DIRTY STRANGERS TEAM UP WITH COUNTER CULTURE LEGEND JOHN SINCLAIR
Incendiary West London rock ‘n’ roll band The Dirty Strangers have teamed up with legendary counter culture figure John Sinclair to release their politically-charged anthem ‘Lock And Key’ in time for the General Election.
In keeping with the scathing ecological comment of Sinclair’s lyrics, which he delivers over a backing which sees the band’s trademark street-spawned raunch ‘n’ roll hoisted to widescreen new heights by super-producer Youth, this disparate crew have decided to back The Green Party on May 6.
The single is released on the reactivated Track Records, the renowned 60s label on which names like The Who, Thunderclap Newman and The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared in the 60s. Last year, Track released the Dirty Strangers’ acclaimed album, 'W12 to Wittering (another West Side Story)', which featured Keith Richards playing piano on five tracks two of which, he co-wrote.
John Sinclair was at the forefront of the radical changes which took place in American society during the 60s, forging the revolutionary manifesto for Detroit’s MC5 before they released their seminal 'Kick out The Jams' album. Inspired by the Black Panthers, he started the White Panther party in 1968, to battle against the same oppression from the authorities, his operations temporarily curtailed when he served a prison sentence for possession of two [allegedly planted] marijuana cigarettes. In the country’s alternative history, he is up there with names like Allen Ginsberg and The Fugs.
The two parties came together last year through Dirty Strangers drummer George Butler, a veteran of the counter-cultural activity which thrived in the Ladbroke Grove area during the early 70s. Track Records honcho and Dirty Strangers manager Ian Grant another veteran of the counter-culture period had been the local organiser of Phun City in Worthing where the MC5 played in 1970 and was also a White Panther, so a bond was rekindled. Sinclair and the Dirty Strangers played several gigs together last year and saw the next step as capturing their lethal combination of the poet’s provocative messages and the band’s lethal rock ‘n’ roll, laying down the basic track in Dirty Strangers’ founder member & singer-guitarist Alan Clayton’s W12 studio.
“After we met John Sinclair we knew that we were going to write some songs together,” explains Alan. “When Ian mentioned the election we went into our studio in Shepherds Bush and two days later we'd come up with 'Lock And Key'. “When I met John he immediately felt like a kindred spirit and reminded me of Keith. I feel really honoured to be working with him. What he's done in his life is incredible; he's a real fountain of knowledge and really brought out another side in the band”.
John Sinclair says about his association with the Dirty Strangers, “I love working with Alan Clayton & the Dirty Strangers. They wrote 'Lock & Key' as a framework for a poem of mine and it's quite a lovely fit. This is a first for me since usually I set my poems to instrumental accompaniment, but I thought this was quite a brilliant match-up, certainly from the poet's perspective. I've never heard a recording quite like this one, I think we've done something entirely new. My hope is that we'll get the record heard in connection with the May election. It's quite an honor to have our record released on the Track label!”
The song also features Andre Shapps from the Rotten Hill Gang on piano-accordion and saxophonist Martin Roberts, while the incredibly catchy chorus features singer Angie Brown plus a huge cast including Alan’s family members making up the Dissenters Choir. It’s to Youth’s major credit that he managed to rope together all these wild, combusting elements into such a towering wall of sound which is also a potential commercial monster. The single is backed by two further songs: ‘Knuckle Dusted’ and live fave ‘Ain’t Nothin’ But A House Party’.
Ian Grant says the decision to back the Green Party unashamedly stems from the hippie idealism of the 60s, rather than modern politics. Or rather, ‘If we don’t care for the planet we’re stuffed”. “If you can't vote for them then at least go out and vote but write 'NONE OF THE ABOVE' on your voting form.
LOCK & KEY released on Track Records 24th April on I-Tunes and all major download platforms from 24th April for .67p
Bonus tracks – KNUCKLE DUSTED & AINT NOTHING LIKE A HOUSE PARTY £1.29 (for all three tracks)
Get the DIRTY STRANGERS on the charts and score a hit for JOHN SINCLAIR & the GREEN PARTY.