Beyond pop, beyond punk there exists another realm of artistic expression that I am going to tentatively dub “party rock.” If such a category actually exists then Dirty Lenin could be considered pioneers in this potentially fascinating but often overlooked musical genre. I got a copy of their new 2% Faster CD at their release party, which was held at the Galapagos Artspace in Brooklyn. Somehow the title of the CD seems to capture the essence of what these guys are trying to create with this band.
Did I say create? Yes I did, according to Tate (keyboard, saxophone and vocals) all of the members of the band have theatrical backgrounds and so everything about the group from their name to the costumes they wear on stage to the music they play has an intended effect from a more theatrical standpoint than many bands. That isn’t to say they are not serious about their music because they are but it just has a whole different and expanded sort of reality to it. Their music and lyrics can easily stand alone without the props as fun punk/pop music but it is laced with the same subtle sense of humor and double entendre’ that punctuates their stage show.
Where did they come up with the name Dirty Lenin for example? According to Tate, back in the day when the band first formed they had this running goof going where they told everyone they had all emigrated from some nameless former Soviet Bloc country… And the “Dirty” part? Well let’s just say it is “adult” party rock.
The band consists of Cosmo (Bass, vocals) who goes about 6′ 2″ and a solid 230+ pounds. He wears biker boots and black leather pants and charges around the stage (and occasionally into the audience) like a bull pausing every now and then at a microphone long enough to bellow out his parts in songs. Metro (drums, vocals), with his shaved head, manicured moustache and goatee and glasses looks like someone from maybe Weezer or We Be Scientists or maybe like he does scientific research on the side. Renee (guitar, vocals) is the perky “blonde” of the band and exudes a great deal of enthusiasm when she sings.
Finally there is Tate (keyboards, saxophone, vocals). She is a pretty redhead with this fresh-faced, almost innocent look to her that makes it seem kind of deliciously wicked when she is singing “my body your party…” Tate was my interview source for this story.
I suppose I should get back to the “Dirty” part because no doubt I have aroused the curiosity of more than a few readers and so, without any further teasing, I will give you the mental release that you want. Perhaps I can best illustrate the “tongue in cheek” (ahem) sexiness which pervades almost all of their songs by sampling some lyrics from their 2% Faster CD FOR YOU:
(1) FROM Breakup Song: “My body your party”
(2) From Candy Boy: “C’mon and put out, put out, put out like a man”
(3) From Are You Hot?: ” Get the ice, let’s make a mess…use your teeth, now your tongue, let me show you how it’s … done”
Now imagine those lyrics set to an upbeat score (think maybe B52′s) and being enthusiastically sung by two pretty girls and you have an idea of what Dirty Lenin is – serious performers doing what they love to do in their own unique way and that, my friends, is what art is all about. I can see these guys becoming sort of a “cult” band like the Rocky Horror Picture Show was a movie. Check them out on their website or their myspace page. If you just want to skip all that foreplay and get right down to it you can order their CD.
(Photos by Mike Johnston)