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Meet John AKA Dirtbag John of DIRTBAG

Today we’d like to introduce you to John AKA “Dirtbag John”.

Thanks for sharing your story with us John. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It was back in ’95 while going to SF State for broadcasting. A friend had a Dirtbag shirt and I thought, “I gotta get that!”. When I wore it around town, it seemed like others needed to have it too. That’s what started the Dirtbag brand!  We started up in our 5-story walk-up apartment, then to a warehouse, then to national retail with Spencer’s which led us to a concept store in Pacific Beach for 8 years. We are currently set up for direct to consumer via our website and retail through our artist program.

Dirtbag is a lifestyle brand that we all live. Music has always been the hub of that lifestyle, bringing us all together.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
OH BOY! We’ve had every experience and emotion that a company could ever have.  Dirtbag is like a band. It’s never easy and it’s those low points and the thoughts of “why the f*ck are we doing this?” that just makes us go HELL YEAH, we’re never gonna quit! A well-established artist told me years ago that you’ll never make it in music if you have a back-up plan. Like a band, we don’t have a back up plan either – quitting is not in our vocabulary.



DIRTBAG – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Dirtbag Clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand down in the trenches specializing in “soft goods” tees, hats, hoodies – the things you want to wear Onstage | Offstage | Backstage.  Our gear is priced right so you can really enjoy it and Wear it ’til it Stinks! From an artist’s perspective, Dirtbag is that brand that walks the walk with you. We are there to support the artist, mentor, give advice, or just simply listen.  We’ve been doing this for a long time and assisting artists in their journey is the foundation of what we do.

This separates Dirtbag from other clothing brands.  To Dirtbag Endorsed Artists, we offer exclusive product as well as our entire line at wholesale for them to sell to their fans to help fund their journey.  I’m most proud that we’ve lasted over 20 years in an extremely tough industry and the people that are on the Dirtbag team are the best humans in the world!

Smitty, Garrett, DW, Gene, Drew, Rem, Sarge, Record, and our artists make this whole thing go, including our wives and family.  I’m most proud that we truly live by the motto We All Rise Up Together!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The time we said NO!  We could have “sold out” for quick money 12 or so years ago, but that would have killed the brand we’d built up… Personally, I just could not watch the brand that started in a crappy San Francisco apartment with no heat treated like a commodity to exploit for a quick buck.

Maybe we were just too young and dumb at the time, but we had way too many people who lived the Dirtbag way; with extreme determination and passion. Dirtbags who felt like Dirtbag was them and that they owned it, just like we did…to see a suit take it and not give a damn about it was a bridge too far for me… NO BACKUP PLAN… so in true Rock ‘n Roll, fashion, we said no and are doing it OUR WAY! As Smitty says in our office… “There is your way, my way, and the Dirtbag way”.

I’m proud in our 20+ year history. It shows the integrity in the “Dirtbag way” and all the people involved.


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