From the West London suburb of Shepherd’s Bush – where the M40 rises up off its haunches and flies into the capital on an elevated stretch called the Westway – come the greatest little rock’n’roll band in the world, The Dirty Strangers.
The Dirty Strangers were formed in the mid ’80s by singer, prime motivator and chief songwriter Alan Clayton. A gap-toothed Jack The Lad whose band still famously carry a torch for rootsy rock’n’roll as invented by Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry but laced with a bit of Otis Redding soul and a side order of punk attitude.
“The Dirties” are also famous for their connection to another great little rock’n’roll band called The Rolling Stones – Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood have made guest appearances on two of their albums, and their late great saxophonist Bobby Keys made his final UK appearance alongside Clayton and co at The Borderline in July 2013 – so you shouldn’t be surprised to hear echoes of the Stones in the new Dirty Strangers album ‘Crime And A Woman’.
Says Clayton: “My son said to me. ‘Dad, how come all your songs are about either crime or a woman?’ I liked that so much I made it the title.
“The songs are all linked, there’s a bit of a story here, a bit of a film noir thing going on. I’m not sure I like the word, but I guess you could view it as a concept album – in the sense that Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra made concept albums – or it’s just a collection of songs. But also, I’ve arranged the running order so you can follow the central character through a short period in his life.”
Over three decades the band have gigged widely, delivering high-energy everyman rock’n’roll audiences have never failed to relate to. On stage they are cosmopolitan, a bit rough around the edges and beating with a heart of gold – just like Shepherds Bush.
After the show, get a taste of their high-energy slices of life on the new album ‘Crime And A Woman’. Arresting and seductive. It’s dirty rock’n’roll – and you’ll like it.
Words by Neil Jefferies