Local band Dirty Hairy is a bit of an anomaly. Led by frontman H. Shelton Valentine, a raspy-voiced punk rock dervish in the body of an aspiring Buddha, the band cranks out some of the most questionable covers you could imagine, along with a smattering of punk/metal hybrid originals.
And they pull it off with a mix of humor and rock panache that always get their crowds riled up, which you can witness for yourself during their gig on Saturday night at West Phoenix pub O'Brien's Sports Bar.
The show, which also features Tucson's rock veterans Pork Torta and local weed rap king SupaJoint, will likely follow Dirty Hairy's rock 'n' roll raison d'être, which its vocalist says involves having "kind of a wild and crazy good time."
Along with bassist Johann Halpe, guitarist Chris Anderson, and drummer James White, Valentine works hard to create quite a bona fide ruckus and encourage audience participation whenever they play.
"[It's] high-energy, liquor- and marijuana-fueled fun," he says. "We toss lots of stuff into the crowd. Plan on smiling and maybe dancing a little. [People] should plan on hearing songs they know."
Suffice it to say, being bummed out is strictly verboten at a Dirty Hairy show.
Valentine, who will celebrate his birthday Saturday night, isn't the only member of the band adept at instigating wild times at its gigs.
To wit: Dirty Hairy bassist Johann Halpe, who embodies the latter part of the band's name with his mane of curly black hair, tends to have a wardrobe surprise up his sleeve, which includes boas, provocative leggings, and light-up clothing.
Besides being a hirsute hedonist at heart, Halpe -- a veteran of the glam rock scene that ruled the Mason Jar in the '80s and '90s -- boasts every bit of stage swagger a performer would need, whether you're a glam rock superstar or a stripper fishing for George Washingtons. He also has a real knack for falling down while playing and (usually) not missing a note.
Halpe and Valentine are two of the more visible members of the 40-something music scene here in the Valley, and Dirty Hairy's backstory is not unlike a coming-of-middle-age film directed by the Farrelly Brothers, although nowhere near as gross.
"I'd been asking Chris to play music with me for years. I was going through a separation after 17 years of marriage and five kids and was in a little bit of a black hole," Valentine says. "Chris mentioned starting a band. [Dirty Hairy's original drummer] Mark Paz was working for Chris and mentioned [jamming] to Johann and that seems to be the beginning."
Each member of Dirty Hairy has been involved in a number of local projects over the years, but none particularly recently. Guitar player Chris Anderson earned his chops playing with local metal shredders Dreaded Fate back in the day, and brings an edge to his playing that helps lend a grittier, metal-ish approach to covers like "Johnny B. Goode" (although Dirty Hairy's version is more in line with the Sex Pistols cover) and Dramarama's "Anything."
After Dirty Hairy initially formed in 2010, it was a cathartic experience for Valentine and the rest of the boys to be on stage again.
Drummer James White, who replaced founding member Mark Paz, digs the fact Dirty Hairy includes a number of covers in its sets.
"We all listen to the radio. We have our favorites. To get together with your bros and recreate those favorites and make originals absolutely pleases my soul," he says. It also pleases their crowds.
When asked what the band's goals are for 2014, Anderson quips that they'll attempt to "Keep Shelton alive," since the frontman tends to go all out during gigs. It also helps demonstrate the band's off-kilter sense of humor and the fact they help look out for each other both on and off stage, which is part of their inherent charm.
As for Halpe's goals for 2014, he hopes to "fucking rock, record, and do a Faster Pussycat cover." Might we suggest a Dirty Hairy version of "City Has No Heart?"
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!