Formed November 1978 in Staten Island, NY - it was a mere ten shows when this power-pop trio (Patrick Barnes, Peter Parker, Marco Sin) was "discovered" and signed to Stiff Records. Their first show was at CGGBs in August of 1979 and by the end of September they were in England recording their self-titled debut album. "Aside from CBGB," Patrick once stated, "it was hard for us to get a good place to play and it seemed like it was taking forever to be discovered, but thinking back on it, it happened pretty fast. We got our big break at Hurrah."

But they may never have been signed if it wasn't for the sudden death of original bassist Ediie, who was struck by a car while crossing the street. It was just natural that the stout, flamboyant bassist Marco Sin would join the band (St. Patrick's Day, 1979), since the three had all played together prior to Dirty Looks in a cover band called The Space Between Your Ears. Marco added that extra dimension that Epic records would later say, "...redefined the nature of the power-pop trio." And the first thing the President of Stiff Records told Marco was, "Don't loose weight."

Dirty Looks was riding high as they toured all over the world in 1980 during the Son of Stiff Tour, garnishing rave reviews, gaining new fans and selling over 100,000 albums. But the good times wouldn't last long. The first major upset for the band was their follow-up album, Turn It Up. The lean, hard-driving power-pop sound of the first album, that spawned the hit single "Let Go" never made it to the second. However, this was not a direct result of the band itself. but due to Epic Record's heavy-handed, secretive re-working of the album. Originally produced and mixed by Nick Garvey (of the Motors), Epic decided they didn't like the edgy approach and wanted a more mainstream sound. Epic asked Stiiff Records if they could re-mix the album, that is when Dave Robertson, Stiff president, contacted Robert Bechirian who was the producer for Elvis Costello, amongst other artists, to re-work the record. But again Epic was dissatisfied with the result, refused to put anymore money into the project and released the second version only in the UK. The band was unaware of what had happened until they were give copies. After listening to the album, they were horrified to find that the album had been remixed, thinned out and was missing harmonica parts that Patrick had recorded for several songs. The band continued to tour, playing the songs from the new album the way they were meant to be heard, but suffered due to no domestic release. That was their final record for Epic.
After their departure from Stiff/Epic, Island Records voiced interest in the group. Later that year (1982) they were given $5,000 to record a 12-song demo that included two instrumentals. They went into the studio to record what was hopefully to be the third record, but after Chris Blackwell (president of Island) listened to the tape, he decide he didn't like Patrick's voice and suggested they release an album of all instrumentals. Patrick had now had enough of the music business and was ready to disband the group, but their manager and friend, Andy Cavaliere, told them not to be discouraged, that there were other record companies they could approach. Fustrated they continued on, but were forced to go back to working "regular" jobs since there was no record deal and no tour support. The band continued to do spot dates around the US with the hopes of being picked up by another label, but after a year they were still unsigned. The final blow for the Dirty Looks would come in early 1984 when Andy Cavaliere died of a heart attack. Patrick now had had enough, without the guidance of their manager he felt their was no reason to continue, he disbanded the group and quit the business.

After Patrick broke up the band he returned to school to get a degree in computer science. At last we know he still resides in New Jersey and has never returned to the music industry. Marco went on to tour with the Waterboys and was also the bassist with New York City underground rockers Lone Cowboys. In 1995 Marco passed away from a heart failure due to a recurring problem with narcotics. Peter went on to do session work for Clarence Clemens, played and recorded with Planet Blue and did technical work for Stevie Nicks' first solo album. Today Peter lives in Florida and plays in an cover/originals band known as The Distractions. From time-to-time he still gets fans coming up to him and asking if there will ever be a reunion. Unfortunately, the answer is always no. ~ Ted Sterns & Peter Parker
Biography taken from DIRTY LOOKS web site

 

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