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American Dog | Last of a Dying Breed | review | rock | Lollipop

American Dog

Last of a Dying Breed
by Craig Regala

From Salty Dog to Hilljack to this new thing, American Dog, Michael Hannon has pointed his "thing" at a particular "yee-haw! gawd damn! rawk-th'-fuck-out" brand of kick ass that just won't fucking go away! It's most recent rebirth is nestled on the ample bosom of Nashville Pussy and its sound bounces around the biker continuum like empty Bud cans rattlin' in the back of the pickup (not a Jap one either). Jackyl, '70s AC/DC, those couple good Black Oak Arkansas tunes, Foghat, Rose Tattoo, the mid-tempo Motörhead stuff (Hannon told me they try to do a Motörhead tune each show. Judging by his t-shirt collection, he probably does a different one each time), upratched, stripped-down country boogie and general punch that a bunch a glam metal era bands could of gotten to (Junkyard, Cult, Rock City Angels) if they'd hung in there and thrown some elbows, sluggin' it out in clubland rather than quitting when the money/cocaine/heroin dried up during the great grunge scare of '91. When the continual cycle of new marketing terms/musical trends makes history seem two years deep, something comes along that shows where and how real people and history continue on even if they aren't on MTV this season. This is that sorta thing. It's not even really revivalist, it just is, you know? Life doesn't really change that much, so why should someone's basic response, especially if it works?

What saves American Dog from Hair Hell is a true love of the basics, writing for a three-piece with no extraneous stuff they can't get to live, using the living, breathing ker-chunka of '70s rock riffs and '80s metal pacing. Look, they cover Twisted Sister's "Under the Blade" as well as Angel City's "Straight Jacket" with the bonus of words heisted from Alice Cooper's "The Ballad Of Dwight Frye." If I started "Under" 4:30 in and told you it was the James Gang, you'd believe it. Probably the definitive moment of Mr. Hannon's life was seeing the Godz when he was a teenager. This, of course, immediately ate away about 2/3s of his brain and replaced it with, well, an area where the lyrics (a philosophy lecture, really), to the Godz' "Gotta Keep A Runnin" echo: "Rock and Roll's why we're all here, Rock and Roll has turned us into something they can't stand... We can't see straight, we can't think straight, we can't even hear straight... Can't feel nothing, got no heart or soul, but we're Godz." Lyrically, it's split between "What's going on? What's happening to me?" and goofy "I drank so much I couldn't find my ass with both hands." Hell, friends in low places... American Dog's got friends, enemies, neighbors and family all tradin' stories about who broke whose nose for stealing a case of beer someone owed them for that (barely) used tire off that Camaro some kid rolled into the yard last weekend. p.s. The recording is fantastic.
(1610 Powell St. Vancouver BC, V5L, 1H4)
 


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