Birds and Bollocks – The British Invasion in Reverse

Did you ever experience something, come out the other end and think, “Whoa, what the heck just happened?” That just happened. I can tell you what happened, but I can’t explain it, that being the nature of experience. You have to experience it. So, I’ll relate the bald facts as best I can remember them (there was alcohol), and I’ll do justice to the experience, as best I can. You extrapolate from there.

The whole deal came out of the conversation with Jacque Champe, she of Killdeer, round about the early part of December last year. The nature of that conversation went thus:

The Dog’s Bollocks and Killdeer should do a tour of England

“OK.”

Next thing, we’re doing a tour of England, which will be no surprise to those who know Jacque Champe. The words “Jacque Champe” and “getting shit done” appear in the same sentence with alarming frequency. Without being indelicate, Jacque got the shit done and next thing you know, on Saturday, May 25th, Killdeer and The Dog’s Bollocks hoved into Hackney in east London and presented themselves at the door of Biddle Bros, one seriously cool venue, BTW. And, with that, what became the Birds and Bollocks UK Tour 2019 kicked off big time.

I’ll note here that I’m leaving out a few salient details. Do you really need to know all about the renting of our own nine-seater kick-arse tour van complete with drum stuff and amps? (Contact the awesome Matt Snowball for all your one-stop shopping in this regard). And do you really need to know about the booking of the rehearsal space at the similarly awesome Camden Guitars in – coincidence – Camden? You already know that the Dog’s Bollocks is now just two, Regan and James, making this tantamount to small Bollocks, So, I won’t bore you with that here. Nah; I’ll just give you the high points. For more, meet us at the Bitter End this coming Friday, June 7th, and I’ll tell all. Most of it was classic. We go on at 8pm.

So, back to Biddle Bros. First thing, when you’re next in London, forget Big Ben, the Tower of London and all that old shite. Get yourself over to this fantastic venue for some live music in one of the friendliest and most intimate watering holes you can imagine. Although they never call them watering holes in England; it’s basically just the boozer or the local.

The Dog’s Bollocks kicked off the evening with our stripped down set (bare Bollocks), although we were seriously thankful to have the legendary Jacque Champe – there she is again – and Robin Marsico, both from Killdeer, sitting in with us on a handful of songs that needed more heft. We were nervous, we were excited, we were hesitant, we were inspired and we had a serious blast. Killdeer followed us playing a set that literally rocked the house, including songs from their just-released awesome album. (Buy it here). And, closing the night was the simply amazing Crack Foxes, an all-girl band from all parts of the south of England who were as delightful as they are talented, which is to say seriously. Check them out here. Seriously. (Plus, they sang awesome harmonies with us on Suspicious Minds).

Got to be said, that became a common theme throughout this tour: amazing venues run by the most welcoming people, and awesome bands comprised of the nicest people. Without question, every step of the way. Nick Crispin, for one. He was the gentleman – and I use that word in the finest sense – who booked us at Biddle Bros, who was as kind and encouraging as he could be, and who made the serious mistake of saying we could come back again in the future. Which we most certainly will. Nick – dude, you are a gent. You can see the whole Biddle Bros set on Facebook by clicking here.

This is an appropriate interlude at which to talk about Wiggy. He did tell me his name, but I forget what it is. He calls himself Wiggy, as does everybody who knows him, so that’s what he is. Legends only need one name, after all. Think Elvis. How to describe Wiggy? He’s an enigma. Through some convoluted process that was explained to me but the memory of which has been jettisoned along with a billion alcohol-obliterated brain cells, Wiggy knows Bonnie’s father. Bonnie is the awesome singer in Handsome Pete. Jacque Champe also plays in Handsome Pete. So, Wiggy knows Bonnie’s father, Bonnie, Jacque and, by extension, Killdeer. He lives in Newbury, 50 miles west of London, but came all the way in to see the Biddle Bros show. Wiggy is one serious dude when it comes to music.

Wiggy, it was revealed at some God-forsaken, beer-sated hour in the Biddle Bros morning, also plays bass. At what level was not made apparent at that precise moment. However, a conversation along these lines ensued:

“I play the bass.”

“We’re playing at Poco Loco in Chatham, Kent tomorrow evening. You should play with us.”

“OK.”

