It used to be that Ontario’s The Dirty Nil’s advantage over all other rock ‘n’ roll bands was that they had punchier riffs, sharper hooks, and snazzier collared shirts. No strangers to success, the JUNO Award-winning group have shared stages with the likes of The Who, Foo Fighters, Billy Talent, and Alexisonfire since the release of 2018 Juno Award-nominated album Master Volume.
With the world in isolation mode, the trio can exploit yet another unique asset – the fact that singer/guitarist Luke Bentham, bassist Ross Miller, and drummer Kyle Fisher all live together in the same house. As a result, the Nil have been able to regularly convene and put the finishing touches on their next album without having to worry about social distancing, face masks, or their 40-minute Zoom time limit running out.
Today, the band provides a preview in the form of “Done With Drugs.”
As Bentham admits, the song was inspired by his imminent entry into his 30s, and the significant life changes that he and his friends are experiencing as that milestone birthday approaches. But in true cheeky Nil fashion, “Done With Drugs” isn’t exactly the sincere pledge to sobriety it may appear to be on the surface. In fact, it’s not so much about drug use per se, but rather the performative aspects of self-care as they often play out on social media.
The frontman explains, “At this time in my life, I see a lot of people who are trying to stop doing cocaine or stop drinking rivers of liquor or stop eating lots of shitty fast food. On Facebook, I see these posts from people declaring, “I’m done with this!” – they’ll have a six-paragraph post about how they’re changing their lives. I’m definitely not against self-betterment, and I’m not trying to make light of anyone’s struggle; I’m just kind of amused and fascinated by that whole aspect of social media. Like someone will post, “I’m done drinking coffee!” Okay, well then just stop drinking coffee – you don’t have to try to stop the internet for the day to tell everybody that you’re done with Maxwell House! I find that funny, and somewhat narcissistic. But that’s just my opinion, and I’m kind of an asshole!
We were on tour with White Reaper and I don’t think I would’ve written that riff if I wasn’t hanging out with [their guitarists] Tony [Esposito] and Hunter [Thompson]. They had just played with The Killers, so every day we were always playing the “Mr Brightside” riff together. I think that opened my mind to stadium-rock cheese, even more so than before. There are songs on this new album that are much heavier than this song, and then there are songs that are a bit more vulnerable than this one – so “Done With Drugs” is kind of an outlier in the fact that it’s in the middle of the spectrum.