The Dirty Hooks
Gig Seeker Pro

The Dirty Hooks

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Alternative Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
30
The Dirty Hooks @ Coda

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

May
29
The Dirty Hooks @ Sherman Theater

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, United States

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, United States

May
28
The Dirty Hooks @ The National

Richmond, Virginia, United States

Richmond, Virginia, United States

May
26
The Dirty Hooks @ Growlers

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

May
25
The Dirty Hooks @ 51st Street Speakeasy

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

May
24
The Dirty Hooks @ Albuquerque

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Feb
03
The Dirty Hooks @ 172

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Jan
13
The Dirty Hooks @ House of Blues

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Sep
23
The Dirty Hooks @ Life Is Beautiful Festival

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Aug
16
The Dirty Hooks @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, Texas, United States

The Woodlands, Texas, United States

Aug
15
The Dirty Hooks @ Laredo Energy Arena

Laredo, Texas, United States

Laredo, Texas, United States

Aug
14
The Dirty Hooks @ Toyota Music Factory

Irving, Texas, United States

Irving, Texas, United States

Aug
11
The Dirty Hooks @ Champion's Square

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Aug
10
The Dirty Hooks @ Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

Pelham, Alabama, United States

Pelham, Alabama, United States

Aug
08
The Dirty Hooks @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at The Florida State Fairgrounds

Tampa, Florida, United States

Tampa, Florida, United States

Aug
07
The Dirty Hooks @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Aug
05
The Dirty Hooks @ Jiffy Lube Live

Bristow, Virginia, United States

Bristow, Virginia, United States

Aug
02
The Dirty Hooks @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion

Gilford, New Hampshire, United States

Gilford, New Hampshire, United States

Jun
01
The Dirty Hooks @ The Bourbon Theatre

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States

May
31
The Dirty Hooks @ BOULDER THEATER

Boulder, Colorado, United States

Boulder, Colorado, United States

May
29
The Dirty Hooks @ Seven Flags Gym

Clive, Iowa, United States

Clive, Iowa, United States

May
27
The Dirty Hooks @ The Cotillion

Wichita, Kansas, United States

Wichita, Kansas, United States

May
23
The Dirty Hooks @ The New Daisy Theatre

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

May
22
The Dirty Hooks @ The Signal

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

May
21
The Dirty Hooks @ The East Room

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Music

Press


Dirty Hooks

Respect to alums such as The Killers, Haim and Empire of the Sun who’ve come back to the festival years later to give us more doses of magic. This year, The Dirty Hooks is taking claim as the first returning local act on the bill. The gritty blues-rock trio rocked the Red Bull Sound Select Stage during Life is Beautiful’s inaugural year, and they’ll be making a triumphant return come September on the heels of a tour supporting Stone Temple Pilots.

Expect something different because five years later, things have changed sonically. The band hasn’t completely ditched the syncopated swing and swagger of songs such as “Dancing With A Train” and “Naked City Colt” from their 2012 album Electric Grit. Instead, it’s evolved. Listen to the driving southern twang of “Badland Saints,” for instance. If you haven’t heard the band, we suggest making room on your schedule. Dirty Hooks is known for its energetic live performances, and we have a feeling they’ll step things up a notch given the occasion. - Vegas Seven


VIM Magazine's Tiffany Salerno recently got to interview guitarist/songwriter Anthony Ratto III and drums/vocals Jenine Cali of The Dirty Hooks while on their tour with Stone Temple Pilots. The Dirty Hooks recently announced that they will be rejoining STP once again jumping on a few dates in May 2018.


VIM MAGAZINE: Collectively you have all played numerous shows locally, nationally and internationally, opening for such acts as Joan Jett, The Killers, Taproot, Soul Asylum, Angels and Airwaves and playing on stages at South By Southwest and Warped Tour. And now you are set to open for STP. How does it feel to be opening for such an iconic band?

JENINE: I can’t even describe how amazing it is to play with your musical idols. It’s completely surreal, you feel the need to pinch yourself constantly. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

ANTHONY: STP is the real deal, it’s like opening up for Led Zeppelin or the Beatles to us. They are such iconic songwriters and there music started it for us in our teens.


VIM MAGAZINE: Can you tell us a bit about the chemistry between all of you in the studio? What keeps you all going?

JENINE: We gel really well in the studio. Constantly pushing each other musically and that creates a pretty positive space. We stay honest with each other and if someone doesn’t like something we try something else until we all agree upon it.

ANTHONY: The chemistry is great! We have so many ideas to bring to the table. The hard part is not having enough time too do it all.


VIM MAGAZINE: How did the band get started? What were your musical influences growing up?