You don’t need to be told. Somehow, Wiggy gets his alcohol-fueled, bass-playing arse out to Newbury, then back in to London and on to Chatham with a handful of hours to spare for the Poco Loco gig. Remarkable. How did he spend his time on the train? Learning half a dozen songs that he’d never played before. We had a run-through in the warm-up room in the hour before our set. With 15 minutes to go, he seemed to have it all sorted. No problem; so, let’s learn a couple of originals. You may pause here, dear Bollocks fans, for a moment of cynicism. But I shite you not. Regan and James out front, Jacque and Robin sitting in, Wiggy on bass – it just rocked.

And what a wonderful venue. Abby Ziering booked us, cooked us mouth-watering tacos, offered to let us stay in her apartment, and then rocked the house with her own band, Luna Lacuna. Then came Killdeer. With three vocalists – Jacque, Keri and Jennifer – plus Robin playing rock solid, kick arse drums, they brought the house down. Did I mention that you can buy their new album by clicking here?

That was two down, four to go. The next day was Monday, May 27th, which we had off. Which was just as well, as it gave Wiggy the 15 minutes he needed to lock down our whole set, plus the harmonies on “Fire” and “Suspicious Minds.” Thing is, there’s a venue in Camden, north London called Fiddler’s Elbow. And the next thing is that Fiddler’s Elbow is a venue in the sense that it’s a VENUE! It’s a breeding ground for greatness. Madness were regulars there, and Amy Winehouse, plus others too numerous to mention. Think London’s version of the Bitter End. (Did I mention this coming Friday, June 7th, 8pm? Beer, music, Bollocks, tour tales. It will all be there).

Anyway, Dan Maiden is the gentleman – and I say that in the Nick Crispin sense – who owns the iconic Fiddler’s and who also books the bands. Thing is, Dan wasn’t convinced that he should book the Bollocks and the Birds. But, two more things: Dan is a gentleman (so noted), and the aforementioned Jacque Champe paid him an advance visit. That was only going to go one way. So we were booked, and….another absolutely brilliant evening. Killdeer was developing a cult following at this stage – understandable – and with the Wigmeister at full force, plus Jacque and Robin – well, the Bollocks were in high gear, as well. Plus, we had a great turn-out. Thanks to all who made the journey to north London to see us.

Do I need to say, or can you surmise the rest of the evening? With the sets over, we hung out, we drank beer, we BS’d into the wee hours, we drank more beer and we made friendships that we know will endure. Even if it all went to total shite after this, it would have been an amazing tour. Three spectacular venues – Biddle Bros, Poco Loco and the Fiddler’s Elbow; three awesome shows and encounters too numerous to enumerate that were nothing only warm, kind and encouraging. What a concept.

Thing is, it didn’t all go to total shite. It just got better and better. Wednesday morning – painfully fecking early after the previous night’s indulgences – we picked up the Matt Snowball van, by some miracle found our way out of London and headed north on the M1, M6 and M something else to Nantwich in Cheshire. Why Nantwich?, you ask. Or not; up to you. Well, on said Wednesday we were booked to play in Percy’s in Whitchurch, Shropshire. Nantwich is half way between there and our Friday gig in the Salty Dog in Northwich, Cheshire. So, Nantwich worked.

And here, a word for Nantwich. Go. That’s all the word you need. It’s beautiful. You’ll love it.

You may note here, no mention of Wiggy. We begged, we cajoled, we pleaded. It was not pretty. If our money hadn’t all been carefully allotted for beer, we might have offered a bribe. But Wiggy couldn’t work it. The last we saw of him – 2am, Wednesday morning – he was leaving the Fiddler’s Elbow, then changed his mind because he needed one more pint and went back in. Word ensued that it was a 4am finish. Last we heard, he was in the south of France. Enigma, Riddle. Legend. Who was that masked bassman?

So, here we were at Percy’s, an appropriate juncture at which to make note of another legend, Steve Iles by name. Jacque Champe – there she is again – has got a brother who plays in a kick-arse punk band named Choking Susan. The brother knows Steve Iles, made the call, and Steve – a gentleman in the Nick Crispin/Dan Maiden mold – took a shot and booked the Bollocks and Killdeer into Poco Loco, Percy’s, the Salty Dog and our Saturday gig at the Royal Standard in Sheffield. Not only that, he showed up to all of the last three gigs, offering support, buying beer and generally being a righteous dude. They don’t really say that in England, but it applies. A legend.

