Reuters Scribes Rocked by Jack Abramoff Scandal

In his serious day job, Andy Sullivan covers Congress for Reuters. When evening comes, he plays in a rock band that includes fellow Reuters reporters called Dirty Bomb, which will soon debut its first album. The release party for “King of the Hill” is Dec. 3 at Velvet Lounge. The album was inspired by the rise and fall of a certain superlobbyist. It’s being released the day before Jack Abramoff finishes his prison sentence (he’s currently on work-release at a Baltimore kosher pizzeria). The album pulls from Abramoff e-mails and other material that emerged during the investigation. Sullivan describes the band as an AC/DC type band with the “underpinning of New Orleans funk.”  Hear the band’s music here.

1. When did you first start with music, how old were you, where were you, and what did you play? I joined the Boy Singers of Maine at age 8. I could sing the highest note on the piano. We’d tour New England and Canada and put on a huge Christmas show every year with the Portland Symphony, fake snow billowing down from the rafters of City Hall. I was hooked. I took up guitar at age 14 and played my first rock gig at a yacht club a year or so after. That was even better — I felt like I was struck by lightning.

2. What’s more fun, journalism or music? Wire-service journalism is the second most awesome thing to do in the world after music. Adrenaline and craft are central to both.

3. Do you feel “cool” being in a band? What’s your part in it (lead singer, guitar drums)? a. It’s more like “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” When you drive five hours to play to four people who don’t bother to clap, you feel like the biggest fool in the world. When the clock radio goes off in the morning and your voice comes out of the speaker, you feel like David Lee Roth. b. In Dirty Bomb, I sing and play guitar.  I also play lap steel.

4. When you play with the band do you dress the part of a rocker (leather and such) or do you think Reuters would frown upon that? I haven’t worn the pink tiger stripe tights in a while. Might be time to bust them out.

5. Does your band play gigs around D.C. or go on tour? I spent half of my 20s in a van, but at this point it doesn’t make sense for Dirty Bomb to play out of town shows. We are grownups.

Find out where Sullivan grew up and more on the band after the jump…

Check out the Dirty Bomb’s web site here.

Photo credits: Tom Williams

Sullivan’s upbringing: I grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, one of the most gorgeous spots on earth. I spent my twenties in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which has an incredible music scene. I never thought I’d end up in D.C. but I’ve been here 11 years now and absolutely love it.

Where Dirty Bomb practices: The backyard studio of drummer, Matt Tebo. Says Sullivan, “He built it himself and it is solid as a rock.”

Other band members: Singer Kat Jackson is a Reuters TV producer and guitarist Mark Felsenthal covers the Federal Reserve.