Quick Stats: Jon Olazabal, Dirty Heads percussionist
Daily Driver: 1975 Ford Bronco (Jon's rating: 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other car: see below
Favorite road trip: SoCal to Las Gaviotas
Car he learned to drive in: 1991 Toyota pickup
First car bought: 1995 Toyota Tacoma

Named one of Rolling Stone's "best new bands of 2010," Southern California reggae band Dirty Heads blends reggae, rock, hip-hop, and ska. The band has made a splash in the music scene with appearances on TV shows including "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and a recently-wrapped tour with Matisyahu.

Despite all the recent attention, percussionist Jon Olazabal didn't splurge on a shiny new ride like some rockers do. Instead, his gift to himself was a vintage 1975 Ford Bronco, apropos for being based in sunny Huntington Beach, California.

"It's a great beach car for summer days driving down Pacific Coast Highway," he says, giving the Bronco an 8.5 rating. "In my eyes it's a 10, but realistically it's an 8.5.

It's really fun to drive. It's got a three on the tree transmission. I'm always aware I'm driving it. It's connected to the road, bouncing all over the place. It's just a great car to cruise around in."

He's protective of the Bronco and where he drives it. "I've only taken it on the freeway once or twice, once to do the music shoot for our music video," Olazabal says. "I try to keep it local and try to keep the long distance miles off of it. I want to keep it for a long time and I'm wary of having it out on the freeway."

But he does plan to take the Bronco out to see what it was made to do. "One of these days I'm going to take it out to the mountains and do some off-roading. I haven't had the chance to do that yet," he says. "I'm still running through a few things to fix on it, to make sure that when I do get it out there, it doesn't break down on me out in middle of nowhere."

A lot of cars lovers can relate to Olazabal's emotional attachment to his other car, which is the first car he bought: a 1995 Toyota Tacoma. He bought it when he was a senior in high school and has had it for 13 years.

"That was right when band was starting up. Of course, all the guys loved that I had a truck because then we could pile all the gear in it," he says with a laugh. "I was the driver for many nights because of a truck and I've also been the guy that helped all my friends move. Now a lot of my friends have trucks, but I was one of the first ones to get one."

The Tacoma will always be special to Olazabal and he laughs when he rates it a 3.5 out of 10. "The Tacoma has been through hell and back. It was rusted out, the body is beat up, and it's covered in sand. But it still runs like a champ and I will drive it until it explodes on the side of a freeway," he says.

He says living by the beach has also affected the Tacoma. "The majority of it has been corroded by the salt in the air," he says. "I live right by the ocean and it's been eaten alive over the years and it's beyond repair. If were to fix it, it would cost more than it's worth."

To the chagrin of friends who rib him about his old truck, Olazabal says he won't part with it. "When I pull up in my truck they're like, 'Really dude? Come on!' It was used when I bought it. It's been through so much and it's gotten me through so many road trips in my life and it's like my little child that I'll never get rid of."

He has tried to part with it. "I had all these plans like, 'I'm going to get this car and I'm going to sell my truck and I'm going to move on,' and it came to the point and I'm getting ready to sell it, and I thought, 'I can't get rid of this thing, we do everything together.'"

Car he learned to drive in
Although the band travels the world now, Olazabal still lives in Huntington Beach, where he grew up and learned to drive in a 1991 Toyota pickup.

"It was my dad's car. A lot of where I learned to drive was down at the beach parking lots and it was the same with a lot of my friends, too, because there's a lot of really big, open space where there's no buildings that you can run into and no trees that you can accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and kill yourself. So it was a pretty safe spot," he says.

Olazabal learned to drive a stick shift about a year ago when he bought the Bronco and had to ask a friend to drive it off the lot for him. They went to Bolsa Chica State Beach, between Sunset Beach and Huntington Beach, so Olazabal could learn how to drive it.

"There's certain areas that we know of that are generally pretty empty, and there's a little street within the parking area so you can test it around, drive it through the street, drive it through the parking lot, so it's really a great little spot," he says.

Favorite road trip
One of Olazabal's favorite road trips is driving to Mexico to surf. "I have some great memories of this place -- Las Gaviotas," he says. "It's a little community we go down to for surf trips. There's a few spots north and south of this area, so it's a pretty known stretch of Mexico."

The band has hung out down there and also shot their first music video for the single "Lay Me Down" in the area.

He says it's a three-and-a-half to four-hour drive for him, taking the 405 freeway to the 5 freeway through San Diego until he hits the border. "It's a pretty scenic drive and it's cool once you get into to Mexico, if you don't get lost, which we have done before -- that is not fun. Back in the day when we used to go it wasn't too bad, but we're a little more cautious now. It's an hour south of Rosarito, so you're only driving in Mexico for an hour."


Dirty Heads' "Cabin By The Sea"
The band's new album, "Cabin By The Sea" came out this summer. It's their second album. They just toured the U.S. and will be in Brazil in November.

"We're very proud of this album. It was many years in the working," he says. "Our genre is acoustic-based reggae with hip-hop, sort of a blend between Jack Johnson, Beastie Boys, and Sublime. This album is lightly based on the theme of the cabin is a place you can escape to," Olazabal says. "When you're listening to the album you can escape whatever's going on in your life and it takes you on this journey to a cabin that's out in the middle of nowhere," he says. "It's a nice little escape. That's what we want people to feel when they listen to it."