Percy’s is wonderful. Killdeer, at this point were just consistently spectacular with a hard rocking, seriously tight set that never failed to get the joint jumping. The Bollocks, too, rocked hard, even sans Wiggy. Plus, the green room contained the two oldest taxidermed tigers in the UK. Plus some skeletons. Plus some other stuff. Plus a fridge full of Bud. Plus, Mark Powell, who booked us and was as warm and welcoming as a man could possibly be, and plus an owner who took kindness and courtesy to Olympic levels. Interestingly, this was the first Wednesday ever on which Percy’s had had live music. So, thanks to Mark Powell, the Bollocks, who played first, made history. The small things count. Plus, the occasional stuffed tiger. Personally, I’m going to insist on a stuffed tiger at every venue from now on. And, they’ve got to cut the crusts off the little cucumber sandwiches.

Forgetting tigers and sandwiches, headliners at Percy’s were Desensitised. For this show, they were without their drummer, so they did an acoustic set. Well….acoustic me bollix. These two ladies rocked, and rocked hard. Check them out here, and get yourself over to England and check them out there. It’s totally worth it. And lovely people, too. But that hardly needs stating, at this stage.

Thursday was an off day, so we all wandered. (Not all who wander are lost, just so you know). I went for a long run; knee was tolerable, in case you were wondering, as distinct from wandering.

Friday was May 31st and that was our night for the Salty Dog in Northwich. In terms of size and vibe, this was of the order of Biddle Bros and Poco Loco, which is to say cool, with a cool edge. The Bollocks opened, Killdeer killed it, and then Yur Mum closed it down, in every good sense of the term. Hard rocking, raucous rock and roll, played hard and loud by three of the nicest musicians you could hope to meet. Lead vocalist and bassist, Anelise Kunz Cuoto, was seriously thankful to the ubiquitous Jacque Champe, who handed over her axe without a second thought after Anelise’s went on the blink. Camaraderie and empathy are beautiful; but, that’s just me. Got to be noted, Yur Mum has the most awesome t-shirts. I bought one. They’ve all got Yur Mum tattoos, too. I didn’t get one of those, although I was tempted. Plus, if I got one, it should really be a Bollocks; and, I dunno; walking around with Bollocks tattooed on me. I get enough shite as it is without inviting more. Anyway, Yur Mum – see them here. Awesome.

That was five down. Unreal. One to go – the Royal Standard in Sheffield. This involved a two hour drive through the spectacular scenery of the Peak District. We stopped, we saw sheep, it rained, we took a detour through some pristine and ancient village whose name I forget. It was beautiful, a seeming soft embrace from England as we got close to our departure.

Forget the soft embrace, for now; first we had some rocking to do. The turn-out was light for this one, mainly due to the fact of the entirety of the UK watching the Champions’ League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. You can find the details of that on their blog. They’re not writing about us; until they do, I’m not writing about them. Even with a light turn-out, this was a seriously hard core evening. Steve Iles was there, of course, and the landlady and staff were charmers as only people from the English north can be; and Nat, the sound guy, in addition to being a master of the board, was as nice a bloke as you could hope.

The Bollocks were up first, usual form. We had truly lovely time. That hardly sounds like hard rocking; but, here’s the thing; it was our last gig of an awesome tour, and we were carrying with us so many indelible and endearing memories that it was all but impossible not to soften, enjoy and appreciate. Killdeer, of course, kicked serious and solid arse, yet again. So many times on this trip, I sat out front and listened objectively. The conversation in my head always went the same:

“This band is as good as any band out there.”

It was always a short conversation.

So, with Bollocks done and Killdeer done, we all stood out front for the headliners, Diablofurs. There is no way to describe this band. Genre-defying sounds trite. So, you just have to go and see them and figure it out for yourself. They are absolutely, unquestionably, indisputably, off the charts, rock solid awesome. As I told them, you see bands, and some songs you like, others less so. I loved every single song. They all went at warp speed and wall cracking volume. But sooooo tight. And every single one of them maestros, each with their own enrapturing stage presence and personality. Entrancing. See them here. But you really need to get your arse over to England and see them there. In fact, if you follow the venue route outlined here, you will be guaranteed a magical musical mystery tour that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Part Killdeer and part Bollocks got the train from Sheffield to London on Sunday morning (another painful rising) to get flights back to the US. I say “got the train to London,” but use that phrase loosely. Train broke down at Leicester. We were told to take the train “across the platform” to Birmingham, then take another train to London, the rail services giving no evident shite about our flights. Said “train across the platform” was jammed to the gunwales, so we had to Uber the 60 miles to Birmingham, where we made a London train with five minutes to spare. That was tension; but, then all was fine. We needed a little drama, anyway, just to add some spice to the tale.

