Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Fun Fact: Singer Toby Leeman
had to cancel the first few shows of the band's latest tour due to a freak tubing
accident that damaged his esophagus.Why It's Worth Watching:
Roosty guitars, soaring harmonies and trippy melodies rustle throughout the band's latest album, Fate.
For Fans Of: My Morning Jacket,
Wilco, the Grateful Dead
All bands have different ways of
disappearing into their music, different methods of preparing
themselves to bridge the gap from reality to stage performance.
Dog, it's all in the name."It’s a calling card outside of
real life, something to bring you into this other world that you are
trying to create for yourself and for other people," says
guitarist Frank McElroy referring to the "t" nicknames the
entire band has adopted for this exact purpose. He’s Thanks, along
with Taxi (singer/guitarist Scott McMicken), Tables (singer/bassist
Toby Leaman), Text (organist Zach Miller) and Trouble (Juston Stens,
on trapset and harmonies). "The names are signifiers that we
exist in something other than the reality at hand."
inspiration from '60s acts while still creating a fresh sound. You can hear echoes of classic acts such as The Band or the Beatles in Dr. Dog's music, but what emerges from
the band's records and live performances is a new way of being modern
while still, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, being born ceaselessly
into the past.
McElroy has mixed feelings about the
constant comparisons. “There’s no denying that we are influenced
and have influenced. At some times we are surprised by how often they
come up,” he says. “But then again when people think you sound
like a certain band and they get that in their heads they keep
looking for it…sometimes it seems like laziness.”
Although it was originally intended to be thematic, Dr. Dog's newest album, Fate, turned out that way, seemingly driven by the exact force
by which it is titled. Train motifs pop up frequently, and musings on
destiny, age and idealism are common. The songs are concise in
rhythm and harmonious in composition, catchy but not cloying. There’s
an embrace of showmanship and keen imagination, a bit of pomp, a lot
of circumstance. And of course, fate.
“I’d describe it as a concept that
we fell into or realized, towards the end,” McElroy says. “It
wasn’t like we set out to make this concept; it kind of fell into
out laps and felt like it was destined to be there, which kind of
lends itself to the concept itself being fate.”
On a recent tour, Dr. Dog has been
taking the stage amongst a full gathering of fake trees. It’s funny to look at, but at the
same time it's perfectly apropos: the contrast of bright,
constructed concert lighting with the whimsical nature of
sunglass-wearing bandmates taking their places in American
Apparel-come-country flannel get-ups. It’s this mix of the old and
new, done with a sense of humor and a lot of soul, that defines the
band. “If nothing ever moves / Put
that needle to the groove and sing,” go the lyrics on "The Breeze." Dr. Dog does just that.