Interview With Marc And Corey;
Album April 23
March 30, 2021
Dirty Honey, an up and coming hard rock band from southern California were making some waves in 2019 by opening up for Slash that summer and Alter Bridge that fall. They were poised to make a big splash in 2020 by releasing their first full length album and perhaps going on their first headlining tour.
Then COVID hit and put all of those plans on hold.
It now looks like 2021 will be their breakout year. The band recently released a new single and video for “California Dreamin’” and the band is set to release their debut album on April 23rd.
Lead singer Marc LaBelle and drummer Corey Coverstone spent some time with us discussing the new album, touring with Slash and their future plans.
Greg Drugan: Hey guys! Congratulations on the new album, I really think it rocks. There is no filler on this album at all.
Marc LaBelle: Thank you! That’s what we were hoping for, now whether or not we succeeded is up to you.
GD: Were you in Australia working on the album when the pandemic hit, or were you home?
Cory: We did everything this time in LA. We started the writing process on the road.
GD: For some reason I thought you guys recorded this in Australia, or was it that your producer was in Australia.
CC: Yeah, he was in Australia while we were recording in LA. Via Zoom and multiple cameras in the studio while we were recording.
GD: What was that process like?
ML: There were challenges. Honestly our manager and assistant would call in with our studio engineers and our producer and they made it pretty seamless. I had Nick in my headphones, I had him on TV and in my vocal booth. Honestly, the technology part of it went pretty flawless. The pre-production was pretty much the same as our EP. It wasn’t that much different and when we got to the studio, like I said, the technology part was fine.
GD: Man, it is amazing what we can do with the technology today.
ML: It’s crazy!
GD: How long did it take you to record the album?
CC: About a week. We were tracking for about 5 days.
ML: Yeah recording was about a week and pre-production was about a month.
GD: Wow that was a fairly quick process, you guys don’t mess around.
ML: Like Corey said, a lot of the writing was done that year we were on tour. A lot of ideas started there and then digging through the swamp, if you will to get everything finished.
GD: Exactly. This album still has that same dirty, classic rock vibe from your first EP. I really think that it’s a sound that people have been missing for a long time.
ML: We’re trying to keep it soulful and keep it authentic and honest.
GD: I think the worst thing about the album is that it’s too short! With only eight songs, you guys are making me want to hear more. Was that a conscious choice to only have eight tunes?
CC: Yeah, keep them wanting more. That’s our philosophy! We actually recorded more songs and demoed some in pre-production. There was an acoustic thing, there was more of an elaborate and experimental side of what we’ve been trying to do. They just didn’t quite cut the mustard.
ML: At the end, if you aren’t contractually obligated to deliver a certain amount of songs to a label, they’re not hitting above the bar that you’re setting for yourself, why put it out there? We struggled for a bit thinking, why don’t we put out a ten song album? Then we were all on board thinking that these eight songs are great and why not let those eight stand on their own.
CC: Relating to your earlier comment, there may have been some filler if we released those other songs. (laughs)
ML: There’s one song that we all really love, but we just didn’t execute it to our best ability in the studio for whatever reason. It ended up a fail, but we’ll still play it live. It’s not totally lost.
GD: I want to talk about a couple songs on the album, I think “Gypsy” is a great driving song. I can imagine people blasting that with the top down, cruising down the highway. Is that the vibe you were going for?
ML: It’s funny, John (Notto) always had this riff. He always played it, then one day in the studio Corey was just bashing the snare. And I was like, that’s how we should start this song. Let’s see where this goes. Yeah, it’s funny you say it’s a driving song, because it’s totally a driving song to me.
GD: I’m getting a little Van Halen vibe from “The Morning.” Maybe a little “Best of Both Worlds.” Was that a conscious thing that you were thinking about?
CC: I don’t know if it was totally conscious. I’m happy to hear that, but I don’t know if Marc is! (laughs). That was something that John kinda steered in that direction. It was one of those riffs that he came up with. I was really adamant that that one made the album. It wasn’t a conscious decision to make it Van Halen-y, it just kinda turned out that way.
ML: I do like Van Halen, I love their earlier stuff. Van Halen I is one of my favorite records of all time. If you capture the feeling of “Feel Your Love Tonight” on any song, you are doing something right!
GD: I agree with you there! Speaking of early influences, Corey who were some of your early influences growing up?
CC: Definitely Van Halen, Alex Van Halen. My dad was a huge Van Halen fan, growing up so he was playing it and pointing out the specialness of Eddie and Alex and what they were doing. Aerosmith because of my mom. Then any other band from that era that kinda fill in the gaps for me.
GD: Marc, what about you?
ML: Some similar ones. I remember my first collection of CDs when I was really young when I tried to get every Aerosmith CD. Then my second one, which might be a surprise to Corey, is I tried to get every Van Halen CD. They had less records than Aerosmith, so it was easier. But my dad was always playing the Stones and Tom Petty. Then I discovered the 90s bands on my own like Pearl Jam and Audioslave, Rage.
CC: I never went into that phase. I went from Classic Rock to Slipknot. (laughs)
ML: Slipknot is a band that I never, ever listened to. I always loved those soulful rock and roll bands.
GD: Corey, do you remember the first artist you saw in concert and how did that impact you?
CC: The first full on concert I saw was Billy Joel. I remember it being great and I think at the time I only knew his most famous songs. I just remember that I really enjoyed it. The next concert after that was Aerosmith at the Gorge in Washington. Then right after that was the DLR band. I was so familiar with Van Halen, and that was the closest thing to seeing Van Halen, seeing DLR. I think Gregg Bissonnette was in the band and I got his drum sticks after the show. Then David Lee Roth gave a roadie a signed picture to give to me, which I still have. It’s a ridiculous signed picture of David Lee Roth with a melting ice cream cone and he has this muscle shirt on. (laughs)
GD: Marc, who did you see first?
