By Johnny Griffith
One of the great things about live music is the spontaneity you can get in a show you don’t get from an album. The freedom to let the music take over and drive the performance is something magical you just don’t get anywhere else. That being said, there’s nothing worse for me than walking into a show by a new band and two or three songs in, having the realization that the next hour or two of your life is going to be listening to, essentially, minor variations of the same song or being able to predict exactly what you’re going to hear next. Sure, if I’ve got a favorite band, there may be certain songs I want to hear every time I see them, but a great band knows how to keep the same set list fresh night after night.
Enter local Tyler band We Have Your Dog (WHYD). Now, besides the uniqueness of the name, this six-piece band delivers fresh treats night after night and is anything but predictable. With sweeping vocals, an eclectic mix of capable musicians on stage, and a refusal to fit into anyone’s idea of predictable, WHYD is one of the more exciting live acts you can find on a stage in the area. We sat down with the musical collective this past month to see exactly what’s up with my dog.
Johnny: So, who exactly has my dog and what is their musical background?
WHYD: Well, We Have Your Dog is made up of the following:
Cosmic Kenneth, who studied voice for multiple semesters at TJC and is a naturally talented singer/songwriter.
Havaan, also a singer/songwriter but mostly self-taught with a few private lessons here and there to further her skill.
Peabody Coltrane on guitar. He is a classical guitar player who graduated from UT Tyler with a formal academic study of music.
Jackie Chernobyl is also on guitars. He is a self-taught guitar player who was classically trained on piano at an early age. Chernobyl channeled all his natural talent into the guitar and is most obsessed with making manipulation of feedback and molding sounds through FX pedals.
TheMind on the bass. A classical guitar player studied at UT Tyler and TJC with a formal academic study of music. He is a multi-instrumentalist who is currently obsessed with mastering the bass.
Haddad on drums. He is a self-taught drummer/percussionist. Volcanic with natural talent, Haddad is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in banging things.
Johnny: Where did you find my dog?
WHYD: Kenneth, Haddad, TheMind, and Chernobyl have been playing together and in different projects since high school in the early 2000’s. Peabody and Havaan joined the band much later in the college years – around 2012-2016.
Johnny: When did the idea of actually looking for my dog first happen?
WHYD: Like we mentioned before, we had been in different projects together off and on for years, but specifically came together with the purpose of WHYD around 2015 and our first official show was at Click’s in Tyler on October 22, 2016.
Johnny: So, What’s the story with my dog’s name?
WHYD: We Have Your Dog’s name was put together out of the will to subvert the listeners expectations. We like to let the music speak for itself, rather than try and define a style of music according to the name.
Johnny: When and where did you first find my dog?
WHYD: Our first gig was a party we threw at our house in October of 2015. We wanted to get a soft feel for our music and how it would resonate with some folks we knew. The results were us refining our show for an October release in 2016 at Click’s Live. We had not added Havaan at this time.
Johnny: Your sound and presentation is a bit out of the ordinary for this area, how have you found the reception to be with local dog catchers?
WHYD: We find that folks who are interested in listening to music love us! Folks who just want background music, not so much. We’ve always followed the philosophy of “Do your own thing.” We Have Your Dog is always trying to refine our live show and at the end of the day, we do what makes us happy.
Johnny: How did that dog sound evolve over the life of the band or was it pretty much the goal from inception?
WHYD: Our sound is ever evolving. One thing we want to stay away from is the cliche of “that band is good but all their songs sound the same.” We don’t have a particular sound in mind other than what starts to craft itself on the palette in the jam room. Our goal is to have all our members feel free in the creative process and the other members to back them up. All musical genres and styles are welcome in WHYD!
Johnny: About how many dogs are being caught a month, on average, by the band currently?
WHYD: We’d like to get to playing at minimum once a month! However, at this moment (Winter 2019) we are taking minimal gigs while we record our upcoming album “What Have You Done?” as well as rehearsing new tracks for our new live show coming Summer of 2020.
Johnny: Do you primarily have dogs in the Tyler area or do you branch out to other areas often?
WHYD: Lately we have been staying in the Tyler area. As much as we love traveling, we like getting paid even more. So far clubs like XL’N and Click’s Live treat us well enough that we stick around this area. We do love playing in Dallas and Longview when we get the opportunity though.
Johnny: What has been the most memorable dog to date?
WHYD: We are always proud of our shows where we jam with our local counterparts Post Profit or Gypsum and The Travelers. Whenever we can, we make sure to share the stage to feature with each other on particular tracks. Those are always memorable shows, but our most memorable would probably be The Band Wars Competition that we competed in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Johnny: Have you guys caught any dogs in the studio or are there plans for any studio projects coming up?
WHYD: We are current working on several albums/projects. “What Have You Done?” is our main project; and “Sex, Money & Murder” is a concept and side project that we are creating.
We do most of our studio work in house. We do all our own tracking, then we have been contracting third party folks to mix and master. We’d like to give a shout out to Dejour Productions who have been really involved with our sound and how it will be portrayed.
We have some stuff available on Spotify, ITunes, GooglePlay, Amazon and ALL the audio streaming services. We also have them available on BandCamp for a more personal purchase. Currently we have two singles: Kenneth lea, “Bite the Bullet;” and Havaan lead, “Equilibrium.”
We also have a forthcoming duet entitled “The Don” from a concept album we’ve been placing together on the side.
Johnny: So let’s say I want to come find my dog. What can I expect at a WHYD show?
WHYD: When someone comes to see WHYD, they will experience a diverse and evolving show. We want our audience to experience multiple feelings and experiences as they progress through our presentation. Our goal is that nobody can listen to one or two songs and feel as though they know what’s coming the rest of the show.
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