So, that was it. All done. And now I’m saying, whoa – WTF just happened?

All that’s left are the memories, that and the two thousand photos. And the videos. And the Facebook posts. And the Instagram stories. For the record, no scars, tattoos or hospital bills.

If I could possibly bear to raise one more glass of something appropriate, I most surely would and offer a toast of heartfelt gratitude to this wonderful cast of characters who have left a deeper impression than they can ever possibly know:

Nick Crispin, Sad House Daddy and all at Biddle Bros, Hackney, London
Abigail Ziering, VL Presents and all at Poco Loco, Chatham, Kent
Dan Maiden and all at Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden, London
Mark Powell, POW Productions and all at Percy’s, Whitchurch, Shropshire
All at the Salty Dog, Northwich, Cheshire
All at the Royal Standard, Sheffield
Matt Snowball
Camden Guitars
Steve Iles and IndigoBravo Promotions
Wiggy Wigmore
Crack Foxes
Desensitised
Yur Mum
Diablofurs
…and, never to be forgotten, Daz at the Crown Hotel, Nantwich, who served us innumerable late night pints and literally dozens of bags of crisps and who, despite it all, said, “I will miss you when you’re gone.” Now that we’re gone, the feeling is deeply reciprocated.

Last, but in reality top of the list, the deepest and most heartfelt thanks go from me (James, BTW) to the beautiful, delightful, funny and enormously talented ladies with whom I had the privilege to share this unforgettable journey: Regan Glover, Jennifer Robinson, Jacque Champe, Robin Marsico and Keri Buster. Ladies, you rock.

The Dog’s Bollocks.

The Same Old Bollocks

It’s the circle of liiiiiiiife, it’s the path unwindiiiiiinnnnnnng. Or something like that. You’ll have to ask Elton. (Looking forward to seeing “Rocketman”, by the way). Which is to say, things change. Life evolves. The one constant is that there is no constant. Yes, these Bollocks can be existential when they choose to. Which is not something you’d customarily associate with Bollocks, come to think of it. In any case, all of which is to say, The Dog’s Bollocks is no more.

And yet….still they rise. Allow me to clarify. What was once The Dog’s Bollocks is no longer The Dog’s Bollocks. But The Dog’s Bollocks remain, as they must, just not the same. Got it? OK – I’ll spell it out. Mike, Andy, Dushyant and Nishad are gone. Regan and James remain. Old Bollocks, new Bollocks, the same old bollocks. (Note the lower case). Creative differences – it happens. Think Fleetwood Macthe Eagles, the Beatles – yes, The Dog’s Bollocks are often spoken of in the same breath as those icons. The point is, the lads have moved on and will certainly thrive, while the stripped down pair of Bollocks get ready to depart for a tour of the UK.

Funny how that goes and hard to believe, truth be told. But, oh yes; on Friday, May 24th, The Dog’s Bollocks head across the Atlantic for a tour of England – London, Kent…some other places that I forget; check the schedule here – opening for our dear friends Killdeer (who have just released their first album, which is seriously awesome and which you can listen to – and buy! – by clicking here). There’s a certain irony in the fact that The Dog’s Bollocks have only once ever played off the island of Manhattan, that being in Coney Island, where we had five people in the audience – the band for which we were opening – plus one dude who came in to take a leak and then left. But that’s how we roll. We wouldn’t be The Dog’s Bollocks if we didn’t give it large, as they say in Hackney, east London, site of our first UK gig. (Biddle Bros to be precise; check them out here).

So, if you happen to be in or around England next week, come to see us and Killdeer. They are awesome, the dog’s bollocks, in fact – again, as they say in Hackney. As for The Dog’s Bollocks, we’re the mutt’s nuts.

Keep on rocking.

The Dog’s Bollocks.

