Sex, Drugs, and…..

Odds are, I didn’t have to finish that saying for you. With a million and one potential ways to end that phrase, many of us likely have the exact same words in mind, but why? 

Since the opening lick picked by Chuck Berry on May 21, 1955 at Chess Records, what we would come to call Rock n Roll has made it’s way deeper and deeper into the bloodstream of America. It served as a catalyst to freeing our youth, to giving a voice to those who marched to the beat of their own drummer, and to those who had previously lived behind a curtain of binding conformity.

Throughout the coming months, years, and decades following that transformative day, we watched as the landscape of America, of humanity, and music began to incur a seismic shift. We saw the frantic, blues rooted  playing of Chuck that captivated the country slowly morph into the country based, knee shaking seduction of Elvis. From there, despite the widespread controversy regarding Presley, we began to see the most important period in Rock History; The British Invasion. In an unprecedented worldwide wave of fanaticism, we watched “Beatlemania” run wild over the industry, overtaking anything we had seen previously in the U.S. This was the proverbial “opening of the flood gates”.  Hendrix, Joplin, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, we were in the Golden Age. 

It was at this tine we saw America start to form it’s own identity within this new wave of music. We heard the urban legends of hotel rooms, the tours, the after parties, all of it. These musicians began to become larger than life, as if some sort of Demi-gods, through reputation and folklore, regardless of how much truth those things held. For the first time, our youth were free to form their own individuality and it was on a ship with these men and women at the helm. 

Throughout the next two decades, the metamorphosis of Rock N Roll was on full display for all to see. The landscape transformed from the Woodstock era of Hendrix and Joplin, to the Golden Age of Zeppelin and Aerosmith, to Hair Metal being fronted by the likes of Motley Crue and Poison, up to what many coined “Grunge” or Seattle Rock with Soundgarden and Nirvana. 

The unfortunate side of riding a high? The only thing that inevitably follows is a come-down. In the big picture of Rock N Roll, this come-down is often recognized as the dying days of Rock. With the death of Kurt Cobain, many watched on as the era of pop began to overtake the radio waves and the tv time, seemingly killing off the era 3 entire generations were brought up by. 

For the foreseeable future, it appeared as if the entire genre was relieved to the background. This notion was often echoed by saddest of all, not only pop culture, but figures that at one point anchored Rock N Roll at the head of the industry. Then something happened, no more than 6 years ago. We began to see a changing of the tides, not in the same seismic scale as decades previously but a shift nonetheless. 

A wave coined by many as the “classic rock revival” with a  spearhead of bands the likes of Greta Van Fleet, Rival Sons, and the reason you are reading this, and in my opinion the most honest to their ancestors; Dirty Honey. 

Calling on the spirits of Aerosmith, Guns N Roses,  Chris Cornell, and countless other influences, Dirty Honey speeds through a highway of eras past taking cues from their predecessors while setting out on their own trailblazing  path that harkens back to the days of L.A based Rock N Roll. 

Forged in the fires of gritty club shows in downtown Los Angeles, Dirty Honey has formed their own identity, somehow carrying influence while being a completely unique experience. This has materialized through multiple tours throughout the past 3 years all the way up to the bookend of their most recent, The Young Guns Tour, started with Mammoth WVH yet finished headlining 4 final shows. 

April 12th, 2022 carried with it a special occasion and a special energy.; Tabernacle, Atlanta, final show of the tour. With it, you could feel a certain energy in the air, an electricity if you will. Whether it was the crowd pouring in nearly 3 hours before Dirty Honey were to take stage, the tequila shots backstage, or the amp buzzing in the background, you could tell from the moment Marc began this vocal warmups that it was a show to truly cap off a tour with a ferocity that you would be hard fought to replicate. 

The clock strikes 9 PM and with it you see something any Rock N Roll fan can envy; a band at the top of their personal mountain, coming out firing like the hungry wolf climbing the mountain.  For the next hour and a half, the crowd at The Tabernacle received the most incredibly intimate performance of every single hit in the bands catalogue with a few from history sprinkled in. Dancing the line between beauty and destruction Marc, John, Justin, Corey left every single ounce of sweat that they had left, and more, on that stage. 

Post show, a single question was asked to each member ; “What is Rock N Roll?”

Corey, too exhausted to even think, was left without words to describe it. 

Marc, with a level of intensity usually reserved for stage, describes Rock N Roll as “living life the way you want to live and not taking anybody’s shit”. 

John, carrying with him the most philosophical view, describes Rock as “Freedom…. Freedom from concern. If I can, for 1 hour, make everyone forget the bullshit, that’s Rock N Roll”.

Yet in all this, the shortest answer of all carried with it the best answer in my opinion. When asked what Rock N Roll was, Justin Smolian gave me the greatest of answers I could’ve ever imagined.


So is Rock dead? Not even close. As long as there is Dirty Honey…… as long as there is life, Rock N Roll can not die. It lives on within the hearts and blood of America, for better or worse, WE ARE ROCK N ROLL.

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