Dr. Dog enter the ‘B-Room’
I remember it like it was yesterday…I was at the SXSW music business ding dong in Austin, Texas. It was about 2005 and I was ready to spend 3 or 4 days with lawyers in jeans and drunk talent scouts watching the good, bad and ugly of new music. It was my first night and I was eager…having no idea what to go and see I looked in the directory – there were about 40 venues to choose from each one showcasing 3 or 4 bands…I knew very few of them to be honest. The descriptions were all i had to go on. One such description stood out to me. a band called Dr.Dog were playing at 9pm – their biog mentioned The Band, Neil Young, The Beach Boys and Psychedelia – I was sold. The bar was pretty empty as the band walked on…a raggle taggle bunch of scruffy, hairy youngsters with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. The only other person I knew in the room was the legendary A&R man Seymour Stein – the dude who signed The Ramones, Talking Heads, Madonna and more. He was fast asleep at the bar as a couple of young boys giggled behind his back. I’m still not sure if this was a good thing or not.
The band kicked into their first song and halfway through it i was hooked…the bass player was centre stage as his gruff, soulful voice and style reminded me of Rick Danko from The Band while the skinny guitarist bounced around the place his fragile voice wailing in harmony. I couldn’t take my eyes off this kid…his long ginger hair sprouting from under his wooly hat, the energy was only matched by his inventive and almost wild guitar style. The set continued..the two front men swapped lead vocals while the others harmonised….here was the sound of America. They sounded so familiar yet utterly original. They played with joy as the music poured out of them…as soon as the set finished i jumped on the stage and introduced myself…Toby the bass player and Scott the guitarist were charming and very attentive as I stuttered my way though a list of records and bands they may love…I enthused about their show and bought a cd. I then found out they were playing another 3 shows while i was in Austin. I felt blessed. This is why i do this…all those damp tuesday nights in Camden Town watching ordinary indie rock bands with pointy shoes and haircuts made this all the more satisfying.
The album was called Easy Beat and eventually we licensed it from the bands label Park The Van and put it out on Rough Trade in the UK and Europe…to this day i am so proud of working with Dr. Dog even though it was for too brief a period. A month or so later i travelled to Boston to see them…a surprise visit. They were better than ever – and they named me Thames…i know weird. Let me explain – at that time they all called themselves names beginning with T…Taxi, Tables, Text, Turbo…you get the picture…
I’ve followed their career from that day and whenever they come to London I’m there at the front jumping up and down and singing along with Scott and Toby…they are a wonderful bunch of guys and their music is a joyous trip though American culture with all its highs and lows.
anyway enough yakking…they are back with a new album that is out in a week or so in the US and I believe a week or two later in Europe. I’ve been listening to a stream of it on the Rolling Stone website – listen here – and it sounds like their best record in years – raw and beautiful.
Later on during that trip to Austin I bumped into Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks sitting on a park bench by the river but thats another story…
enjoy these two videos of new tunes…
all hail Dr. Dog