About

Dirty Penny is an indie rock band. They’ve been rocking Toronto and America since 2001. Their sound has solid roots in the guitar heavy side of the 80s but they are lead by an unpredictable front man/storyteller armed with a bag different voices. Dirty Penny is anything but boring and is not for the casual seeker of a classic rock experience. If you love The Velvet Underground, The Pixies, Love and Rockets and The Fall, then you love Dirty Penny.

Dirty Penny has released 2 critically acclaimed albums “TaDa!” and “Sage Against the Machine”. They are releasing their third record “Sorry Mom” in September 2013.

Dirty Penny is the world’s first rock band to take the words of 100 year old songs without having any knowledge of the original music written, then spending an obscene amount of money producing brand new music around those words. Dirty Penny calls this process “HoboNouveau”. Works produced so far are “Cigarettes, Whisky, and Wild Wild Women” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, both available off their first album “TaDa!”. “Pretty Boy Floyd” (words by Woody Guthrie) is off their second album “Sage Against the Machine”.

This site’s history:

Until Sep 2008, Dirty Penny was being followed by journalist, Alex Magnussen.  Alex’s goal was to write the book on DP’s ascent to fame and be right there to publish it when the time came.  Unfortunately, Alex had issues.  He began this blog has a sort of sandbox for his notes and thoughts on his work for DP.  It has since grown into the band’s main site. The earliest posts are all by Alex.  He is incarcerated now after being charged for indecent behaviour to children.  Read the posts if you must..

In honour of his work for us, we leave the following original verision of this site’s About page:

“This blog is a journal of my time spent around the amazing Canadian indie rock band, Dirty Penny . My name is Alex Magnuson – codename “pr man”. I am a Ryerson graduate of the school of journalism.

In 2007 I was looking for a project that would lead me into biographical journalism. My ex-girlfriend had dragged me to a show at Clinton’s Tavern on Bloor. She had promised her friend she’d go because she wanted my ex to scope out a boy she was interested in. The first band was unremarkable. It was a tuesday, a shared bill night of indie bands. The second band was Dirty Penny. My ex, her friend, and the boy gabbed the whole way thru the previous band but by the end of DPs first song they were frozen in time. The boy held his glass a few inches from his mouth. My ex’s face looked like it was just about to say something. Those positions were held more or less for the remainder of the show. It was only my professional training that allowed me to will my eyes away and take notes. The whole room was a bar for mannequins, all posing toward the stage.

Essentially, DP is unique. They deliver what the old carnival man in a top hat yells on the streets of a new town. “Surprises!”

I approached the guitarist after the show. I knew I wanted to do a piece on them but was going to feel my way thru. Before long i was sitting in front of him and lead vocal JC Penny. I asked them if they considered themselves entertainers, musicians, or comedians. Penny replied all three. Lovely Louie, the guitarist, disagreed: entertainers, arguing that the term encompasses the other two. Penny then asked me what I thought. I said all three. Penny put his hand down his pants and arranged his package, right in front of us. It was not uncomfortable, but conversation stopped. “Cavener, stop that,” Louie snapped him out of it. “Oh sorry,” and Penny just stopped.

We agreed that I would take on a documentary role for the band. I was to be allowed unlimited access to DP and the lives of its members except for bedrooms. It was in a park in broad daylight under a tree in full pink bloom. The band, except for keys/rhythm Yoko, was sitting at a picnic table and I was standing while they told me how delighted they were that I had accepted the project. I had just broken up with my ex and was in turmoil… I don’t really remember thinking about it or the conversation that lead up to it. It was such a long time ago. I do remember the feeling of standing there in front of the picnic table. I felt like i was in kindergarten again, like I had just managed to recite shakespeare in front of cheering parents at parent’s night, but holding my body bent to conceal a terrible erection while terrified of a black presence behind me that would annihilate the cosmos if I dared move.

It’s a weird memory that has worried me at times, but not anymore. I am such a fan and am enjoying this project immensely.

I really do feel that DP will go down in rock history unless God or a scorpion is holding a grudge against the band. I have access to rehearsals and have heard versions of Big Rock Candy Mountain that have cracked the paint into recognizable icons on the old yellow walls of the rehearsal space. At the end of all this I will publish the definitive bio, target time: soon after they get famous.”

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