The Dogs, considered among the innovators of punk rock, are one of the most influential bands in the genre. Legendary Detroit bandmates Loren Molinare, Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci sat down with California Rocker Editor Donna Balancia for a Q and A.
DB: What do you see as the future of punk?
LM: I think the future will continue to be great for punk. The punk rock audiences and fans are very loyal stretching over decades. The Ramones in South America and Spain are like the Beatles.
TM: Hell, I don’t even know what’s gonna happen tomorrow!
MK: I’m not sure, things change you know, punk no longer sounds like it did years
ago, I can’t tell where it’s going.
DB: Are there any up-and-coming artists you enjoy?
LM: I love Glitter Trash from Detroit; from LA the two bands The Crazy Squeeze and Dr. Boogie; and in the UK, I like Great Cynics and The Cut Ups
TM: I like a range of the new artists.
MK: I like Volbeat but they’re not necessarily up and coming.
DB: What does it take to survive in the world of music today?
LM: You have to approach the music or your art with no expectations and be very persistent. With the change in the music business and with the record companies and the Internet, things have changed. In the past, the cream would rise to the top, but now because of the overkill of digital information you could have a great band that could get lost in the din of digital information. But the live performance and word of mouth is the way that the music can get out there and go viral these days.
TM: Surviving in music today is very difficult, for me it requires a “day” job.
MK: You have to have the will to perform on stage. That’s what I enjoy.
DB: Where is the money?
LM: There never has been any money in our world. But for bands that tour you can break even or make some money with merch sales — but as always “It’s an endowment for the Arts”
TM: The money is and always was in the writing, and song placement currently.
MK: I know it’s not in my pocket!
DB: What do you recommend to young musicians on the way up?
LM: Believe in yourself, don’t take yourself to seriously, work hard, be focused, and always: The music has to be fun!
TM: I recommend that young artist should enjoy playing, and writing songs, and don’t plan on making a lot of money.
MK: Just go with your feelings and have fun!
DB: What is the most disappointing thing about the music business today?
LM: I think what’s disappointing is there’s no record company artist development to work with a young band and build up their careers and fan base. The labels expect you to do all the work and they take all the rewards. It should be a partnership.
TM: The most disappointing thing … music seems to have lost its perceived value. Music was a large part of my life as a kid, it changed the way we lived.
MK: What’s disappointing is that I can’t make money at the thing I love to do: Play music!
DB: How has technology helped the musicians today?
LM: Totally from making records at home not needing big budgets to record – networking to their fans via Instagram, FaceBook, YouTube … all these avenues are huge.
TM: The Internet has been great for bands getting heard, and there’s a lot more home studios now.
MK: Technology helped musicians because they can basically make music the way they want, sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes not.
DB: How did you all meet?
LM: Old School. I put up an ad for a bass player at the local music store in Lansing, Mich., back in the ’60s. And we met Tony thru local networking on the scene here in LA in the early ’80s.
TM: I met The Dogs through a producer they were working with, I think it was 1981.
MK: I answered an add at a music store, Loren and the old drummer had put up and I liked them just fine. Meet Tony early ’80s and liked him just fine too.
DB: What are the some of the characteristics and strengths that keep you all together over the years?
LM: We’re obsessed about the music and we have respect for each other and motivation to play rock and roll as a vehicle to make the world a better place.
TM: Being productive is important in keeping a band alive. We’re always working on something new. And we’re pretty used to each other after all these years.
MK: For me what keeps us together, I like the way we all sound together and no one other than us can sound this way.
If you could jam with someone today who would it be?
LM: Iggy Pop and Keith Richards
TM: Probably Miles Davis … I’m a closet jazzo!
What was one of the funniest things that ever happened on stage?
LM: Being de-pantsed at a high school concert in Detroit by our first drummer in front of hundreds of Brownsville Station fans
TM: Years ago I was playing with a cover band on the road, and we shared the stage with a stripper…. We’d play for 45 minutes to an empty room, but the club would fill up for the stripper’s 15 minutes. We’d start playing again and the room would empty…..it was a weird week. But we did become friends with the stripper…
MK: There are too many to think of!
What are your favorite places to play other than California?
TM: Japan — In 2007 we played Tokyo. Loren introduced “Are You a Boy or Are you a Girl” and everyone cheering, I’m thinking they don’t understand a word he’s saying … We start playing and they’re singing along at all the right spots, I think we did 2 encores one night that tour. Best. Audiences. Ever.
MK: Japan and Reno
Next DoGs Gigs:
Oct 31- Bigfoot Lodge-Atwater Village, CA
Nov 20th-The Vu-Newhall CA
Dec 11-Cafe Nela-LA, CA
See The Dogs website for more info.