You No Longer Have to Pay An Ungodly Sum for the Dogs’ 1978 Proto-Punk Record
We talk to guitarist and vocalist Loren Molinare about the reissue of 'Slash Your Face'.
This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia
When it comes to raw Michigan proto punk, the city of Lansing has always stood in the shadow of Detroit Rock City. But during the late 60s, the state capital was home to the Dogs, a three-piece who made a name at high school dances and frat house keg parties for their heavy riffs and heavy punk attitude.
Guitarist/vocalist Loren Molinare, bassist Mary Kay and drummer Tony Matteucci played fast and loud. They liked Marshall stacks and they liked them turned up. After moving to Detroit, where they played with Stooges, MC5 and Ted Nugent, and later New York City and Los Angeles where they shared stages with the Ramones, ACDC and KISS, they moved to the UK in 1978 to live and tour in support of their now legendary Slash Your Face EP.
Recorded from a historic live show at San Francisco's Mabuahy Gardens and released on their own Detroit Records, the album has become a garage punk classic that can sell for over $600. In 2007 I saw the band perform in Tokyo and the guitar riff at the start of "Slash Your Face" still burned with a razor sharp, almost early hardcore punk menace. As New York label Almost Ready is set to reissue the record we caught up with the band's Loren Molinare.
Noisey: What was Lansing like in 1969?
Loren Molinare: It was very much a factory town built around the auto industry and this was reflected in the way people wanted to hear their music. The Dogs were on the outside of most of the bands in the Lansing scene who played top 40 cover songs. We were influenced by the original bands from Detroit like the MC5, The Stooges, The Frost and Brownsville Station.
In 1973 you moved into a house by Detroit's Tiger Stadium. How was that?
It was after the famous time of the Grande Ballroom and when the whole Motor City was electric. It was still a great time there to play music but a lot of the original music venues were starting to close. Our 12 bedroom 3 story house on Avery St by Tiger Stadium was, in those years, a very rough inner city neighbourhood.
You stayed a year before moving to NYC then LA. Why were you moving so much?
We found it very difficult to find gigs since we had started getting a bad reputation for standing up for rock n roll and had to move to NYC. We were always looking to meet other great bands in the big metro areas of the US. New York was great for us because we got to meet and play with The Dictators, Kiss, Blondie, Suicide, NY Dolls, Magic Tramps.
You played with a lot of great bands including MC5, Stooges, AC/DC and Ramones? Was there one who was most impressive?
They were all great in their own way. Personally I think the MC5 had the most influence and impression on me. Their dynamic and powerful live show and conviction was something I haven't witnessed since those shows in 1969 and 1972.
The intro to "Slash Your Face" has an early, almost hardcore proto-hardcore feel. Do you think early Detroit hardcore bands like Negative Approach picked up on that?
The intro riff was very industrial and intense sounding because we were feeling very alienated living in LA. We were feeling pressure by the LA punk scene who thought we were a mainstream sounding band because we could play our instruments like the pro level bands we grew up with in Detroit.
You cover the Barbarians 1966 track "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl". Was this in reference to Lou Reed, Bowie and Iggy around that time?
This was a song I loved in the 60s and a early song for The Dogs in 1969. But by the time we moved to New York and Hollywood in the early 70s the glam scenes were building and the song took on a different meaning. And now in 2017 with the transgender LGBT movements building, the song is even more relevant and fun.
What did you think about the records fetching such high prices in Japan and Europe?
We are totally honoured and humbled by the collector prices that the original discs are going for, after all there was only 1000 copies were pressed in 1978. We are really happy that Harry at Last Laugh Records worked with us to do this re-release.
'Slash Your Face' is available through Almost Ready.