ANTHONY: The band got started with me and Bobby writing songs together for years and looking for a female drummer that could sing and Jenine fell into our laps one day when I saw her band the day after at a pizza place lol and we had drinks after the show. That’s when I found out she could play drums. So Bobby called her up a week later and set up a jam sesh and it was magic the first time we played.

Influence would be bands from the 60’s and 90’s like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin Jimi Hendrix too Nirvana, STP, The Pixies and Ween, punk rock bands like The misfits and The clash were huge. Of course newer bands like The White strips and black keys we love.

JENINE : We got started about 6/7 years ago. The guys called me up and asked if I could play drums and sing and I said “sure!” I had never done it before but gave it a shot and it worked! We were all in other bands growing up in Vegas so we have crossed paths before.

I’m an 90’s alt/rock kid. Loved Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and of course Stone Temple Pilots...just to name a few.


VIM MAGAZINE: What is your favorite part about the local Vegas scene?

JENINE: My favorite part is how it’s really come together over the last few years. So many different genres and talented people. We really have a lot to show.

ANTHONY: I love that our music scene is small in a big city. We all root for each other


VIM MAGAZINE: What's next for the band?

JENINE: After the tour, we will be playing the Emerge Impact + Music in April and will be releasing a record very soon. Pretty excited about getting some new tunes out.

ANTHONY: New album! New videos and more Rock n Roll shows.


More info:

www.thedirtyhooks.com - VIM Magazine


.......When I got to the venue, I walked into the first song (“Cicada Tree”) by opening band The Dirty Hooks and headed straight for the bar. Mere moments later, I turned my attention to the trio onstage and listened with interest. I’ll admit, when there’s a band I really want to see, I often want the opener to hurry off the stage so I can get to “the good stuff,” but it was clear early on that this was not going to happen.

Las Vegas band The Dirty Hooks is made up of chick drummer and vocalist Jenine Cali, lead vocalist and baritone guitarist Bobby McCall, and lead guitarist Anthony Ratto III. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the name of every song, but they did not disappoint. Everyone I laid eyes on as I surveyed the sold-out crowd (waiting for a much-loved band) seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the Dirty Hooks as much as I was. Cali remarked that they had never been here before, and that it was “fucking amazing.” I think my favorite of their songs was “Moonshine Hustle,” but it’s a tough call; I really enjoyed “Badlands Saints” and “No Good” as well. What you really should do if you’re even remotely interested is take yourself here for a listen and check them out yourself. And that goes double for seeing them live!...... - spinningplatters.com


It started with an instant message on Twitter.
It ended with an unsigned Vegas band landing an opening slot on tour with household-name hard rockers who sold 20 million records in the ’90s.
Beginning March 2, coed power trio The Dirty Hooks will hit the road for two weeks with Stone Temple Pilots.
It’s not just The Dirty Hooks’ first tour — it’s the band’s first trip out of its hometown.
And there are more firsts: It’s STP’s debut tour with new singer Jeff Gutt, a former “The X Factor” runner-up who officially joined the band in November.
It was Gutt who helped hook up the Hooks.
Last fall, the group posted a video for its Bonnie-and-Clyde rocker “Naked City Colt” on social media.
Gutt liked the clip and followed the band on Twitter.
When the dates for STP’s upcoming tour were announced, Dirty Hooks guitarist Anthony Ratto dropped Gutt a line via Twitter, inquiring about possibly getting on the bill for STP’s March 9 show at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.
“I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey, can we open up for you guys when you come through? We’re huge fans,’ ” Ratto recalls. “We got a response like a day later saying, ‘I love your band and I’ll see what I can do. I’ll put your name into the pool.’ ”

They appreciated Gutt hitting them back but weren’t holding their breath about landing the gig.
“When he said there was a pool of bands, we thought, ‘He’s being nice. They probably have somebody,’ ” Ratto says.
Then a couple of hours later, they got an email from STP’s booking agency.
“They’re like, ‘Are you available on these days?’ ” says singer-drummer Jenine Cali. “We’re like, ‘Yes!’ ”
And with that, The Dirty Hooks were on board for 10 shows over 15 days, beginning with a sold-out appearance at The Canyon in Santa Clarita, California, and culminating with a stop March 17 in Billings, Montana. They’ll mostly be playing midsized venues such as the 2,500-capacity Marquee in the Phoenix area and the 1,400-seat Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon, with a show at San Francisco’s storied The Fillmore also on the itinerary.
“For them to pick us, man, I keep thinking, ‘Is this real? Are they really going to let us play and open for them?’ ” marvels singer-baritone guitarist Bobby McCall. “They could have picked anybody. I think it’s pretty punk rock of them to let a local, unsigned band tag along with them.”
It’s a big break for a group for whom big things have been expected for some time now.

