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'Teenage Dirtbag': The cream of Wheatus


Wheatus Photo Credit: Jeff Bender

The song "Teenage Dirtbag" put Wheatus on the musical map in 2000, and now that same tune is shining the spotlight back on the rock band from Northport.

Last year, One Direction started covering "Dirtbag" in its live show, causing the song to be the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter. As the boy band was performing it in Connecticut in November, Wheatus singer-songwriter-guitarist Brendan B. Brown's phone started to explode.

"I was instantly communicating with kids at the concert on Twitter," says Brown. "The band wasn't even done performing the song when I found out they were playing it."

Brown, 39, was pleased that One Direction -- who play Jones Beach Friday and Saturday -- kept his song intact with some updates. "They've given it the stadium treatment," he says after viewing a live clip. "It sounds really big."

"Dirtbag," which originally hit No. 7 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart in 2000, has had quite a rebirth over the past few years. The song re-entered the BBC charts in England in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It even made it back into the iTunes top 40 chart four years in a row.

"I don't know why this is happening," says Brown. "It's the poltergeist of pop songs."

As a result of the One Direction bounce, Wheatus has adopted a whole new fan base by gaining 50,000 new Twitter followers in two months. Additionally, the "Dirtbag" video garnered 5 million hits on YouTube.

"The song is our calling card," says Brown. "All I ever wanted to do since I was 11 years old was play in a band and have people care about it. I'm able to do that because of 'Dirtbag.' For me that's the best thing ever."

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Wheatus is finishing its sixth album, "The Valentine LP," set to drop in mid-August in an effort to catch the wave of this newfound interest. The band will also be doing an East Coast tour hitting the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan Aug. 16.

"We have to be there for these kids," says Brown. "It's our responsibility to be worth sticking around for. We want to get them connected with our music."


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