Dirty Honey Is Burning Up The Charts,
Set To Open For Alter Bridge/Skillet
Marc LaBelle Interview
September 26, 2019
Dirty Honey is a throwback, in your face, rock and roll band. Based out of Los Angeles, the quartet is comprised of singer Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian and drummer Corey Coverstone.
Their current single, “When I’m Gone” is the new number one single on rock radio. The band played a tremendous show opening up for Slash the past August at MGM’s Center Stage. They will return to Cleveland when they will open up for Alter Bridge and Skillet at The Agora on October 5th.
We had the chance to speak with lead singer Marc LaBelle to talk about his band and their upcoming appearance at The Agora.
Greg Drugan: Hey Marc, I wanted to congratulate you on the success of “When I’m Gone.”
Marc LaBelle: Thank you! Yeah it’s been a pretty cool ride so far.
GD: I read that you guys just released your EP on vinyl, is there going to be CD’s or other formats available?
ML: We haven’t talked much about other formats. My druthers would be to put it out on cassette. (laughs) I think for now we’re gonna stick with vinyl and digital.
GD: You guys added an extra song to the vinyl EP, correct?
ML: Yeah, that was a tune that we recorded with the Australian batch for the EP. We decided to hold off it’s release. We decided to give the people something new a few months down the road.
GD: I got the opportunity to see you open up for Slash this past August here in Cleveland and you guys killed it. You easily won the crowd over. Has that been the reaction from fans across the country?
ML: Yeah, that crowd in particular was tough. It was tough because they had seats and they were sitting down and they didn’t know who in the hell Dirty Honey is. If you were there, you know at the end of the show it was pretty fun. Actually, that was our best ever merch night there in Northfield. We were pretty stoked. That was the first time we ever had to do that, other than opening for The Who.
The reaction has been really good wherever we play. Now that we’re out with Alter Bridge, there’s a little more familiarity with the songs everywhere we go.
GD: You called it. The fans were sitting down but when you went into “When I’m Gone” then “Rolling Sevens” you could see it in everyone’s faces like they were thinking, “holy shit, these guys are for real.”
ML: Yeah, yeah! That was a really fun night. That was a night that Myles came back stage and said “You guys fuckin’ killed it.” It’s really tough to win over a crowd like that and Cleveland is awesome. It’s a rock and roll town. Slash even said something that night to us like “You guys are fucking awesome, I love what you are doing.” We were really pumped up for the rest of the night.
GD: So what was it like touring with Slash and Myles?
ML: It was awesome. It’s been a dream come true. Myles has been super nice, obviously we are back out on the road with him. He’s a fan and he loves us. He’s been a great person to learn a lot from. Same with Slash. He’s a professional. There’s a lot of preparation into his tours and they rehearse like crazy. He likes to play and is really passionate about playing.
GD: How did end up meeting the other guys in the band?
ML: Justin is really the only LA native. The rest of us moved out there with a dream. I met up with John, and John happened to know Justin, who happened to know this drummer Corey. We went out together and felt some magic and started to do some gigs. We were all looking at each other like this could be a real thing here so we should go for it. We started writing some more songs, and booking more gigs and it kinda happened pretty quickly.
GD: How did you guys come up with the name Dirty Honey?
ML: I was listening to Howard Stern and he was interviewing Robert Plant. They were talking about one of his side projects, The Honey Drippers. I thought that’s such a dirty, rock and roll name. That’s so cool. I merged the names and put them into my phone with other potential band names and that was the winner.
GD: That’s a great name because you kinda have that dirty sound, it’s kinda gritty.
ML: Thanks, that’s our M.O.!
GD: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
ML: There are a lot of them. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, AC/DC, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. Anything from the 60s to the ‘90s rock era. That’s my wheelhouse right there. There’s this guy in Dallas that said, “you sound like every ‘70s rock band that I love. They met up with every ‘90s rock band, they fucked and the baby was Dirty Honey.” I said “Oh my god, this guy gets us!” It was a very high compliment.
GD: When did you know that you could sing or have a voice?
ML: I could hold a pitch when I was young. I think I found my voice playing in the clubs in LA. That’s a long process. There are some people that can just belt it out and wind up on American Idol or go that route. To have your own voice as a rock and roll singer comes from playing in clubs and getting dirty. Just time, and time is a necessary element in finding yourself.
GD: Do you play any instruments?
ML: I play guitar, I mostly write with my guitar but I don’t play guitar with the band live. That’s about it actually.
GD: Do you remember the first artist you saw in concert and how did that impact you?
ML: Yeah, my first show was Aerosmith and it had a profound impact on me. I met Steven and Joe before the show at the radio station. I got to shake their hands, got autographs and stuff and that was the moment. When I saw them get into the limo, I was like that’s it, that looks like fun. To see them play in front of twenty thousand people. It was fuckin’ awesome.
GD: How old were you then?
ML: Thirteen? Twelve or thirteen. Something like that.
GD: With so many people saying rock is dead, what made you decide to go into the hard rock vein rather than pop?
ML: It’s just what your passion is. Musically, if you aren’t chasing your passion, you are bound to fail. Passion drives everything great that’s artistic
GD: Are there any plans to release a full length album or are you going to go the EP route again?
ML: I’m not sure. We just released a new tune on the vinyl so that will be going up on digital platforms soon. “When I’m Gone” is the first single and we feel like we got a couple more so we’re gonna ride that until it’s the end of the line. Then we’ll figure out if we’re gonna do five or eight or ten (new songs).
GD: “Rolling 7s” is my favorite tune on the EP.
ML: That will for sure be the next single. We already shot a video for that and it’s ready to go. We’re gonna see what happens with “When I’m Gone” and we’ll be looking for your support with “Rolling 7s” in a couple of weeks.
GD: Well, you got it brother! You guys are gonna be opening up for Guns ‘N Roses for their last two shows of their tour. Are you gonna feel any pressure opening those shows?
ML: I think it’s more excitement. I don’t feel nervous pressure, it’s more excitement. I grew up playing sports and anybody that’s good, lives up to the high pressure situation. We feel good about our show and we love the songs. We are excited to share them with new, potential fans. I mean it’s gonna be fuckin’ awesome! We are so jacked up for that show! It’s a milestone in our career for sure.
GD: So you guys are opening up for Alter Bridge and Skillet this fall, what can we expect from your show?
ML: Just some high energy, soulful, bluesy rock and roll. Big riffs, big chorus’. And we’re playing Ohio. Anytime you’re in Ohio, Detroit, or the midwest. They are really good rock and roll towns. They give you the energy and we give it right back.
GD: I don’t think anyone will be sitting at this show. We’ll be on our feet the whole time.
ML: I love it!
GD: Marc, I wish you the best on this tour. I’m telling everyone to get there early and check you guys out! I’m looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.
ML: Thanks man. We really appreciate the support.
Be sure to check out Dirty Honey as they open up for Alter Bridge and Skillet at The Agora on October 5th. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased here.
For more information about Dirty Honey, click here.