Tuesday, 13 December 2011

DOGMAN LOOKS BACK AT 2011


DOGMAN LOOKS BACK 
2011   THE YEAR OF THE CAT    


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR

LAUNCHING THE ‘DOGMAN  ALBUM’  

[RELEASED BY EXPAT RECORDS ON I-TUNES IN MAY]
‘THE CAT THAT SOLVED THE STRING THEORY’





BEING MADE SOUNDCLOUD ARTIST OF THE DAY
This came right out of the blue and it was only when I received a congratulation email from the Song(s) that I realised this had happened. I was as happy as a ‘sandboy’ [rather apt Northern expression]. Then I found out Soundcloud had tweeted the announcement and I immediately joined Twitter which has been a major distraction ever since.


PLAYING INTIMATE GIG AT JIM’S CAFÉ COLNE

I had wanted to play at this famous music venue (and famed vegetarian restaurant) ever since my son, Johnny, played there in 2005. One of my (now) music friends even bought one of his CDs. I remember watching Johnny play and wishing was me without realising it would be my turn. Teaspoon and Matt Pawson (Queen and Country) and Ghost Radio played as support with Pat Gaffney (from Ghost Radio) playing mandolin with me and Mr Smith on bass. It turned out to be a great gig with Teaspoon and Rob Fielding (Ghost Radio) both telling me afterwards that it was my best gig ever for them.
Rob said, “Galileo is not my favourite Dogman song but it sounded awesome tonight”.
The picture below was taken on the night by I-Phone Girl.  



IT’S A LOVE THING  PLAYED ON BBC6 MUSIC

Tom Robinson played Dogman for the second time (Home Fire was played in 2010) and ‘It’s a love thing’ was included in the show podcast. We nearly missed it because I got mixed up with the days. Cheers Tom.




SEEING RYAN ADAMS    LIVE AT BRIDGEWATER HALL

I went to this gig with Teaspoon, Matt Pawson and a mutual friend Clinton.
I thought Ryan was awesome. It was so intimate and Ryan chatted a little between songs – flicking through his songbook like an open mic artist. He tuned up for every song which I didn’t mind even though my pals did. I asked him how he was doing and he snapped that he was busy in the middle of a gig.
Near the end he looked up at the balcony where we sat and apologised. He said he ‘loved me’. That was enough for me. I took this picture: 




TEASPOON COVERING ‘HOME FIRE’ ON HIS ALBUM CARNIVAL

Anthony Brown recording of my song ‘Home Fire’ on his latest album Carnival is a great compliment. I am most proud of the fact that I have also taken the photographs for his cover and back cover. Many people do not know me as a photographer but for over 30 years my pictures have appeared in books and on television



RECORDING ACOUSTIC ‘UNPLUGGED’
DOGMAN AND MATT PAWSON
‘ALIVE AT THE HOUSE OF TEASPOON’ EP





Teaspoon filmed me on two recording occasions at his home in Higgin Street, Colne. 
A live Home Fire and Happiness by the Blue Nile.

DOGMAN SINGS HOME FIRE LIVE FILMED BY TEASPOON

I enjoyed a series of recording sessions at the home of Teaspoon in Colne which have been extremely rewarding. In a relaxed atmosphere, Anthony has managed to capture my unplugged side; as I sing and play guitar for three new Dogman songs, Avalanche, Pre-Raphaelite Girl and The Trouble I’m in, together with new acoustic versions of Spitfire and Valentine Light (both from The Cat That Solved The String Theory).
Matt Pawson proved to be brilliant again on guitars and banjo and his sensitivity to the Dogman sound enhances these songs. I had fun with backing vocals too. Lois came down to record a beautiful mini harp track for Avalanche and Roy Taylor in Canada provided a blues harmonica for Trouble I’m in.




Mikans (Matt Baker) who worked with me on my first Dogman album The Whisperer, added a lovely synth and piano for Pre-Raphaelite Girl



It is hoped to release the ‘unplugged’ Dogman and Matt pawson ‘alive at the house of teaspoon’ ep in 2012. (Matt can be seen here playing my Martin whilst I play my Guild on Avalanche).





BLOG DISCUSSION AT BBC RADIO LANCASHIRE


                                   DOGMAN AND RAY 

We are pictured here at a James Walsh gig in Blackburn - we went as guests and Dogman and James go back many years from early band days.



