Doin' It Doggy Style Again With Neanderthal

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One of the first projects that I did after being inducted into the ranks of Decibel Geek was to go after my first interview to coincide with the podcast’s weekly theme which that week was “threesomes”, bands with three members.  I had recently discovered a great band that played no frills, balls to the wall, straight ahead rock and roll by the name of American Dog, who consisted of three members.  At the time they had recently issued their sixth studio offering and possibly best to date with Poison Smile in 2012.

Frontman and bassist Michael Hannon readily agreed to speak with me over the phone when I contacted him via his Facebook page.  I was nervous as hell when he called me and had already completed a couple of beverages, working on another when the phone rang.  Why was I so nervous?  This was my first interview with someone that had been producing music that I’d been listening to for many years.  You see Michael Hannon had been a part of the short lived band Salty Dog whose song, “Come Along”, was a staple on every mix tape of “drivin’ tunes” that I created in those days of youth.  Mr. Hannon also spent a period of time with Jason McMaster and Dangerous Toys and while I was nervous I was also extremely excited, having labored over my questions.  Hannon was also downing a few beers during our chat and we got on quite well.  I’m glad that I chose Michael Hannon and American Dog for my first interview and hopefully along the way I’ve set some new fans “Foamin’ At the Mouth“.  You can read my review of Poison Smile and our conversation through this link: This Threesome Does It Doggy Style.

Here we are two years later (almost exactly, as the original article was posted on August 8, 2012) and The Dog is back with a new full length issue this time titled Neanderthal, released in late June.

The band is comprised of founders Hannon on bass and vocals and Steve Theado on lead guitar and backing vocals.  Michael “Hazzard” Harris took over for Keith Pickens behind the kit after 2009’s Mean album and now the trio has upped the ante to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Vinnie Salvatore.  Once again in true Dog fashion I stocked the fridge with some of my favorite beers and cued up the digital download (I hate that phrase) as I settled down to hear the latest offering from the dog pound.  With the volume cranked up and ice cold beer in hand, I was bludgeoned with the grinding riffs in the opener, titled “Carnivore”.  The rabid, snarling canine has once again bared it’s teeth, serving up a food bowl piled high with bluesy riffs and the addition of Salvatore provides many well used trade-off guitar solo experiences.  All contained behind the cover art, a painting by artist Frank Frazetta whom you may remember from early Molly Hatchet album covers.  In the early years of the dog pound sex and alcohol were major themes behind the compositions (Ex. The 2005 EP Six Pack: Songs About Drinkin’ & Fuckin’) but now Neanderthal is a continuation of 2012’s Poison Smile seeing a little more, dare I say, maturity setting in.  Most of the compositions on this outing come in at a mid tempo style of pace and in general seem a little less blue collar working man themed than in the past.  That being said tracks like “Who’s She Killing”, “Dirty Fun”, “Stuck in the Mud” and “Start to Bleed” all possess the elements of the standard Dog sound while the grammatically incorrect mouthful “We Ain’t Gonna Not Get Drunk Tonight” is pure Dog of old.  “Sun Won’t Shine” and “Devil Inside” both run near seven and a half minutes showcasing the bluesy evolution of The Dog.  Both contain plenty of slide guitar backed with a Southern Boogie feeling that displays the aforementioned maturity of American Dog.  The title track, “Neanderthal” features plenty of the dueling of tasty trade-off solos thanks to the addition of Salvatore.  Also included among the ten tracks that make up Neanderthal is a
cover of Ted Nugent’s “Dog Eat Dog” that just sizzles.  All in all it’s taken me a bit to really get into Neanderthal and I like it more and more with each listen.  While I do prefer 2012’s Poison Smile this is still a great no frills, beer swilling, straight ahead no gimmicks rock album.  Catch American Dog on tour throughout August as they set the stage for Tesla.  Hopefully, but doubtfully they’ll be trekking north to Toronto.  So, do I see another rock and roll trip in my future?

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(American Dog Website) (American Dog Facebook) (American Dog Twitter)

MICHAEL HANNON PHOTO: Supplied by Michael Hannon for the original article in August 2012.

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