Beginning with the release of their excellent 2012 debut, “Electric Grit,” where Cali and McCall’s he-she vocals intertwine atop righteously overblown guitars, The Dirty Hooks have been critically lauded locally. They’ve also caught the ear of a number of industry figures, such as father and son producers Kevin and Kane Churko, who’ve recorded with big names such as Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch and dozens more, and who worked with the band on “Grit” and their forthcoming sophomore effort.
With everyone in The Dirty Hooks having day jobs, though, the band sometimes takes a back seat to life’s demands.
But with their second album in the can, just waiting to be mixed and mastered, The Dirty Hooks are ready to air some new tunes — in new cities.
“It’s long overdue,” Ratto chuckles of the band finally hitting the road after being together for seven years. “We just knew we should we wait for Stone Temple Pilots.”
Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter. - Las Vegas Review Journal


Director Ryen McPherson has made some startling music videos: blowing up the Magic Kingdom in Deadhand’s “Places” and depicting blond twins giving birth to disco balls in the Mad Caps’ “Baby Man.” With indie-rock blues-punk trio the Dirty Hooks, he’s found a group that matches his visual ferocity. “Naked City Colt” is from 2012’s Electric Grit (which Vegas Seven named Best Local Album that year). The video, available on YouTube, is pure momentum—the band members confined to a prison cell atop a flatbed as it blasts across the desert. Ski-masked, the beefy driver puffs a cigar. A holstered black 9mm wobbles on the dash. The Hooks play as if doomed to die. Knives to their throats, guns to their heads, they wait for deathblows. “Just give me what I want,” pleads singer-drummer Jenine Cali in the last frames. McPherson, of Shoot to Kill Media, a Vegas Seven sister company, doesn’t give viewers what we want. He administers a shot of adrenaline to the visual cortex. ★★★★☆ - Vegas Seven Magazine


This is perhaps the controversial one. Please don't think for one minute that I've selected an unsigned, unknown band from America's Wild West to purvey some kind of superiority or hipsterish sentiment. I haven't. I've selected them because this is simply one of the freshest and best things I've heard this year.

The Dirty Hooks come from Las Vegas and play funky, dirty, bluesy, electric rock and roll. In an industry where so much is recycled and rehashed, The Dirty Hooks offer something new and different. These are tales of busted deals in the desert and outlaws on the run.

For our interview with the band, click here. For the bands new video, click here

Favourite Track: Naked City Colt - Listen Up Manchester


MUSIC NOT TO MISS AT LIB

BY MIKE KALIL & HEKTOR D. ESPARZA
Everyone knows the big bands headlining this week’s Life Is Beautiful, so telling you to go see the Killers, Kings of Leon or the Alabama Shakes would be too easy. What we want is to give you a list of acts that you might not be aware of, but should mark down on you Life Is Beautiful to-do list. We already have.

Locally, it’s not that A Crowd of Small Adventures, Rusty Maples, Dusty Sunshine, Kid Meets Cougar and Same Sex Marry aren’t good bands. They’re great. But we know that already. Festival attendees wanting to hear Vegas bands with the stamp of approval from the local hipster cognoscenti should watch each of these performances start to finish without interruption. These bands can summon an audience at will and are sure to be in the upper ranks of Vegas-based acts with the most buzz at the festival. In fact, I’d be surprised if playing LIB did not pave the way to a recording contract for at least one of these bands in the near future. Both KMC and Crowd are sort of ringers at this festival in that they haven’t been playing many shows lately. Yet there’s such a concentration of talent and appeal in these bands it would be a shame not to have them present. (Notably absent from writer Esparza’s local faves at Life Is Beautiful are Black Camaro and Coastwest Unrest.)

NATIONAL ACTS

SATURDAY

Alpine

1 p.m., Ambassador Stage

Unlike many dance-pop groups, this Australian sextet relies less on synthesizers and more on live instrumentation. They blend angular guitar lines, bass, drums and keyboards with the sweet harmonies of singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James. The Melbourne-based ensemble released their debut, A Is For Alpine, down under last year, but it only hit stateside in May. Bright songs like “Villages” and “Hands” are danceable singalongs. Another is the single “Gasoline,” wherein Baker and James begin their twin vocal, “There’s gasoline in your heart/there’s fire in mine.” Expect the band to be ablaze when they kick-off the fest Saturday.

