As Neil Young famously sang, "Rock & roll can never die." It might disappear from the spotlight and wallow in the underground for a while, but eventually, the cycle of popularity and hipness comes around again, and the rockers will rejoice.
Still, labels are reluctant to take a chance on a hard rocking young band like Dirty Honey. These aren’t the bands that stream well on Spotify. Rather than beg and plead, the band signed with Mark DiDia’s Red Light Management and, for now, self-released their album on Dirt Records.
“I ran labels for years, that’s my background,” says DiDia. “So we have a promotion system [at Red Light] for radio. I thought we’d have a good shot at that. [I tried] to get them a record deal last year. [I sent my brother Nick], a well known engineer and producer, the songs and he wanted to do it. I shopped the EP to every label I could think of, and nobody wanted to take the dive with me. Instead of waiting around and begging someone to work with me, I figured I’d do it myself.”
"Good, old-fashioned, fun, riff-based rock records never go away."
Singer Marc LaBelle confirms that they put a lot of energy into trying to get a label partner at the beginning.“We like the path that we’re on. We’re still taking every label meeting we can get, but there seems to be an authenticity in [not having a] mission statement. It’s just a cooler thing. But if Atlantic were to give us a million dollars, that’s a conversation we’d be having.”
They formed a year and a half ago when LaBelle moved to LA. Serendipitously, he joined DiDia’s Monday night hockey league, and the manager encouraged the frontman to write original material. He did, and the group’s shared love of classic rock shone through.
“We really focus on bringing soul back to rock & roll,” says LaBelle. “Modern era rock bands have gotten a little clean and perfect with their sound, and we wanted to grease it up. Get a little filthier. I love those old Zeppelin records, but I think bands like The Black Keys and Gary Clark Jr. have done a really good job of keeping the soul in their music.”
The band has already opened for The Who and Slash. Without a label, but with a seasoned manager, they’re taking giant strides.“Good, old- fashioned, fun, riff-based rock records never go away,” says DiDia.
He’s right, you know.
Date Signed (with Red Light): August 2018
Label: Dirt Records
Band Members: Marc LaBelle, vocals; John Notto, guitars; Justin Smolian, bass; Corey Coverstone, drums.
Type of Music: Rock & Roll
Management: Mark DiDia - Red Light Management
Booking: Ken Fermaglich - UTA
Legal: Greg Cimino
Publicity: Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald, firstname.lastname@example.org