 

More Bollocks

Just because you haven’t heard much from us lately, don’t think that we’ve just been sitting around twiddling our boll….I mean thumbs. Au contraire. In fact, what we’ve been doing, in addition to practicing, is organizing. 

First up, we organized ourselves a new drummer, Mike by name, and whom you met via our last blog of a few weeks back. In a former life, Mike managed the band Living Colour; thus his experience in the music business coupled with his drumming skills is a hard combination to beat. Plus, he’s got a ton of fascinating stories, which always helps.

With that all sorted, we also organized ourselves a second year of residency in the fabled Music Building. Room 1107 has, indeed, become a second home.

In addition to our regular co-residents – LiXR (who just released their first single; it’s awesome; listen here), Reality’s Dream and Frank Rovella – we also have occasional visits from some of our favorites: Killdeer, Reservoir Dawgs, and a handful of others. It’s a busy spot producing a lot of good noise.

We also organized ourselves a fantastic gig at the legendary Bitter End. That took place on Friday, January 25th and was even better that we could have imagined.

Thanks to all who came out on a chilly evening. If you didn’t make it and would like to see exactly what happened, just click here. We’ll be back at the Bitter End on Friday, June 7th. So, please put that one in the books. More info closer to the date.

On a nearer horizon is our Saturday, March 30th gig at Desmond’s, the fabled music bar on Park Avenue South. It’s always a really cool place to hear live music. The Bollocks are particularly looking forward to this one, as we will be on a program with our dear friends Reality’s Dream, Bad Kitty and Killdeer. Kick off is at 8pm (we’re on first), so make sure to come along. What else have you got going on? Huh? Nothin! Well, you probably have, but try to make it, anyway.

Still on the subject of organizing, The Dog’s Bollocks are taking their act overseas.

Yes, it’s true. During the last week of May, The Bollocks will be supporting Killdeer on a week-long tour of the UK. (You can only imagine the organization that has gone into this one). Full details will be distributed closer to the date; but, in a nutshell, we’re playing London, Kent, Cheshire, Shropshire and Sheffield. Only two Bollocks can make the trip – Regan and James – so it’s going to be a kind of mini-Bollocks or truncated Bollocks or abbreviated Bollocks; but Killdeer is going full force, so it’s going to be massive. The dog’s bollocks, in fact.

That’s all the news for right now. See you in Desmond’s on March 30th, if not before.

Keep on rocking.

The Dog’s Bollocks.

A Load of Bollocks

The ending of the last Bollocks Blog wished everybody a rocking summer, which makes it hard to think that summer is just about at an end. That’s not all bad. No more blazing heat. We will soon be enjoying a few weeks of simply idyllic conditions…followed by Lord knows how many months of a skin-peeling winter. That’s if you’re in New York. If you’re reading this from St John or St Thomas or St Marten or some saint of an island that we’ve never heard of…well, how’s about you invite The Dog’s Bollocks on down for a winter’s tour? (“It Was Only a Winter’s Tour.” Ref: David Essex, for the uninitiated. I can tell you a story about him, if we ever cross paths, and if you happen to be interested). But, I digress by some considerable margin.

Back here in mid-town Manhatten, your favorite Bollocks (meaning that are not attached to your body) took a hiatus from gigging after a busy spring and have spent the summer rehearsing hard. (Those of you who chorused, ”It’s about time,” can fecking well feck orf). If you want to see the fruits of the labor, well come on down to the famed Bitter End in the West Village this coming Friday (September 7th) at 7pm and there we will be, rocking like a load of Bollocks.

It must we said, we are thrilled to be playing the Bitter End. It’s one of the most celebrated live music venues in New York City, which you will see should you take a butch at their web site. (Butch = Butcher’s Hook = Look. Yes, we are poly-lingual). Bob Dylan has played there. And Neil Young. And Joni Mitchell. And Jerry Jeff Walker. And Tony Joe White. And Jim Croce. And Tay Tay! And….very soon, The Dog’s Bollocks. Kind of out-of-body that we’re now on the roster, if not on the Bitter End’s “Legends” page. Maybe after Friday….

Following the Bitter End outing, we will be playing Desmond’s on Park Avenue South on Saturday September 15th. We go on at 10pm, and it’s certain to be a bollocks-rattling occasion. How do I know? Because we’re sharing the evening with Handsome Pete (8pm), Local Distrubance (9pm) and The 86’s (11pm). Hold on to ‘em is all I’m gonna say.

