The Dirty River Boys have a very unique style and a sound all there own. The Dirty River Boys (Nino, Marco, Travis and CJ) hale from the dirty river city of El Paso. I had the chance to sit down with the band before their show Saturday, September 10th, at The Blue Light. We talked about everything from the origin of the bands name to their biggest musical influences to their new album coming out, "Train Station."

Here is the interview, in its near entirety, from that afternoon.

*Where did the name, “Dirty River Boys” come from?

Marco: The band name is very regional to us. We're from El Paso, and a very dirty river runs through there called the Rio Grande.

Travis: It was also everybody throwing words in, started with a big list of names, one of us saying muddy, muddy river band etc.

Nino: We wanted something that also gave imagery and represented where we're from.

Marco: When Dirty River Boys came up, they all decided on it right away and it felt right.

*You all have a very unique sound, how did you all come up with it?

Marco: Out of necessity, out of accident.

Travis: Nino and I at first time played full time in El Paso, allowing ourselves to play Monday through Sunday. Nino would book gigs and a lot of the bars didn’t have stages like this at blue light for us to play on so they’d stick us in the corner of a place like the blue light so obviously it wasn’t enough room to set up drum sets and amps and everything but they allowed three hours or less of music for a certain amount of money, so Nino would book those gigs and we would break it down to acoustic.

Nino: We did use to play full band electric and just to get into those smaller rooms, we broke it down and we had heard of a cajone from a neutral friend and Travis went and got one and we started doing these smaller rooms, and kind of fell into this routine sound and just went with it..

Travis: It wasn’t a sound we were searching for, it was just music we were playing to take up time and make money. That was our goal back then! Just him and I, and we would hire some dudes to play with us. We saw Marco fronting a band at a bar, a band he had brought up himself, and leading. We saw him at a bar playing some of the songs that are on our record right now and we were like damn we need that third person to make a band, not just being dudes playing at bars so we kind of lassoed him in the band and when he brought his songs that’s when everything just kind started clicking.

Marco: Also  I think the band just kind of breaking it down and us sounding like an acoustic band we kind of wanted to throw in as many harmonies as we can do and add as many instrumentations so it doesn’t just sound like an acoustic band it sounds like something bigger than that!

Travis: Tried to fatten it up a little bit you know?!

*So Do y’all all help with the writing ?

Travis: There’s soul, there’s main writers…It’s like a baby sometimes you know like the women will have the baby but everyone raises it…you know! Straight up, it took the male to make that baby but it’s a group effort.

*So you all do it, not just one??

Nino: Usually Marco and I write the lyrics and then we all get together to do the musical arrangements and stuff. Travis: But anyone can write lyrics, we’re not stuck on, this is the way it has to f*ckin be.


*Are all the songs written from experience?

Marco: I think all the songs come from different aspects. Life is so vast and there’s so much you can draw inspiration from. But yeah, a lot of them are from experience, a lot of them from fictional..I wrote a couple songs based on movies and books and stuff like that.

*What’s the story behind your song, “Union Painter”?

Nino: I was doing some community service at this place called the rescue mission in El Paso. There was a homeless guy named Tom there that talked to me about how he ended up homeless and through his story, I found inspiration to write a song so that’s what that songs about.

*So your first album, “Long Cold Fall” came out when?

Marco: Last year, about a year ago.

So when is your second album coming out?

Nino: Probably in less than two weeks now.

Marco: They’re being duplicated as we speak. It’s just going to be another EP, four song EP from the previous recordings and then we’re hoping that we can get back in the studio and record a solid full length on our time frame and our say so.

*Were all of you brought up around music?

Marco: I wasn’t, I think I just really wanted to play music because it was cool and a good way to express yourself but I honestly wasn’t brought up around music.

Travis: Marco's mom said music was the devil. {hahaha}

Marco: Yea, I had to sneak guitar lessons in there...just kidding!

Nino: My dad played guitar and my mom sang opera and my dad sang too so I grew up singing with them and in a musical environment.

*Was it through church events?

