As the lead guitarist/vocalist in revered Southern folk-blues rockers North Mississippi All-Stars, it might comes as a surprise to learn that Luther Dickinson's favorite group growing up was seminal LA hardcore punk band Black Flag. Premiering exclusively on PureVolume today is track from Dickinson's third solo album (Rock 'N Roll Blues) that perfectly encapsulates his youth listening to punk rock coupled with his deep connection to the blues and roots rock — stream "Vandalize" above.
The son of famed record producer/musician Jim Dickinson, Luther grew up in a household steeped in music history, with his father working with everyone from the Rolling Stones and Big Star to the Cramps and the Replacements. But Black Flag was another story. “He didn’t understand Black Flag musically,” Luther laughs. “I had found my own music that alienated my rock ‘n' roll parents!”
While in seventh grade, Luther convinced his father to take him to see his heroes live at an in-store at Peaches Records in Memphis, TN. Turns out it was a turning point for both father and son. “When he saw them, he was like, ‘I get it now. It’s like Captain Beefheart and Ornette Coleman meet the Sex Pistols.’ Okay, Dad. Whatever it takes.” That bonding father-son moment informs much of Luther's new album, as he even recounts that show specifically on the third verse of "Vandalize," the album''s opener: "There were no all age shows in my day/For free and instrumental was how they played/In a record store, free for the kids… I got so excited, had to vandalize."
Luther initially wrote "Vandalize" — as well as several of the songs on Rock 'N Roll Blues — many years ago, but they didn't find a home until now. “When I was a kid, that song was an atonal punk-rock track with
a hip-hop break,” he explains. “These songs didn’t fit onto my past records, but they all fit together. When I realized they told the story of a guy growing into a life in music, it really did make sense as a song cycle and as a solo record.”
One last important note on "Vandalize": It’s Luther’s four-year-old daughter’s favorite song. “That’s why it’s first on the record, because she makes us listen to it over and over. She says, ‘It just makes me go crazy in my car seat!’ And she laughs hysterically. That’s how I knew I’d succeeded in capturing that youthful feeling of music and life making you feel crazy.”
Rock 'N Roll Blues is out March 18, 2014 via New West Records.