The Dirty Strangers
The Dirty Strangers
From there it spreads south and east to its snootier neighbours in Chiswick and Notting Hill. The borough is home to the BBC, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, Queens Park Rangers FC and the greatest little rock’n’roll band in the world. The Dirty Strangers were born in 1986-ish when Clayton – riding on the coat-tails of punk while mixing the rootsy rock’n’roll of Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry with a little bit of Otis Redding soul – honed a five-piece line-up including sometime Chuck Berry sideman ‘Scotty’ Mulvey and former Ruts guitarist Paul Fox. Clayton, the band’s prime motivator and chief songwriter remained a man prone to ducking and diving – a loft extension here, a bit of security work there – and in the latter capacity met Big Joe Seabrook, a man who did the same for Keith Richards. Recognising a pair of soul brothers this man introduced Clayton to Richards and within minutes – in full Shepherds Bush market nothing-ventured nothing-gained bravado – the Dirties frontman was asking Keef, ‘Wanna hear our album? Wanna play on it?’ It just so happened that with the Stones on downtime and Mick making a solo album, Keef and Ron Wood were kicking their heels.
Next thing, they were in some low-rent studio jamming because, well, it’s only rock’n’roll but they like it. Their names and work appeared on the Dirty Strangers’ self-titled debut album in 1987 and rave reviews followed. In 1993 a fine second album, Burn The Bubble, emerged but the world beyond W12 inexplicably missed out and the Dirties lapsed into hiatus – lofts were extended, kitchens finally finished… Clayton, though, never stopped writing songs and playing gigs. He also stayed in touch with Keith and Ronnie and eventually joined the inner circle of crew on the Stones’ mammoth Bigger Bang tour of 2005-2007. With that jaunt completed the Dirties were reborn and a third album, once again featuring contributions by Keith and Ronnie.
Its title – West 12 To Wittering – a homage both to the area that spawned it and the Rolling Stones guitarist who once told Alan Clayton: “We’re the same, you and me, but you didn’t get the breaks…” The new album is somewhat of a pastiche of Arthur Laurent’s ‘West Side Story, (just swap Shepherds Bush for New York) Clayton writes his own musical, influenced by personal life experiences that embrace gang culture, hoodlums, isolation, liberty, motors, and love stories. Keith plays piano on 5 tracks and on ‘All Away’ is joined by the legendary Joe Brown playing banjo. Ronnie Wood’s slide guitar is on two tracks, ‘South Of The River’ & ‘Gold Cortina’. Joe Brown’s son Pete produced the album except for ‘Real Botticelli’ (co-written by Keith as was ‘Bad Girls’) which was produced by former Damned founder member, Brian James. Read more on Last.fm.
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