Not sure how this happened but Dirty Looks and Kingdom Come take up the most room in my iTunes library. I wouldn’t consider either of them among my favorites, but both found a certain borrowed sound early on in their careers and continued to put out album after album of songs that, for the most part, sounded pretty much the same. While Kingdom Come sounded like a modern day Led Zeppelin, Dirty Looks were more in the dirty rock vein and with Henrik Ostergaard’s scratchy vocals, were like the Pennsylvania cousins of Australia’s AC/DC.
I’m pretty sure my first exposure to Dirty Looks was via the old metal radio station, Z-Rock, which undoubtedly spun “Oh, Ruby” and “Cool from the Wire”. I remember buying the Cool from the Wire LP at a used record store in a strip mall of a Cleveland suburb. Being a high school student with an interest in girls and pretty much having a crush on any girl that knew my name, I was drawn to the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” which I’m sure probably ended up on a mix tape or two for some classmate. Pretty coy, huh?
While I never got to see Dirty Looks live (did they tour regularly?), I’ve kept up with the band and in this digital era, where music can be bought with the click of a button rather than having to go from CD store to CD store to find an independently released hard rock album, it wasn’t hard to consume all of Dirty Looks’ output. Between ’96 and ’07, Henrik Ostergaard took a break from releasing albums but came back strong the last 4 years with new releases Gasoline (2007), Superdeluxe (2008), California Free Ride (2009) and I.C.U. (2010).
Apparently Henrik hasn’t been doing so well the past few years though he’s not a big enough star (cough cough Bret Michaels cough cough) to warrant much press coverage regarding any illnesses. Sadly, Henrik passed away today, at the age of 47, while in hospice care. The cause of death is being ruled as natural causes but obviously a healthy person doesn’t end up in hospice.
Rest in peace, Henrik.