Dog Eat Dog Biography
Last updated: 08/26/2002 02:43:06 AM
Dog Eat Dog may be a household name to people nowadays, an overnight sensation to others, but there's a lot more to the story than that, so here goes...
Dave Neabore and Sean Kilkenny met through the New Jersey music scene way back in 1987-88. Dave had joined a popular NJ band called Mucky Pup, and Sean had been a friend of the band as well, jamming with the members on the side playing cover songs. In the summer of 1989, Dan Nastasi quit Mucky Pup, leaving them without a guitar player for their upcoming European tour. Since Sean was always jamming with the band anyway, he seemed the obvious choice to replace Danny. So Dave and Sean began playing together that summer, and had become instant friends and drinking partners.
When they returned home from that tour, it was time to write material for a new record. Dave and Sean started to write songs that were a bit heavier, with a different groove to what Mucky Pup had done previously. Mucky Pup wasn't sure they wanted to go in that direction, but Dave and Sean were. So after a long discussion, it was decided that the two would leave, and both sides ended up happy.
At this point Dan Nastasi rejoined Mucky Pup, and went on to record "NOW", which featured Marc DeBacker on bass.
So Dave and Sean, ideas in hand, locked themselves in Dave's basement and continued to write about what was on their minds... BEER! The two banged out a ton of riffs over the next few weeks,
and decided it was time for this "creation" to have a voice. There wasn't a second thought that the only person to fill that slot would be Sean's high school friend, and former Mucky Pup crew member, John Connor. John was a singer in many local bands, and had a reputation for being a madman when you put a microphone in his hands. He was just that...
So the trio put their heads (and beer mugs) together and quickly wrote songs like "Funnel King", "Strip Song", and "Psychorama". These became instant party classics and can still be heard at DED shows even today.
The next thing they needed was a drummer. So after searching their phone books, and asking friends, they found a drummer named Brett. Brett was able to bring to life the songs the trio had only played acoustically for weeks. So after a few quick rehearsals, they decided to see what their friends thought of the music they had created.
So they had the first "official" show right there in Dave's basement!!! And if cramming 50 people into Dave's tiny basement wasn't enough, everyone was required to wear a "toga" to make it more interesting. They even asked their good friend Kevin Reilly to bring his saxophone along to liven up the "Strip Song". After two kegs of BEER, and countless bottles of liquor later, they hit the stage (the floor to be exact!), and the band was born...
People liked what they heard and they decided to play "real" shows, instead of basements. So after playing birthday parties, ice cream parlors, and college Fraternity bashes, they started to make a name for themselves.
But that was the one thing the band DIDN'T have... A NAME!!!
Billing themselves as "F-Troop", "B-Load", "Rubber Band" ... they just played and had fun. That was to be the most crucial part of Dog Eat Dog's commitment to music... FUN.
After hearing about the buzz, and some rough live tapes, Dan Nastasi expressed interest in the band, wanting to see what it was all about. They invited Dan to come to the basement with his equipment and jam along for fun. After jamming for hours with Danny, the band seemed even more powerful and Dan was asked to join full time. So Dan again left Mucky Pup and joined DED permanently.
Thus begins the "Spinal Tap" drummer syndrome... Brett decided he anted
to move to San Francisco, California and did just that. He was never seen, or heard from again.
John "Booge" Milnes of Mucky Pup filled his place until a permanent replacement was found.
The band also knew it was time to name this thing they had created. Many names were thrown around and some stuck for a day or so, and some never lasted one rehearsal. But when Dog Eat Dog was thrown into the mix, well, everyone loved it.
From there, DED decided to take the songs they had written and put them on tape for real. They went into the studio for 2 days and recorded the first 5 song demo. Sean had contacts with a pro skateboarder named Andy Howell, also known for his artwork on NEW DEAL skateboards. Andy drew up a bunch of dogs and logos, the most famous being the "doghouse". The demo was done.
They continued to play bigger and bigger shows, selling more and more demos. Very excited about the growing popularity, they wrote and recorded another 5 song demo and kept playing, playing, playing. At this point DED had a drummer named Mark Marri behind the kit. The second demo was received with more approval than the first, and they were happy.
It was at this time when their friend Billy Graziadei from BIOHAZARD gave a DED tape to an A&R man at Roadrunner records in Europe. The tape was then sent back to the New York office. So R.R. people came to a few packed shows, and soon signed DED to their label. Unfortunately, Mark had to make the painful decision to leave the band to be with his wife and baby. The band wished him the best and began looking for yet ANOTHER drummer...
