the Dirty Eighties
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the Dirty Eighties

Band Rock Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Masterfully blended powerpop at it's best"

Although the name conjures the image of an ultimate eighties-pop cover band, members of The Dirty Eighties have the unique ability to produce a sound that is characteristically their own. Masterfully blending a variety of genres and influences, the self-proclaimed powerpop, indie rock/punk band has been impressing audiences in the upstate of South Carolina with their obvious chemistry and passion for the art form. While preparing for an upcoming show at the Handlebar on Dec. 11, lead vocalist and guitarist Steve Jackson took a moment to discuss the formation of the band, its characteristics and aspirations for the future with the Village Idiot.

VI: What were the circumstances surrounding the formation of The Dirty Eighties?

Originally Brian Draper (lead guitarist and background vocals) and I had an old band called The Shine. We decided to change direction slightly and it seemed like we couldn’t hold onto a rhythm section to save our lives. About two years ago, in the fall of 2006, we dropped the name Shine and started writing newer stuff. I knew Ryan Baker (bass and background vocals) from playing another band and I’ve known Taco for over 10 years, he used to be in a band called Janky, and they were pretty popular in the upstate. I knew he was a good drummer and we asked him to try out and it clicked.

VI: What was the idea behind the name The Dirty Eighties?

A lot of people think it is a reference to an eighties tribute band, but it is kind of the opposite. We went to see Sugarcult in Columbia and were headed back. I used to live in Columbia in the eighties when I was a kid and I saw it was so dirty. Those two words just kind of went together. And if you watch movies from the eighties now they kind of have a grit to them that is kind of dirty. I also like that it can be left up to interpretation.

VI: How would you describe the sound that you aspire to create?

When I describe our sound to people I tell them a cross between The Clash, The Strokes and The Killers. Although we do like The Strokes and The Clash, and some of the guitar riffs are similar, we do have a synth element that is a little different. We play a mixture of all kinds of styles. It is a mixture of rock, powerpop, indie rock, punk and we try to be original. We didn’t try to set out to do that it just kind of happened.

VI: From what other musicians do you draw inspiration?

We all have different tastes so it varies but we all like The Clash and some other classics. I like Oasis a lot. Most of us like Alkaline Trio and various bands like Iron Maiden and The Dandy Warholes. So it is pretty eclectic I would say. I probably have the most varied taste. Everyone in the band has liked somewhere in their lives a kind of punk, so that is the center element I would say.

VI: How would you describe the creative process for the band?

Usually what happens is either Brian or I come up with the skeleton of the song and it is the basic musical structure, what the guitar riffs are or the baseline is, the beat is usually left up to interpretation. Once someone has an idea we usually let loose on that. I write all of the lyrics but if Brian brings music we will play it and put lyrics to it. We change things here and there if someone has some input, really whatever makes the song work best.

VI: Besides the upcoming show at the Handlebar, what are you currently working on?

We’ve recorded at three different studios, the first two studios we weren’t crazy about the way it turned out but the third studio we’ve been to just recently. We went to Revolver Studios in Inman, SC and it was a really fun experience. They showed us a whole new approach to recording and the sound quality is awesome. They are real laid back guys so we recommend Revolver Studios. We just recorded two new tracks there, but there will be more to come. We are planning to release a full-length album for next summer.

We are more or less at this point grasping the idea of selling MP3s on the Internet, which is really the future anyways. So at this point we are selling through Snowcap, which is an unofficial demo per say.

VI: What are your aspirations for the future?

Of course everyone has dreams and everything. I would like to sign to a decent Indie label and if we can make as much money as we do currently by touring, we’d like to tour as much as possible. We love to play live. We recently bought a van to haul the gear around. As far as the industry, I’ve read a couple books on it and we are doing all we can do get our name out. I’m not going to go ga-ga on some major label that approaches us. I have a basic grasp over how things work. I’m weary of it but at the same time at this point we are just trying to play shows and build our fan base and play out of town.

To learn more about The Dirty Eighties, visit To preview or download songs, visit - Cara Kelly/ the Village Idiot Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



The Dirty Eighties formed in the Fall of 2006 and have maintained a steady work ethic of writing and performing, pursuing their overall goal of a career in the rock music industry. The band is an experiment in merging personalities and influences that produces an original sound in an era when so many bands are just copycats and trend jumpers. Lyrically, the Dirty Eighties cover themes from self- awareness and paranoia to criminal lifestyles and the celebration of young adulthood. With the future locked in their cross hairs, the Dirty Eighties are well on their way to glory.