Ray Irvine and I visited the Radio Lancashire studios and learned we must tag ‘Lancashire’ and ‘New music Lancashire’ which I never knew. I briefly learned about Creative Lancashire, met a couple of cool dudes from Quenched Music, Manchester QUENCHED MUSIC and Ex radio plugger PR man

NEW MUSIC

and Joe Sparrow A NEW BAND A DAY

and enjoyed Louis Barabbas SINGING and doing high kicks.


I spoke to Sean McGinty about the lack of income possibilities from music unless very pretty girlie or Coldplay and Radiohead with massive fan base. 

BBC INTRODUCING RADIO LANCASHIRE

Too negative of me.

Lois is here asking Sean if he can 'Pull out?' 
It must be a popular phrase in the world of sex drugs and rock and roll.



  

SOME OF THE VERY FEW DOWNSIDES

THE REALISATION THAT BEING AHEAD IN A GOOGLE SEARCH
Does not mean anything in terms of commercial success. However, key in the ‘English Neil Young’ or ‘The Cat that solved the String Theory’ and I am there on the first page.


BEING ‘POPULAR’ DOES NOT EQUATE TO COMMERCIAL SUCCESS

Even though I love having thousands of plays and over 5000 followers I wish it meant that I could build on that for a fan base.

If 10% of the 5000 bought my album or subscribed to my next recordings I could fund my musical creativity without taking away from my family budget.

PUBS ARE BEING KEPT OPEN BY OPEN MIC NIGHTS AND FOOD

However, the music is cheap for the landlords and some great musicians are not getting even a beer in return for their talent.


THE CELEBRITY CHANT
It has always been the way I suppose. But, X Factor, old bands reforming and TV and Film starts coming onto the scene means it’s much harder to get played on National Radio and impossible to get on big Festivals and Later Jools Holland.
Still, Kevin Costner followed me on Twitter when he was touring with his band. I get tweet replied from Eddi Reader, Neil Finn, Tom Robinson, Edith Bowman, Cerys Matthews….. Oh, and there are some beautiful, lovely, exciting, weird, sexy erotic, fascinating, moaning, insane, deluded or just down right opinionated people on Twitter. Brilliant waste of my hours and I love it.

HAVE A LOVELY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY - I HOPE YOUR CREATIVITY ABOUNDS IN THE NEW YEAR. LOVE DOGMAN 


Thursday, 8 September 2011

DOGMAN ON BBC6 MUSIC INTRODUCING


http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/trintro#playepisode2 


ON THE UK BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND WHILE DOGMAN WAS PLAYING THE COLNE BLUES FESTIVAL (JIM'S VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT AND ACOUSTIC CAFE) BBC6 MUSIC 'INTRODUCING' WITH TOM ROBINSON - FRESH ON THE NET - 'IT'S A LOVE THING GOT ITS FIRST NATIONAL RADIO PLAY.




http://soundcloud.com/drdavidsands/dogman-on-the-radio-bbc6


FOR A LIMITED PERIOD IN SEPTEMBER THERE IS A FREE PODCAST AVAILABLE OF THE BEST OF TWO SHOWS(A FULL ALBUM OF NEW MUSIC FROM THE WEB)WITH the DOGMAN 2nd TRACK IN BBC Podcast







Thursday, 25 August 2011

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG EARTH PLC


Earth plc
Dogman explains his song was inspired by REM


The song Earth plc was written almost 10 years before it was first recorded as a demo and included in the first Dogman album, The Whisperer, released in 2010. It was a family ‘front room favourite’ at parties which sometimes included a novel and rowdy female backing group (I-Phone Girl, her sister Legal Eagle Suzanne and the Lovely Lesley, his brother in law’s partner) for its chorus:

And we know - when the world - is spinning around. We know  -  when our world  - is going to down and we know - when our feet  - are touching ground.  We know, we know - we know....’

Dogman used to play REM covers at house parties and gigs, including Man in the Moon and Losing my Religion, and announce that Earth plc was his own REM-inspired song.

In the song, we are all invited to take care of our planet – a sentiment plaintively heard in the lyric – It’s you and me - we’re earth plc  - Buy shares buy shares - this is - our universe’

Dogman says, “We don’t know everything about our world and how the mind works yet and it would be fair to say we don’t always look kindly on others!”

