Dogs That Know They're Dogs —10 July 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
In 2016 at an undisclosed location, a team of scientists synthesized the correct sequence of DNA molecules to create four specimens with elite capabilities. Blending the best of musical and ball-chasing abilities, the scientists crafted four self-aware dogs capable of creating improvisational, folky, and funky songs. And on Wednesday, June 10, two hounds of the group known as Dogs That Know They’re Dogs chased tail into Rocket Shop’s studio.
If the scientists in question had any villainous intentions, then they were clearly barking up the wrong tree. The dog named Andrew and his hairy companion Jeff brought with them nothing but their favorite toys and some good music. Jeff moved the music with his mandolin, and Andrew filled in the rhythms on his guitar. Not in attendance were the hounds Chris Wilson, Mark Delgrosso, and Jack Seperack. Rumor has it the missing pack members were off chasing cars.
The dogs opened with their original, “Sweet May.” Jeff drew inspiration for the song from the Grateful Dead and songwriter Bob Weir, as well as classic western tales.
The muses which guide the band range between all genres. The Dogs play funk, folk, rock, and all of the genres in between. The band embraces improvisation, and indulges in jam sessions. And their drummer, Chris Wilson, is a proclaimed metalhead. Although Jeff and Andrew graced us with an acoustic show seeped in Americana, The Dogs have the potential to get loud, brash, and dirty with covers of songs like “Gold On the Ceiling” by the Black Keys. As Jeff says, Whipping about through genres and feelings is “what the dogs are all about.”
The potential for roaring force was apparent in their second song, “Matthew McCounaughey.” Neither Jeff nor Andrew graced us with an explanation for the song’s name, but we did receive an explanation for the band’s own title. The name originated one afternoon amidst other contenders such as Paranoid Kelp and The MIMPs (more instruments, more problems).
At the time, the name held little weight. It was fun, and that was all. But fans did what fans do, and a lore developed which has taken over the band. The story of genetically altered dogs playing instruments came after the name. This also means, unfortunately, that Jeff, Andrew, and the rest of the gang, are not real dogs.
The band does still like to have fun like a pack of dogs. As Jeff says, they’re social media demonstrates the mantra of, “No work, all play.”
The next few months should be exciting for these good-boys. Some members are currently in the midst of moving, as they relocate from homes in New Hampshire and the northeast region to Burlington. Since their days playing at the University of New Hampshire, the band has not parted. The brotherhood remains strong, and the results will soon be tangible. An EP is in the works, with a release coming sometime around September. The Dogs will also be playing in multiple spots around Northeast before they return again to Vermont. On the 19th they’ll play at BYRAC Black Rock in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and on the 20th they’ll be playing at the Stone Church in Newmarket, New Hampshire. The latter marks their return to old stomping grounds. More information about both events, and any upcoming ones, can be found on their Facebook page.
All things considered, and if one does believe the stories, we think those scientists got it right. These dogs can rock!
Text by Jenn Travers.
Photo by James Lockridge.