The Dirty Heads is a reggae band from Huntington Beach, CA with a melodic style that includes hip hop and ska punk genres. Their debut album, Any Port in a Storm, was released on September 23, 2008, by Executive Music Group (Fontana/Universal).
The band was founded in 1996 by Jared “Dirty J” Watson and vocalist/guitarist Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell in Orange County, CA. The two first met at a party during their freshman year of high school. Upon hearing one of Bushnell’s rap demo tapes, Watson became inspired to collaborate with him on a new project. At the time Bushnell was already in a punk rock band, while Watson had no previous music experience. In Bushnell’s garage, the two began writing hip-hop songs with reggae and punk influences. The band’s name stems from their older brothers and family calling them “dirty heads” when they were younger. Although many people believe it comes from a specific event when the two were stealing a pack of beer, this has never been confirmed by the band, and it’s more likely just a general family thing.
Later, percussionist Jon Olazabal, drummer Matt Ochoa, and bassist David Foral were added to the lineup, further defining the band’s sound. With a full band, the members started taking their craft seriously and began recording. Renowned record producer Rob Cavallo originally signed the band to Warner Bros., but artistic differences led them to leave the label. The band managed to keep hold of their master recordings through the separation, which make up the bulk of Any Port in a Storm . The band then connected with producers Steve Fox and Stan Frazier to complete their debut album. The album features appearances from legendary Beatles collaborator Billy Preston, Josh Freese (drummer for The Vandals and session drummer for Nine Inch Nails and Korn), percussionist Alex Acuna, British Grammy nominated British reggae singer and DJ Tippa Irie,and Indie 103.1 reggae host Native Wayne. The song “Check the Level” includes guitarist Slash and heavy metal vocalist M. Shadows. The album was mixed by Beastie Boys producer Mario C, and Lewis Richards of 17th Street Recording.