David aka Dogman has long been convinced that we should probably stop looking for aliens and going to other planets and start looking after our own world. He even asks in the song that even if aliens were ever found would we even know how to deal with them. 

Earth plc is from the new Dogman album,‘The cat that solved the String Theory’, released by Expat Records in May 2011.

The superb visuals, created by the wonderful Swiss videographer 
Brigitte Norman can also be viewed on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jLcQVvAl-w





http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-cat-that-solved-string/id438076388

Saturday, 6 August 2011

CRACKING REVIEW OF 'THE CAT THAT SOLVED THE STRING THEORY'

THE CAT THAT SOLVED THE STRING THEORY 
(AND OTHER STORIES)


I recently acquired the UK limited edition CD as a present for my wife who, on listening to it, demanded to know how she could not have heard of him before when he had such a wonderful voice. Hopefully, this new album will ensure fewer people are faced with this question in future.
The author of this beautiful album, Dogman Dave (aka Dr David Sands) is, for me, a musical bridge between folk and rock music. His vocals are often favourably compared to those of Neil Young, though I think they are less reedy and nasal than Mr Young’s. With the strength and clarity of his voice you wouldn’t be surprised to hear him knocking out a folk classic or two, but in this album the tracks are all his own creations. They range from the gentle and romantic “Valentine Light” to the more rocking “Wolves of Winter Hill”. His lyrics, flowing mostly from his own life experiences and beliefs, sometimes carry a message, such as in “Earth Plc”, but are never formulaic. In “Spitfire” he uses the clever allegory of a World War 2 dogfight to describe the sometimes combative nature of personal relationships – but it is written with a loving, rather than bitter, feel.
His fellow musicians in this enterprise, Matt Pawson, Andy Penney and Mr Smith (who also produces) do these songs great justice and the recording quality is beautifully clear and rich.
One of the outstanding tracks on this album for me is “It’s a Love Thing”. I would defy anyone listening to this track not to find their toes tapping and their spirits lifting by the end of it. Not even Monty Burns, that notorious old curmudgeon of “The Simpsons” fame, could resist the uplifting feel of this track. Load this into your MP3 and play on the way to work and your day will surely be improved.


Friday, 15 July 2011

Neil Young ‘The International Harvesters’ ‘A Treasure’ - REVIEW

In recent years on several occasions, I've been referred to as the 'English Neil Young' and, as life-long fan of the artiste, I wanted to review his latest release Neil Young, International Harvesters, ‘A Treasure’.


I was pleasantly surprised to see an official Neil Young track, Grey Riders, come onto Soundcloud (the brilliant free music-sharing and promotion website) a month ago. The tune sounding to me like NY & Crazy Horse meets Country with its fiddle and Weld-type electric-guitar leads. The song buzzes along at almost 6 minutes long with the last minute filled with a searing Les Paul scream. Neil sings about the dog howling in true Dogman style and that had my antennae up high. Listening to the song was enough to encourage me to buy the CD, Neil Young, International Harvesters, ‘A Treasure’ which I now realise is a live album from a 1985 tour. In truth, as I already own every official Neil Young album, I would have bought this soon anyway.
Here's my official review of Neil Young, International Harvesters,
‘A Treasure’.

The album opens with a live announcement ‘Here’s Neil Young’ and then kick starts with Amber Jean, which I read from one of my many Neil Young reference bibles, is a 1985 sentimental tribute to his daughter. The fiddle-driven song with Ben Keith’s lap steel backing track, sets the scene for what is obviously a Nashville-theme album that comes from a time when Neil Young took the International Harvesters on the road for two years.  The second track, a live version of a hoe-down song from the Harvest album, Are you ready for the Country has him telling us what this album is all about. Harvest is one of his many fans favourite NY albums but is hardly pure country. I think I needed to ‘be there’ to really appreciate Neil Young in this style. There is a very cool Rolling Stones ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ style lap-steel lead in there that really caught my ear. The next song is It might have been is a rare cover from Neil Young credited to Ronnie Green and Hamet Kane. I choose to pass on this standard country tune.