Dave's childhood friend and neighbor, Greg Merkle, was set to try out for the band. But on the day before his audition, he decided to back out, persuing his own musical interests. He did however, provide the band with the name of his friend who also played drums. That friend was Dave "Mopey" Maltby.
Mopey auditioned and fit in well with the members, so he was officially in the drum stool.
The band also started looking for a more serious saxophone player, and found that in Scott "Sooty" Mueller.
Soon followed the "Warrant" EP, and DED was released worldwide...
They began playing up and down the East Coast of the U.S. and were soon offered a
Their first tour overseas saw them supporting Hardcore/Reggae legends (and BIG TIME influences...) Bad Brains, and hip hop group The Goats. DED had the opening slot and played many nights just as the doors were opening. Still, they pushed on getting good reviews wherever they played, and still having FUN. The Bad Brains helped DED in many ways that tour, showing them the do's and don'ts of touring in other countries, and crossing borders with bad things (girls,drugs, girls on drugs..) It was a lasting friendship between bands, and Daryl Jenifer would later play a big role with DED down the road.
Now it was time to go back to the US and record a full length LP for release the next summer.
Armed with a more worldly knowledge, and a more open mind to the outside world, DED once again locked themselves up in Dave's basement and began writing. When they emerged from the basement, they went into the studio and recorded "ALL BORO KINGS". The band had obviously grown from their experiences and sharpened their skills as musicians. "ABK" also brought the saxophone into the foreground of their songs. Tracks like "GOOD TIMES", "WHO'S THE KING", and the hugely successful "NO FRONTS" all screamed with sax and gave them a trademark sound, separating them from the rest. Daryl Jenifer (Bad Brains) also returned to do a "Dancehall" reggae verse on "WHO'S THE KING".
So record in hand the band set out to go touring Europe once again, this time opening for old friends BIOHAZARD. BIOHAZARD once again showing friendship is everything in a business full of backstabbers, showed DED every courtesy possible, and made for a great tour all around.
It was at this time that Dan Nastasi said he couldn't go on tour for long periods of time because of family and business obligations. So Sean set out to find a guitarist who has had experience, on and off the road, and could handle the drinking that would take place on the tour. He quickly returned with old friend Parris Mayhew (of the legendary Cro-Mags) to fill the slot.
With a full powerhouse band under their belt, they jumped head-first into the BIOHAZARD tour. This proved to be a HUGE success for DED. They received critical acclaim for both the record and their non-stop live performances, earning them fans all over the world. "ABK" went on to sell over 600,000 records worldwide, and saw their video for "NO FRONTS" the remix in heavy Mtv rotation. Returning from the tour, Parris had to get back to work directing videos and putting together his new band WHITE DEVIL.
So DED were again looking to fill another slot. DED was never a band who put ads in the papers, or hung up signs at musician hangouts, they always looked for friends to play with. So when it came time to replace Parris, they called upon an old friend named Marc DeBacker. Marc had been around for years playing bass for MP, but was actually a guitar player trying to get out!!! So, they asked Marc to play guitar on the next trip. He quickly agreed and said he already knew all the material anyway.
It was at this time that "Spinal Tap" syndrome struck once again, and the band parted ways with Dave "Mopey" Maltby. Mopey had fulfilled his dreams of touring the world in a rock band and moved on to his many other conquests he had planned in his life. The ban wished him well, and he was off. He has since put together a project called "THE SHINING PATH", and is now playing shows around NYC, ironically enough, with Daryl from the Bad Brains and the members of Roguish Armament.
His long list of credits proved to be even taller than he was.
Not only being a phenomenal drummer, but a touring veteran and a BEER connoisseur, Brandon fit in perfectly. With no time wasted DED got the show back on the road.
Mtv would also prove to be a medium to help the band achieve it's status. In late 1995, Mtv's European music awards nominated DED as a Breakthrough Artist of The Year. This was a viewers choice award, the winner receiving the most phone calls voting for them. Although DED was amazed to be even nominated, they knew they would never beat the likes of Alanis Morrisette who sold over 5 million records already, or Weezer who were also storming the charts at the time. But on Thanksgiving night 1995, they were voted Breakthrough Artists of the year. After being presented the award by the late Michael Hutchense, they drank the night away proud of what they had done, and even prouder of the fans who put them there. Not bad for Brandon's first "public appearance" with the band.
