Dirty Water Dogs

Showing Their Appreciation For The Music

Dirty Water Dogs is a mix of some New Jersey's top musicians playing a wide range of updated music. The band finds some of today's more challenging songs and reproduces them with accuracy, and an attitude keeping the spirit of the original artist.

The New Jersey cover band format of playing radio-popular songs to a group of inebriated young people has been done to the max these days. While many bands who follow that trend tend to remain popular, some take the approach of delivering cover songs based on the style they love.

Dirty Water Dogs, a year-old band, has fun doing what they do, but also remains focused, said guitarist Billy Latshaw. They choose music they appreciate and appreciate the music in return.

"It's fun, but we take music seriously, whether it be covers or originals," Latshaw said. "We're not just a bunch of drunks playing three-chord cover songs. There's more to it. Also, more and more people are commenting on how tight our sound is. It's nice to see they notice hard work."

According to Latshaw, it's important for a cover band to have a standout feature.

"All cover bands are different in a way," he said. "Some worry about image more than the songs that they're playing. Others have gimmicks. Some don't even care. We have a tight unit that is well-rounded and we are conscious of it all and we are having a great time doing it and I think it shows."

To make sure the crowd doesn't get drained early, DWD strategizes its song placement.

"We play three sets," Latshaw said. "We start out playing some good mellow rock tunes, while people are getting tuned up. It's a natural progression for us to play heavier songs as the night progresses and people start getting buzzed; and it's in our nature."

The band's line-up is filled with accomplished musicians. Latshaw has been a respected Jersey Shore guitar player for years with his metal band, Latshaw, which includes his brother Tommy on bass. Singer Greg Greg and bassist Ben Sargatan both play together in an original project called Superdose. Sargatan played Woodstock '97 in front of 12,000 people with his band Verdilak. He recently scored an Asbury Park-filmed independent movie called "Bumrunner," featuring Fred "Rerun" Berry. Guitarist Rich Calderone also played Woodstock with Verdilak, while drummer John Clynes has studied with an area-known drum teacher, Joe Nevolo.

DWD tries to reproduce songs just as they were recorded by use of various effects and four separate instrument tunings.

"We also download new songs before the CD is out," Latshaw said. "This way we always stay fresh."

The result is an energized set of songs from groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust, System of a Down and the Smashing Pumpkins. The riffs of the songs they play are reproduced down to the original sound from the album.

That mix of accuracy and energy will keep crowds coming to Jersey Shore bars where the band plays.

[ Website: www.dirtywaterdogs.net ]

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.