The next track Bound for Glory is a song Neil Young said was his favourite and which was, ‘Written on the back of his bus whilst rolling and having a couple of beers’. This was released on his Nashville album Old Ways (a record that freaked David Geffen out - who promptly sued him for making a record that was ‘uncharacteristically Neil Young’). I bought Old Ways on CD years ago to complete my collection but if I am brutally honest I rarely play it.
Bound for Glory is followed by a previously unreleased song first registered in 1984, Let your fingers do the walking, a jaunty country track where he bites back at technology. Described as uproarious composition in Johnny Rogan’s Neil Young biography Zero to Sixty, I would say it’s more typical of the throw away songs he writes.
What then follows is a sweet version of Flying on the ground is wrong, that is clearly in sharp contrast. This is a real favourite Buffalo Springfield song of mine (along with Broken Arrow), that first got me into Neil Young as a teenager listening to pirate broadcasters, Radio Caroline.
The album then picks up steam with a 1980 song, Motor City, first heard on the album Re-Ac-Tor (1981) and Soul of a woman. I discover Motor City was first played live at a gig I attended at NEC Birmingham UK in the 1983 during Trans Tour. I clearly remember the voice-coder tunes Sample and Hold and Computer age but I don’t remember this song. I can see Nils Loffgren bouncing onto stage via a trampoline. I seem to also remember great live versions of Like an Inca and Cortez the killer (from the cracking 1975 album Zuma - a Neil Young & Crazy Horse venture) and hearing a stomping, Like a Hurricane, another live favourite taken from his American Stars‘n Bars album but I can’t hear Motor City in my memory bank.
I should perhaps apologise for that previous ‘memory lane’ distraction and continue with my review of International Harvesters, ‘A Treasure. Next up is Get back to the country also from Old Ways but this is a ‘Pure Nashville’ tune that is completely blown away by Southern Pacific also from Re-AcTor. A twice-released B side to other songs, this tribute to North American trains, ‘on silver rails’, bounces along with banjo and twanging guitar (Crazy Horse providing backing) and this is probably my other favourite from this album.
Nothing is perfect another story song slows everything down. This comes from 1985 the same as Grey Riders, which finishes the album. I am not going to say this CD is up there with my Neil Young solo favourites like After the Goldrush, Zuma, Tonight’s the night, On the beach, Rust Never sleeps, Comes a time, Silver and Gold and Harvest Moon, but it reveals the genre of music that is probably closest to Neil Young’s old heart. We all know he can do grunge, epic songs and gentle acoustic tunes. In the end, to sum up my review of Neil Young, International Harvesters, ‘A Treasure’ all I can write is ‘what’s not to like musically about Neil Young?’ Having reinvented himself through the decades the country ghost is now inhabiting his alter ego.


If you enjoyed my review of Neil Young, International Harvesters, ‘A Treasure’, and are a true fan of the folk-country-Rock King, you might also like my music.  My new Dogman album, The cat that solved the String Theory (and other stories) released by Expat Records in May, includes Neil Young inspired tunes like Small acts of kindness.  See the official video for Small Acts of Kindness here http://youtu.be/SP_4Vv7ZdzY.

To hear more of my recorded material, check out my soundcloud page http://soundcloud.com/drdavidsands

I really don’t mind that they call me the English Neil Young. It’s a great compliment to link me with my all time solo musical inspiration. One day I am hoping to speak to him face to face and tell him about my tribute song - written for him, Like an Inca (forever young), to be released on my ‘Dogman goes ambient-electro’ in a side project, The Crossbreed.  Teaspoon, the lead singer in the fabulous Queen and Country band says this aspect of my music should be called ‘High Energy Ambient’, possible a new genre! A full length Crossbreed album is due to be released by Expat Records later this year.

David Sands aka Dogman July 2011
http://soundcloud.com/drdavidsands

SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS - THE DARKER SECRET BEHIND THE SONG

Small acts of kindness
Dogman explains how this song from his new album was inspired by real life sad stories


