THE DOGS / 1994 - 1998
Commemorating the release of the first full length album of previously unreleased tracks by OC's The Dogs on Garage Rock Records.
Record available here:
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About THE DOGS by Gabriel Hart:
We thought we were so tough until we met The Dogs.
Our shit-stirring punk gang The Creeps had helped Laguna Beach’s property value plummet so substantially, that even proud resident Robert Englund (yeah, the asshole that played Freddie Krueger) would talk shit to us, saying we made the town look bad. But we paled in comparison to The Dogs, San Juan Capistrano’s most notorious sons of blatant nihilism. We were convinced that we represented the dark side of South Orange County – a sunny place for shady people. But we got eclipsed quick by the teenage abyss of Jess The Mess, Nate Hate, Ace, Austin, Drew, and their frothing, rabid clique.
Violence and madness is a sixth sense. You can feel it with the hairs on your arm as they stand like raised antennas to detect danger. We felt that at that chick’s house in Aliso Viejo when our band The Starvations played one of our earliest house parties, with a band people spoke of in whispers. “The Dogs are really showing up? Oh fuck…” One by one they stomped in, looking confused why they were there. They dragged in equipment barely held together, all with the same distant rage in their eyes, like pirate ships at sea coming to pillage. They set up, apathetically. They plugged in, tried tuning out loud, then panicked, “Just play! just FUCKING play!”
Jaundiced Drew clicked his sticks. Jesse, a barely medicated, brilliant schizophrenic, commenced his string-slashing intro for “Victim Girl.” Nate lurched and lunged like a caged animal, staring dead into the eyes of a small but fixated crowd gathering, as lanky Austin hung crucified over his bass, and then all…Hell…came… to… the… house.
The song exploded as Nate grabbed the two ferns above the fireplace and swung them by the tendrils, flinging dirt on the crowd before the ceramic pots flew off, whizzing past heads then shattering on the wall. Applause! My ex-girlfriend Renee Richardson grabbed the mic out of Nate’s hand and screamed a blood-curdling B-Movie howl on cue as the song paused. It
detonated again, and as the last note came down, so did another piece of expensive ceramic wonder against the fireplace behind them. More pandemonium and applause. Shards of exotic pottery and broken bottles now littered the stained carpet house. Everyone forgot whose house it was until another girl started running around screaming, wondering out loud to deaf ears how she was going to explain this all to her parents…
The Dogs were the freshly torn poster boys for South Orange County latch-key kids left to their own sordid devices, aggregated into four walking scars on the nod; that is, when they weren’t being eaten away by their own nervous energy. Worlds away from any sort of punk posturing, The Dogs were so inherently, genuinely dangerous that they even bridged a sort of gap between the punks and South County gangsters – a fusion of both worlds that comprised SJP (San Juan Punks, the leather jacket answer to the San Juan Mexican Gang). A close friend of the group Sage Sanchez, who’s family was first generation SJC, graced the cover of their only seven-inch, posing with his back to the camera and his own gun to his head. Point being – everyone, including the cops, treated The Dogs like a true gang, that they even had the real homies stamp of approval.
Never before had a band sounded exactly like the member’s own twisted personalities. The noise chaotic but calculated: terrifying – somewhere between the tortured horror of Rudimentary Peni, the tuneful yet anti-
social edge of early Social Distortion, and the thuggish brutality of New York Hardcore without the metal crossover bullshit.
The Dogs were so unruly that we could barely even get them to stand still long enough to record the 4-song Mary’s Dead seven-inch on my “label” Revenge Records. But I believe what you hear on those songs and the rest of this collection aged very well, capturing a bloodshot glimpse into a band that perhaps wasn’t meant to be heard as much as experienced in real time, like a witness to a crime you’d be too nervous to report.
Gabriel Hart, 2019
(Starvations, Jail Weddings, Revenge Records)