Photo: Chris Crisman
Philadelphia-based psych rockers and Anti- Records recording artists Dr. Dog comes to Huntington Sunday to play a Mountain Stage show at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.
Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch
Some people don’t believe in fate. Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick seems to. How else to explain the circumstances that led to him joining the band?
After approaching maybe his favorite Philadelphia-area indie/psych rock band as a formative nineteen-year old fan years ago, and later being brought on, right as the band released its Anti- Records debut “Shame, Shame” and continued to hit new heights of fame and acclaim, it’s a neat story.
“They were doing an in-store session at Tower Records in Philly, on Broad Street,” Slick recalled over the phone from Philadelphia, on a break after finishing the first leg of Dr. Dog’s Fall tour, describing his first encounter with the guys. “I’d seen them before, the first time was with The Raconteurs in Atlantic City. I’d been a fan of theirs for a while.”
Dr. Dog, loved by fans for their infectious songs and energetic live shows, with a new EP, “Wild Race,” in tow, will play a Mountain Stage show in Huntington Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, as part of the Marshall Artists Series with guests The Mountain Goats, Red Wanting Blue, Nellie McKay, and Spirit Family Reunion.
Tickets are free for full-time students with Marshall I.D., part-time students can receive one ticket half-price. Regular tickets are $25 or $30
“So they played this small record store show, and there weren’t a lot of people there so I felt the need to introduce myself for whatever reason,” Slick recalled, laughing hard. “And about two weeks later I saw them at another show in Philadelphia, and they’re like ‘Hey, you’re that kid from the record store show,’ and we hit it off a little bit. Zach [Miller,] the keyboardist, wrote down my number on a little business card.
“Then, a week after that, I was at Bonnaroo in Tennessee, and I was camping with my friends, and they literally pulled up right next to me,” he said laughing. “So it was kind of like fate that I was supposed to be friends with them because we kept infiltrating in each other’s lives.”
Now, Slick has settled in after being welcomed on in early 2010, after infiltrating the minds of co-front dudes, singer-guitarist Scott McMicken and singer-bassist Toby Leaman, musical cohorts and friends since middle school.
“Before Dr. Dog, I’d been playing in mostly in jazz or progressive rock bands. So I was coming from a much more cerebral place with music,” Slick said.
“Then, conversely, going to a band like Dr. Dog and having to kind of scrap everything I’ve learned and understand a new process? Scott and Toby’s songwriting process, maybe it’s more creative, maybe it’s more traditional, but it’s completely different from any kind of songwriting I had been used to at that point.
“So there was a little bit of a learning curve with that. I had to really get inside their heads and understand where they’re coming from. When we did our first EP together, that was my big hurdle, that was my learning experience. After that, everything just seemed to fall into place. We started to understand each other a lot better as people and as musicians.”
These days, Slick enjoys life in one of the biggest rock bands around. For Slick, 2012 Dr. Dog highlights have included playing Conan O’ Brien, Austin City Limits, and opening for Wilco.
Even though he admitted with a laugh he misses his cat Bill while on the road, on the bus he enjoys yukkin’ it up, watching old Larry Sanders and Mr. Show episodes (“those kinds of more absurd late night shows,” Slick said) and enjoying one late night addiction with the band.
“The guys in the band are into playing the video game Mappy until like, four in the morning,” he said, simultaneously half embarrassed and half impressed. “We have this little multi-game unit with a joystick on it and that’s what the guys like to do. They get really into it, it’s kind of insane.”
The drummer said it’s been great to be a part of, and witness, Dr. Dog’s progression as a band.
“They have a very specific vision, and it’s getting broader and broader,” Slick said of the McMicken-Leaman tandem. “That’s really exciting. I feel like I came in at a really positive and pivotal time for the band, just in terms of growth and how they’re writing songs these days.”
After helping the band record its critically acclaimed, self-produced February release “Be The Void,” Dr. Dog’s sixth studio effort and second release on Epitaph Records’ sister label, Anti-, more than a decade after forming, Dr. Dog is in a good place creatively, Slick said, and the new EP is an example of that.
“People seem to be excited about [“Wild Race”] because those songs came from the same sessions as “Be The Void,” so we were anxious to get those songs out into the world. We recorded about thirty songs for “Be The Void,” so there’s more that we haven’t released.
“But that batch of songs in particular, we were real psyched about, because they seem to have a different flavor than the rest of the record, maybe they’re a little more experimental in nature. Especially “Be The Void,” that’s been kickin’ around since 2004. Scott wrote that song as a poem and he’s been playing it through various incarnations of the band.
“That song has existed for a while, but we found the right accompaniment for it. We’d been thinking about what we could do with that song, and we just approached it as a full band, as you hear it on the record, and we ended up really loving it.”
The process of rocking, creating music, maybe re-working old songs, live and in the studio, and sharing that energy with their fans, is a mutually re-enforcing symbiotic thing, Slick said.
“The live shows are what keeps us going. You learn a lot playing live. Sometimes, we’ll try out a song and it doesn’t work, and sometimes we try them out and they work perfectly. The live process is really like the laboratory.
“It also helps that there’s a few hundred or maybe even a thousand fans that are there, singing along, and helping you out with that experience. It’s only getting more and more interactive, and the fans are only getting more and more excited about what the band is doing.
“Now, we’re at this place where the band is super confident in its live ability. We can really take it anywhere at this point.”
IF YOU GO
w/The Mountain Goats, Red Wanting Blue, Spirit Family Reunion, Nellie McKay
Presented by the Marshall Artists Series.
WHEN: 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4
WHERE: Keith Albee Performing Arts Center, 1021 4th Ave., Huntington
COST: $25 adv., $30 DOS (plus applicable fees)
CONTACT: 304-696-6656 or Marshall Artist Series Box Office 12-5 p.m.
ONLINE: http://www.drdogmusic.com/, http://www.mountainstage.org/