The Dirty Rooks, Jon Langford
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If you missed out on the Black Crowes the last time they came to town, homegrown band The Dirty Rook...If you missed out on the Black Crowes the last time they came to town, homegrown band The Dirty Rooks should scratch that itch with a soulful set of blues-influenced rock. This show will serve as a release party for the group's latest, Sugar Mama, an album full of classic-rock guitar work, catchy hooks ("I Don't Mind" is a good example) and judiciously used horns and female backing vocals. As fun as it is, though, you get the sense that these songs are meant to be played live at a party of some sort. This show should be exactly that party, especially with Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers) opening. (Ben Rubenstein)
The Dirty Rooks in The Onion
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Self-described "booze rockers" The Dirty Rooks are one of those exemplary bar bands that ought to me...Self-described "booze rockers" The Dirty Rooks are one of those exemplary bar bands that ought to melt the heart of any icy, serious music fan with pure, unrequited devotion to sloppy rhythm and blues. With absolutely no regard for subtlety, the Chicago act piles on grimy blues riffs, a horns section fit for a king, and big-time choruses like, "I got a girl that brings home the bacon," creating a bombastic party sound that rouses listeners to buy another pitcher. Here the band celebrates the release of its newest record, Sugar Mama, but bands like this belong cramped up on the stage, not confined to an iPod.
Andy Downing of the Chicago Tribune Shows Support
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The Dirty Rooks' no-nonsense approach stretches from its music (a no-frills brand of blues-influence...The Dirty Rooks' no-nonsense approach stretches from its music (a no-frills brand of blues-influenced rock it terms "booze-rock") to its utilitarian blog entries. Discussing Friday's Martyrs' performance on its MySpace page (myspace.com/dirtyrooks ), the band writes, "This is our third year playing here and ... we'll be doing a little of this [and] a little of that."
Judging by songs available for free download on its official Web site (dirtyrooks.com ), this means the local quintet will be stomping its way through a series of down-and-dirty rockers. Grab some earplugs, pound a cheap beer (or five) and steady yourself for the onslaught.
Centerstage's First Ever Follow Friday
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Follow Friday is a weekly interview series in which each Chicago artist we talk to recommends a fell...Follow Friday is a weekly interview series in which each Chicago artist we talk to recommends a fellow local act.
This week's guest: The Dirty Rooks
Blues rock is all the rage nowadays, but The Dirty Rooks have been at it for some time now. The band's latest album, Sugar Mama feels both fresh and classic at the same time, as the ever-expanding crew throws down a mix of soul and classic rock. Guitarist/vocalist Grant Gholson (second from left) took some time to answer a few questions in advance of the band's album release party, February 14 at Lincoln Hall.
Describe your sound in 140 characters or less.
"Booze rock" aptly describes the sound of our big, noisy, inebriated musical community. Think, The Faces, with moments of soul & country.
Where and when was your first show – and what was it like?
Phyllis' Musical Inn, like everyone else's first show. It was the night the Sox won the World Series. Our set was delayed an hour because of the game, immediately after which most of the patrons left the bar. We played a hastily-improvised version of "Sweet Home Chicago" to the remaining stragglers. There were just four of us at the time, and I'm sure it was awful. But it felt pretty good to be in a rock band.
Name three of your favorite Chicago spots.
As a venue, Martyrs', absolutely. Big stage, great sound, lots of support. For listening to music, it's hard to beat B.L.U.E.S., since you're about two feet from the stage and they bring in A-list blues talent. And we'd be remiss if we failed to mention Laschet's Inn near Lincoln Square, which is one of those special little enclaves of the Old Country that has somehow managed to stick around.
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By Mike O'Cull Published: June 28, 2007 The Dirty Rooks are a four-piece rock and blues outfit h...By Mike O'Cull
Published: June 28, 2007
The Dirty Rooks are a four-piece rock and blues outfit heavily steeped in the old ways. Their vibe is Stones/Faces with just an occasional hint of Doors thrown in to grind it up a bit. Their self-titled CD is a good time, especially the third track, "No Mercy," which recalls Mick and Keith at their best. Most satisfying, though, is the sound of the blues in young hands that, rather than treating the music as a museum piece, twist it to fit the moment.
