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Dirty Honey’s Marc LaBelle on Their Download Debut, Touring, and Surviving the Pandemic [w/ Audio]

Dirty Honey’s Marc LaBelle connected with us at Download Festival and spoke about the band’s plans, touring, Iron Maiden parties, Airborne, and more.



Arriving 30 minutes earlier, Marc LaBelle of Dirty Honey has had little time to relax and take in the delights of Download Festival. Still, he took the time out to chat with us about the band’s plans for the future and touring the globe with some of the heavy hitters of the rock world.

From the dizzying heights of partying with the likes of Iron Maiden and Airborne to writing new material on the road, Dirty Honey are primed to bring their brand of southern rock to the European masses and then further afield.

Check out our Q&A below, and listen along to the original audio, or simply stream podcast-style.

Ok, so I’m joined by Marc from Dirty Honey. How you doing, sir? So far, what’s it been like?

Marc LaBelle: “Dude, I haven’t even walked around the festival yet. So my mind, I think is about to be blown.”

So this is your first time at Download as well, isn’t it?

“First time at Download, first UK show tomorrow! Yeah, we’re excited.”

Ok, that’s actually blown my mind. I didn’t realize it was the first UK show. So you’re one of the earliest bands as well. How are you feeling about that?

“I hope I get to sleep tonight and don’t party too hard at this Iron Maiden party. But whatever, comes to me, I’m ready to experience it and I’m sure the show will be great, you know?”

Well, I’m going to try and make it on-site to actually catch you guys, because I think it’s rude to interview someone and just not even show up for their set.

“I’ve heard people get here very early for the Iron Maiden day. So it’s going to play in our favour, I think a little bit.”

That is true. Now, as a band, you’re still quite young, having only really started up in I think 2017. Is that correct?


So you’ve actually had a relatively large rise in popularity over that time? What would you say you could attribute that to?

“I think people really gravitated towards the song ‘When I’m Gone’ and then ‘Rolling Sevens,’ especially in America. That success was kind of accidental in a way, it just started climbing the charts on its own. And anytime you have a great song, I think that’s your best chance for success. So we didn’t really have anything going on when we released that song and it just started going and people were like, who the hell are these guys? You know? So that helps. And then being obviously great live, that just puts the nail in the coffin for a fan.”

Combined artwork for both EP and LP ‘Dirty Honey’ by Dirty Honey

Now, you released your first album last year, but it was actually released during the height of the pandemic, so how do you think the restrictions around the globe actually affected everything for you, recording as an artist and releasing the actual album?

“Yeah, we definitely had plans to come to Europe early on and those plans got dashed, but you know, other than that, it hasn’t really slowed us down. We were fortunate enough to go on tour when things first started looking optimistic, and that was a great tour with Joyous Wolf. And then after that, we went out with the Black Crowes for an entire summer, and that was amazing. And we really haven’t stopped since. So, you know, we’re taking it all in stride. We’re trying to make the most of it. But more than anything, just trying to stay creative and live a full life because it’s what you have to do if you’re going to be a writer.”

You pretty much answered this question because obviously the pandemic did choke the entertainment industry. But you found a way to carry on, crack on and actually still perform and record music. Do you think if you’d been around a lot longer, you might have found it a lot easier? Or do you think it was just a matter of the moment?

“Do I think if I’d been around a lot longer, it’d be easier to tour or…?”

Not necessarily tour but hold on to everything. I know lots of younger bands, their careers sort of stifled and almost came to an end.

“Yeah, no, I think the ambition was there. You know, it was somewhat tough, because we’re not on a record label. We don’t have tour support. We don’t really have money coming in unless we work. So you know, being an indie band, that was one of the big challenges just to survive the pandemic and get out the other side. But we were pretty lucky. I knew before the pandemic even happened.

I had met up with the Black Crowes in New York and went to their reunion show, I think it was at the Bowery Ballroom and Chris (Robinson) and Rich (Robinson) were both like ‘Hey, man’ like you’re coming out with us!’ We want you out for a few shows at least, and then it turned into a whole tour. But knowing you have the support of an artist that you already love and they appreciate you in return, it gives you the gasoline you need to just keep going and know that things will work out in the end.”

That’s great to hear. Well, now you are free to travel, do all these things, experience Download for the first time, what are your plans for the future? I mean, obviously, this is your first UK show and I’ll be honest with you, what a first UK show it will be! What are your plans going forward? Will you be coming on a European tour coming back to the UK? What’s going on?

“Well, in my immediate future I’m going to check out Airborne tonight. That’s definitely top of my priorities, but the rest of the summer, yeah, we’re out on tour here with Rival Sons and we’re going out with Guns N’ Roses and Kiss all around Europe. Doing more festivals and then we head back to North America for a tour with Dorothy and Mac Saturn, and then I think we’re heading to Australia. Then we’ll probably be back to the UK and Europe after that I would imagine, and make some music along the way. And hopefully, it’s inspiring to some people with the new music.”

That’s awesome. So, at the moment you’re not really focused on a new album or anything. It’s more about touring, but is there anything on the horizon that we can talk about?

“No, we’re definitely focused on writing. Especially when we’re on the road and we have a little extra time to soundcheck, you know. Just the other night we were working on some new stuff at the venue in Denmark. So yeah, we’ve been kind of busting our ass in that regard.”

It’s always good to work hard, and the rewards will come I swear. Now we’ve got to talk about the obligatory Download questions. I mean, I’ll try and avoid them as much as possible. But you’ve already mentioned Airborne and you’re looking forward to seeing them, but is there anyone else? I mean, are you here for the whole weekend? Or are you off after your set tomorrow?

“After tomorrow night we are off to Glasgow, so I’m definitely here for the big one which is Iron Maiden for me. I’ve never seen them. That’s a big one.”

You will be blown away by that one. But how’s the weekend been so far? How long have you been here so far? Is it that you’ve only just arrived and gone straight into press? No time to enjoy anything?

“I’ve been here for about 30 minutes, and I’ve literally only been in this area.”

I feel like I’m stifling your experience now.

Now, I always like to end interviews on a joke. People tell me I’ve got an awful sense of humour! So I’ll tell you mine, and hopefully, you’ve got a joke for me afterwards. So, I was in the hotel with my girlfriend last night, and I was so surprised! She actually brought a sexy police woman’s outfit with her. She handcuffed me and said, ‘You’re under arrest for being too sexy and being good in bed.’ Unfortunately, two minutes later, all charges were dropped because there was no evidence.

“Ok, I’m into it right now.”

If you’ve got a good joke, go for it. I love putting people on the spot.

Brian Johnson told me this one from AC/DC. He was out to dinner with B.B. King and he was talking about his 60th birthday party and his wife said to him; ‘you know, B.B., I got a really special surprise for you tonight. So she got all dressed up in lace. Started stripping for him. Blah, blah, blah.’ And she goes; I got your name tattooed right on my ass!’ She pulls her pants down and sure enough, B on the left cheek and a B on the right cheek. And he was like; ‘man, that’s great, love, but who in the hell is Bob?’”

Oh, that’s genius, I love these awful kinds of jokes, as you could tell from the one I told you. I saw you forced the laugh out, don’t worry, you don’t have to pretend. But Marc, thank you so much for talking to us today. Enjoy the rest of the festival. Check out Airborne and enjoy Iron Maiden and of course Kiss tonight. Thanks a lot, sir!

“Thank you.”