….follow-up information courtesy of D.A.W.G.S. guitarist Bryce Michaels. Be sure to check out his new band, Sport Lauderdale, and check out how unhinged I am: I’m posting this below, AND I HAVEN’T EVEN READ IT!!!
Allow me to take few moments of your time to tell you a little bit about myself and my band, The Low Down Dirty D.A.W.G.S.
My name is Bryce Michaels. I am an Assistant Manager at The Sharper Image in Cincinnati and a freelance private investigator. I also play guitar and write songs for a band called The Low Down Dirty D.A.W.G.S. The band has been going strong for many years- with a few line-up changes and style over-hauls. Most people call what we play the blues or party rock, but we also play a LOT of soft rock and make the occasional foray into progressive sounds and hard jazz as well as reggae and other world beat riddims.
The genealogy of the D.A.W.G.S. could probably be traced back to the fifties and the first wave of Rock n Roll, but the story officially began when Kenny Bad Dog Monroe and his mute guitar playing buddy Sloehand tired of their configuration as BJ and the Dog a two man singer-songwriter outfit in the mold of England Dan & John Ford Coley, Aztec Two-Step and Cecilio & Kapano. They recruited their drummer friend Willie Teaser, formerly of the Hard Rock band Teaser and re-christened themselves The Low Down Dirty D.A.W.G.S.
In Bad Dogs own words: The power trio thing worked real nicely for a while, but Sloehand was in way over his head switching from leads to rhythm constantly. We werent actively looking for a new member, but Carlos Sampedro was always around at parties, rehearsals and such. He was my number one connection for weed, coke and Quaaludes and the first time I heard him play I was like, holy shit! So I guess you could say that we went out looking for some Doobies and came back with our very own Patrick Simmons. This line-up played to a packed house every Friday for three years. It was perfect, except
Bad Dog: The snatch factor just wasnt there. Only the dudes were paying any attention to our music. Koozie used to be at our shows every Friday night, chatting up all the ladies and shakin the disco on the dance floor. I saw him out there one night and thought to myself, this dude would look good up stage here with the D.A.W.G.S. hed look real good. Koozie added the Romance element to the band, and the fact that he could somewhat play the saxophone didnt hurt. From that night on the D.A.W.G.S. became certifiable pussy magnets with a split-tail guarantee. Also around this time an old associate of Bad Dogs from the early days of the Cincinnati bar band scene came back into the fold. Lee Big Dog Richardson had been around the block a few times, and the wisdom and experience he brought to the band raised their profile in the more serious blues circles.
Roughly two years later, I joined the band after a chance encounter with Bad Dog in prison of all places; lets just say I made a few shady plays when working on a tough case. At that time I was writing a lot of new material for my steady gig at Skylines (not to be confused with Skyline chili), a revolving bar atop a high rise up in Fountain Square. It was an uptown crowd and they crowd had decidedly modern tastes. I peppered their late afternoons / early evenings with some covers, mostly Billy Joel and Michael Franks tunes, along with some pretty intense original material. A lot of famous D.A.W.G.S. standards-to-be were carved out during those dizzy afternoons over white wine spritzers and Bacardi Breezers. I had my friend, keyboardist Steffen Peabeaux, backing me up, but what I really craved was to play with a band.
At the same time Bad Dog, a real eager beaver, had been trying to get the D.A.W.G.S. out of the dive bars and into the charts. I invited him to drop by the lounge one afternoon and check out my songs. Not familiar with the concept of revolving bars, Bad Dog spent most of the time accusing the help of moving his table around when he wasnt looking. After a few beers he forgot about it and zoned in on the music. Bad Dog: When I heard Bryces songs, I literally shit myself. I knew this was the direction the D.A.W.G.S. needed to be going in if we were going to make it to the top. I scraped out my briefs and made him an offer he couldnt refuse.
