Ep 16: Bobby McCall – The Dirty Hooks, leaving a musical legacy and avoiding the charlatans.

Posted on Jun 16, 2016 | No Comments


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Bobby McCall is a singer, songwriter and musician from Las Vegas. He bought a guitar when he was 17 and has been focused on honing his skills and writing music ever since. After parting ways with the band The Ill Figures, he started the gritty rock trio The Dirty Hooks with bandmates Anthony Ratto III and Jenine Cali. They made the decision to write and record the music that they wanted to hear, and in 2012 they released their debut album Electric Grit to critical acclaim.

“Be as weird as you can.”

In this conversation we dig into Bobby’s beginnings growing up in Las Vegas, his path to rock and roll, and his desire to leave a legacy with his work. We get into the formation of The Dirty Hooks, how to avoid the charlatans of the music industry, producing and releasing your own album, and some of Bobby’s philosophies on creating great music and balancing work, life and art.

“We made the music we wanted to hear.”

Remember to check out The Dirty Hooks on Soundcloud and Spotify, and if you really dig them, support your artists by purchasing their album.

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5 Key Takeaways

  1. When finding your voice, be as weird as you can and try to have some hooks in there. You need to be original in some way.
  2. You can’t chase a record deal and you can’t chase a style that’s relevant now, because by the time you get there you will be old news.
  3. Use social media to your advantage, but watch for predators in the music business. There will always be charlatans trying to sell you more likes, listens and air time. These do not get results and they suck your money and resources.
  4. “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson
  5. The only thing you can do is write good music and put it out there. Focus on leaving a legacy.


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The Dirty Hooks

The Dirty Hooks are three petty criminals who crossed paths in a naked city crime circle, & began writing music after sharing a cell in Las Vegas’s very own metro county jail.
(Bobby McCall, Anthony Ratto III, Jenine Cali)

Music Video by Ryen McPherson.

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Show Notes (Ep 16)

Growing up in Las Vegas [01:50]

How Bobby got into music and his first guitar [07:22]
The first band [10:26]

How The Dirty Hooks came to be [17:00]

The Sound of The Dirty Hooks [23:35]

Playing the baritone guitar and favorite effects [27:55]

How the writing duties are split for the band [32:36]
The strategy for the Electric Grit Release [35:01]

The Dirty Hooks social media strategy [41:31]

Music festivals and the Vegas scene [43:09]

The making of a music video [47:33]

Plans for the next album [50:53]
The work / life / art balance [56:06]

Current musical influences and other likes [01:00:09]

Final advice for musicians [01:03:49]


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