Howlin' Houndog has been around for many years (he got his nickname from his harp playing style that make s dogs howl) From the beginning of his musical career in the 1980s through his formation of Vagrant Records of Seattle Washington and the various bands he has been in over many years from the Bassics/MonGrells, the Surrealists, the Long Faces, Pistol Pete and Monkeys With Machine Guns he has developed his style of musical composition. Combining various influences with others from a variety of music from Middle Eastern to Delta/Chicago/British Blues , Psychedelia , Surf, Folk Rock & Country. This has slowly be refined down to the style the currently plays now.
Howlin' Houndog-Vocals, Guitar, Blues Harp & some Keyboards
Sean "Bassman" Hudson-Bass Guitar
2010 Spring Tour Line Up:
(The Regular Local NW Crew)
Dan "The Man" Stanard-Bass
Robert "Newbie" McNaughty-Drums
The NEW Howlin' Horn Section!
Joey "The Saint" St.John-Ryan-Sax
Ronnie Pierce on Alto Sax;
John "Terp" Terpin on Trombone
Darrian "D-Train" Asplund-Sax
Plus other Special Guest Musicians;
Jim "Zeke" Sadler-Keyboards
Ed "ka-klack" Portnow-Drums
Going back in time here is the list;
The Bassics- Early demos form 1988. Only one song "Hey Girl" ended up on the "Headtrip!" retrospective on Vagrant Records of Seattle Washington in 2000.
The Surrealists- Where's Dada? 12' vinyl EP (now OOP) and the "¡fiSh!" cassette in 1989, plus comp track "Lessons" on the "Eye of the Needle" CD compilation in 1991.
Karmageddon-"Emergency Prozac Run" 1997/8
The Long Faces- "Why?" 1999
Pistol Pete's Hoedown Seranade-None
Monkey's With Machine Guns- Monsturd/Retardead sountracks for 4321films out of San Francisco 2003
Howlin Houndog & Infamous Loosers CD out in 2006 complied from recording from 1990 through 2006. Selections may be heard on MySpace.
NEW CD "Goin' the the Country" CD Nov 2009
"Loud & Live (in the Studio) March 2008!
Blues, etcetera (Mumbling the classics with Howlin’ Houndog and the Infamous Loosers)
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Howlin’ Houndog’s got some foot stompin’ to do, and some lowdown blues to shake off. This blue...Howlin’ Houndog’s got some foot stompin’ to do, and some lowdown blues to shake off.
This blues whirlwind from Seattle, Wash., is the alter ego/superhero persona of longtime Seattle musician Erik 4-A, who was spontaneously possessed one day by the spirit of all the great ragged-voiced bluesmen to come before him. As he tells it in the liner notes of his 2006 debut album:
“Howlin’ Houndog was born in 1990 when I decided to write the song ‘Disfigured’ for a class I was in at Evergreen (State College, in Olympia, Wash.), then record it at Egg Studios with Conrad Uno and Jon Auer. I wrote it in about 5 minutes and didn’t think much of it at the time. I also decided to use my ‘Gravelvoice’ for fun when I recorded it and do a lot of insane Blues muttering on a lark at the beginning and end of the song. It stuck, and almost 16 years later Howlin’ Houndog would slowly take over my life.”
The self-titled debut album is a compilation of remixed tunes culled from Erik 4-A’s recording archives, and represents a colorful spectrum of influences and styles, from psychedelic, early roots blues and Everly Brothers, to surf, folk-rock and country. Owning up to his Captain Beefheart resemblances, 4-A covers two Beefheart tunes, “Frying Pan” and “Sho’ Nuff Yes I Do.” Bob Dylan gets a romping Houndog treatment in a cover of “Tell Me Momma,” and there’s a mesquite-flavored rendition of filmmaker John Carpenter’s country sci-fi song “Benson Arizona,” from the enduring cult classic, “Dark Star” (see end note).
4-A owns and operates Seattle’s Vagrant Records and Studio V, and since the 1980s has appeared in local groups Bassics/MonGrells, the Surrealists, the Long Faces, Pistol Pete and Monkeys With Machine Guns. His well spent time in these bands allows him to bring a host of influences to bear as he takes the form of the mumble-mouthed guitar slinger Howlin’ Houndog. With harmonica in hand and a revolving cast of supporting musicians backing him up, the Houndog has logged countless miles bringing his rotgut blues, etc., to adoring crowds across the U.S., on tours like his “Rubber Tramping America Indi Solo Tour,” and the “Left Coast Summer Tour.” Lately, he’s promoting his latest offering, 2007’s “Loud & Live (in the studio),” a studio album cut “live”—sans overdubs—that exemplifies what the Dog does best: yowl like a lye-brazed hound with a paw caught in a porch crack.
Known for crazed live covers of tunes as diverse as Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” and the Village People’s “YMCA,” Houndog and company turn in inspired interpretations of Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter’s “Midnight Special,” Lou Reed’s “Venus In Furs,” (or, as it appears on the album, “Venus in Spurs”) and Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights/No Problems.” For good measure, there’s the occasional Houndog-penned, angst-ridden number about injuring oneself on random Japanese playroom accoutrement and being viciously stung by wasps, themes revisited endlessly in blues standards since the very beginning, and given fresh life by the Dog.
