Music truly is one of the most extraordinary and influential tools this world has to offer. Not only can people connect with music on multiple levels, whether it’s as a listener or a creator, but it can also be used as a vessel to represent almost anything. The artists who chose to use this vessel for the greater good are the artists who impact music scenes in multiple genre niches. One band in particular is shedding light on the harsh stone walls within the hardcore scene, built on fleeting rumors started by violent moshers and naive youths, and painting over it with non-violent messages and an exceptional live show. Although this can be a daunting mission, Charlotte-based band the Dirty South Revolutionaries are masters at fusing genres and have solidified their amicable presence in the local music scene for over a decade.
The scene from a DSR show via Jimmy KAfter several years in different bands, the original members of the Dirty South Revolutionaries finally came together in the winter of 2004. Each member made their way around the Charlotte music scene in somewhat popular bands, but never truly found a home until DSR formed. The band quickly earned a record deal and cranked out an album within six months of signing.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDSR at a recent show via Bobby Whitmire
There is no question as to how the guys landed a record deal at a NYC label with almost no trouble; according to their website, DSR spent one night with the label representatives, and the band’s wild antics and talent were enough to land them a contract. Perhaps the influences of each members’ former bands or their ability to appeal to a large number of people is what struck a chord with Tent City Records; regardless, the people of Charlotte are into what DSR is bringing to the thrash-metal-punk-hardcore table (genre description complimentary of the band’s Facebook). Their current lineup, which includes vocalists Johnny Moss and Adam Lane, guitarists Sam Fleming and Tyler Bryant, bassist Jesse “Razzle Dazzle” Glanz, and drummer Viken Tashjian, seems as if it is here to stay as they gear up for a busy 2016. In fact, the band is currently recording a new EP at Dead Peasant Studios entitled No Future. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Johnny Moss and, when asked what was new for the band this year, he replied with a mere, “Everything.”
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDSR performance via Jimmy KDespite various lineup changes, the band’s central goal has been consistent throughout the years: to promote peace in an otherwise harsh music scene. It’s an ironic mission for a band whose information section on their ReverbNation profile says, “We get rowdy, and that is it.” This is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the band. As someone who grew up listening to almost every genre but the four DSR claim to be, I was interested in learning more about the hardcore scene. I had made assumptions about it when I was younger based on what I read in the media and what my friends had to say about it, and figured the scene was bad news; unfortunately, I fell into the classic trap by assuming the worst and not giving it a chance. Logan Whitmire, a member of Charlotte’s own Refocus and Grave Plague, remembers a time when the hardcore arena was rough, but has noticed the progress the scene has made since he joined the family around 2010. He also acknowledged the impact DSR has made within the scene, not only through their music and live show, but through the moral support the guys offer other bands in town.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsSam Fleming on guitar via Jimmy K
“As people, [DSR] are awesome,” claimed Whitmire. “Johnny Moss is at about every show in Charlotte you can think of. He’s a legend around here.” And it’s true. While Moss recognizes the progress that’s been made within the scene, he knows it did not come without hard work. During our chat, Moss claimed that “by attempting to be a bridge between folks and genres through booking and support,” Charlotte has become more of a family and less of a city. It’s easy to say you’re all for creating peace within the scene, but being an active advocate for the cause is the reason DSR has solidified their throne in the Queen City. “We have many goals, and one of them is to maintain what we feel we helped accomplish,” stated Moss. Although Charlotte is on its way to a more peaceful scene, Whitmire admits that it was not achieved in the most moral of ways. “We had to bring the hammer down on some of the bad apples and literally beat them out of coming to shows,” Whitmire recalled. “All in all, the scene here is amazing and I’m proud to be part of it; DSR is still playing in Charlotte and that’s sick.”
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThe lively folks at DSR show via Jimmy KIn addition to bettering the scene, DSR tends to use their music as an avenue to relate to kids going through undesirable situations. I listened to their discography on and off for about a month and came to one conclusion: although not everyone will enjoy their music, the ones who need it the most will. I can only name a handful of bands who contain this strange sense of uniqueness; bands who surreptitiously hide their meaningful messages among numerous genre transitions, gritty vocals, and loud drums. With the Dirty South Revolutionaries, it truly is about the music.
Upon reading the band’s ReverbNation profile, I noticed below the classic “We get rowdy…” statement was a slew of acknowledgments to various producers, labels, and engineers. At the bottom of the list was another straightforward comment: “Anything else you need to know, just type the name in google.com.”
So I did.
I came across positive reviews about their 2007 debut album, Queen City Underground, and small interviews from the mid-2000s, but that was the extent of their internet presence. Finally, a link to their bandcamp came up and led me to their latest record, Dead Astronauts, released in late 2015. I spent an entire day listening the album and decided that this was all I needed to understand the band: the music.
This was a band who did not need a huge internet presence to become well-known or to get their message across; a band whose message was so clear and well-written that it could stand on its own.
This was a band who used instruments to add meaning to their words, rather than as noise in the background.
This was a band I could get behind.
Because of artists like DSR, the hardcore scene has become one of the most tight knit music groups in the Queen City. Many people I have spoken with have referred to the scene as a family and a home, and to many, this group of people is all they have.
“Hardcore is a life changing thing and it brought me some of the best friends I’ll ever have,” claimed Whitmire. “You really can’t beat it.”
Similarly, Moss acknowledges the rough nature of the hardcore scene, but feels its core should remain centered around respect and the music.
Moss family at The Milestone, via Jimmy K
“We go in to blow of steam, but in the end, regardless of the talk, actions, or backbiting, we are all still family,” stated the vocalist. “Our mutual frustrations, admirations, and respect reflect that.”
Although DSR hasn’t officially announced any tours for 2016, fans can find live footage, surprise show announcements, and plenty of other updates on the band on their Facebook page. Look out for their newest release, No Future, in the coming months. DSR’s only scheduled show is April 9th at the Milestone with GOAT AND YOUR MOM and Queen City Rejects.