I spoke with Tony Newton, the bassist for Dirty Deeds about their current tour with Iron Maiden and their upcoming release of their debut album Danger of Infection on Steve Harris' Beast Records. Here are some excerpts.
So you're currently on tour with Iron Maiden?
Yeah, it has been going great but our recent shows were cancelled because Blaze [Bayley, Iron Maiden's singer] is ill. We're sort of disappointed but we're taking it easy. [The U.S. portion of the tour has now been completely cancelled due to Bayley's illness.]
How has the response been?
It has been terrific... absolutely incredible. It's better than any of us expected. We've been getting great press for this album. We were told when we were going to tour the U.S. that when we came out, no one's going to know us. Sometimes I can't believe the audience doesn't know who the we are. We're quite lively on stage and everyone says we sound so much more powerful on our album. The crowd really gets into us.
Why heavy metal?
We've been playing this music all our lives. We're not into playing to a specific trend and we've been lucky enough to get a record company to support us. It has been difficult for us to get the right deal. My view is that you can only come up with songs that you believe in.
How long have you been together?
Pete [Franklin, vocalist] and I have been together for six years. Barry [Fitzgibbon, the guitarist] joined us three years ago, and Dave [Cavill, the drummer] a year and a half ago. We were all in bands previously playing the same sort of music.
Does the name have anything to do with the AC/DC song?
None at all. I love the band, but we didn't in any way see any connection to the song. The phrase is used in England quite a bit.
So when will your album be released in the US?
We don't have a definitive date. We met the record company a few days ago and we're looking for a September release. We plan to repackage it in the US to give it a "current" feel. The album was released in Japan last November and in Europe in March.
We're ready to record again. We've got loads of stuff, but right now our priority is in just promoting the current record. We had been negotiating with a label which let us down. Luckily for us, a lot of people told us it wouldn't have been right for us. The label we have now [Steve Harris' Beast Records] is great and really into us. The press has been good and they've generated a lot of excitement about the band.
How would you describe your song writing/recording process?
We work the songs around the guitar riffs. We try out everyone's ideas and we use the ones that work. It's definitely a group effort. Pete and I mostly add the lyrics after the music is written.
How was it working with Steve Harris and Nigel Green?
Steve has taken us under his wing. He's got so much to give and he never interferes with our songs. He's like a big brother and he's 100% into what we do. He video taped us every night on The X Factor tour. He amazes me.
Nigel is absolutely superb. He can get any sound you want. We couldn't afford anyone of his calibre and he did it as a favour for us. Nigel was the engineer and he put everything together. Without him it would've been impossible.
How did you meet Steve and get involved with the label?
Steve and I joined a football team and Steve was in the dressing room and we started talking and hit right it off right away. He used to come and see us live and when we got rid of our previous guitarist he recommended Barry. At the end of Iron Maiden's The X Factor tour, the previous support act couldn't open for them. So Steve asked me if we could go out with them in Italy, France, Spain, and Ireland. And so we drove from London to Sicily in a black cab which was run by a friend of ours. After we had done the tour we couldn't believe the responses we were getting.
When Steve expressed an interest in producing a record by us, we waited for Nigel to become available and that's it.
What's your favourite music? That is, what music does the band listen to and currently like? Who would you cite as influences?
Pantera, early AC/DC, Queensryche, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, etc. Our influences are mostly in the 80s. We've been influenced by early bands like Black Sabbath also. In terms of bass, I like straight bass players like Steve Harris, Cliff Williams, Bob Dazley, and Geezer Butler.
What are your future plans and where do you see yourself in the year 2000?
We finish in the U.S. in two or three weeks. We're not sure if we're going to be doing Mexico. We then have a two week break and we play in Europe for six weeks and then to Japan and then we plan to be back over here for a small club tour.