Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Mad Dogs - Sometimes I Go Nuts

What could be more appropriate for "the blog that no one demanded" than the band that no one ever wished would play. The liner notes for this release (penned by Chris O.) do an exceptional job at laying it all out there:

Ah, the Mad Dogs. While the "Mad Dogs Proper" period lasted roughly from October 1996 through June 1997, the band itself was somewhat of an amalgamation of sorts of Chikkenhead (comprised of Mike Larmoyeux, Ted Hennessy, and Doug McEachern) and the Catatonics (comprised of Chris Owen, one Jeanine Gaubert, Dave "Night" Stoker, Mike, and Andy Yang of Obstruction fame). When it became obvious that the Catatonics could no longer function (read: get together for practice or even remotely interesting conversation) and that Chikkenhead would never eclipse the limp yet existent Recess Records band of the same name (or sing and play their instruments at the same time), it was decided to unite the two awfully hard sucking bands into one monstrous vehicle of audience antagonism. Chris became the singer for the Chikkenhead, which began a period of zero songwriting, zero practicing, intermittent performances, and haughty quibbling over what the band should finally be called. During this period, which actually encompasses the entire life of the band, they were called, at various points, "Thunderhead," "the Grasshoppers," and finally, to no one's complete satisfaction, "the Mad Dogs." Audiences, oddly enough, always called them "shit."

Drawing from completely incongruous interests and a muted sense of responsibility to entertain, the Mad Dogs experience was often, at the very least, difficult to perceive as worthwhile for both the band and the audiences they somehow managed to gather. While Mike (seminally the man in 10 bands at the same time) was willing to play essentially anything, a willingness on no one's part to actually write new songs left the band in an odd state. Doug's quixotic interest in britpop and the like led to a personal emphasis on The Cuba Five, a brilliant and entertaining combo that frankly whomped ass. Ted's love of Propagandhi and political pop punk presented a puzzling predicament as he was the transcriber of Chris' nonsensical attitude towards writing music (Chris: "it goes like this--BLAM BLAM BOOM BA BOOM BLAM BLAM DU DU DU DUH DU DA DA BOOM!" Ted: (plays an E chord) "OK, say that again"). An unhealthy love on Chris' part for Iggy Pop, GG Allin, Stiv Bators, the Dwarves, and, er, Morrissey, was the final blow in proving incompatibility. That and, of course, conflicting work schedules. At this point, alcohol begins to become important. It became obvious at some time that drinking at least one "Orange Jubilee" Mad Dog before and during a performance led to an increased level of interesting behavior for the Mad Dogs.

OK, sure, they never played to anyone outside Doug and Mike's basement (well, Dalloway's, but that was the first show, and the Bowling Green hardcore fest with Chris singing with Obstruction for a couple songs), but fuck man, the Mad Dogs kicked ass. This cassette doesn't precisely document the silliness that those shows were characterized by, but it gives a pretty good idea. Just imagine 20 or so friends, an unimpressed out of town band or two, a pony keg, shoes, beer, and friendly insults flying, and the Mad Dogs bleeding, cursing, fucking up, ripping clothes off each other, acting out deviant sexual nonsense, and never ever getting all the way through the set without breaking something. And the music. That wonderful music loved by no one but me.

Col. Ricardo Cabeza
July, 1997

This cassette (a split effort with hardcore heroes Obstruction, who'll get their own post here soon enough) was recorded quickly in two short sessions in the spring of 1997 (by Hardcore Ron), just before everyone promptly went their separate ways for the summer. It was every song the band knew, minus a couple they never really learned how to play. The highlight of these recordings for me will always be the last chorus in "Dream Lover," when you can actually hear a somewhat intoxicated Chris throwing up into his mouth while still trying to sing through to the end of the song. If that doesn't say it all...


see also:
The Mad Dogs on MySpace


doug said...

Excellent choice of band photo.

The cover art was by Ian Lynam, in case anyone is keeping score at home.

jason said...

great pic! is that an "I'd Rather Be Flag-Burning" shirt? Do you still have it?

getBent said...

you know it is! and yes, i still have it. how could i part with such a classic?

Mike said...

I should have practiced drums a lot more.

jason said...

Looks like Ted practiced flopping around the ground pretty often. Good fuckin' times.

chris o said...

man, that ricardo cabeza even wrote the liner notes drunk.

for the record, i don't drink mad dog 20/20 anymore...right now i am drinking humboldt brewing co.'s hemp ale!! and for the record i haven't listened to gg allin in about 10 years.

i wish i had more to say, but then again i wish it would just go away.

ricardo cabeza said...

oh god, i am now actually listening to this so listen up all 4 of you i do have more to say...the guitar tone on this is fucking awful, bass is way too loud...terrible vocals, these lyrics are like literally the worst...except 'get over here' which is pretty funny and of course the unique takes on these covers. always a bad sign when a band's best songs are a later "band" i did another version of 'i think i'm alone now' but faded it into billy idol's 'dancing with myself' and they are pretty much the same song if you think about it. oh hey drums sound ok. sounds like it was recorded in a fucking basement or something.

'my religious girlfriend' should have been aborted. that is one of the worst songs i have ever heard, no hyperbole! i don't blame you guys for not wanting to document this band now. at the time i think i rather adamantly demanded it (to doug's eternal shame). i apologize for wasting one day of your summer 11 years ago now.

some of this is kind of catchy though, and now that i think of it considering everything else going on at the time i still think we should have been the most popular band on campus. there was a flyer posted on the pole outside of my house a couple months ago for an Umphrey's McGhee show at the Fillmore...yes that's what i said WHAT THE FUCK. i thought i had killed those guys.

Finally, i would like to say that 11 years later i actually married a mexican girl. sometimes mad dog 20/20 dreams really do come true! (so did ted though that was never really in question and i think faye always probably hated that song.)

ronald said...

I know I have nothing to do with this, but from what very little I have heard, there was nothing close to resembling "proper" in the Mad Dogs period.

I would like to hear more about the deviant sexual nonsense though.

Vinny said...

I never got to see the Mad Dogs. Thank you, Jesus.