Visit http://illinoisentertainer.com/2007/06/28/local-cd-reviews-20/#more-2167 to see the review.
Newcity Tip of the Week
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Even though I pretty much hate The Black Crowes, Chicago's boozy, seventies-rock-and blues-inspired ...Even though I pretty much hate The Black Crowes, Chicago's boozy, seventies-rock-and blues-inspired band The Dirty Rooks burrow themselves underneath your nails, along with the dirt and scum and filth of the city streets. And they're good. The group's self-titled record, self-released, doesn't fuck around--one song even starts with the sentiment, "I was born on the day my mama died." There's a lot of whiskey in that lyric. The slow, moody "Tell Me Something" should quiet even the rowdiest bar room. Even the acoustic-based "Little Queen"--with its subsequent blues-country harmonica--works nicely. Other than with Velcro Lewis and His 100 Proof Band, rock `n' roll hasn't been this drunk in a while.
Visit www.newcitychicago.com/chicago/6504.html to see the review.
TAXI Reviews "Strawman"
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The bluesy guitar chord pattern and rhythm is matched nicely with the added vocal growl in the openi...The bluesy guitar chord pattern and rhythm is matched nicely with the added vocal growl in the opening. The genre you guys have listed, Booze Rock, is a great description! Sonically you are soul mates for bands in the vein of Foghat, Black Crowes and Savoy Brown. The musical interlude is very nicely constructed and brought in. It moves in and out of the arrangement seamlessly.
The band performance makes it seem easy. I can hear your influences and love of blues rock. I can also hear what you are doing to move the genre forward and deliver exciting music that spans decades and styles.
Learn more about TAXI at www.taxi.com.
Samuel L. Jackson as a bluesman rocks; Chicago-based blues-ish band The Dirty Rooks rock out
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By Dan Ochwat It must be a bluesy month. Shortly after witnessing the pulp and dirty south tunes ...By Dan Ochwat
It must be a bluesy month. Shortly after witnessing the pulp and dirty south tunes of Samuel L. Jackson’s “Black Snake Moan,” a local start-up band, The Dirty Rooks, sent me their self-made and self-titled blues-tinged disc. The band is playing a record-release show April 21 at The Abbey Pub, where you will be able to buy the CD. They’re also jamming March 31 at Underground Lounge, April 1 at The Orphanage and April 12 at Elbo Room.
Listening to the album, it immediately spins off aromas of cigarette smoke and bad plumbing from some low-lit Southside bar. It has a pure, classic rock sound with some blues influence. To me, the band has a heavy Black Crowes sound, which, frankly, isn’t something you really hear much from young guys in Chicago. Actually, Looking at the trendy packaging, you’d never really know you were about to throw on a classic rock album, but maybe a more indie, hipster record.
The album sort of splits up into heavier rock songs and slow-rolling, bluesy ballads. And despite my glowing review of “Black Snake Moan,” I’m not a big fan of blues music, so the harder rock songs are my true standouts. “Strawman” is the real deal, exemplifying some of the better songwriting on the album and a kick-ass guitar change at about 1:45 into the song. It even has a cool Title, “Strawman.” The other notable guitar-laden movers are “All That You Are” and “Big Sound,” a-mile-a-minute, pounding song. The best slower song is one called “Precious Time” — it’s the band’s “Simple Man”.
Check out “Strawman” and The Dirty Rooks at www.myspace.com/dirtyrooks.
Visit www.therealchicago.org/0203rtor.htm to see the review.
We've played three hours straight (and would gladly do so again), but we prefer one to two hours of any of the following original songs:
Tell Me Something
Old Mill Creek
Stranger These Days
Walk Down to the Water
So It Seems
I Don't Mind
And a few select covers by these bands and others of similar style:
The Rolling Stones
There are no upcoming dates at this time.