Dirt kicked up some filthy, grimy rock that, at its best, could do it for collector-nerd Halo of Flies fans as well as the anti-social circle at Southern biker bars. The Atlanta quartet’s moonshine punch was an appropriate outlet for uniquely gifted loose cannon John Forbes, late of Phantom 309, and foxy redhead guitar vixen Jennifer Hensley.
Too bad the title and trannie cover art are the best thing about Dirt’s first album. (Okay, the novelty of printing a track listing on the spine counts for something.) Inspired neo-boogie flourishes aside, little distinguishes it from the AmRep/Sup Pop-wannabe yuksters so prominent at the time of its release. Forbes’ scabrous slide guitar and his rabid bark-and-growl (think AC/DC’s Brian Johnson hopped up on amphetamines and hardcore) are wonderfully deranged, but coupled to an indistinct rhythm section and undistinguishable songs, they are a moot point. “Milkbelly” and “Guilt on Ice” turn promising, obscured hooks into sleazy charm, but most of She Male Sugarpussy just stinks.
Two later singles on WorryBird played up Dirt’s strengths. Better production, the late Allen Page’s kick-heavy drums and more noticeable snarl from the guitars topped off sharper material, especially the teeth-gnashing, wah-wah-driven “Rugburn” and its B-side, “Heavy Petting.”
Recorded “at the Butt Hutt, Illinois” (and a skinny butt it is), Sahara of the Bozart reveals its intentions in song titles like “Casa de Hee Haw” and a cover of Creedence’s “Sinister Purpose”: sexual Southern rock for grunge (cough) fans. When Forbes kills his tonsils and slyly grunts orders to “Rub my stomach/Make a wish,” you’ve just gotta love it. The three-note anthem-rock guitar lead on “Skag Fight” is habit-forming. No groundbreaking going on here, but who cares?
Around the time of a proposed move to Chicago, Dirt split up. Most of the band stayed home and became Seersucker. Not long afterwards, Page overdosed. Forbes headed for the Midwest and formed Mount Shasta, a logical step forward. Dirt’s badass spirit and late-period bass player, Chris Lopez, lurks around Mount Shasta’s 1995 album, Who’s the Hottie. Lopez also fed his depraved, AM-version of that spirit into three smokin’ albums by the Rock*A*Teens.