Wheatus Digs Up “Dirtbag,” Gives Props To Iron Maiden

Newcomer Wheatus has scored a Top 10 alternative radio hit with “Teenage Dirtbag,” the first single off its self-titled debut album, and the band has just signed to play a string of dates with Eve 6, starting on September 19 in Washington, D.C.

The Long Island, New York, band is currently on the road with Zebrahead, touring in support of “Wheatus,” which sold more than 19,000 copies in its first week in stores and will land at number 76 on next week’s “Billboard” album chart.

Comprised of frontman Brendan B. Brown, his brother, Peter, on drums, bassist Mike McCabe (although Rich Leigey plays on the album), and keyboardist Phil A. Jimenez, the members of Wheatus produced their debut LP by themselves and recorded the bulk of the album in the basement of the Brown family home.

While composing material for “Wheatus,” Brendan Brown told MTV Radio that he usually came up with the title first, allowing him to anchor the songs to specific characters or situations.


“Many of the songs I come up with a title first. Not all of them,” Brown said. “The character-oriented ones have a title first, like ’[Teenage] Dirtbag,’ ’[Wannabe] Gangsta,’ ’Leroy.’ ’Hump ’Em N’ Dump ’Em’ had a title first. I find it’s an easier way to have everything fall in place.

“Those are always the better songs,” he continued, “and what happens is that it acts as an emotional blueprint for what you’re trying to say, and you always have something to return to should you lose your place. If you stop, you can just return to the character, the image, and work off of that.” [RealAudio]

“Teenage
Dirtbag” was featured prominently in Amy
Heckerling’s latest film, “Loser,” and though the song has pretty much outlived the movie’s theatrical run, the band was able to incorporate actors Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari into the accompanying video.

“Well, of course, the song is so narrative that we had always agreed that a video could only be [one that] follows the script of the verses,” Brown explained, “and not let anyone come in and go, ’Well, I think we should do this conceptual desert scene.’

“It takes place in a high school, there are two main characters, and it’s a play, and it had to be followed,” he said. “And Jeff Gordon, the director, and
Crash Films were all for that, and so was Amy
Heckerling, which was really cool. That worked out, and then Mena Suvari and Jason Biggs were the characters, so it couldn’t have worked out better. It was perfect.” [RealAudio]

Even though “Teenage Dirtbag” is more likely to turn up on radio stations that feature artists along the lines of Blink-182 or the Bloodhound Gang rather than Slayer or Anthrax, Brown admitted that he was actually a huge disciple of metal masters Iron Maiden.

“They taught me how to play guitar in an indirect kind of way,” Brown said. “They were also, I think, one of the first progressive metal bands. [Their music] was more interesting than just throttle up all the time. It was intricate music that was challenging to learn, hard to play, and I think they have their place in history for it. They’re a great band.”
[RealAudio]


The itinerary for Wheatus’ upcoming live shows, including its dates with Eve 6 in September and October:

  • 8/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
  • 8/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
  • 8/26 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Sanctuary
  • 8/29 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Barbeque
  • 8/31 – Atlanta, GA @ Cotton Club
  • 9/1 – Birmingham, AL @ Five Points Music Hall
  • 9/2 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
  • 9/3 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
  • 9/5 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Laga
  • 9/6 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners
  • 9/8 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
  • 9/9 – Denver, CO @ Elitch Gardens
  • 9/10 – Austin, TX @ KROX Radio Festival
  • 9/11 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
  • 9/16 – Pontiac, MI @ 7th House
  • 9/19 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/20 – Old Bridge, NJ @ Birch Hill Nite Club (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/22 – Providence, RI @ Rhode Island College (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/23 – Ithaca, NY @ Emerson Suites (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/24 – College Park, MD @ Chapel Field
    (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/26 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/27 – Winston-Salem, NC @ Ziggy’s (w/ Eve 6)
  • 9/30 – Noblesville, IN @ Deer Creek Music Center (w/ Eve 6)
  • 10/1 – Boalsburg, PA @ Tussey Mountain Amphitheater (w/ Eve 6)
  • 10/3 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater (w/ Eve 6)
  • 10/4 – Boston, MA @ Axis (w/ Eve 6)
  • 10/6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Metropol (w/ Eve 6)
  • 10/7 – Huntingdon, PA @ Juniata College (w/ Eve 6)