DO THE DOG MUSIC
1. Kevin Flowerdew - Do The Dog maestro explain to us why the label was set up and what struggles you have had to overcome to get to the stage you are at so far?
The Do The Dog Music label was originally set up in 1996 just for a one off release, an international ska compilation called “Rude Vibes”. I had been putting out a zine called Rude Skazine since 1989 & to celebrate the 50th issue of the zine I decided to put together a CD featuring some of my favourite bands that had featured in the zine over the years. The “Rude Vibes” comp featured tracks by the likes of Skankin Pickle, MU330, The Peacocks, The Porkers, Ruder Than You & many more. Doing the “Rude Vibes” comp was something that I really enjoyed though, so I decided to carry on with the label & release more CD’s to try & bring more attention to the UK ska scene.
The main struggle that I have always had to overcome is a lack of money. I’m just a tiny one man DIY operation & I never have enough cash in the bank to push through my ideas for the label or release my Do The Dog releases as quickly as I would like to.
2. Give us an insight into your own personal musical background please giving influences and other such trivia.
Well I first got into music when I was starting secondary school way back in 1979! My discovery of music coincided with the explosion of 2 Tone Records & the chart success of bands like The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter & Bad Manners & I was instantly hooked with everything to do with the 2 Tone ska movement. I loved the striking black & white imagery of all the 2 tone record sleeves & posters & I loved the uniform that this new 2 tone army was wearing. But most of all I loved the fiercely infectious & highly danceable music that the 2 tone bands were playing. I’ve pretty much been hooked on ska music ever since but only started actually going to gigs during the mid to late 1980’s when bands like The Loafers, The Hotknives, Potato 5 & Maroon Town were the driving forces of the early 3rd wave of UK ska. Over the years I’ve also been into a number of other classic UK bands like The Jam, The Police, The Clash, The Stone Roses & The Smiths, but ska has always remained my number one musical passion!
I think there is a lot to be excited about on the UK ska scene at the moment. It is really pleasing to see the progress & success that the likes of Sonic Boom Six & The King Blues are achieving at the moment. Both bands are putting out amazing music & bringing lots of new blood to the UK scene. And its also cool to see following in these 2 bands footsteps a group of equally talented & exciting young bands that will hopefully be making as big waves soon. The likes of The JB Conspiracy, Mouthwash & Do The Dog’s own Jimmy The Squirrel, Dirty Revolution, The Skints, Cartoon Violence, New Town Kings, John Player Specials & Rasta4Eyes all make me feel very excited about the future of UK ska!
I don’t really have any one particular CD that I view as DTD’s best release to date – I love all the releases!
No sexual affairs of any nature for me, I’m a very happily married man I’ll have you know!!!
5. Ska vs punk - start the debate man and tell us your opinions on both?
To be honest I’ve never really explored the punk genre that thoroughly, so its ska all the way for me – I just love the highly danceable & infectious nature of well played ska music! I do love the whole DIY ethos of punk, especially the idea that anyone can get involved in the scene by starting their own band or their own label or their own zine, etc but I’ve never really been grabbed that much by punk music itself. The punk bands that I do love like The Clash & Rancid I got into very much due to the fact that they mixed in ska & reggae into their sound.
7. Pimley Plannish the human waterbed is inviting people to spend the night asleep on his aquabody for the fee of 15 rupees. The only catch is that Mr Plannish will be sporting an erection throughout the entire evening from which the occupier must carefully remove strategically inserted onion seeds at hourly intervals. Would you take the celebrated deviant up on his offer and would you swap your entire family for a free Onion Porn DVD?
Unfortunately I have no rupees so I won’t be able to attend Pimley Plannish’s evening extravaganza!
And if the onion porn DVD is free surely I don’t have to swap anything for it?
As I said above, I think it’s the highly catchy & dance inducing nature of good quality ska music that makes it so appealing. Yeah there does seem to be a resurgence in ska’s popularity at the moment thanks to the success of new bands like The King Blues & Sonic Boom Six & also of course the reformation of 2 tone era bands The Specials & Madness. Unfortunately this interest is pretty slow to trickle down to grass roots labels like me & sales are pretty much the same as ever! So as you say its definitely “backs to the wall & push like mad to break even”!
Most of the Do The Dog bands generally play to crowds of between 50 to 200 people, sometimes a bit more sometimes a bit less. The bigger crowds generally turn up when there is a ska festival of 4 or 5 bands happening or if the Do The Dog bands are supporting a more well known ska band. I would say the ska scene is pretty supportive of underdog bands as most of the DTD bands do seem to sell quite a few CD’s & t-shirts at their gigs.
I’m afraid I can’t pinpoint just one best live band or favourite CD in my collection, so I’ll give you my top 5 of each in no particular order:
Top 5 live bands
The Chinkees, Skylar, Smoke Like A Fish, Rebelation, Chris Murray
Top 5 CD’s in my collection
Siren Six – The Voice With A Built In Promise, Smoke Like A Fish – self titled, The Honeyshop Screamers – Going Out Dancing, Skylar – self titled. Chris Murray – 4 Track Adventures
My heroes all come from my other obsession in life outside ska music – Liverpool Football Club – Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Robbie Fowler, Bruce Grobelaar, Terry Mcdermott, Jamie Carragher, the list goes on & on!
12. Push the Do The dog cause - how do we get your latest merch, what are your web addresses etc. etc.
You can find more lots more info on all the Do The Dog bands & releases on the following handy Do The Dog websites:
Or write to me at: Do The Dog Music, 65 Blackdown Way, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 3FY for a copy of my latest Do The Dog ska CD distro list!