Black Dog Prowl (BDP) has been on the DC circuit for less than two years, but already this high-energy blues rock band has made a name for themselves. They have played at topnotch clubs on H Street , been interviewed by 98Rock, featured on DC101’s Local Lix , and successfully released their debut album, Half Truths and Lies . In many ways, I think Black Dog Prowl is still filling out their own shoes, but with so much talent, we can only expect good things to come. Since the first time I saw Black Dog Prowl in DC, I’ve wanted to catch up with them for an interview. I finally had a great opportunity almost a month ago now (to my dismay), at The Rock Against Cancer benefit show (01/24/11) at Jammin Java in Vienna. Check out the interview below where we discuss everything from their current release to Sarah Palin and Avril Lavine tee shirts.
BB: Welcome Black Dog Prowl, you just played an awesome set tonight and I’m psyched to get the opportunity to interview the band. Why don’t you introduce yourself to Frederick!
Micah: My name is Micah and I play the guitar; I play lead guitar on some of the songs and sing on the songs that I don’t play guitar on.
Sky: Sky, I play bass and sing occasionally.
Enzo: Enzo, drums.
Josh: Josh. I sing and play guitar. I’m the opposite of that guy. I’m the Yin to his Yang [pointing to Micah].
BB: To get started, a question that I’m personal interested in is how tough is it to be a DC band? What does being a DC band mean to you and is the area supportive of local bands?
Josh: DC’s a really powerful city, so a lot of anger and things that music is generally about come out of DC, so it’s a good thing but the scene has its ups and downs.
Enzo: The difficulty in DC is that it is hard to create a scene, lots of bands try to work on their own as opposed to working collectively with other local bands to make a scene. It’s pretty much nonexistent in the dc area compared to other cities.
Sky: It’s more competition than comradery.
Micah: But we love playing shows in DC. We have a really good time on the H Street corridor and there are some new venues on U street that we are looking forward to playing also. We really like the DC scene because it has evolved over the years. We’ve all lived here for so long that I remember it used to just be the Black Cat for alternative music and the 9:30 club was great but into their own kind of thing.
Josh: We had that Phantasmagoria in Wheaton for a while also.
Micah: Now you see most places on U Street , H Street and a lot of places in Adams Morgan have music. So there are opportunities as musicians in the area.
Josh: As soon as the economy starts to go down, you see a bunch of music venues popping up.
BB: The bars do get very popular.
Josh: Yeah, and the bars can always make money by taking advantage of the talent of musicians.
[Interruption while another band brings in equipment for the show]
Sky: For the record were in a stairwell.
BB: Annoying stairwell factor noted, but it seems to be working out ok. Anyway, it is interesting how music becomes important and popular when there are hard times, I guess people can relate to it.
Sky: People look for inspiration in a lot places and I think music is the biggest.
Josh: And for relief too. For instance, I like a lot of music that is kind of angry stuff and that’s how you can find identification with people who are just as pissed off as you about the same thing or different things, but it’s just good to know people are out there that are just as frustrated.
BB: It’s good to hear that a “DC music scene” regardless of the lack of community among musicians is emerging once again. It sounds like bands are starting to call DC home again and that’s great.
Enzo: Bands are trying harder, that’s definitely true. DC Bands are working it in other distribution forms like media, fanzines, and internet and contribute to those things to create a local scene. DC doesn’t have to be a mecca just for politics.
Sky: We could use a few more radio stations.
BB: So, are you guys a fan of DC101?
Josh: We are to some extent. They play some good songs and some not so good songs.
BB: You guys were featured on Local Lix recently, right?
Josh: Yeah, those shows are great, but we need more of them in the area, not just the two rock stations.
BB: It’s a shame we don’t have a station more like Towson in the DC area. You would think College Park would be perfect for that.
Josh: I think College Park Radio has some good programs, but definitely not as well known.
BB: Speaking of the political nature of DC, you guys are into politics, right? Some of your songs are politically based.
Josh: It sneaks its way in there sometimes, we all have different political views to some extent, but we're young.
BB: Ok, well if you were on an elevator ride with President Obama, what would you ask him?
Sky: Does he use lotion on his ears? [Group laughs] …I just want to know.
Josh: Who wants to go, I have a wide range of questions.
Micah: Well, regardless of whether you like him or not, he definitely seems likeable. I don’t know what I would ask him exactly, but I think I would try to keep it casual because I think he would appreciate being asked a casual question.
Enzo: I think I would ask him how it feels to work in the highest position of customer service, because that’s what being the president is like. You have to please everyone at the same time.
Josh: I would ask him if no one found out and he wasn’t married would he have relations with Sarah Palin. [Group laughs]
BB: I saw a quote recently about someone who was willing to vote for Sarah Palin because the voter thought she was cute or adorable.