Now they returned home to record the new album. Having no new songs written after their extensive touring, they set down to write the whole record at once, something they had never had to do before. At first, things moved a little slowly, but once everyone got into the groove things came together quickly. But with the summer festivals rapidly approaching, and Roadrunner demanding a single by spring, the boys were rushed into the studio with the album not even finished.
They finished songs, and wrote lyrics in the studio, sometimes singing whatever came to mind, never even being written down. In one song, the band joked that what John was singing was SO heavy metal, it wouldn't be right for ANYONE to sing it like that except the metal legend RONNIE JAMES DIO.
Well, the idea was overheard by the label people, who decided to contact Dio's management and see if he would be interested in doing a guest vocal on DED's record. No sooner said than done, Dio himself showed up and was soon singing in the studio with them. After spending time listening to what they had been doing, Dio hung around all day and talked about Black Sabbath, sports, and BEER with the boys. They all had a great time, and it was a great experience for DED.
Another collaboration the band did on the new record was with the RZA, the genius behind the the WU-TANG CLAN. Having the same lawyer as DED, the RZA and John met in the waiting room of his office and started discussing music. John was saying DED was interested in working with a hip hop producer on the record, and the RZA said he was looking to work with a live rock band anyway. So after a few quick phone calls, DED and the RZA met up in a New York City studio with a lot of BEER, wine, and weed. After a few short hours jamming, Step Right In was born. The band recorded the first half of the record with the infamous "Butcher Brothers", Phil and Joe Nicolo. The Butcher Brothers had already produced multi-platinum acts such as Cypress Hill, The Fugees, Urge Overkill, and many more. Working with well known producers opened up DED to new ideas in the studio. They tried things they had not yet done on record, such as full horn sections, and additional musicians to fill out the overall sound.
Then they went home to New York to finish the second half of the LP with producer Bob Musso. Bob was known for his work with some of NY's finest such as Murphy's Law, and Praxis to name a few.
The album entitled "PLAY GAMES" was finished and set for release.
With PLAY GAMES out on the shelves, DED now was ready to once again hit the road. This time the band traveled to many countries for the fist time. The band did a full tour of Asia, and South America, as well as Greece, and Spain.
The band also shared the bill with many of THEIR favorite bands. DED found themselves playing with bands such as Rage Against The Machine, No Doubt, Sepultura, as well as HUGE acts like OZZY, KISS, and METALLICA.
With DED's reputation as an unstoppable live band, they found themselves playing some of music's biggest festivals like Donnington, Reading, PinkPop,Roskilde, Dynamo, and many others. They toured extensively throughout 1995-1997, sometimes playing as many as 25 shows in a row without taking a day off!!!
When DED returned home from the PLAY GAMES tour, a few more changes took place within the band. Listening back to PLAY GAMES, they realized that the horns were drowning out the guitars and the vocals, making the music less prominent. The band came to the conclusion that the horns needed to take a back seat to the music, and Scott Mueller was asked to step down as "permanent" horn player for DED. At the same time, guitarist Marc DeBacker also expressed a desire to persue other musical interests and left the band. Scott went on to play saxophone for Dan Nastasi's new band, "NASTASEE". Marc DeBacker has since started his own band "10,000 WOMEN MAN". They all still remain friends and see each other often. Sean went on tour playing guitar with NASTASEE throughout Europe, and Marc's new band opened for DED on a string of dates in late 1997............
After returning home from almost 2 years of constant touring, DED decided it was time to take a break and start working on new material. So they decided to get together and work in a studio 4 days a week and wrote 15 new songs in a few short months. These songs would turn out to be the AMPED record. After months in the rehearsal studio, they went down to Washington, D.C., to record with ITALRIC, an old friend of Brandon's who owns his own studio.
The band spend nearly 10 months working on their album, and considered it to be their finest work yet. The album included huge songs like "EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED", and "BIG WHEEL", with hardcore classics such as "GANGBUSTERS", and "MODERN DAY DEVILS", as well as tapping into funk with "WHATEVER MAN", featuring Heartbeat on vocals on percussion, and "RIGHT OUT", utilizing the 3 vocal front line they use so well live. The album was released in mid 1999, with "EXPECT" being the first single and video, but after being very disappointed by it's label support, DED was forced to leave Roadrunner records after 7 long years. But the band toured the globe, ripping apart every stage, and satisfying every audience it was in front of for another 2 years straight...... Which brings us to today.
DED is writing material, demoing, and awaiting a new record deal, all of which can happen at any minute..... So hold on tight, because DED will be back with a vengeance.... Just wait and see.......