The Dirty Hands
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The Dirty Hands

Girdwood, AK | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Girdwood, AK | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Blues Alternative




"The Dirty Hands and Debonair Dirtbags play Forest Fair"

The Dirty Hands and Debonair Dirtbags play Forest Fair - Glacier City Gazette

"Clean grooves with The Dirty Hands"

A deep appreciation of music is what brought the six members of The Dirty Hands together. An abiding passion to keep learning about music, in all of its varieties, is what keeps them together on their musical journey. The band is in the midst of the biggest year in its existence, and the future looks very promising. The Dirty Hands has an exciting summer ahead with the impending release of their first album and weekend shows booked throughout Alaska.

I caught up with them on a sunny, spring afternoon in Girdwood. As I opened the wooden gate to their place, the three band members were barefoot and shirtless as they went through a blues-influenced song. Sean Patrick played the electric bass while Chris Lesesne picked away at an acoustic guitar and sang vocals. Andrew Saden steadily tapped on a drum pad to keep the song moving. A friendly, old dog named Esher stayed close to the band–when he wasn’t looking for shade or attention from Lesesne.

The song concluded, and a fascinating conversation about music followed. The three band members are excited with the outcome of their first album and candidly shared important lessons they learned through experience. The challenges they navigated as a group brought them together rather than tore them asunder. Their time in the studio changed the way they think about their music and how to present it in a live setting.

The band recorded its first album, entitled Girdwood, at Martin Severin’s Studio 2200 in Anchorage. Severin also owns TapRoot, an Anchorage venue that showcases local musicians. At first, the band didn’t know what to expect but quickly grew comfortable in the new setting.

“It was amazing,” Patrick said. “We had a plethora of instrumentation at our disposal and somebody there knowledgeable enough to listen to the songs and be able to give advice to help bring about the sound he thought we were looking for.”

The band was candid about the main challenge it faced in the studio and what happened as a result.

“We were not rehearsed enough,” Saden said. “It was a challenge, but those were really good learning cues for us for both the live setting and the recording. We just weren’t ready.”

Besides realizing more practice time was needed, the band also recognized the importance of listening to each other musically. With six musicians playing an assortment of instruments, working collectively is essential. Throughout their sets, each musician gets his time to shine when not supporting the other band members.

“One of the things we’ve definitely grown at is listening to each other and hearing when somebody else is starting to take the music into a certain direction and everybody being able to morph around it. It has taken years to get there,” Patrick said.

In the studio, in practice and in a high-energy live set, the band doesn’t want a spat. It distracts from the music and affects how a song is played. What they have learned is how to communicate with each other constructively to put the band first. These lessons have infused their live shows, which feature plenty of dynamic musical interaction with a variety of instruments.

Saden observed, “It gave us insight into how much we needed to rehearse and be on top of our game and be able to play something consistently and be able to communicate with each other properly without jumping down each other’s throats. We need to be able to critique each other in a healthy way.”

Lesesne explained that The Dirty Hands are not virtuoso players going through lots of notes and looking for individual attention. The band was formed to gather a group of people who play simply and reserved as a collective making complex, dynamic music.

The results, as seen and heard during their live shows, are palpable. Their sets are thoroughly enjoyable experience with a powerful, balanced sound that is always propelling forward in a fresh, tasteful manner. The band members compared the way they work together to playing a team sport. Each musician gets moments, but there is balanced representation to support a cohesive whole.

“I was seeing in certain musicians that I admired had a lot of taste and reserve rather than flashiness,” Lesesne said. “It takes a lot of patience and reserve from individuals and the collective but it translates into this really powerful, spacious thing that has a lot of room to breath.”

The one musician who stands is Eli Whitney because of his riveting and engaging style playing a variety of wind instruments: soprano sax, alto sax, baritone sax and flute. He rarely uses a tenor sax because the other instruments bring a more unique sound. Whitney’s decisive horns bring dynamic propulsion that drives the song forward in an improvisational way before passing the lead off to another musician.

In the studio, Severin was the recording engineer initially hesitant to work with an alto sax player. However, Whitney’s playing quickly convinced him otherwise.

“When we first told Martin Severin,” Lesesne said, “the guy who was going to record us, he hadn’t really heard us, so he’s like, ‘What’s the instrumentation?’ We told him we had an alto sax and he said, ‘Nah, I don’t do alto sax,’ kind of like a truth in jest sort of thing. In the end, he was saying, ‘You guys are good, but Eli is a wizard.’”

This summer you will have plenty of opportunities to see The Dirty Hands. Their first album releases June 4, and they have a full calendar of shows scheduled. Even if you’ve never seen or heard them, you’re in for a musical treat. Check their website for updates. - Glacier CIty Gazette

"Hot Picks: A masquerade, classic anime and disco fever"

Girdwood-based band The Dirty Hands describes its sound on Facebook as "Post-Americana Grunge Blues with a side of pork chops." Get an earful of this playful, pig-obsessed group for free as part of Williwaw's Thursday Night Live series. Thursday, 9:30 p.m., Williwaw, 609 F. St. (

Earlier in the evening, The Dirty Hands will play a free show in Town Square Park at 5:30 p.m. as part of Anchorage Downtown Partnership's Live After Five series. ( - Alaska Dispatch News

"7 new Alaska albums to listen to this summer"

The Dirty Hands


The Dirty Hands move seamlessly between blues styles and rock in "Girdwood." The band captures the essence of the genres with brash vocals, smoldering guitar, a diabolical horn section and the occasional wailing harmonica.

Listening experience: A barrelhouse romance that goes down like a shot of cheap whiskey

Essential track: "I Lied," a Rolling Stones-esque regretful romp

More on the band: - Alaska Dispatch News


Still working on that hot first release.



The Dirty Hands have been diagnosed as blues addicts with adult onset Jazz and Avant Garde obsession, as well as being ridden with bouts of funk and heavy rock themes. This combination of 5 true music addicts oozes with intrigue and pulses with seduction. Alaska has allowed them to evolve their music "crock-pot" style, through a slow melding of unique musical ideas and taste, developed around the song writing of Sean Patrick and Chris Lesesne.

Band Members