The photograph, taken by Dogman in the beautiful hill countryside close to his home, was not posed. The couple were simply enjoying the sunshine and the incredible view and were not aware a picture was being taken.
‘Small acts of kindness’, as an expression, was the inspiration behind an idea - not to use people’s names - but to use a phrase that would say everything about them. The song was first a simple Dogman poem that, when it was first read out loud, brought tears to his wife. She even insisted that it should remain as a poem and not become a song but Dogman could not resist suing it as a lyric. The song melody came quickly to him, in part inspired by the music of Neil Young, and was the subject of an emotion about bullying.
Dogman was saddened by the story of East Lancashire teenager Sophie Lancaster who was so brutally killed and her partner seriously injured when drunken youths attacked them in a park. All, can anyone really believe, because they were dressed in Goth-style clothes. That bullying can go on in school, in work, in relationships upsets Dogman because, like many children that experience a dysfunctional childhood, he was once bullied.
Small acts of Kindness which first appeared on the Dogman ‘The Whisperer’ album is loved at Dogman live concerts. It is often quoted as a favourite track on his new album when its theme is explained. Incidentally, the brief guitar lead is played by Dogman’s son, Jonathan Sands, a Liverpool based musician who was visiting the studio during a recording session. It’s played on Dogman’s favourite Guild acoustic. Friends, family and fans who bought his new album, ‘The cat that solved The String Theory’, have sent in photographs, many with dogs, cats and pets, with the album and these have been used in the Expat Records video which can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNuMZaDkBxw



Saturday, 2 July 2011

WE KNOW HOW IT ENDS - DOGMAN'S HAPPY TUNE

We know how it ends (Let’s make a film of our lives)
Dogman explains how the happiest song from his new album turned into a fun studio session




Camera’s rolling - come on friends
Lights - action - we know how it ends!”

So starts this popular Dogman song, appropriately, the last main track on the Dogman album ‘The Cat that solved The String Theory’ has attracted many ‘happy track’ comments on Soundcloud. The banjo introduction was first brought into the arrangement in a Dogman-Mikans (The Crossbreed) demo when Mikans suggested a Sufjan Stevens feel to the song.

The song is again about Dogman’s love affair with his wife, “ You be Bergman I’ll be Tarantino,”  and playfully singing, Who plays me - who plays you and who rescues who?”

Martyn (studio producer) kept a small camera rolling throughout the various booth recordings and for the group-singing for the chorus, Let’s make a film of - our lives - we can dream it in colour - or dream it in black and white. Let’s make a film - of our lives.  First love, Happy - Tears - it’s our lives!”  The cast are listed in the video [http://youtu.be/jvZvX1vawuY]. 

It is Matt Pawson, ace guitarist in the Dogman, who shouts ‘It’s a wrap!’ at the end of recording.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

VALENTINE LIGHT - THE STORY BEHIND THE DOGMAN SONG

Valentine Light
Dogman explains how this new 'tradional style' folk song is the favourite of live audiences and band members alike

This song is the name of this painting I made from my wife on Valentine Day in 2003. In subsequent years I have photographed many different flower arrangements that she has placed before it on our fireplace shelf.


Valentine Light was born out of my self motivated challenge to write my own new, ‘traditional sounding’, folk track instead of singing one that was long established like Lucy Wan. At first, my opening verse lines were repeated, ‘Walk with me in the Valentine Light’, which made it sound very ‘folky’ indeed but as I played it live the song evolved into more Ryan Adams vibe. 

Lines like ‘Dance with me in the Valentine Light, don’t catch a chill my Lilywhite, watch our reflection in the river’s flight’, nicely roll off my tongue when I am singing it now. The almost erotic line,  ‘Lie with me on this Valentine Night, under the willow in the twilight’, is traditional 'English' in the quintessence sense and could even be a sub plot for a 18th Century landscape painting.

The mandolin riff was put it by producer Mr Smith using my own instrument which he borrowed without informing me of his idea.
It’s a true romantic song that is dedicated to my wife at every gig and I can imagine in years to come it will become one to play for lovers on Valentine’s Day. Dolly Parton would probably make a fine job of singing this as a cover I’m sure. Members of the band love the song and so do many of my friends who are also musicians.

The final song lines, ’and remember this, every Valentine night, every single night’, is now repeated over and over in a rocky folk style by me since the original recording was made in early 2010.

A video with many of my atmospheric cloud photographs used to set the scene can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/JuQ1oBA8V4c

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG 'IT'S A LOVE THING'

It’s a Love thing
Dogman tells the story behind the song that is the band favourite and the easiest for him to compose

LOVE BUTTERFLIES IN THE DOGMAN HOME GARDEN

‘It’s a Love Thing’ is possibly going to be the most universal of Dogman songs. Two London DJs announced on first hearing that a dance remix would take nightclubs by storm (coming soon).

