While many, many bands form between classmates in high school or college, only a few make it past graduation. The Dirty Gems is one of those lucky few.
The group came together in 2007 when Hofstra University students Raycee Jones (vocals), Ulises Amaya (bass) and Cam Underhill (synth, vocals) were selected by Professor Bob Bowen III to create a jazz combo as part of a course at the school. They gradually transformed themselves into cover band Pump Yo Brakes with drummer Jack Goode. Once they graduated, the bandmates felt they could convert their energetic live shows into songwriting skills. They invited pianist Mills to join the group and added guitarist Gary Heimbauer when they saw him play a tribute for Professor Bowen, who had recently died.
Although the band members are spread throughout New York City, The Dirty Gems call Astoria their home.
“The culture and vitality of a neighborhood like Astoria is inspiring to us as young, creative minds and the affordability and accessibility is ideal for us as stereotypically broke musicians,” Goode said.
Since college ended, the band’s future has been looking bright. They recently competed in the Battle of the Boroughs for Queens and won the contest, moving on to the Ultimate Battle on June 21. They also just released a new single, “Let Me Loose,” and they have an upcoming show on April 28 at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan.
“We have the highest of aspirations, and as we grow, we plan on playing huge festivals, touring the world and continuing to write and release music to move people and make people move,” Goode said.
For more information, visit www.thedirtygems.com.