Childish Gambino

8:45 p.m., Ambassador Stage

The nom de rap of Donald Glover, Childish Gambino released a series of underground hip-hop albums and mixtapes before making bigger waves with 2011’s Camp. Glover, best known for his acting role on NBC’s Community, turned heads with that album’s easy flow, polished production and serious swagger. He recently dropped “Centipede,” the first song from his forthcoming follow-up, Because the Internet. A consistently unique lyricist, Glover may be the first MC to employ double entendre to reference an insurance spokeswoman: “Let’s keep it spontaneous, I don’t need that rehearsal/More flow, man, than Progressive commercials.”

Pretty Lights

10:30 p.m., Ambassador Stage

Pretty Lights is the one-man project of producer/musician Derek Vincent Smith. The Colorado native blends densely layered samples upon drum breaks to create propulsive club beats for live audiences. His latest album, A Color Map of the Sun, is his first to depart from this formula of sampling only existing material. For it, he collaborated with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the musicians behind the HBO series Tremé and others to create original, vintage-sounding music to rework into new compositions. Look for him to perform his 2010 remix of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon classic “Time” onstage Saturday, a highlight of his euphoric Coachella set this spring.

SUNDAY

Haim

3:40 p.m., Huntridge Stage

Haim (it rhymes with “time”) is the singing and songwriting sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim plus drummer Dash Hutton. On Sunday, they’ll be playing catchy alt-pop songs from Days Are Gone, the debut album they released last month. Their influences range three decades, from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘70s heyday to ‘80s synth-driven pop to ‘90s R&B a la Destiny’s Child. They’ve opened shows for acts as diverse as punks No Age to popster Ke$ha, but their debut album’s traction overseas has led to sold-out headlining shows and a slot on the main stage of the U.K.’s massive Glastonbury Festival last year. HAIM’s latest single, “The Wire,” is their finest moment and makes you feel slightly bad about the guys the sisters didn’t feel bad about breaking up with.

Janelle Monáe

5:05 p.m., Ambassador Stage

“Stevie Wonder listening to Os Mutantes on vinyl (circa 1973).” That’s a liner note from The Electric Lady, the excellent album Janelle Monáe released last month, and the funky and strange musical gumbo it suggests is apt. Lady is the fourth and fifth installments of a sci-fi concept piece Monáe began on her 2007 debut EP and continued on her 2010 breakout album The ArchAndroid. The story involves time-travel, cloning and Monáe’s droid alter ego Cindi Mayweather, a liberator trading in hip-hop, rock, soul and cabaret. The latest parts of the song-cycle smoke with funky collaborations, including Prince, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spaldin - Las Vegas CityLife


Their blog opens by simply stating ‘The Dirty Hooks are three petty criminals who crossed paths in a naked city crime circle, & began writing music after sharing a cell in Las Vegas’s very own metro county jail’. Thankfully they had the fine sense to record this meeting and provide us ‘the unsuspecting public’ with a soundtrack to accompany this journey which is just sublime. I am grateful to say I have lived long enough to hear the product of this great meeting.

Finally Las Vegas has produced a great band. What about the Killers I hear you say?? My answer, ‘ Las Vegas has finally produced a great band.

The Dirty Hooks are according to their blog an Indie/Blues/Garage Rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in June 2010. The band features vocalist/bass guitarist Bobby McCall, guitarist Anthony Ratto and drummer/vocalist Jenine Cali. But this does nothing to describe them as a band at all. The Dirty Hooks are clean, well rehearsed, possessed with an ability to write really good tracks and deliver them in a fashion which I think made me stop in my tracks when I listened first.

Naked City Colt opens with the simplest vocal line which reels you in gently, the entire first two verses are either vocals or vocals and high hats, then it just explodes into a cacophony of pure bliss. You can feel the dust beneath the feet unsettle as they run. I listened over and over and over and over again to see if I could find a fault and I couldn’t no guitar solo goes on too long, nothing is too high or too low in the mix, everything has its precise place, everything. Simple vocal line, high energy melody simply and effectively delivered. Wow what an absolute breath of fresh air.

Cicada Tree is a reflection of why the band chose the name they did. It is riddled with Dirty Hooks, catchy lyrics and a fantastically placed back beat. Again everything is right, The Dirty Hooks have found a sound and style and deliver it so well it’s scary, there are so many bands could do well to sit down and listen to how tracks should be produced, this simple formula has been displayed by great bands over the decades and it never fails, loud, quiet, loud will do it for me over and over again

Moonshine Hustle is a bit of a change of direction in the sense that it very cleverly starts with both the guitar and Jenine Cali (Drummer/Backing Vocals) mimicking the same melody line, very simple, very effective, Jenine comes into her own here and adds a vocal line to the song which essentially makes the song hers.