This song came to being as I was playing around with alternative capo setting. The lyrics came into my head as though they had been given to me by a higher being. That may seem ridiculous on first reading but it’s honestly true. I love singing, I love the birds singing which is a good thing as I live in a rural village in Northern England and the dawn chorus is deafening! I was a Green Peace member long before it was fashionable and still have my original jacket buttons.

I believe a Higher Being wants us to sing, wants us to sing, wants us to feel the beat, to tap our feet; wants us to sing; wants birds to sing, wants the day to break, help us to wake for singing’s sake - wants the Whales to sing, wants the oceans to ring.   It’s a love thing’


Mr Smith, my producer, used to take his sheepdog, Tod, into the studio often working late into the night. When he began mixing my vocal and guitar track with his percussion and Andy’s bass line together with Matt Pawson’s ace lead guitar the dog was beginning a downward path that would eventually lead to him passing away. On one night, Mr Smith and Tod sat together working right through into morning daylight and found some kind of peace with my song. It was an emotional period in the making of my album, 'The cat that solved the String Theory' that will forever be associated with ‘It’s a Love Thing’.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG 'GALILEO GALILEI'

Galileo Galilei
Dogman tells the story behind the song that became his bass player’s obsession

LIGHT ORBS CAUGHT BY DAVID SANDS AKA DOGMAN

This song came from an instrumental piece I had been playing around with for a year or more. I remember getting into a ‘round’ sequence of the chords and the name Galileo as a sound ‘popped’ into my head. I scribbled down a rough lyric and the song was finished in a flash. I just wanted to be expressive and, secretly, 
falsetto like Sufjan Stevens.



What was more important to me at the time was Galileo became a ‘test song’ that I chose to record at Mr Smith’s ‘Audiofile’ studio, a modest unit hidden within a large industrial building in East Lancashire. The enigmatic Mr Smith - I have since named Nighthawk because of his nocturnal habits - previously had only ever been a telephone conversation. I heard a track on MySpace he had recorded and produced for another artist (Teaspoon) and thought I would see if we were compatible (bit like a blind date).
The opening of the song, which he surprisingly kept in the recording, has me announcing ‘out loud’ what all neurotics ask – “Why do we put ourselves through this?” I was feeling tense about getting the recording right on a cold Winter’s night exactly a year before my album ‘The cat that solved the String Theory’ was released. 

This gentle song is just me, strumming my Martin Dreadnought acoustic Guitar and singing solo. When I finally heard the result a week or two later I was quietly pleased. A bass player friend of Mr Smith - Andy Penney, later to become an integral part of the Dogman band, was soon driving around with a premix version playing on continual repeat.
The song sentiments are about how zealous religious belief can distort reality. Andy and Mr Smith felt as strongly about that and it could be said to be very relevant today. “Did they get you say that black was white and were the stars your shining light?”
I enjoy playing Galileo live when the audience quietens to listen.

A video can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJEj9A7-19Y&feature=player_profilepage


Thursday, 26 May 2011

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG ' WOLVES OF WINTER HILL'

The Wolves of Winter Hill
Dogman tells the story behind the song that gets the audiences ‘howling’
This song was ‘born’ of a comment I posted on MySpace. I wrote on my music page that: ‘Dogman was a feral child, raised by the Wolves of Winter Hill’. This sentence has an element of truth in it because, alongside my brother and four sisters, I was raised in a home after the disappearance of our mother and father before her. We initially lived together in a 'Family Group Children’s Home'. From here we could view what seemed to be me to be vast moorlands, including Winter Hill, Bronze Age sites and a Napoleonic Beacon used to warn of the invasion. We often picnicked there because it was a local tradition for thousands to go up the hills. This was especially undertaken on 'Good Friday' and on every Easter Monday when an exciting fair was held there.

I wanted to write a ‘rock song’ that would contrast against my own gentle folk melodies and that I could hear every other person with a guitar singing at open mic events. So, I had the opening line to the song and used major chords to blast out a strident melody, ‘I was raised by the Wolves of Winter Hill and shared their kill and learned to use my wits and use my skill’. I don’t know where I first used the howling but when playing a cover of ‘All along the watchtower’ [Bob Dylan] and I often howled to emphasise the line – ‘ A wild cat did howl’ . My sudden ‘howling’ at the beginning of 'Wolves' at gigs and in the album recording may have subconsciously come from that. Comments have suggested that my 'howl' is 'Bono-like' and that the song is a stadium rocker! 

