The Mamas & the Papas & the Bible: Dirty Honey breaks down new single, "California Dreamin'"

Credit: Daniel Prakopcyk

Chances are, you know another song called “California Dreamin'” that isn’t by Dirty Honey. As frontman Marc LaBelle tells ABC Audio, he was initially skeptical about naming his band’s song after the classic 1965 The Mamas & the Papas hit.

“I definitely struggled with, ‘Am I really gonna call this song ‘California Dreamin’?'” LaBelle recalls. “I obviously am aware of The Mamas & Papas tune, and I love that song.”

He continues, “As I dove into it a little more, I just kind of figured there was a different story to tell than just the allure of California being so beautiful and warm and whatever.”

Dirty Honey’s “California Dreamin'” presents a darker take on the Golden State than its namesake, though LaBelle wouldn’t necessarily call it a “mirror image” of the original. “If there were a mirror that could show you all the bad parts about yourself, that would be more of the mirror we’re looking into,” he says.

Along with its nod to The Mamas & the Papas’ signature song, “California Dreamin'” also gives a shout-out to possibly an even more famous work: the Bible. LaBelle opens the track with the line “For 40 days and 40 nights,” which refers to the length of the world-consuming flood in Genesis.

“For whatever reason, when I hear the words ’40 days and 40 nights,’ it has this sort of, like, endless struggle associated to it,” LaBelle says.

“I love that,” he adds. “That’s what I was trying to get across in the whole imagery of moving west [to California].” 

“California Dreamin'” is the lead single off Dirty Honey’s upcoming self-titled debut album, due out April 23.

By Josh Johnson
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