The rest of the debut album is just as good. The song craft is amazing, there is nothing complicated in any of the tracks on the album and that is what makes it so bloody good. This is one of those collections that should be handed out in the first class of ‘Starting a band 101’

What The Dirty Hooks have done is taken the age old formula used by The Beatles, The Pixies, The Ramones, Elvis, Bowie, Rage Against The Machine and made it their own. You can hear so many different influences going on here but none of them are being ripped, they are being absorbed and used to create an absolutely amazing collection and a sound which I hope will be developed over the next few years.

This is one band I really want to hear more of.

I been asked to mark this out of 6, with 6 being the highest mark I can give………..to hell with that, this is a 10

Review by Mark Timoney - MRU Magazine - Dublin, Ireland


Women on the front lines? I’m all for it, especially when the ladies dig deeply into the trenches of extreme music and descend like combat-ready valkyries upon Vegas.

All-girl Glendale, California-based Chicana pop-punk band Go Betty Go gets going at 10 p.m. February 9 at the Bunkhouse. The quartet released a cool EP and album for the SideOneDummy label in the “mid-aughts.” But a hard life on the road despite success on the Warped Tour caused the band to break up as they were gaining momentum. They reformed last year and have been playing shows all over the Golden State, with Vegas serving as their sole foray into the Southwest. Go Betty Go specializes in straight-up, catchy-as-hell, melodic punk with curveballs thrown in—like Latin-grooved, reggae-kissed, flamenco-guitared, Spanish-language “No Hay Perdon,” which I hope they’ll perform live. Local all-female garage-rockers The Seriouslys and Henderson all-dude comedy-rockers The Forget Me Nows share the bill.

If that’s not gritty enough for you, how about the female drummer who co-leads/co-sings in Vegas blues-rock trio the Dirty Hooks? I wrote about Jenine Cali and her ferocious yet tuneful band a lot last year, and the Hooks are finally getting the notice they deserve from local entertainment rags. Shoot, they even played Vinyl in the Hard Rock (opening for Mike Watt). The band is still riding high on the acclaim heaped upon 2012 full-length Electric Grit, which gets better every time I spin it. (My new favorite track is sensual yet aggressive “Breakin’ the Skin,” in which Cali sings, Bang, bang, let me in/I’m all broke and razor-blade thin. I’m curious to experience the band in an intimate club such as Artifice, which they rock at 10 p.m. February 9. Local synth-rockers Love Vendetta and dark psych-jammers Dinosaur Hypnosis share the bill.

Metal is enjoying an awesome gender-uplifting renaissance with a slew of female-fronted bands headbanging their way to the fore. Christian Mistress, Witch Mountain and Landmine Marathon (playing the Bunkhouse March 19, yay!) are some critically acclaimed, increasingly popular groups helping redefine the genre’s typically masculine sound and lyrical themes.

Vegas hosts Castle, a lady-led juggernaut from San Francisco at 10 p.m. February 10 at the Bunkhouse. Bassist Elizabeth Blackwell’s voice is heavier than heaven, louder than love and a melodic foil for guitarist Mat Davis’ and new touring (woman) drummer Rae Amitay’s (Mares of Thrace) thrash-tinged, fire-eating doom-metal grooves. Castle’s songs are daringly, poetically constructed. My favorite is the menacing “Corpse Candles” from the band’s 2012 sophomore CD Blacklands. In it, Blackwell sings, like a ghost-haunted Edgar Allan Poe, Deathly white, lifelike fright/Frozen masks of pained delight/A thousand eyes shine dead light/And drip like wax into the night. Can’t wait to see this trio light it up. Vegas’ own female-fronted Demon Lung opens.

- Jarrett Keene, 2/7/13
- Vegas Seven Magazine


The Dirty Hooks
Who: A blues-rock trio featuring Jenine Cali (former lead singer for The Day After) on vocals and drums, and ex-Ill Figures Bobby McCall and Anthony Ratto on vocals/bass and guitar, respectively.
Listen
The Dirty Hooks - "Down by the Riverside"
The Scoop: “The name of our album is Electric Grit, so if anything were to describe our sound, that may be it,” McCall says of The Dirty Hooks, who decided not to play a single show until they’d finished recording a full-length. It took them a year and a half, but Grit shows influences from classic rock and punk to ’90s alt-rock. “Everything from Bowie to the Pixies and Johnny Cash,” McCall says. Think early Black Keys with a touch of The White Stripes—Americana rock with a heavy blues influence and some synth and drum samples. The Hooks are at their best when McCall shares singing duties with Cali, whose vocal range is impressive. Most importantly, they don’t sound like many other bands in Las Vegas.
Next Show: February 9 at Artifice. –Jason Harris - Las Vegas Weekly


