The Best in Dark Roots Music

Doghouse Lords – Reviews

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~ And now for something completely different. Doghouse Lords is an LA based band that plays a mixture of Blues, Rock & Roll, Country and Rockabilly. Band members have played with such shining stars as Johnny Cash, Eo Diddley, Carl Perkins, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Willie Dixon. But you all know that name droppin’ will get you only so far. You still have to play some good music. And Doghouse Lords does just that. “Voodoo Lucy” is the first track and really sets the mood of the entire CD. It’s a heavily bluesy number that plods along with attitude and class. “Walk across your Floor” has the darkness of a Johnny Cash tune-well played, poignant and disturbing. Each of the 12 songs on the CD represents the group’s ability to practice the fine art of Blues in an honest and forthright manner. The music doesn’t simply pay homage to the genres represented on the adds to it. For a band with such a strong and impressive pedigree, it would be easy for them to phone in their work without taking chances or reaching for the more. But it’s clear that they’re doing some heavy lifting on this CD, and they’re still not afraid to get their hands dirty. And the blood, sweat and tears have paid off. Great music that’s well worth a listen.


“Instead of sticking to one genre,” says Doghouse Lords guitarist Chopper, “I like to take all of my influences (some of which are country, blues, and rockabilly) and try to come up with something different.” RM readers will recall Chopper from such past endeavors as Mr. Badwrench, Charley Horse, and the legendary Cramps. But Doghouse Lords allows him particular vent. Assisting in this are Blasters John Bazz and Bill Bateman. (Look for another onetime Blaster, piano man Gene Taylor, on one track.) The vibe, here — as with the Nighthawks — is one of roots resurgent. Or, perhaps more accurately, ones that never really ebbed, resplendent now in vibrant, smoky glory. “Pedal To the Metal” flies at mad throttle, its headlong narrative hijacking observers for a one-way thrill ride. (Incidentally, Bazz appears only on this single track. He apparently became a full member after Chopper had laid down all other bass tracks.) In listening to several tracks on “Diggin’ At the Doghouse,” one perceives something akin to the “Roadhouse Blues” Doors. The echo is heard in both arrangements and singer Javier’s emotive deliveries. (And, indeed, previous DL reviewers have observed as much.) But Javier mostly dismisses such comparisons. “I’ve listened to the Doors as much or little as the next guy with an FM Radio,” he emailed RM. “If there’s any similarity it’s purely accidental and maybe physical in nature. I do share [Jim Morrison’s] passion for blues, however. I recall Jim Morrison only wanting to play blues in the end? Righteous. Howlin Wolf influenced us both I think and that’s where the kinship lies.”


The good: A few members of some better known groups (namely the Blasters and the Cramps) get together to mine some choice rootsy sounds that sound more informed by the dark, swamp-soaked bluesy glory of bands like early Gun Club and Poison 13 than their own back catalogues. The bad: The sequencing of the tracks is such that the lion’s share of the moodier pieces are within the first six tracks and the Texas-steeped floor scorchers are within the last six, making for a release that (dunno if it’s intentional or not) is more like two different releases than a cohesive whole. The relief: Hitting “random” on the CD player fixes up that last issue quite nicely.
Jimmy Alvarado RAZORCAKE