Dog Eat Dog has been an institute for cross over music since the early 90’s. With their unique blend of rock, punk, hip hop, funk and so much more they conquered the world and inspired thousands of musicians to pick up an instrument and make their own blend of music. 28 years later Dog Eat Dog is still going strong and playing shows, time for RMP Magazine to talk to vocalist John Connor about the past, present and future of Dog Eat Dog.
Hello, welcome to Jera On Air. are we having Good Times?
What an amazing festival great atmosphere great lineup!
Today’s show is part of the European tour, Year Of The Dog. Is this way of several short tours the best way for Dog Eat Dog?
Yes, so Dog Eat Dog has been a part-time band for many years now so it’s important for us to balance touring with our home life and for some of us that means working day jobs.
Last Thursday you played a special festival in Belgium, Rock For Specials. Could you let us in who the audience was and if they liked it?
It was really amazing to play Rock for specials I had no idea what it was going to be like because we didn’t have so much information going into it. The crowd was amazing it was so nice to see the light in so many people’s eyes and smiles on their faces. But honestly the thing that I like the most was taking a walk around the festival site and seeing so many people who have special needs just being normal in the presence of their peers. It’s also a great day out for the people who give so much time and effort to care for those with special needs truly a magnificent event and something will never forget
You did learn the ropes of music touring from some of the best. Bad Brains, Biohazard,;.. Over the 28 years playing in Dog Eat Dog what would be your favorite tour experience?
Well of course for us having our first tour overseas supporting Bad Brains was incredible. Those guys were so generous with their time and it made a huge impact on us as a young band. Biohazard/Dog Eat Dog/ Downset tour had to go down as one of the best tours of the 90s… people are still talking about it for obvious reasons it was a special time before big changes happened in the music industry and I can only say that we are very happy to have been a part of it. It’s really impossible to pin down one tour or one moment as being a favorite, It sounds cliche but it’s really the journey not the destination that makes all of this worthwhile.
Last year Dog Eat Dog released a new 4 song album titled Brand New Breed. It’s self released and only sold at your shows. How has the feedback been so far?
The feedback from the EP has been really great it was so nice to be able to create and release new music after more than 10 years. The feedback has been great we weren’t looking to take over the world with this release it was more of a love letter to our fans who have stuck with us for a long time with no new music. One of the nicest things anyone has said about it is that it sounds like Dog Eat Dog, after all this time we still have a unique sound
It’s a diverse release, like one of the songs, Lumpy Dog, has more of a chill reggae vibe but ends with some heavy beats. One for the tokers and smokers?
With the new music we had no one to please other than ourselves so we had lots of freedom to do whatever we wanted. Lumpy is a playful song about my now deceased dog Curtis. we have always been into reggae music, our last two releases have had reggae influenced songs so it should be no surprise to anyone to hear another song with reggae influence.
The band has always been in it for nothing but the fun of it. Could you tell us some more on the Dog Eat Dog Gots Talent competition that you do with bass players at your show?
On the song Rocky Dave Neabore takes the lead vocal so anytime we have a bass player friend around we usually invite them up so Dave can run free with the microphone. The night you were referring to our last show in Uden Netherlands we had 3 capable bass players in the house ready to play so it was Dave’s idea to do something funny for the fans but it’s not something we have a chance to do every night.
The Netherlands and Dog Eat Dog have always been a good combination it appears. One of Dog Eat Dog’s most memorable shows was at Dynamo Open Air festival in 1995. I think every European 90’s kid knows that image of you surfing the crowd at Dynamo. How crazy was that?
Yes, we have had some amazing gigs in the Netherlands I can even remember going back to the Mucky Pup days in that late 80s how much fun the Dutch crowds are. Obviously Dynamo Open Air and the reaction was something that no one could predict. A few weeks before the festival our record company told me that it was going to be a very special day and did I have anything that could make the show special. I told them to please get me a surfboard and I would take it on to the crowd. On the day of the festival I almost cancelled the plan because I was upset with them for spray painting the board with Dog Eat Dog and the crown logo on it. I thought it look corny and stupid but in the end I decided to go through it. When I finally went into the crowd on the board the people in the crowd were packed in so tight that they were falling over like 20 or even 50 at a time and it became really scary not for me but I didn’t want anyone to get hurt so I stood up and got the fuck off that surfboard as quick as possible. I truly had no idea it was going to be a career-defining moment but I’m proud so many remember that move.
Don’t Be A Dick! This slogan on stickers and more has been flying round since last year and has an origin that also has ties to Dog Eat Dog. Could you tell us some more about Don’t Be A Dick?
Well we can’t take credit for the Don’t Be A Dick slogan that is 100% Ludo right there and a great bunch of friends who love and miss him and are using the sticker, t-shirts and guitar picks as a way of preserving his memory and we are happy to help perpetuate the memory of our friend Ludo de Schrijver and his awesome way of looking at the world.
There also was a special toast at Sound Of Revolution festival in Eindhoven last year with Dog Eat Dog and some of his closest friends that involved a huge bottle of beer. A touching gesture.
Ludo was such a generous guy and so many of his friends and bands he appreciated we’re at the festival that day so it seemed like a perfect time for us all to honor him and I am very proud that we were able to do so in such a big way. Ludo had a way of bringing people together and that should be celebrated since we are living in a time when so many people are being divided.
Summer has just begun but what’s next for Dog Eat Dog?
We are going to continue to do festivals and Club shows through the summer and early autumn. We plan on writing and releasing more new material in the next 2 years. that should lead us up to our 30th anniversary and hopefully a new album. We are very close to signing a record deal and it will be nice to have a partner to help us get new music out and help let people know we are still around.