Enzo: She definitely has a certain charisma that appeals to a good chunk of people and regardless of her point of view she has a very interesting delivery when she’s talking about whatever it is she talks about.
Micah: Sarah Palin did get creamed by Katie Couric though. Remember that episode during the campaign.
Josh: Name one thing that you’ve read… the bible right. [mocking the interview]
BB: It definitely has to be tough being the president, but let’s mix it up. What’s your favorite concert tee shirt that you own?
Enzo: I love my Avril tee shirt. Yeah, my Avril Lavine shirt, I love it.
Josh: Your making us look bad dude. [Group Laughs]
Micah: I’ve got a Black Keys tee shirt from a concert at the 9:30 club a couple of albums ago before they got really popular.
BB: Nice, they played DAR recently and sold out.
Josh: Yeah, a bunch of us went. It was great show besides being a seated venue.
Sky: I still have my tee shirt from the first concert I ever went too. It doesn’t fit me anymore, but when I was about 10 years old, I saw Alice Cooper and got a tee shirt. I remember that show because it really exposed me to rock and roll. Alice Cooper beat up someone on stage with a chain, I just remember thinking that was awesome, and I want to do that.
Josh: I have a Primus tee shirt somewhere, but I wish I had gotten one from the Crooked Vultures concert a while ago. Seeing Dave Grohl play drums is like watching an animal in its natural habitat.
Josh: Really Avril Lavine though? [to Enzo]
Enzo: Absolutely. Madonna , Avril…
Josh: Lady Gaga ?
Enzo: No, I didn’t get a Lady Gaga tee shirt. I thought about it, but that show was more like wear your own outfit, like an early Halloween in late September [Group Laughs]. No, but definitely my Avril tee. I actually have three.
BB: Ok, so back to some more serious topics, you guys just released a new CD. Tell me about it?
Enzo: It came out last summer, in late May.
Josh: We had a CD release show at the Rock and Roll Hotel with friends the Niki Bar Band , Killer Blues , and Citizen from Fairfax. I don’t think the venue expected the show to sell out as well as it did, it was over Memorial weekend and it was packed. We were happy about it.
BB: Oh, so this isn’t your newest exactly, you have another album coming out soon?
Josh: Yeah, sometime in the next month or so we are going to record a new EP so that should be available sometime soon.
BB: Can we expect anything different from your last album in this new release?
Josh: It might be a little more fluid and a little more bluesy.
Micah: The last album was recorded over a long period of time, so I think for this next album we are going to try to record it in fewer studio sessions so the songs sounds more consistent over all. You can get the first album on iTunes though, which is cool.
Josh: Yeah we’ve sold some stuff in Australia and the UK.
BB: The band hasn’t been together that long right?
Enzo: A solid year and a half now.
BB: Josh, you had a previous band, how is it different than Black Dog Prowl?
Josh: Yeah, it was called Finver Four . A couple of the band members were in that band as well, but our style was a little grungier than BDP I’d say. Were trying to go a little more bluesy with this band.
Enzo: That’s when things weren’t quite as solid and then Sky joined and we decided to change the name of the band because everything was changing.
Josh: Before, I did most of the song writing and composing, but now it’s more of a collaborative thing and it’s much better that way.
BB: Well, we're about out of time so I’ll squeeze in a question I always ask. What is your favorite band or top CD in rotation at the moment?
Sky: I’ve been listening to the new Roots album with John Legend called Wake Up. John Legend is a great vocalist, but him working with the Roots a phenomenal band; I can’t stop listening to it. It’s really good and actually it’s a political album. I’m also listening to the new Black Keys album, Brothers.
Josh: The Black Keys also. The Raconteurs , Consolers of the Lonely.
BB: Enzo, you must be listening to Lady Gaga or something.
Enzo: Yeah, but there is some Stevie Wonder in there too. I actually got to meet “the man”, Stevie Wonder. I wish he could have seen me, but… [Group laughs] I have a newfound love for The Beatles Revolver too. Since they remastered the whole thing, it’s like a whole new approach. I could go on, but that’s mostly what’s been in rotation… Oh, and Taylor Swift. [Group laughs]
Micah: Band of Skulls , Jaco Pastorius that Enzo got me for Christmas.
BB: Lastly, is there anything that you’d like to say to Frederick?
Enzo: Hopefully we’ll get to play there soon. I know that there are a couple of cool joints downtown. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Frederick crowd like they go to shows. I have friends in other bands who have played there, more the metal scene, but there are a boat load of people who show up because otherwise you have to drive to DC or Baltimore.
BB: Thanks BDP, hopefully we will get to see you guys in Frederick sometime soon. [And ladies, Sky tells me that he is the ONLY eligible bachelor of the group, so make sure you say hi to him after the show.]
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