We had the chance to speak over the phone with The Dirt Drifters last week after the physical copy of debut album on Warner Brothers was released. The boys are giving away 30,000 copies of “This Is My Blood” for their fans… for free! We asked Matt Fleener and Jeff Middleton about this, as well as what it was like walking into the studio and seeing the legendary Willie Nelson working on one of their own tracks for the album and turning “into schoolgirls,” Snuggies, and much more… check it out under the “Read more” button and let us know what you think of their album!
You guys had the opportunity to work with one of your heroes, the legendary Willie Nelson. What was it like walking into the studio and seeing him there?
Matt: We were like a bunch of school girls! There’s nothing like walking in and seeing someone like that recording on our single. It takes you back a little bit. We walked around and talked to him and finally calmed down (laughs).
How hard is it working with brothers in the band?
Jeff: (laughs). Actually, you know what’s funny… Matt, Ryan and I, we come from families of all boys. So I’ve always had a lot of respect for Matt and Ryan being able to work together as closely as they do. ‘Cause I have two other brothers, and I know what it’s like. But actually, there’s some moments that are interesting because they’ve got years and years of background but they do a great job, a really great job, working together.
Do you have any other dream collaboration partners besides Willie Nelson?
Matt: I think with five different guys in this band, I think that might be a pretty big list. I think if we came up with something we could agree on… who knows. My personal favorite would be Merle Haggard, but you’d have to ask each guy.
Jeff: I’d go with Bruce Springsteen.
‘Cause you guys all went into the studio with different musical tastes. How hard was it narrowing it down to what you have now?
Matt: Pretty easy I think. You know, music is music and our influences reach from genre to genre. I guess you can say it wasn’t that difficult. We’ve been playing with each other for a while, gotten to know each other’s instincts and things like that, so. It wasn’t really all that hard, just a lot of fun.
Jeff: Yeah, it felt real natural and I think that’s why the band works. We got a group of guys in studio and on-stage and we can create something that’s unique, because everybody knew who they are. And we’re all friends so we can give each other a hard time and that kind of stuff pretty easily. I think that helps with the creative process.
Who has the most annoying habit on the road?
Jeff: Oh wow.
Matt: Depends on who you ask, probably. I don’t know.
Jeff: Yeah, it definitely depends on who you ask.
Matt: We’ve gotten better about that stuff. For me? Right now? Everybody keeps it real cold on the bus. Extremely cold. I have to wear a blanket and walk around everywhere.
You need a snuggie.
Jeff: Yeah, he does need a snuggie.
Matt: I do need a snuggie!
I don’t know if you guys have or not yet, but what was it like hearing yourself on the radio for the first time?
Matt: We have heard ourselves on the radio! I can tell you exactly when we heard ourselves on the radio. We were up in Pennsylvania, I think, and basically to summarize.. I think at one point Jeremy was hanging out the window going down the interstate pumping his fist. So that pretty much summarized how it felt for everybody I think.
Why did you think it was so important handing out your CD for free to fans?
Matt: I think the most important thing with this band is that it isn’t some slick marketing scheme or catchy photography or selling by any other means. We went to a meeting with our record label, and said “look, the most important thing to us is our music. Make sure that when people do hear our music that they like it. That they return to our website, Facebook, Twitter and wonder where we’ve been. That they wonder ‘why haven’t you guys been on my radio station here in town? I haven’t heard anything like you guys.’” So, we wanted to get our music out to the people. Let them pass it on and hopefully, it makes a difference in our world.
Do you have any favorite tracks on the album? What are yours standouts besides the singles?
Jeff: Well, “I’ll Shut Up Now” is for me. It’s so different and so unique and says something. For me, it doesn’t really take this band one way or the other, it just throws things out there to make you think. What great music does is it makes you think about something, it makes you feel something. And Willie Nelson is on there, so that’s pretty cool.
I know you just released a single, but do you have any idea what your next one may be?
Matt: You know what, I don’t know.
Jeff: No idea.
Matt: I think most of the time the label makes these calls. Just because they’re planning it out, marketing wise, they plan it out – how they want to do it. We tried to make a record where, ‘pick any song off there – okay!’ and we’d be happy with it.
Do you have a dream tour partner that you would die to tour with?
Matt: Hmm. Right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sheryl Crow, just going back through all the things she’s done. I think it would be cool to do a tour with Sheryl Crow. Just kind of jam out for three or four months. See the world. I just really respect her.
Jeff: I know we are doing a show in October with Dwight Yoakam.
Jeff: So, for me, I don’t know if he’s touring a lot, but that would be pretty cool. We’re really excited about that.
So if you could collaborate with any non-country artist, who would you choose?
Jeff: Non-country artist…
Matt: I would say… I’ve been listening a lot to Gaslight Anthem. So there.
Jeff: Ah, good call! I’d go with Adele.
Ooh, that would be interesting.
Jeff: That would be really interesting.
Is there anywhere you really want to play but haven’t had the chance to yet?
Jeff: New York City!
Right up near me, huh?
Matt: We got a couple shows I think in the north east. We’re in.. Foxboro, Massachusetts…. we’re in… north, upstate New York, we’re in… Pennsylvania. I think. We’ll be doing a run with Chris Young.
The Dirt Drifters just released their debut album on Warner Brothers, “This Is My Blood.” Their first single “Something Better” is a fun single getting airplay on CMT. Check it out HERE on their official YouTube page since embedding is disabled by request. Make sure to get your copy of their album and let us know what you think!