The band and I hit it off right away and soon enough the other members of the group started catching the songwriting bug. Carlos and Bad Dog both started churning out stellar blues and rock compositions, eclipsing many of their heroes and contemporaries in sheer structural soundness and stank appeal. Within six months we were on the regional charts with a string of hits Cincinnati Nites, Wasnt Drunk Enough, Beachfront Property, My Jimmy, Please Wont You Have A Seat, Loosey Goosey, The Poop Shoot. Our album Stinky Business went to No. ..1 on K-FROG. The D.A.W.G.S. were at the peak of their powers in this period, but Bad Dawg was still restless. He felt like we were alienting Cincinnatis large African-American audience. Bad Dog: Soul music was the big thing at the time. I knew we needed to add an urban aspect to our sound. People often ask me why I didnt just hire a black person? Too risky! Instead I started scouring the local juke joints and quiet storm
Several years on we were approached by a film student and asked to be the focus of a 35 minute long 16mm short. This film was well received at the time and gained our group a bit of a cult following in areas like New York City, Detroit, Lawrence KS, Washington D.C. and Memphis. We played a large premiere party in Brooklyn at the historic Commodore Theatre, which was attended by a number of powerful and influential trend setters. These hipsters went on to form blatant D.A.W.G.S. rip-off bands such as The Strokes, Fischer-Spooner, Bad Wizard, Animal Collective, Vietnam, The Hong Kong, The White Stripes, W.I.T., The Black Dice, Endless Boogie, The Closet Case, The Low Down Lee Renaldo Blues Dawg Band and a host of others.
While these lesser musical aggregations were playing catch-up with the sound which the D.A.W.G.S. had fully realized and pioneered upwards of a decade earlier, our band accepted a tantalizing offer from Hollywood to follow up the D.A.W.G.S. featurette with a full length movie entitled Street Boogie.
The D.A.W.G.S. were at the peak of their powers in this period, but Bad Dawg was still restless. He felt like we were alienting Cincinnatis large African-American audience. Bad Dog: Soul music was the big thing at the time. I knew we needed to add an urban aspect to our sound. People often ask me why I didnt just hire a black person? Too risky! Instead Carlos, Blade and I started scouring the local juke joints and quiet storm venues for the right keys man. Enter Steven Sereno, soul man extraordinaire. Steven was a high roller, with a taste for extreme sports, ebony ladies and eight balls. His music was funky, sexy and full of fire; way ahead of its time. Ill always remember when the band gathered around the piano as Steven first played us his composition Street Boogie, the title track for our new movie. There was a distinct moment of silence following his performance and then Sloehand said it best as he piped up (for the first time ever- we thought he was mute) with the following phrase Welcome to The Next Level! Then Bad Dog followed with Got Milk! The D.A.W.G.S. were never stronger. We were ready to take on the world.
Then 9/11 happened and the whole Street Boogie deal fell apart, actually about two years and two hundred amazing cocaine / sex parties after 9/11, due to a changing of the guard at the Hollywood studios financing the project. The new power players at the studio were worried that Street Boogie, if released at that time, would make the former executives look too good. They shelved it, and went on to release sub-standard Hollywood crap such as Sideways, Lost In Translation and Brokeback Mountain, all destined for direct-to-DVD purgatory. In a way, we had the last laugh.
So we returned to Cincinnati leaving a trail of paternity suits, re-hab stints, prison terms and homosexual scandals in our wake. It was time to re-group and re-think. The D.A.W.G.S. returned to their Friday night residency at Robbers Roost, with Koozie showing up usually an hour into the set due to his other gig as a dancer at Danglers in Newport. We threw out the set list and started from scratch, going back to the original music that first inspired us; the music that is the lifeblood of the D.A.W.G.S and the soul of America The Blues. We dusted off some old Robert Johnson transcriptions, as well as a few by the equally important Robert John, not to mention some early works by Jay Ferguson, Rocky Burnett and Stephen Bishop. We worked hard at our day jobs, practiced three nights a week and turned ourselves back in to the well-oiled, lubricated, ass-in-the-air party band that we always knew we were. But we kept it to ourselves, slowly and methodically, building, strengthening, growing, hardening, stiffening, veins bursting for over five years until ultimately we erected a sound and a style which is all our own, but at the same time pure, stanky Blues.
In New York City, the D.A.W.G.S., are the stuff of legends. A privileged few were in on the ground floor back in those days and had the opportunity to see one of the precious few seminal D.A.W.G.S. gigs in the NYC area. Our standard procedure is to turn down offers from big city promoters these days. If it weren’t for our longtime manager, Coolie Chops, insisting that we play at his close personal friend and business associate Mr. Sandy Gordon’s Birthday / Going Away party, we wouldn’t even consider it. What Coolie says goes, so:
Listen up New York!
The time is now for the ultimate Blues reckoning.
THE RETURN OF THE LOW DOWN DIRTY D.A.W.G.S.
SATURDAY SEPT 16th, 2006
HANK THE BEAT VEECH