Nino: A little bit of church stuff, but we would get together and play at county fairs and stuff around…I remember one time my dad and I played at this place called the, Lion's Club when I was 13 and played a bunch of songs with him at some event that they had.

*How do y’all like playing here at The Blue Light?

Travis: I love playing here!

Marco: Yea, I think I’ve been saying this, but since the first time we’ve played here opening up for Shawn McConnell, in a way it felt like a hometown crowd because everyone was just so into it, so enthusiastic and so supportive and in touch with the music and playing music, that’s what you want in an audience.

Travis: Lubbock’s real good at picking out the crap, and picking out the good stuff. They know, they’re not dumb, they’re not sheep out here ya know. They know what’s out there and what’s being reproduced and what shouldn’t be reproduced and they put their hearts to the real music ya know. There are real good supporters out here for that.

Nino: What do you think crawfish?

Colton: I love playing here at Blue Light! I really don’t have much to say, It's great!

Nino: It’s great!

Marco: Silent band over here!


*Is this the only venue you’ve ever played at here in Lubbock?

Travis: No, we played in the Crickets parking lot on Broadway about a week and a half ago with the Red Bull tour bus show.

Marco: It was an integrated set with Cory Morrow. He played our songs and we played his.

*How did you start working with Corry Morrow?

Travis: Through mutual friends.

Nino: We share the same management, same booking agency. We just hung out a few times and took a liking to each other.

*Who are y’alls biggest influences in Music?

Nino: I don’t know about biggest influence, it’s a huge spectrum for me, anything from pop/punk to indie to blues to 60’s classic rock to Foo Fighters early stuff to Ryan Adams all kinds of stuff, it’s too broad of a range for me.

*Who do you like in the Texas country scene?

Nino: Uhh...{haha} uhh…

Marco: Let’s say uhh…Cory Morrow, that’s a given,  Turnpike Troubadours, Band of Heathens, and Hayes Carll is a damn good song writer.

*What about outside the Texas Music scene?

Marco: We all kind of come from different musical interests and backgrounds, I love Rancid, I love a good punk rock song. You know, Large Fredrickson and the Bastards; their record, The Viking is one of my favorite of all time, and the reason I like playing the acoustic guitar is because of John Mayer, so like Nino was saying, it’s like over and here and over there as far as diversity of music that we like.

Travis: I just listened to everybody basically. I still live under a big rock as far as you know. So many things from like Nirvana, the Police, Ace of base..I’m serious too!  {hahaha}…

Marco: A little Slayer in there.

*What was y’alls best musical advice given to you?

Travis: Don’t suck.

Marco: Don’t suck! That is probably the biggest. My dad always tells me that before I play anywhere, don’t suck!

Nino: Don’t suck and just be persistent, persistence is the key.

Marco: And give it your all! Work at it every day and just be persistent and stay true to good music, be honest.

*Where have y’all had the best time so far? As far as venue?!

Travis: College Station, no San Marcos I think.

Nino: San Marcos, yea on the Red Bull tour that was one of the coolest and most fun.

Marco: And I’m not just saying that just because we’re in Lubbock, like I said earlier, it feels like playing back home. We played at a housing complex right by campus. We rolled up and, everyone’s partying, pouring vodka and jumping up and down.

Travis: They put the stage in a parking lot in between two complexes so we were basically telling all these Texas State kids, which was close to 2,000 of them that they could drink as much as they wanted in their house and step outside and now they were at a concert. So you can image how excited they were and how much fun they were having knowing that they didn’t have to drive anywhere. The police weren’t being all hard core about it, they were allowing it even though it was illegal so it was really cool.

Marco: But In addition to that though, Wichita Falls. It has the same hometown feeling that Lubbock does so we enjoy playing there as well.


Their new album, "Train Station," is coming out in the next few weeks, possibly sooner. It's in its final stages of production as we speak. Cant wait until then? Their album, "Long Cold Fall," is available to purchase on iTunes.

If you ever get a chance to see them live, do it, you won't be disappointed. In fact, the Dirty River Boys will be back in Lubbock on December 3. I was lucky enough to be part of history that night at The Blue Light, as the Dirty River Boys played to their first ever sold out crowd.

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