As for the Bollocks. We’ve got new original songs, old classic songs and new original versions of old classic songs. All of which we hope to present to you at the Bitter End and/or Desmond’s….and some yet to be named venues in the Caribbean.

Rock on.

The Dog’s Bollocks.

Belated Bollocks

It’s been a while since the last Bollocks Blog. Trust me, that’s not because we’ve been sitting around scratching our….. Well, anyway. Au contraire; it’s been a busy time – rehearsing, gigging, picking a few new songs plus, believe it or not, trying to chart a course for the future. (Planning – never been a fan, but some people seem to like it). In any event, time has been, and is, flying.

Last time we checked in, we had just enjoyed a kick arse gig at the lovely Parkside Lounge on the lower east side. That was in late May. Since then, we’ve hit Connolly’s Klub (June 7th), the Delancey (June 17th) and Pianos – twice (June 26th and July 8th). Without any codding or joking, all were a load of fun, each for its own reasons.

At Connolly’s – our first time time there – it was our privilege to open for Total Blam Blam. What a cool bunch of dudes, not to mention great musicians. They totally rocked. Check out their Facebook page and watch for their next dates. We rocked, too; if you don’t believe it, you can see highlights from our set on YouTube. If you’ve never been to Connolly’s Klub, it’s awesome. Go. It’s on 45th Street, just east of Times Square. The Klub part is upstairs and it’s a brilliant place to catch live music….and cold beer…and great bar food. All of which we did.

Next up was the Delancey, one of our regular and favorite venues. So much so that we organized this evening of live music ourselves. And it was truly bollocks-rattling. Six awesome bands, and a pretty darn good turn-out for Father’s Day. In addition to The Dog’s Bollocks, the line-up included Earth to Matilda, Francesca Love and the Beating Hearts, Reality’s Dream, Nasty Women and Bad Hombres, and Handsome Pete. If you’ve ever caught any of those bands before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. This was like Woodstock! Only smaller. And indoors. And drier. And without Jimi Hendrix. Anyway – you get the idea. It was brilliant. Thanks to all who took part. Thanks to the Delancey. Thanks to everyone who showed up. We’ll do it again in the future. Hey, Woodstock did it a second time…

Our last two gigs of recent times were both at Pianos. Our first time there, too. We played upstairs in whatever that room is called. “Upstairs,” I think. Going in, we had prepared a mellow, intimate set. Advance intel had been that mellow and intimate would be most appropriate for this venue. Bollocks we may be, but we can handle mellow and intimate when the need arises. Thing is, advance intel totally f@#*ed it up. We arrived and the place was ROCKING! Some dude’s birthday, with him as the guitar-playing entertainment. And the room jammed with his 20-something, shot-chugging, hip-hop sing-alonging mates. We were screwed.

Needless to say, out the window went mellow and intimate. In the window came all the rockers we could think of. Funnily enough, the one that really got them going was the Monkees. Who would ever have thought that Mickey, Davey, Peter and Mike would resonate across the decades? (Although, maybe it was Shrek. We did, “I’m A Believer.) Anyway, the joint started jumping and we even had to do an encore! Bloody hell. Thankfully, they didn’t shout Two! More! Songs! or we would have had to do “I’m A Believer” One! More! Time! It was a load of fun, so much so that we got invited back to fill a slot little more than a week later. The birthday people were missing this time, which was a shame. There’s nothing quite like a bunch of partiers to get the party started. It was still a fun gig, though, and we hope to be back.

Speaking of next gigs, with many Bollocks in abstentia for the summer, we don’t play again until September 7th, when we will be appearing at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. If you google the people who have played at this celebrated establishment, you will find Joni Michell, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Preston, Linda Ronstadt, Tracy Chapman, Jim Croce, Les Paul, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Bo Diddley, Van Morrison, Anne Murray, the Everly Brothers, Neil Young, Rick Nelson, Johnny Nash and a welter of others. Finally management has opted to take it up a notch and, after protracted negotiations, The Dog’s Bollocks is on the bill. More details will be forthcoming after our people speak to their people who will communicate with your people. (We’ll send you a bunch of e-mails).

In the meantime, have a rocking summer.

