Juice as in power. Juice as in “on the loose”. That’s the best description of this band that the Soul Man can come up with. Thy Dirty Deuce are from Wisconsin, and they are turning some heads. Their “all in” approach to Blues/Rock music has created some devout followers, plus carved out a niche in music scenes all over the Midwest. They are, unquestionably, a band apart” – THE BLUES HIGHWAY
Indie Pulse Music recently (virtually) interviewed all five members of Thy Dirty Deuce, a quintet from the deepest, coldest regions of Wisconsin (yes, where the REAL NFL G.O.A.T., Aaron Rodgers, resides. But we digress). You’ll read some mentions of “Bruised,” the group’s newly-released album. And you might read some other wild stuff that came out of this fun exchange. Dirty Deuce are Reverend Rob Atwood (guitars, vocals); Jamey Clark (drums); Greg Rotiek (bass); David Passow (harmonica); and Matt Ostlund (saxophone). Let’s get to it.
IPM: Should live music venues be open for concerts now, even during the Covid pandemic?
Jamey: Personally, I would love to see music venues reopen, especially outdoor venues, but, I know many people would disagree with my opinion. Unfortunately, I feel like that will remain a touchy subject for some time yet.
Greg: That is a touchy subject. How do you balance a livelihood and overall safety? I feel like it ultimately boils down to the personal risk factor now. Smaller gigs maybe? Try to figure out a level of acceptable responsibility. Travel South, follow the temperature changes and only do outdoor gigs?
Rob: Is that a trick question (laughs)?
David: I believe it’s a personal choice for the venue and the band at this stage of the game. We do have a vaccine on the horizon and hopefully by Fall things will be “normalized.”
IPM: What do you guys do when you see some knuckleheads talking a lot, during a Dirty Deuce set?
Jamey: Haha!! We talk back!! Rev.Rob has occasionally stopped mid-song, to harass some people trying to leave! We love people!!
Greg: I’d say encourage it, maybe kill them with kindness and gentle sarcasm a bit to put them in their place. Rob does a fantastic job at addressing the audience. Both to hype them up and rattle them when necessary. It’s quite admirable. I had a group of guys once keep throwing air bass motions at me. Saying things like “slappa da bass mon” that kinda shit. I answered by jumping off the monitor and got in his face and did a bass solo right along with him. It was a lot of fun and they fucking loved it. One can either be put off and offended by every little thing that people do or engage. I say engage, life is too short.
Rob: I’ve never run into that problem. It’s pretty hard to have a conversation while we’re playing, but we do have a lot of fans that scream Dirty Deuce song requests and we do our best to play to that.
David: At this stage of the game, I’ve gotten to the point where if things aren’t really happening, I will go out into the crowd and play. I have a REALLY LONG mic cord!!!
Matt: That never happens. The biggest problem with talking is in between sets. Hard to get a puff down when people are telling you how good your music is:)
IPM: What’s the most important trait a musician has to possess to survive in the music business?
Jamey: Confidence, knowing, and believing what you’re doing is kick-ass and that everyone who hears, and sees your work will find something that sticks with them.
Greg: Patience and the ability to survive in incredibly fucked-up scenarios and on extremely meager means. Don’t get too attached to the idea of having shit. You won’t.
Rob: The trick is not to be doing it for business alone.
David: It’s a multi-dimensional question, first you have the love of the music…and the passion when you play the music. That every time you’re up there you are doing your best to please the crowd and yourself. The music is foremost and should always be organic, and finances will find their way.
Matt: If you’re not having fun then get out of the business. We all have different goals in this industry and it can’t all be bundled into one thing. It takes more than a good-looking beard to be a good musician if you know what i mean.
IPM: Have Thy Dirty Deuce considered investing money in the outdoor heaters market, how else do you guys manage to play outdoor gigs in Wisconsin during the Winter?
Jamey: There are a couple great festivals that happen around the state. We did play on the ice for an ice fishing tournament one year. That’s right! In the Winter, we walk on water up here & occasionally “rock” on water as well! We were under a tent 🙂
Greg: Haha! Taking up stock wouldn’t be a bad thing I guess. DP (Dirty Deuce harpist David Passow) is really into investments. There’s been a few times I’ve had to play in double hoodies, winter hat, thermals and what I thought was a cold (Covid). I have a crazy propane heater that I point towards Rob. Really messes with his intonation! (laughs).
Rob: That question could only come from someone who’s not from the Midwest. I have played ice parties on frozen lakes and NFL Packer games. Never once did I complain about being cold!
David: Personally, I don’t see it as a viable investment only because the market is flooded with outdoor heaters.