My epic chorus, ‘I came to sing for you and sing my songs’ , is a truism in that I have always enjoyed singing, an experience that came from being chosen for the school and church choir as a boy. The second verse, ‘I never understood, your dog-eat-dog eyes, when you’re supposed to be so civilised’, is my stab at how some wealthy (and greedy) members of society can stand by and watch other people suffering. 
My original lyrics were extended and more complex than the recorded song is now. This came from ‘fine tuning’ the lyrics by playing the song for more than a year at my gigs. I currently play small venues, pubs and bars and enjoy the kind of intimacy it is possible to get with people who are live-music orientated. Some members of the audiences are even howling when I start playing the opening chords to the ‘Wolves of Winter Hill’.

Finally, Mr Smith, my studio producer, suggested Dogman should ‘twin’ with a ‘Winter Hill’ in the United States from a fun media publicity stand point. When I ‘Googled’ the place name and was first amused and then aghast to discover that the area was infamous for being associated with an Irish-American gang who, it would appear, have broken every law from First Degree Murder to kidnapping, money laundering extortion and rape. At that point it was an easy decision not to request to twin.
One of my dreams is to play live on the Later, Jools Holland Show, like so many emerging artists. However, there is so, so much music out there that I do worry how my songs will survive. However, I know that one Dogman song played on BBC Radio 2 in the UK or on a leading American radio station – maybe playing ‘Wolves’ and you never know.....







Wednesday, 25 May 2011

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG 'SPITFIRE'

Spitfire
Dogman tells the story behind his popular song
Caitlin and Dogman @ York Air Museum
When my 14 year old son Max began building model airplanes, seeing the boxes, kits and glue reminded me so much of when I was his age when I used to enjoy ‘Airfix modelling’. I would make the planes, Spitfire, Hurricane , Mosquito, ME 109, Fokker Wulf, Stukker and then re-ennact ‘Battle of Britain games on and above our garden lawn and really enjoyed setting up a column of Dinky Army Trucks.

I had bought Max a 1960’s booklet about the Spitfire and on day when tidying his bedroom I came across it and began avidly reading the facts and figures about the plane that helped to win the famous WW2 battle for air supremacy over England. The booklet detailed information about the famous Rolls Royce ‘Merlin’ engine that, together with the unique aerodynamic shape of the plane, gave it a slight advantage over the ME 109. Thinking about the fact that I was born in a RAF hospital in Germany and that my wife was born here in England added together that one of my close musician friends, Teaspoon, works for Rolls Royce and the idea suddenly came to me for a song.


I began to think allegorically about how my wife, a classic English rose with a wonderful brain and a real beauty,  and me, the obsessive neurotic, and how we enjoyed challenging each other. Lyrics like ‘all guns blazing, she’s amazing’ and  ‘in a dog fight - she’s always right’ and ‘no such thing as friendly fire’ all came to mind very quickly. Our personalities being so different, Yin and Yang, I am creatively analytical and dogged and she, being a leading forensic scientist, is all calm and  logical. So we became the two protagonists of the Battle of Britain. I ‘take my time’ and think about everything, she  is ‘fiery and quick to react and defend’.
We even visited York Air Museum to see a Spitfire close up and filmed us both as the picture above illustrates.  

When I first began playing ‘Spitfire’ live at gigs the audience seemed to like the song immediately. I even heard someone repeatedly singing ‘Spitfire’ at a party I was playing at.  Some said it reminded them of Neil Young in the way I sing and the story. I would often take the two planes, a Spitfire and a ME109, to gigs with me and tell a story to explain my ideas behind the song. Another strange coincidence was that suddenly it was the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain but my song was written months before the event.
I then watched Ray Lamontagne saying that lyrics should not be explained and that all songs should retain their mystery to allow the listener to interpret as they see fit.

We had great fun filming the video Spitfire video. I storyboarded the idea that we could be children in an old home movie swapping toys and that we could recreate how we both set up a painted play-board with planes and toy trucks as I had for still photography to be used when the demo song was first put up on the net. With a live night scene we had a great video story thought out. Our village postman, Terry Seed, agreed to act the part in the video and deliver the real models I had ordered. Once I had located talented and creative media students, Tom and Matthew, to film the video the finished film was eventually 'in the can' after some intensive sessions including me failing to lip sync my own song after 20 takes::

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

DOGMAN CHATS TO ANDI EDITOR OF ONLINE MUSO MAGAZINE

18 May 2011


Dogman - on howling at gigs and hunting for success

Dogman talks frankly about his musical journey to Andi from Muso magazine.