ML: I saw Aerosmith first. That afternoon, they were doing a radio thing at the local radio station and I got to meet them there. I had a pretty unique experience of seeing Steven Tyler and Joe Perry up close and meeting them and signing a CD. That was a pivotal moment in my life. Before going to my first concert, I got to see these two rock stars up close and that looked like a lot of fun. Shortly after, I got to see the Stones, Tom Petty, AC/DC that sort of set me on my way of pursuing rock and roll as a career.
GD: How long have you been playing music and when did you realize you wanted to make it your career?
ML: I’ve been playing since middle school. I’ve always mixed sports and music, but I really started taking it seriously when I moved to LA seven years ago.
CC: I moved to LA twelve years ago. I moved to LA to pursue music, so yeah I started taking it seriously when I was about eighteen or nineteen.
GD: The four of you come from different parts of the country. How did you guys meet up and form Dirty Honey?
ML: Gigging around LA. You expand your actual social network, not social media network, and just going around and meeting people. That led me to John and that led me to Justin and Justin led me to Corey. It was this weird domino effect that took several years to find the right pieces. When we met Corey, he was the missing piece. We running into a lot of these fucking people who want to be in the side band for Christina Aguilera and that takes five years to do that. Then they’re not happy being Christina Aguilera’s side band. It’s tough to find people who want to be in a band. He was willing to take the risk with us and he was of the musical accomplishment that we were all used to and he wanted to be in a band. There are several subpar drummers who want to be in a band, but Corey is an accomplished musician.
GD: It’s evident in the music that you all have a groove and a jell amongst yourselves. Especially live.
ML: I would put our rhythm section up against anyone else’s, literally.
GD: I saw that you guys played the Viper Room for a live stream last year. What was it like playing to an empty room, but knowing there were thousands of people watching?
CC: For me, I kinda remember it like we would do the song, then I would be like, did we do a take or did that just happen? It felt like there was no energy in the room so it was a different feeling for sure.
ML: I think myself, John and Justin are pretty good at turning it on. Not that you’re(Corey) not, I think that you’re into your own playing. The other thing is that Corey didn’t have a camera in his face and the three of us did. So we were able to perform to the camera, which made it a little more entertaining for ourselves, but it was definitely weird. (laughs) You are waiting for applause and it never happens!
GD: Marc, I know a couple of times you were like “Thank you, I know you’re out there!”
ML: Yeah, it was really strange. I think that it came out so well, that it would be tough to top it. There’s some talk to do one for the new record but I don’t want to do that again. Let’s just wait until we can play in front of an audience again.
GD: I’ve been fortunate enough to see you guys twice. The first time you opened for Slash, and the second time was when you opened for Alter Bridge at The Cleveland Agora. I had the chance to talk to Marc after the Slash show and he said that was the hardest you had to work to win an audience over. However, he said that it was the best merch sales that you had ever done. Corey, what do you remember about that Cleveland show?
CC: I was trying to remember, I was hoping Marc could fill me in.
ML: That was at the casino. Everyone was sitting for most of the show, and I was like “get off your ass!” Then everyone went fucking crazy! That energy! What happened that night, we were backstage after Slash’s set, and we were talking to Slash’s drummer Brent. Our tour manager is from England and Slash is actually from the same town as him. They hadn’t spoken yet, so they started talking and Slash is telling stories about the old days in Guns N Roses. Corey and I were there with our jaws on the floor listening to these awesome stories. Slash then switched gears and turned to Corey and I and said “I just gotta tell you guys, man I love what you’re doing. I really noticed that the audience really likes you and I’m a big fan of yours. He shook our hands, and we went to the van where Justin and John were and told them we just met Slash and he told us he loves us! They were like, what? We gotta get back in there! That’s definitely a pivotal moment in my life where one of your heroes tells you he enjoys what you’re doing.
GD: That’s cool. Getting back to the Cleveland audience, we may be a tough nut to crack, but once you win us over… I’m sure you noticed when you opened for Alter Bridge, there were a lot of Dirty Honey fans there.
ML: That casino gig we did with Slash was one of the only ones that was a seated gig. The response after the show, yeah everyone loved it. Cleveland is obviously a major rock and roll town. I’m not surprised that they took a liking to us, but I’m grateful for sure.
GD: So it’s looking like things are finally starting to calm down and it looks like we may be able to get back to somewhat normal this summer. Here in Ohio we are vaccinating like crazy, so do you have plans to hit the road this summer or fall?
ML: Were planning on summer time, so stay tuned! If the government allows it to happen, we’re ready to go. We have this awesome tour planned with another great artist. If it happens, you will definitely know about it.
GD: Would it be a headlining spot for you guys, or would you be a support act?
ML: We would be a support act for personally, one of my favorite bands! So I’m really hoping it happens.
GD: You don’t have to tell me, I don’t want to jinx anything.
ML: You’ll definitely be one of the first to know. So we’re just waiting for the green light.
GD: Cool. Like you said, we are definitely a rock and roll town so you have to make sure you stop in Cleveland.
ML: We’re rolling through Ohio for sure if it happens.
GD: Well, we are looking forward to that. Guys, I wish you all the best with the new album, rock fans are really gonna like it and I’ll make sure get it when it comes out on April 23rd.
CC: Right on. Thanks dude!
GD: You guys take care and I hope to see you soon.
ML: Thanks and stay safe and hopefully we’ll see you this summer!
Classic rock fans, you are gonna want to get the debut album from Dirty Honey when it comes out on April 23. In the meantime, check out "California Dreamin'" below.
Look for my interview with guitarist John Notto and bassist Jason Smolian next week!