The Dog’s Bollocks

A Lot of Bollocks

Since the last Bollocks Blog appeared on this site, there have been Bollocks all over NYC. At least, that’s how it has seemed. Having not played a single gig between November 2017 and the start of this month (May), we’ve now played four since May 2nd, and with more still to come in the next few weeks.

First on the agenda was the iconic Shrine in Harlem. If you’ve never been there…well, you should. It hasn’t become an icon by just saying that it’s an icon. Au contraire, mes amis. If you sidle in there just about any day or night of the week, you’ll see some remarkable and eclectic musicians. The band before us was Japanese. They had an MC wearing a traditional kimono, and a huge red bowtie. Not sure what that was about, but even if you don’t speak Japanese, it was impossible not to be enthralled. It’s hard to say how enthralling The Dog’s Bollocks was, but we played loud and hard and had a great time. Much thanks to Jackie Champe, Francesca Love, Ajay Sharma, Elissa Erwin, Pat Lewis, Ellen Dumlao, Walt Murphy and a bunch of others for showing up, as well as to the Shrine itself – a fantastic venue. Get over there, get a beer and bask in the vibe.

Next up for us, on May 6th, was the world’s finest Liverpool FC boozer and the Bollocks’ official home drinking establishment – Carragher’s on West 39th St. The location is important, as it’s just around the corner from our rehearsal studio on 8th Avenue, so hauling all our gear over there was easy. But there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that Liverpool lost 1-0 to Chelsea (who subsequently won the FA Cup); the good news (for us) was that we played for almost two hours, debuting a bunch of new cover songs, plus several originals. The potential for disaster was enormous, but it all went great. After which, we got down to some serious day-drinking with the Killdeers – Jennifer Robinson, Jackie Champ and Robin Marisco – the aforementioned Pat Lewis, Elissa Irwin, Lisa Valentino, Monique Brown, Liz Giugliano and some woman who claimed she was from Liverpool (though clearly wasn’t) whom we hung out with because she got up in Pat’s face and told him, “Hey! This isn’t a good bad! This is a fucking good band!” Basically, that’s all it takes. Carragher’s is always fun. #YNWA (Google).

Then, on May 15th, it was the celebrated Sidewalk Cafe on Avenue A, Lower East Side. If you play music in NYC, you always want to play Sidewalk.  Just because. It’s legendary. Also terrifying (for us), as our set comprised almost entirely original songs, most of which we hadn’t had time to play more than once or twice. But we got through it, and – not bragging or anything, just saying – it sounded pretty darn good. Thanks to Dan Smith, Sam Cavin, Elissa Erwin, Bracewell Polo and Regan’s cousin Anne Gordon for coming out on a feckin’ thunderous night – literally. It was the apocalypse. Also notable was that, as we hung out after our set listening to a poet singing “I like boobs a lot, boobs a lot, boobs a lot” accompanied by a woman of a certain age on the banjo, in comes the lead guitarist from the legendary Bad Brains, plants himself down and hangs out for a while. No doubt he’d heard that the Bollocks were on. Shame he missed us. Rather than listening to “I like boobs a lot,” he could have heard, “We grab you by the rocks and we want you to roll.” Way more meaningful. Cerebral. Anyway, Sidewalk was brillyant. Check it out.

Finally, and most recently – meaning last night (May 19th) – we played the famed Parkside Lounge on East Houston Street – also LES, which seems to be our manor. Well, this was one for the books. A fantastic and fun venue, as usual the Bollocks were in the house an hour or so early, mainly to minimize stress but also to see whoever else was playing. Well, shag me sideways. Up before us was Boston-based Best Not Broken. Bloody hell, they were brilliant. If the opportunity arises to see them, make it your duty. You will not be disappointed. Being honest, it was terrifying having to go on after them. But such was our lot and we embraced it. Embraced it a bit too hard, it would seem; two songs in and one guitar is fucked. So what happens? Eric Jackson, lead singer from Best Not Broken, strides forward with his gazillion dollar Strat – “Here, use this” – and saves the day. I mean, that’s a true gentleman (which is the highest form of praise where I come from). All we can say is, heartfelt thanks from the bottom of our bollocks (if that’s not way gross). But, true – they are amazing. Give them a serious listen. Parkside was a truly fun place to play. Such nice people. Get in there, spend some dough, listen to some great music. You will be happy.

