Blasting out of the legendary Motor City rock scene of the 1970s is Lansing, Michigan’s proto-punks The Dogs. Since 1969, this trio has been taking their Detroit-fueled rock and roll show on the road to L.A., New York, England and Japan. They have opened for everyone from KISS and AC/DC to the MC5 and The Ramones. Their 1978 single, “Slash Your Face,” was named one of the top ten punk rock songs of all time by Spin magazine.
Congratulations on The Dogs 40th anniversary as a band this year! I’m sure you have lots of advice and experiences to share with us. To start, what attributes to the band’s longevity?
After all these years do you find it harder or easier to write songs?
I think the song writing process evolves as you get older, I find it a little easier to write now, understanding song structure. In the beginning we were quite primitive in our approach, but there is a beauty in that. It’s funny all the things I wrote about 30 plus years ago are still going on with our society and in the world.
How about performing?
As far as performing and to be playing high-energy rock and roll after all these years we have to stay in shape, just less drinking and more high voltage rock and roll.
Do you have any advice for young bands on how to keep going thru the years?
Hold onto your dreams. I think now that the record business is less important than before, a band can control their own destiny and not have to have an A+R guy telling them to change their music. Watch out for the pitfalls of over indulgence.
The Dogs have relocated to many different rock n’ roll hotpots throughout your career, from Detroit (Lansing) to LA, NY and England. Where was your best experience and your worse?
You are about to embark on another tour of Japan,
Well, we went to Tokyo in Dec. 2007 to support the FutureNow Records release of The Dogs tribute compilation CD, “Doggy Style,” and the four date tour was amazing! The Japanese are huge fans of the Detroit ‘70s rock era. All the bands love The Sonics Rendezvous Band, The Stooges, MC5 and of course The Dogs. Some of the wildest shows we have ever played! We are working on going back later in 2009 or early 2010 and hitting Australia and maybe China.
The band has shared the stage with acts such as KISS, MC5, The Ramones
And of course with The Ramones in LA. On this show, Van Halen were supposed to open the 3 band show, but they canceled because they did not want to open for us as we were playing right before The Ramones. Our first date in Hollywood in 1976 was with Van Halen and Quite Riot. The Dogs could always play with mainstream bands or punk bands, I guess it was our Motor City roots that made it rock.
What was your most memorable Detroit rock experience?
1. In 1969, Dick Wagner and The Frost took us as the opening act to The Birmingham Palladium. Being kids from Lansing, it was mind-blowing to experience the intense Motor City rock and roll vibe at that venue in the year 1969, as The Stooges said right?
2. The most memorable gig for me was when we opened for the MC5 at the New Grande Ballroom in Nov. 1972. It was my birthday and we got to loan them our gear and share the dressing room with them. This was one of their last gigs before they broke up, but that night they still rocked the house! Rob Tyner the singer was so cool, he was talking with us about the music business and gave us some guidance, I think he knew we idolized them. It was just a brilliant night that I will always treasure.
Who is your all-time favorite Detroit performer or band?
What’s next for The Dogs?
Will the band still be rockin’ in another ten years?
If it’s good enough for the Rolling Stones and old blues guys to be rocking in their sixties and seventies, God willing we will be rocking with the Marshall and playing punk rock till we die. Rock and Roll state of mind 4Ever!
Look for The Dogs on tour now:
June 17th The Blind Pig-Ann Arbor, Michigan
June 18th The Beachland Ballroom-Cleveland, Ohio
June 19th Mac's Bar-Lansing, Michigan
June 20th Bovine Sex Club-Toronto Canada (NXNE showcase)