At first listen, this immediately drags you in with its guitars that sound like drills, the monster bass lines and upbeat chorus. I love the soulful approach here. The whole record blends a little blues rock with a pop rock kind of sensation. It's all in the title really. It's certainly gritty and the electricity here is undeniable. - Jon - Smash Magazine


If you’re a regular Vegas Seven reader, you may have noticed us raving about this local trio. But even as we named their debut CD, Electric Grit, the Best Local Album this year, we still hadn’t seen them live. So we caught the Dirty Hooks at their fourth gig ever as they opened for Mike Watt + the Missingmen. And it seemed like a fair chunk of the sparse crowd was there to support our local musicians.

They rocked through the 10 songs from their album, proving that their solid talent extends beyond the studio. Front man Bobby McCall and drummer Jenine Cali sang spot-on vocal harmonies through vintage microphones. They were accompanied by Anthony Ratto’s rock-star guitar riffs and organ interludes (including an extended improvised guitar solo when McCall broke a string). Color us impressed at the Dirty Hooks’ ability to not only sound as great—if not better—than their album. Their warm rapport and precision playing is far too good to merely play only local gigs for much longer. ?????
- Deanna Rilling - Vegas Seven Magazine


I’ve been snagged, tagged and bagged by the best new Vegas band I’ve heard in years—a group with a single live show under its belt. But their résumé is growing. The Dirty Hooks are a feral blues-punk trio featuring singer/baritone guitarist Bobby McCall, singer/drummer Jenine Cali (front woman for defunct indie act The Day After) and guitarist Anthony Ratto III. The group recently self-released Electric Grit, which was mixed at producer Kevin Churko’s (Ozzy Osbourne) Hideout studio by his son Kane. I had a chance to chat with McCall about his band’s Bible-soaked, gun-waving, sex-drenched, neon-lit songs on their lacerating yet melodic debut (Vegas Seven named it “Best Local Album”), and how he plans to achieve a massive, gutbucket-blasting sound with three people onstage.

Why a three-piece? Wouldn’t it be easier for Cali to sing if she wasn’t beating the drums?

It probably would be a little easier for her to sing if she were to just stand behind a microphone. But Jenine’s drumming showcases what she can do live. ... Anthony and I had started writing songs together as a duo beforehand—Beatles-type stuff. When Jenine came in, we realized we had a real rock band on our hands.

Boy-girl vocals rarely sound this unhinged and erotic. Is it how yours and Cali’s voices intertwine that inspired the sexy lyrics of, say, “Kerosene Fire?”

We’re inspired by bands with a guy/girl dynamic: Sonic Youth, the Pixies, the Kills, the Raveonettes. But nothing on Electric Grit was preconceived or overly thought-out beforehand. Jenine usually works out the harmonies herself, and she’s been great about picking up and running with whatever we throw on the table.

What I admire about the Hooks’ lyrics is that it’s hard to pinpoint your influences. The words are dangerous, action-packed and have little relation to navel-gazing indie-rock.

An outlaw storyteller like Johnny Cash comes to mind. I listen to a lot of old-school country by Cash and Hank Williams Jr. And then, of course, we’re all fans of punk, which is where the danger probably comes in. The Clash is among my biggest influences—songs like “I Fought the Law,” “Bankrobber”—and might be partly responsible for our trigger-happy songs. We have a million influences now that we’re older [in their mid-30s]. Music that I used to hate I love now; music I once loved I can’t stand today. Our lyrics are like Bonnie and Clyde-type stories. We’re not thinking about hipsters when we write lyrics, not trying to be trendy. We usually start with a title or storyline and build from that. Some songs are completely fabricated; others are based on true events. We write what sounds good and hope people relate.

Suddenly you guys are playing everywhere. What changed in the month since releasing Grit?

These guys want to play shows all the time! Shows are the icing on the cake since we spent more than a year writing and recording [Grit]. Neon Reverb was a last-minute addition, and we didn’t want to turn it down. It’s an opportunity to play with out-of-town bands for a good crowd.

If there was ever a soundtrack for the dying neon, bruised hookers and crumbling strip-mall churches of downtown Vegas, Grit is it. How much of the gritty Fremont environment inspires the Hooks’ heavy attack?

Every ounce of Grit is inspired by it. We’re all Vegas natives and grew up going to shows at Huntridge Theater. Downtown is beautiful and filthy—and our home.

