Whose ready to get dirty?The word dirtball conjures images of scuzzy gutter dwellers, grease under the fingernails from their day job. Our Dirtball however, is neither scuzzy, nor greasy. This Dirtball is a rhyme-spitting drummer who is more likely to be dusty from a camping trip than anything else. David Alexander, a.k.a. The Dirtball, started playing drums when he was seven and doesn't seem to have stopped since then. A true Central Oregon native, Alexander named his third major label release Crook County.
"I wanted to bring it home with this album. Crook County is where I raised hell my whole life. We used to party out there all the time," he said.
The Dirtball did more than use the name of the album to pay tribute to his hometown. He features the Mountain View High School Jazz Band on one track, Bond Brothers shredmeister Tim Schroeder on several more, and his parents on another. Yup, high school jazz choirs and parents, the most common guests on rap albums today...
Oregon is not well known for its major rap success stories, for the duration of our interview we could only come up with one other, Portland's Lifesavas. The underground scene is an entirely different story. But The Dirtball's success hasn't happened overnight. After co-founding the band Dizzyfish in ninth grade with Tim Schroeder (see above) and Chris Hayes, Alexander went on to form Chola in which he served as lead vocalist and drummer. It was a Chola demo that first landed in the Suburban Noize inbox, after that band broke up. But it wasn't until The Dirtball produced the Dirty D Project, a solo album that lept into the rap realm, that he hit their radar screen. Alexander sent off half of the 2,000-disc pressing to labels, and it paid off when Suburban Noize took notice, featuring him as their SRH artist of the month three months in a row. Five years later, The Dirtball has toured extensively with his two previous albums Pop-A-D-Ball and Raptillian. Crook County is to be released on May 13, but excited fans can preorder from his MySpace page.
The Dirtball has developed a vocal style that draws largely from his percussive background. He spits words at an alarming rate, even more alarming when you realize you can understand each syllable. His songs are fast paced and hard hitting, your head starts bobbing within the first few seconds and doesn't stop through the whole album. Onstage, The Dirtball is all over the place, engaging the audience and adding to the excitement of his songs. This combination of energy, wit and drive has earned him a reputation as a guy to watch. May 5th marks the beginning of Alexander's first headlining tour with label mate and regular guest Big B, whose relaxed, almost growly style complements the Dirtball's machine gun delivery. Alexander said he looks forward to showing off some of his drum skills on this tour as well.
The Old Mill Martini Bar is hosting a pre-album release party, complete with a mini set from The Dirtball. It's your chance to kick it with one of Bend's biggest success stories on his home turf.
The Dirtball Pre-Release Party
8pm, Wednesday April 30. Old Mill Martini Bar, 360 SW Powerhouse. $5.