Matt: We have zoom meetings daily discussing this exact topic and we’ve all come to the same conclusion that it’s a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ type of thing.
IPM: Based on what our country went through at the Capitol building last week, do you see any ‘Deuce songs being written as a result of those actions?
Greg: I don’t foresee it. We haven’t gotten too political with this band. Dirty Deuce always seems to be the right thing at the right time for most people that come to seek us out. I think right now the last thing our fans need is more political shit. Rob’s lyrics are more therapeutic than political. And I like it that way.
Rob: It definitely manifests and bleeds into our everyday existence, but the music I write is more about the human condition.
David: Sadly no.
Matt: I hope not!
IPM: If there were any record label A&R types out there reading this, what’s the one best thing you could tell him/her about the ‘Deuce?
Jamey: Come see a Dirty Deuce show! We would love to meet you!
Greg: Come see us, you’ll get it.
Rob: Thy Dirty Deuce is doing this WITH or WITHOUT you. Are you in?
David: To ME, we are the REAL deal!
Matt: Give us a chance. We are simple people looking to play and share our talents because we feel this is the best way we can contribute to helping the world.
IMP: Five years from now, where do you think Dirty Deuce will be, musically-speaking? Will we even still have a planet by then?
Jamey: Good Lord willing, we’ll be playing somewhere on this planet or some other ones.
Greg: Promissory planetary existence status I cannot give. While I would like to be playing in front of a lot more people, I feel like the ‘Deuce will still convey that intimate sharing of thoughts, love, and rock and roll to anyone that’s willing to share it with us. A delicate balance of that and world domination.
Rob: Five years from now, I suspect Dirty Deuce will be playing in a whole other dimension!
David: In five years…. I would hope for ten (Dirty Deuce released) albums, playing in front of 2,000 people a night ….and just having A KILLER fan base.
Matt: I’m hoping by then we will be on our fifth tour of Australia along with other countries.
IPM: What music are you guys currently listening to? any shockers here?
Jamey: My random shuffle playlist goes from NOFX to Cab Calloway and Johnny Cash to Beck. I truly love music. I honestly don’t know how to live without it. So many great songs.
Greg: Last Top 5 Playlist: 1- Drive like Jehu. 2- Hoover. 3- Botch. 4- Rihanna (Guilty pleasure, not by choice mind you. I just happen to be in the same room). 5- Capn’Jazz.
Rob: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Clutch, Fishbone, Saint Paul and the Broken Bones, Noga Erez
David: The Wood Brothers, Buddy Miles, Adam and Satan, Jason Ricci, Venice Codes
Matt: I’ve been listening to lots of Mitch Hedberg standup comedy. That shit never gets old!
IPM: Several years ago, Dirty Deuce played at Lambeau Field for Brett Favre’s Retirement Party. Any chance of you guys performing there again sometime, especially while the Packers are in the Playoffs?
Jamey: We would never turn down an opportunity to play at Lambeau Field. But the pandemic and all protocols are in place in the state of Wisconsin, so there has been no tailgating or fans allowed in, or even around, the stadium this year. I believe they’re letting 6,000 fans into the playoff game. Having grown up in this area, it’s very strange to not see thousands upon thousands of football fans gathered in that part of Green Bay every weekend. We will all be rooting for the Pack at home with friends. Go Pack!!!
Greg: Oh, I certainly hope so. I missed the previous ones and am really looking forward to that.
Rob: Of course we would love to; and if anyone in the Packer administration contacts us, we will be at their beck and call! GO PACK GO!!!
David: Actually, we usually play at Harry’s Packer parties (at least once a year) and they are a LOT of FUN. Packers are the BEST!!! GO PACK GO!
Matt: We will always be packer fans and if we ever get the opportunity to play at a Packer game again, we would be very down to jam it.
IPM: Any cool new Dirty Deuce merch you care to plug?
Jamey: We have a very limited number of vinyl copies of our third album “Big Ol’ Sexy” for sale, hit us up to purchase this, our new album Bruised, or anything else Dirty Deuce-centric, at our website, https://www.thydirtydeuce.com/. It’s (Big ‘Ol Sexy) is one of the last albums engineered, recorded, mixed, and mastered by the late, great Billy Triplett. As of right now, once they’re gone, that’s it, they’re gone.
Greg: Hopefully back patches soon. Man, am I fucking excited about that! (laughs).
Rob: My favorite merch is handcrafted by the fans.
David: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we have an overstock of merch, please visit our website. Matt: I’ve got some broken strings and broken sax and harp reeds for sale (laughs). Probably not a popular item during COVID-19 times but they are available.
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