Southern rockers keep it 'Dirty in Texas'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's a dichotomy of sorts with the Denton, Texas-based rock band Anchored that, while seemingly at odds, is actually part of what makes the band more than just another collection of musicians.

Anchored frontman Brandan Nerrell has enough of the sensitive artist in him that he doesn't mind confessing that Anchored's name is a tribute to his grandfather, but he and his bandmates are rock and roll enough to have written the next great gritty Southern Rock anthem.

That song -- "Dirty in Texas (D.I.T.)" -- is one of the chief reasons the five-man outfit of seasoned artists is poised to instigate a new Southern Rock revival ... a Second Helping of sorts.

"Rock music needs the South to save it," Nerrell laughed in a phone interview on his way to Florida's east coast for a Tuesday-night show. "The West Coast and East Coast bands have held the title long enough; it's time for a little kick-ass Southern Rock."

Anchored provide just that -- and more -- on their soon-to-be-released debut album "Listen to This!" Not that you can pigeonhole them as the next ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd or Allman Brothers Band.

"I think there's enough variety in our music and on our album that you'd have to come up with about five or six bands if you want to try and categorize our sound," Nerrell, who formed Anchored with guitarist B.G. Simpson just about a year ago, said. "I like to talk with our bus driver on some of these long trips, and we've come up with a name for our music. We just call it 'Texas rock.' I think that fits us best.

"Honestly, I don't think we sound like anyone else. We're Southern, and there's some Southern rock in there, but we're one of those bands where I think the stars just aligned for us."

Nerrell's point is well-made. He, Simpson, drummer Matty Clark, bassist Josh Franklin and guitarist Joel Estes have a little bit of Texas rock godfathers ZZ Top in their mix, but it's also easy to find a little Soundgarden, some early REO Speedwagon, some thundering Who-like drumming and an assortment of other classic and modern rockers on "Listen." There's even a few touches of Jonas Brothers pop -- but in a good way.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the five musicians each brought to Anchored the influences he'd developed playing with other established bands.

"I was in the band Advent when I was introduced to B.G. and Matty," Nerrell said. "B.G. was in the band Waking Season, and Matty was in Bidwell, and we all knew Josh -- who was in Faktion -- and Joel -- who was in Venture -- from playing in the Dallas area.

"We all got together less than a year ago, and things just kind of came together pretty fast."

That they did. Anchored created such a buzz, rock veterans Saliva signed them up for their current tour. The two bands have played the Northeast together and are currently making their way through the South. They'll play a double-bill at Masquerade in Atlanta on Sunday and at the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Ala., two nights later.

"We had a great time up North, but it's good to be getting into the heartland," Nerrell said. "There's just something about the South ... the hospitality, the openness, and there's absolutely no girls in the world like Southern girls."

And Southerners -- especially Southern girls -- like nothing better than a big old Southern anthem they can raise a glass to. "Dirty" fits the bill with its ringing guitars and its "Boys driving two-tons, girls riding shotgun" lyrics. Plus the video (available on Anchored's myspace site) is a hoot.

"Yeah, we had fun doing that," Nerrell says with a wry laugh. "We did that in three days working 21-hour days. And the temperature was 120 degrees on that football field; I thought I was gonna melt.

"But we had a lot of fun with it, and we've gotten a great response to it so far. You notice at the end of it it says 'To be continued' ... We plan to make it into a three-part video. The second part, which will be with the song 'Last Night,' will be filmed either at the Playboy Mansion or in Vegas. The third part, which may go with 'Bad Timing' or 'Savior,' will be a 'road' video all through the East Coast, the West Coast and the South."

With each play of the video and each rock radio add of "Dirty in Texas," the band named for its lead singer's early years in Anchorage, Alaska, and for his grandfather's favorite color is generating more and more of a buzz.

"Yeah, we've noticed that more and more folks are singing along to the songs," Nerrell said. "But what's really awesome is that the folks who haven't heard us before are accepting us. That's a gift, man.

"We plan to stay on the road through November ... to tour, tour, tour. We'll write some more songs on the road, but we're going to put ourselves out there. There's a lot of excitement right now, and we plan to embrace it."

Just as rock fans are embracing the new Southern sounds of Anchored.