So, that’s bringing you up to date with all the Bollocks news. We’ve got a few more gigs coming up – Connolly’s Klub on June 7th, the Delancey on June 17th, Piano’s on June 26th, The Bitter End on August 24th – with probably more to be added. So here’s the deal: come to them all and you will get your very own, specially made, custom-designed Dog’s Bollocks badge. (In America, they call them buttons, which makes no sense to me, but so it goes). Anyway, you get your very own DB badgebutton. We’re down to our last 5000 so they’re certain to be collector’s items (if you’re into collecting weird looking things of no value). See you there!

Rock on.
The Dog’s Bollocks

The Dog’s Bollocks live at Parkside Lounge, NYC

A Flock of Bollocks

Here it is, the news you’ve been waiting for: your Bollocks are back to full strength. Regan, Andy and James are the seasoned veterans. New to the fray are:

 

Joe Alves
Joe Alves

Joe Alves on drums: He comes from somewhere in New Jersey. Not sure what exit. But he showed up in our room one day and…well, wow! He knows his way around the kit, no question about it.

Plus, he’s self-taught. And he sings. And he plays the guitar.

For the time being, we’re keeping him shackled to the throne; but, who knows what the future may bring?

 

 

DP

DP on guitar: He hails from the lower reaches of Manhattan, via New Jersey, via Bombay.

He says that he came to the USA in search of rock. He certainly found that, plus some Bollocks that he may not have expected.

Wotevah: when he decides to let rip on lead – which he does often – it’s clear that he’s a virtuoso.

 

 

 

Nishad Sawant

Nishad Sawant on keyboards: As appealing as the idea may be, we did not go on a recruiting trip to India, although, evidently, that would have been fruitful. Like Dushyant (and Ajay before them), Nishad is from Bombay, aka Mumbai.

As he enjoys reminding all within earshot, he is the youngest Bollocks; that notwithstanding, he has the fingers of a maestro.

Nishad is the Bollocks’ first keyboards player. It’s only now that we realize what we were missing.

 

 

So that’s the full complement: Regan (vocals), Andy (bass), James (guitar), Dushyant (guitar), Joe (drums) and Nishad (keyboards). A full flock of Bollocks. Or gaggle. Or herd. Up to you really. Suggestions may be made at www.thedogsbollocksnyc.com.

Speaking of which, should you go to said website – which you most certainly must – you will find two new items of monumental interest: 1) an enrollment form for “News About Your Bollocks.” (Not entirely sure that’s what it’s called; but, it will do for now as a working title). Anyway, NAYB is our brand new, soon to be launched newsletter which you simply must receive. It will contain anything and everything that you need to know about your Bollocks, plus chances to win trips to the Gallapagos Islands, back stage passes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and lunch with the Queen. (The first item is 100% rock solid true; the others, possibly a tad less so). Anyway, let’s not get bogged down in details. Sign up for the Bollocksletter. It’s brillyant! (Yes, that’s how you spell it).

The second item of earth-shattering significance is the Bollocks’ updated tour schedule. You will agree that “tour” can be a loosely defined concept. Global, local – still a tour, yes? Our tour doesn’t stray outside of Manhattan – (we almost went to Queens, but that fell apart due…how can we say delicately, without sounding bitter?….an arsehole shitehawk of a bum-faced booking agent). But, staying with the positive: BollocksTour Summer ’18 is a fecking winner. We hope to see you at each and every one of the following:

Wednesday, May 2nd, 8pm – Shrine World Music Venue
Harlem’s iconic live music venue for the debut of our original music.

Sunday, May 6th, 1:30pm – Carragher’s West 39th St.
The NY home of Liverpool FC and the Bollocks’ favorite boozer. Liverpool are playing Chelsea. We go on post-game. #YNWA

Tuesday, May 15th, 7:30pm – Sidewalk Cafe
The legendary LES live music venue. The Bollocks making their Sidewalk debut.

Sunday, June 17th, 8pm – The Delancey
The Bollocks host a Father’s Day evening of rock solid rock and roll. The roster kicks off at 6pm and goes through to midnight. Also on the list are Earth to Matilda, Nasty Women & The Bad Hombres, Reality’s Dream, Handsome Pete and Francesca Love & the Beating Hearts. That’s a bollocks-rocking line-up.

All of which is to say that you need to be there – “there” meaning everywhere. So, we’ll see you…there.

Rock on.
The Dog’s Bollocks