"One of the Best New Bands of 2010."
That's what Rolling Stone said a year ago about the Dirty Heads.
The band, which has actually been around in various forms since 1996, sums itself up in an official bio: "Rooted in the Orange County community of Huntington Beach, the Dirty Heads emerged onto the Southern California music scene with their unique signature blend of acoustic infused hip-hop and classic reggae, creating the perfect soundtrack to an upbeat, sun-soaked California."
Along with Avenged Sevenfold, the Dirty Heads have helped put focus on Huntington as a musical mecca, and lead singer Jared Watson likes that his band is now often spoken about in the same sentence with his Surf City brethren.
"We went to Marina High, they went to Huntington, but we knew each other well growing up," Watson said. "They're awesome guys. In fact, my best friend growing up was Jimmy Sullivan."
Sullivan, a.k.a. "The Rev," was the Avenged Sevenfold drummer who died in December 2009.
"I think about him all the time," Watson said. "Just recently, we got together with the Sullivan family and some of the guys from Avenged for a memorial."
The Dirty Heads have been in the studio recently, laying down their new album, and in the first week of March, they'll hit the road to begin a five-week cross-country tour. Watson, who still lives in Huntington Beach, along with the rest of his band, is anxious to tour for a number of reasons.
He said that first and foremost it's simply fun for him because he's young and single, and so this is the time in his life to do things like tour in a successful band.
"But another reason is that, I'm a skateboarder, and some of the best skate parks are in the cities we play around the country," he continued. "I take my boards with me when we travel, and that's a big part of my free time. And I've got to say, we need a decent skate park here in Huntington Beach."
Taking the discussion further, Watson had an idea.
He said he was going to call the guys in Avenged Sevenfold to suggest a co-bill concert with the Dirty Heads for the sole purpose of raising money to cover the cost of a deluxe skate park here.
"I'll be in a place like Minnesota, skating by myself at some incredible park thinking, 'Why don't we have this back home?'" he said. "It's time we try and do something about this."
Memo to City Council — this would be a hugely popular event, something positive in the face of DUI reports, Robert Rizzo and solar panel controversies. However, it's probably also worth noting that, as was reported in the Independent last week, the city is in talks with Vans to build a "world-class" skate park on a 2.7-acre parcel on Center Avenue near Gothard Street.
Meantime, before hitting the road, Watson will be surfing and skateboarding as much as he can in between finishing the new record. He said that what the Dirty Heads have been working on sounds amazing, and that it represents all that had been bottled up in the band since their last record, 2008's "Any Port in a Storm," took off like it did, and that it was fun to get it all out of their system.
Watson also included a shout out to one of his favorite local hangouts, the Sugar Shack on Main Street.
I knew I liked this guy.
Watch out for this up-and-coming author
Last week my daughter, Claire, visited schools as part of Author's Day, which as you may know is sponsored by Friends of the Children's Library. We both spoke at Hope View Elementary School, and then the next day, I spoke at Sts. Simon & Jude.
First, thank you to all at both schools that made our visits so enjoyable. And thanks to the Friends for arranging everything, including the authors reception at the Central Library. It's there where we writers get to meet students on a more one-to-one basis. In particular, I had the pleasure of chatting with someone who is a shining example of why writers' programs like this are so important.
Taylor Carlin, 10, from Hope View, accompanied by her grandmother and brother, came to the library to say hello after watching my daughter and I speak at her school. This poised, polite and earnest youngster told me all about how much she wants to be a writer when she gets older. You get hunches about people sometimes, and it would not surprise me if, in a few years, I am in a line waiting for her to sign one of her books for me.
Such are the wonderful moments on Author's Day.
This marks the 200th In The Pipeline column I've written. Thank you for reading each week.
CHRIS EPTING is the author of 18 books, including the new "Hello, It's Me: Dispatches from a Pop Culture Junkie." You can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.