Back in the ’80s, Dirty Face was one of the rockin’-est bands on the second wave of Albany’s new wave. And their debut single “Carousel” is still one of the all-time Top 10 songs in Albany music history.
But it’s been two decades since Dirty Face called it quits. And it’s been 17 years since the band played its only previous reunion show. But they’re getting the old band back together again this weekend for two shows at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany.
Dirty Face will perform a set at 7pm on Friday (March 1), kicking off the WCDB 90.9FM 35th anniversary celebration, which will also feature performances by the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Oberhofer, Blotto, Barons in the Attic, Summer People and If Madrid. Tickets are $18 in advance; $23 at the door. (Or GO HERE to enter to win a pair of FREE TICKETS.)
Then on Saturday night (March 2), Dirty Face returns to Valentine’s to headline their own show. They will be joined by the Boston-based John Powhida International Airport, featuring expatriates John Powhida (The Opposite, the Staziaks) and Jim Haggerty (Kingpins, Colourforms, Johnny Rabb). Secret Release opens the show at 8:30pm. Tickets are $5.
Dominick Campana: guitar & vocals
Matthew Hayes: bass & vocals
Joey Pucci: drums
In 1985, Dominick Campana and Matthew Hayes began playing songs together in their apartment on the corner of State and Lark streets in Albany.
Dirty Face arrived on the Local 518 music scene later that year with a cassette demo tape of the song “Identity,” which immediately went into heavy rotation at UAlbany’s radio station WCDB-FM.
In 1986 Dirty Face released their debut single “Carousel” b/w “Understand,” and a year later they contributed the song “Dog” to the compilation album Son of Hudson Rock.
There was a personnel change in 1988, as Joey Pucci replaced Ross Rubenstein on the drum throne. And Dirty Face also released their debut album I Can Hurt Myself If I Want To, which shot up to No. 1 on WCDB before eventualy being knocked off the top of the chart by Husker Du’s Candy Apple Grey.
NOTE: In order to pay for the recording and pressing of the album, Dirty Face sold ads on the back of the album cover to such local businesses as Buzz Magazine, the Music Shack, QE2 and, of course, WCDB. Of course, this was way before the days of Kickstarter…
Managed by Charlene Shortsleeve, Dirty Face became the unofficial house band at 288 Lark and QE2, both of which were also managed by Shortsleeve. The band also embarked on two national tours and shared the stage with the likes of Soul Asylum, Goo Goo Dolls and 10,000 Maniacs.
In 1989, Dirty Face produced the cassette-only Mad Again and added Jim Caringi to the line-up for added vocal firepower.
But Dirty Face did not break out, as expected. Instead, they broke up in 1991.
But with Russ Rubenstein back on board, they managed a resurrection and recorded their debut CD Big Lollipop Head, only to call it quits for good in 1992.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
When not tending to his family and coaching youth basketball, Matt Hayes occasionally performs solo up near the Canadian border where he also works for the government.
Joey Pucci is a professional drummer, touring with the Jordanaires and several other legendary musical acts. He’s currently promoting his new project the American Longboards when not at home in Voorheesville with his wife and their rescue dogs.
Dominick Campana (also with his family in Voorheesville) runs his own audio systems design firm and has been coaching youth soccer for quite awhile now. He is also wary of stepping on stage for the first time in 17 years without dying from a heart attack (seriously).