The Dirty Lindsey story delves into the minds of four rock-n-roll musicians who love performing at the top of their game. The raw enthusiasm of the band’s members is contagious and spills over to the audiences during their shows. They have the kind of energy that only comes from doing what they love.
Dirty Lindsey strives to learn songs that are different from the typical 80’s rock music heard by every other cover band. Picking songs that are high on the difficulty range is par for the course. The group likes to push themselves to reach new heights with their music. Among the list of artists the band performs are Guns N Roses, Pink Floyd, KISS, Alice In Chains, Thin Lizzy, Queen, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Quiet Riot, White Snake, AC/DC, and Ratt.
Since 2005, Dirty Linsey has had the privilege to share stages with some big name rock n rollers like Alice Cooper, Bret Michaels, Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, just to name a few. Opening for Poison at the Magic Springs Concert was one of the many good times the band remembers, as they played Kiss’s Rock n Roll All Night in an encore performance.
Dirty Linsey is headlining for HectorFest 2017 on July 1st.
How it all started
Dirty Lindsey is a spin-off of the bands The Meanies, The Blue Meanies, and Sharpe Dunaway and the Blue Meanies who originally formed in 1997. The band’s very first gig was opening for Blue Oyster Cult. The Blue Meanies broke up in 2000 for around three years. Sharpe Dunaway, Darrell Yates, Eric Johnson, and Ty Sims got together and formed a Christmas band called the Screaming Santas. The band played Hard Rock Christmas songs and in 2001, and 2002, produced two albums “A Very Hairy Christmas” and “Going Insane at Christmas.” Every year the albums/music are made available for those who Like the Screaming Santas on Facebook, absolutely free. Through several progressions in musicians, styles, and losing a keyboard player in 2011, the remaining four members of The Sharpe Dunaway and the Blue Meanies became the Rock N Roll band, known as Dirty Lindsey.
What’s in a name?
The truth about how Dirty Lindsey got their name is a well-guarded secret among the band’s members. Sharpe likes to say, “No one can handle the truth,” but here’s how he convinces the rest of the crew to get on board.
“Imagine the side of a B-1 Bomber, with all the kill marks on the side of it. World War II, Dirty Lindsey scrawled across one side of a bomber with a shark’s mouth on it, and one of those pin-up girls.”
Sharpe’s visual is all it took for the four musicians to adopt Dirty Lindsey as the perfect name for the rock band.
Percussionist Sharpe Dunaway has always loved the band KISS and used to listen to them on eight tracks, while air drumming to learn the songs. When he was 14, Sharpe got his first drum set. He claims what he lacks in talent; he makes up for in having a good time when playing. In the practice room, the band works just as hard on the ending of each song as they do in the beginning.
“We might play covers, but when you see Dirty Lindsey play, it’s a show.”
KISS and Van Halen are some of Dunaway’s favorite bands. Drummers that have influenced his music are John Bonham, Tommy Lee, Ricky Rocket, and Peter Criss.
“When you hear us play, we are probably a little bit louder and a little bit faster than you are used to.”
The Dirty Linsey stage has seen a lot of crazy things including a marriage proposal and even a wedding. Sharpe is a videographer outside of the band. He owns and operates Sharpe Videography.
Dirty Lindsey’s vocalist, Danny Millsaps, gets introduced every show as the pride of Hector. Millsaps is a lifelong member of the community. Better known by the residents of Hector for his singing style of southern rock, blues, and country music, Millsaps wonders if the crowd will experience culture shock as he screams out the hard rock sound that is the band’s signature.
Millsaps first interest in music was singing in church. He volunteered to sing in the first band he formed simply because no one else would. He believes the videos on Facebook and YouTube do not do the band justice.
“We are definitely a live performance band. People get the most out of a show when they see us live.”
What he enjoys most about singing with Dirty Lindsey is performing the music he grew up with and always wanted to sing.
Millsaps owns a business called Custom Ceramics outside of the band.
Matt Hays, the bassist, loves to play with the other members of the band because they are his longtime friends.
“The camaraderie is real, and I’m sure that’s what the audience sees coming across on the stage.”
Hays foundation in music goes back to the piano lessons he took at the age of 4 years-old. He continued to play music in both Junior and High School bands where he played several instruments. In high school his favorite band was Metallica. He started learning bass by playing those records over and over. His taste in music is diverse reaching from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, The Cure, REM, Cheap Trick, Johnny Cash, and some classical artists like Gustav Holst. All have been influential on the musician. Above all, Hays enjoys creating a foundation that other things can be based on whether it’s on bass or the drums.
“If I can help set up a structure that makes people who can really shine, go out there on stage and shine, hey that’s fantastic.”
His biggest supporters have been his wife, Laura, other musicians that he has been in bands with, the fans who are always there enjoying Dirty Lindsey’s shows, and the owners of the clubs who hire them to play asking when they can come back. The one thing Hays wants people to know is how much they appreciate the people who come out to see the show.
“The fans that turn out to watch us play are just amazing. Without them, there probably wouldn’t be a show.”
Matt is a software engineer outside of the band.
Darrell Yates is the band’s lead guitarist. His interview answers were often coupled with musical riffs from his guitar. His first interest in music goes back to when he was 5 years-old listening to The Osmond’s on 8 track tapes. By the time he was 7, KISS was his favorite band. In 1980, Yate’s older brother brought home Van Halen’s third album, Women and Children First. Listening to Eddie Van Halen was the catalyst that drove Yates’ passion to play guitar.
Yates favorite thing about playing with Dirty Lindsey is the fact that all the members are great friends.
“It’s so hard to find players that you get along with and that play well. I’m very grateful for the band we have.”
Among Yates’ biggest supporters are his family and friends. He claims the biggest challenges are simply managing the time dedicated to the band. He says they are happy playing the songs that people know and like.
Yates sells air time for cable advertisements outside of the band.
Dirty Lindsey’s advice for those who want to start a band
Do what you love and don’t worry what anybody else thinks of it. Find band members you can really get along with. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take the music seriously. But not yourself. Have fun when you get on the stage and put on a real show. Try not to look at your shoes, because the key is to engage the audience. If you want to make real money, you’ll have to move to a bigger city. Above all, practice and perform because it’s what you love to do.
Where to see Dirty Lindsey in 2017
HectorFest at Cecil Riley Memorial Park on July 1.
TC’s Midtown Grill in Conway on July 22, Sept. 30, and Dec. 9.
West End Smokehouse in Little Rock on Aug 5, Oct. 14, and Nov. 11.