Two Dirty Hooks Shows; Azul Tequila, 9 p.m. Sept. 15, as part of Neon Reverb, and Artifice, 9 p.m. Sept. 22. For more info, go to TheDirtyHooks.com.

- Jarret Keene - Vegas Seven Magazine


The Dirty Hooks’ debut CD, Electric Grit, possesses both high voltage and gravelly authenticity. The sexy, intertwined boy-girl vocals of front man Bobby McCall and drummer Jenine Cali are awesome by themselves. But add McCall’s ferocious guitar riffs and Tony Ratto’s whiplash bass, and we’re talking magic. Juke-joint-raising tunes such as “Moonshine Hustle” and “Kerosene Fire” are how you do bluesy rock ’n’ roll right. If you’re a fan of anything like the Black Keys, then this disc will snag and drag you by the gills—hard.

- Jarret Keene - Vegas Seven Magazine


The Dirty Hooks "Electric Grit"

Goddamn that’s some kick-ass rock ’n’ roll! Vegas trio Bobby McCall, Anthony Ratto and Jenine Cali have released a seriously sick debut LP that balances both grit and polished musicianship. Scenesters may recognize Cali—now drumming up a storm—from her previous band, The Day After, and McCall and Ratto from the Ill Figures. Sharing vocal duties, McCall and Cali bring to mind The Dead Weather—but without going too weird. Electric Grit is a fantastically solid, legit and timeless rock offering. (4 out of 5 stars)

- Deanna Rilling - Vegas Seven Magazine


It’s early in the afternoon, and The Dirty Hooks are nestled into the back couches at Yayo Taco. They’ve never been here before. Not to eat the incredible tacos, which two of them are doing right now. Not when drummer Jenine Cali was in The Day After, and not when singer Bobby McCall and guitarist Anthony Ratto III were in Ill Figures. This is a new experience. Which, really, describes Dirty Hooks to a T.

Digging into carne asada and pollo, McCall and Ratto describe the first Hooks show. It was smoky. They don’t say that but you have to assume any show at Money Plays is probably smoky. Just like you have to assume it won’t take much to make the West Flamingo hole-in-the-wall look crowded, or that, given all three of the members haven’t played in gigging bands for a couple years, that crowd would be made of old friends and fans of their earlier work. That work being the ’90s alt-rock, female-fronted, Foo Fighters vibe of Cali’s The Day After, and the reggae-punk, metal-tipped, 311 sound of Ill Figures.

And besides Cali’s former band being, at one point, signed to Gotham Records in New York (“Having distribution was super cool, but we got out of it and lesson learned”), and being aware both of these bands were considered stars of the scene in the early aughts, you’re pretty caught up. And with that comes the whole “new experience totally describing the new band” thing. The Dirty Hooks have exactly one show under their belt. And one full-length album, Electric Grit. The former was to celebrate the release of the latter, which the trio worked on for a year and a half — half a year after becoming a band at all. And the result is an album so comfortable it should belong on the discography of a band with substantially more rings in its trunk, not some musical toddler.

“We wanted to record an album before playing any shows,” McCall says, coming to the end of some particularly sloppy carne asada. “Our old bands, we just played a ton of shows all the time. We wanted this to be different.”

And it is. Mostly because it’s good, and hasn’t been not-good in its entire existence. You could even say great, depending on your speakers and your opinion of gritty electric guitar music. If we’re talking literally and sonically, it probably sounds good because it was mixed down by Kane (son of Kevin) Churko at The Hideout. “I think Kane probably wanted to punch me in the face,” McCall says, mostly kidding. “He mixed the first song and it sounded very dancy and bassy, like his band [Modern Science]. I was like, I dig it but it’s not dirty or rock. I think he knew what we were going for after a few sessions.”

They’ll tell you the best song is “Dancing with a Train” (“dancin’ with a train/you’re gonna lose a leg now, honey”), in which hi-hats sound like steam-engine valve gear, and The Raconteurs come to mind a little more than fleetingly. But they aren’t giving themselves enough credit. “Moonshine Hustle” might be the favorite from this side of the keyboard. It takes what The Zombies did in the ’60s and makes it suitable for today’s tough cuss in a way that feels both bare-knuckled and remarkably erotic. You know, sex rock.

Maybe that’s another difference. On average leaning closer to their 40s than 30s, The Dirty Hooks still make surprisingly powerful, energetic music tailored for younger bucks, but written much smarter than said bucks, even those aided by a thesaurus and a compendium of lead sheets from all the best rock, country and blues songs in the last 50 years. Some of the stories come from McCall’s life experiences. Some come from things that could’ve become life experiences if he would’ve walked down a different block or did a bunch of heroin. Others are complete fabrications. But it doesn’t keep McCall from feeling it where it counts. “We’re storytellers,” he says. “It’s like The Beatles singing about Eleanor Rigby. It’s just the ultimate form of expression.”