Since signing to USA label Expat Records late last year Dogman, aka David Sands and his feral band, have been working towards a new album, ‘The cat that solved The String Theory’ released for download and UK only limited-edition CD May 2011. The band is Matt Pawson, classically-educated jazz guitarist, Mr Smith, ace-percussionist and Audiofile Studio producer and Andy Penney, a confirmed Dogman fan from ‘The Whisperer’ days playing bass with a mission to add feeling to his new songs.




“There seemed to be an age between the contract-signing and this new album release with everyone wondering how it was all going to play out,” David began. “We were aware that Expat Records have set themselves up very much an Internet-orientated label and that they are signing lots of artists in the time we were approached. This is the way the music business is going; unless you are a Radiohead-type band and are downloading your music directly to a large, paying, fan-base or you are an established recording artist and the only way forward is the Internet.”

Since the new album release David has found himself listed top in Google as ‘The English Neil Young’ something that Expat’s system of stimulating search engines has already achieved.

“The label chief told me their work starts now and that soon every USA and European radio station and downloading website will know about Dogman. I could have been a small fish in the stable of a major record label or, as it is now, a bigger fish in a new label. The Expat Records A&R man, Paul Shulver, actually loves my music and it probably helps that he is a big Neil Young fan.  While I do not want to be known as a NY tribute act, people are comparing me to an artist with whom I have had a long time musical affinity with.  I have received wonderful comments on Soundcloud for some of my tunes and songs like ‘It’s a love thing’ and ‘Home Fire’ have had a 1000 plays, he adds.  

Dogman openly acknowledges that few of these ‘fans’ will actually download the album from I-Tunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-cat-that-solved-string/id438076388) when they can listen to it for free. Expat Records use an American CD production that can make and deliver a single CD to a fan and this means no stock for an artist to carry. OK for the USA but postage to Europe would not make this service viable. They said it was fine for me to produce a UK-only CD for gigs, family and friends and this edition has a booklet with some handwritten lyrics.     
David currently has over 3000 ‘followers’ on Soundcloud and this number is leaping up on a daily basis with listeners from all over the world. This activity was undoubtedly helped by being made Soundcloud ‘artist of the day’ in March. Some comments argue he is better vocally than Neil Young and suggesting that as Dogman he should follow his own musical path.

“The trouble is the ‘media’ (and here David notes that Muso is part of the machine) want a ‘handle’ for a new artist. They want them to be the ‘next’ Karen Carpenter, Dusty Springfield, Elvis or whatever. In some ways these new singers can find themselves simply a living karioke of musical icons.“


I asked David what comes next

“ I am currently working new songs and on a major soundtrack project about Hale-Bopp and Stonehenge with a superb Florida-based musician, Peter Brown (Bravenote) http://soundcloud.com/bravenote. I am also very excited about collaborating with two brilliantly talented pianists, Russell Chevalier (Expat Records artist), http://soundcloud.com/rjchevalier and London-based, Sophie Kazandjian http://soundcloud.com/sophie-kazandjianon and have been writing lyrics and preparing to record vocals on their compositions.”

.. and where the album title came from and Dogman gave a wry smile.


“My day job as an animal behaviour specialist means that I associate with pets (his previous album was The Whisperer). I was thinking ‘Jazz’ (cool cat) thinking about the ambiguity of feline-play and deeper universal questions.”



… and how the gigs were going?



I am enjoying playing small venues, pubs and bars loving the intimacy with people who are live-music orientated. Some of the audiences are even howling when I start singing the ‘Wolves of Winterhill’ and my opening album track, ‘Spitfire’ is already a favourite with those that are beginning to know my music. Mr Smith suggested we twin with a Winter Hill in the States and when I looked them up - the area was renown for an Irish-American gang who had broken every law you can care to remember from kidnapping, extortion and rape.. Not the best media to be associated with. The dream is to get on Jools Holland like so many emerging artists. However, there is so, so much music out there that I do worry how my songs will survive.”
Just one Dogman song played on Radio 2 or an American radio station playing ‘Wolves’ and you never know.....”