Updated: Mar 3
The Toronto-based rock band are bringing their thunder to the Hamilton indie community.
Meeting in elementary school, the guys in Dirty Rick grew up surrounded by music.
"I've been playing since I was like 4 years old, my parents teach music," said Christoph Neuland, Dirty Rick's bassist. "I started in a touring choir at 4 years old- and did choir, piano lessons, all that until I got into highschool and started playing guitar with these guys."
"I played piano as a little kid, because I had hard-ass parents who wanted me to learn an instrument," said guitarist Allan Cocunato. "Then, when I was in grade 8, I got a guitar for my birthday. I asked for it because I was dancing with a girl at a school dance- they were playing that James Blunt song, and I was like, "Hey, you should come by my place, I can play that for you," and I meant on the piano, and she goes, "Oh- you play guitar?" And my idiot 13 year-old self was like, "Yeah, I play guitar!" And then I had to learn to play guitar."
Dirty Rick's drummer Chris Barrett only started playing an instrument once he had already joined a band.
"We started a band back in 2009- Christoph, Allan and I. Except none of us could play instruments, so we had to learn as we were going," said Barrett. "Then we played our first show about 6 months after that- I ended up coming home to my mom and going, "Mom I need a drum kit!" And she was like, "Uh, okay?""
Lead vocalist David Koffman didn't know he could sing.
"I got started in music really out of the ashes of a passion project," said Koffman. "When I was graduating from McMaster a few years ago, in 2016, I ran a charity concert for Crohn's and Colitis through my fraternity and ended up getting my highschool friends who were in a band back together, and jumping on stage with a cover band. By the second iteration of that show a year later, by the end of that night I was in a band. They taught me how to sing, at least a little more professionally, and I've kind of just been bringing the energy since day one."
The charity show hits close to home for David.
"That charity is very near and dear to me because I have Crohn's, so for me that was overall just a really big passion project," said Koffman. "I met a lot of people through that and a lot of big things happened through that, it was easily the best decision I've ever made."
The band was created after Chris, Christoph and Allan saw David perform live.
"So, Christoph, Allan and I had been jamming together for around 10 years now," said Barrett. "About a year or two ago, we were playing a show and David was doing a cover set with another band. So we were just like, 'We want this guy, he brings the thunder. Let's bring him in.' Then the band sort of started to revolve around his vocal style- very blues-rockish."
Dirty Rick's band members have a wide range of influences, from 90s punk to 60s blues-rock.
"Green Day was my first favourite band, and I guess energy-wise Billie Joe Armstrong has a lot of influence," said Koffman. "Jim Morrison from The Doors, who are my favourite band now- and really, I have a laundry list of guys who I look up to. Overall, number one we're rock and roll. We definitely have blues influence, and punk influence. Blues like The Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age. Punk from Green Day, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Joan Jett- we've kind of just morphed a bunch of older acts into a newer sound."
The band was formed in April of 2017.
"We were originally called something else, as just a filler," said Koffman. "Basically Allan came to us and said, "I had this dream where we were playing these huge stadium shows, and behind us was a sign that said, 'The Dirty Ricks'." We ended up shortening it, I didn't want to be a 'The' band. There are too many 'The' bands. Then we kind of just ran with it. Everybody chuckles when they hear it, it gives a kind of impression."
A band for just over two years, Dirty Rick's members are very happy with the feedback they've received.
"With this band, the reception has been nuts," said Cocunato. "The fans are absolutely awesome, no matter what we put into a show, our fans put in even more. They scream, they dance, they sing along- it's the best and they're the best."
"The band has been amazing," said Neuland. "Dirty Rick has been my favourite band to be a part of so far, and that might be because I'm actually an adult for it- but for real, it's been phenomenal. The fans have been fucking amazing, we have a crowd that I absolutely love. They come out every fucking show, and somehow there's enough people every time. It's a really big blessing."
"For me, it came to me at a really important time," said Koffman. "I didn't really know what I was doing with my life. I had graduated University and wasn't sure where I was heading. I battled some pretty bad demons in the last few years, and music has given me the passion and energy to create instead of spending that time self-loathing and going down that rabbit-hole."
Although enjoying every show they play, the boys have a few that stand out.
"Actually, my favourite gig we just played- we played Sneaky Dee's last Saturday, to probably the craziest crowd I've ever seen in my life," said Neuland. "Of just like friends and old acquaintances, new people that we've met over the last couple of years, all over from Hamilton and North York to see us in Toronto. It was really cool."
"One of my favourite gigs was our EP release at Hard Luck in Toronto," said Barrett. "The whole crowd was bumpin, we owned the night from the get-go, everybody was there to have a good party."
(Barrett) "We haven't had a bad show in a really long time, as long as we can fill a room and everyone's dancing and having a good time, then I'm happy."
Dirty Rick are in the process of recording new music.
"We've got one EP out," said Cocunato. "Hopefully in the next couple of months we'll hit up the studio and record a second, probably in Hamilton."
"Other than recording our next EP, I'd love to do some touring at some point," said Neuland. "Whether that means crowdfunding, finding a label to sign us, doing it on our own, whatever it is- I'd be down to just do like southern Ontario, Quebec and stuff like that. Go on some tours, get on the road, stuff like that."
Apr. 13th 2019 @ Sneaky Dee's, 431 College St. Toronto, ON
Apr. 19th 2019 @ The Doors Pub, 56 Hess St. South, Hamilton, ON