McCall’s still figuring out how that expression is different these days. After all, the local music scene isn’t what it was in the early 2000s. He talks about the days playing The Boston. He can’t compare it to anything else in town, and neither can Cali or Ratto. But contrary to the solace of familiarity you’d expect, The Dirty Hooks are excited about playing outside their comfort zone. And seeing and hearing that excitement unhampered by jaded coolness is a new experience for anyone who ever writes about local bands. The Dirty Hooks want to play shows with the new bands they’ve kept occasional tabs on, the ones a decade their minor. The want The Griffins, The Beauty Bars. They want the downtown scene. And they’ll get it. They’re just that good.

by MAX PLENKE - Las Vegas CityLife


Discography

ELECTRIC GRIT (LP)

- Voted "Best Local Album 2012" by Vegas Seven Magazine

- "Naked City Colt" played on Listen Up Manchester's Spotify List

- "Naked City Colt" played on FRQ Dublin

- "Dancing with a Train" being played of KOMP 92.3 Homegrown Show

- "Dancing with a Train" played on undertheradar.com

- "Dancing with a Train" and "Moonshine Hustle" played on Indie104 - iRadio LA

- "Dancing with a Train" played on X107.5's X-Effect

- "Dancing with a Train" made it into the Top 10 of 2012 list on KOMP 92.3 Homegrown Show


KISS THE DEVIL AND RUN (EP)

- on Life is Beautiful Festival Spotify playlist

- "No Good" made top 10 list on KOMP 92.3 Homegrown Show 




Photos

Bio

"Goddamn thats some kick-ass rock n roll!" -
Deanna Rilling, Vegas Seven Magazine.

"I've been snagged, tagged and bagged by the best new Vegas band Ive heard in years"... - Jarret Keene, Vegas Seven Magazine

"Dig the hard swingin' electric sizzle of Vegas' the Dirty Hooks..." - Jason Bracelin, Las Vegas Review Journal

Las Vegas is known for many things.  A virtual playground for adults as early as the 1940’s.  A place where people could double their money at a blackjack table while watching a scantily-clad chorus line of smiling beauties do the can-can.  A place where anything goes, everyone’s a winner, and your secrets are safely forgotten.  But behind every smile is a story, and behind every casino a dark alleyway, where the glow of the neon jungle doesn’t necessarily illuminate the hopes and dreams of it’s visitors.  There’s a different town.  One that’s filled with hard-luck, lost souls, and the broken-hearted.  A town that the locals call home.  Born and raised in the long shadow of the Las Vegas strip, the Dirty Hooks translate story into song.  An alternative rock band of songwriters influenced by the storytelling of Johnny Cash, the ambient, yet dirty fuzz tones of artists like Sonic Youth and the Pixies, as well as the vocal dynamics of classic Americana and Motown.  Unable to sit still on stage, the Dirty Hooks aren’t your typical three piece, but rather a sonic wall of bricks and mortar, mixed with howling guitars, ambient synth tones, 808’s, and three-part harmonies.  Each song telling stories of heartache, triumph, double-crossing, and American subculture.  A new breed with a lot to say, and just like the cloth of the city they’re cut from, the Dirty Hooks have plenty of secrets to tell.

  • On tour with Stone Temple Pilots 2018 (spring/summer)
  • Summer 2018 Revolution 3 Tour w/ Stone Temple Pilots, Bush and The Cult
  • Played Emerge + Impact 2018
  • Played Neon Reverb Festival 2016 w/ Bleached
  •  Played Wine Amplified Festival 2014 opening for Blink 182, Violent Femmes, The Mowgli's, Magic!
  • Headlined Vegas Music Summit 2014 Showcase 
  • Played the Life is Beautiful Festival 2013
  • Headlined at Cosmopolitan Hotel - Las Vegas Summer Series 2013
  • Played Neon Reverb Festival 2012
  • One of 10 Vegas bands you need to hear now 2013 by Las Vegas Weekly Magazine
  • Voted Best Local Album 2012 by Seven Magazine
Bands we've played with:
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, BUSH, THE CULT, Blink 182, Violent Femmes, Eagles of Death Metal, Youngblood Hawke, The Mowgli's, Surfer Blood, Mike Watt and the Missingmen, Magic!, Big Talk, Bleached


Band Members