Double H and the Loosers really shine on their version of Robert Johnson’s “32/20 Blues.” First recorded in 1936, Houndog’s version takes wild liberty with Johnson’s lyrics, an act which might seem like sacrilege to some, and poetic license to others. A classic tale of infidelity met with firepower, Clayton Park’s demonic fiddle adds a delightfully dark and disturbing counterpoint to Houndog’s Tom Waits-esque growl. The result is a remarkably engaging update of the original, one that bears endless replay and epitomizes just what Howlin’ Houndog is all about: manic, sweaty, heaving (and ultimately loving) interpretations of epic songs.
It’s obvious that Houndog is first and foremost a huge fan of whatever music he pays homage to. Whether bashing an open-tuned acoustic guitar or picking smoky leads on an electric, he’s faithful to the spirit of the originals, while adding generous amounts of his own grainy spice to the mix. There’s the ever-present danger of veering into caricature and cliché, and the “mumbling bluesman” shtick was notably played into the ground by Tempe’s “Mumblin’ Jim Fletcher” in the early ’80s. But Houndog’s sheer enthusiasm and chops dust aside any doubts once the backbeat starts and the howlin’ begins.
Catch Howlin’ Houndog and the Infamous Loosers at the Monte Vista Lounge, 100 N. San Francisco, Wed, March 11. The show will start ay 10 p.m. and is free. For more info, call 774-2403 or see www.myspace.com/infamousloosers.
Endnote: If you haven’t seen John Carpenter’s “Dark Star,” the 1974 science fiction comedy that the director made as a film student that would later influence his movie “Alien,” you must rent or borrow a copy, invite several of your very best friends over, and watch it—this weekend. Go to Albertson’s and buy three or four Red Baron pepperoni pizzas and a couple of 12 packs of PBR with the money you had set aside for an overpriced concert ticket. Pick up two big green peppers, a large red onion, five large mushrooms, a package of feta cheese and a bundle of basil. Chop up the veggies and basil, and spread them over the otherwise unremarkable (but remarkably affordable!) pizzas. Take all of the pepperonis off of one of the pizzas and distribute to the others, because there’s always a vegetarian or purist in the bunch. Bake at 400 degrees until you can’t bear the delicious aroma of basil and pepperonis any longer, and the crust has that just-shy-of-burnt color. Then sit back and enjoy the story of four astronauts on a deep space mission to destroy unstable planets in star systems marked for colonization.
Howlin' Houndog will growl Monday at Santa Barbara venue
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Howlin’ Houndog’s got a voice so gruff he sounds like he ate Tom Waits, smoked Mojo Nixon and gargle...Howlin’ Houndog’s got a voice so gruff he sounds like he ate Tom Waits, smoked Mojo Nixon and gargled with razor blades. He’s coming to SOhO in Santa Barbara on Monday night to play some porch music for the faithful and sell a few copies of his second Vagrant Records album, “Loud & Live.”
The Houndog’s got a unique record deal. He plays the music and his alter ego, Erik 4-A, owns and runs Vagrant, a Seattle-based record company not to be confused with the SoCal label of the same name.
He — actually they — discussed the latest during a recent phoner.
@TO 1-Text Ragged Right no indent:How’s “Loud and Live” doing? Are you approaching rich rock star status?
Oh, yeah. I made a whole 20 bucks at my last gig and dinner. I’m going to ask you a question before we start doing this: Do you want me to answer as Erik, the label executive, or do you want me to answer as Howlin’ Houndog?
Woof, dude. Let’s roll with Howlin’ Houndog. We’ll save Erik for Fortune Magazine.
OK, shiftin’ gears here (as his voices gets gruffer). Now, whatddya want?
When you come to Santa Barbara, is it just you or do you have a band?
I’ve got a band. A whole bunch of guys off the streets in Portland.
And the band is the Infamous Loosers with two o’s?
It’s Loosers, not Losers.
That’s an important distinction.
Yes, two o’s.
How does a nice boy end up as a howlin’ hound dog?
Well, in my younger days, I used to go to this college — Evergreen State College — and I used to play harmonica in the stairwells. No one would leash up their dogs and all these dogs would run around in packs and I would play harmonica really badly and the dogs would go “Ooooooo” and it sort of stuck.
How long has Howlin’ Houndog been around?
I would say my illustrious history began in the back seat of the Seattle music scene. I was floating around, doing nothing except watching people play crappy music badly.
Hate when that happens.
I hung around until Infra Ed Portnow, a friend of mine in a very famous Seattle band called the Dehumanizers, hauled me from the back of Erik’s mind and kicked me to the front. He and I started a little band in 2006, but I’ve been lurking since 1990.
How many albums so far?
Just two. The first one is self-titled “Howlin Houndog and the Infamous Loosers’’ with a whole bunch of Seattle people who were in bands or are in bands that have helped me out over the years. The second one I did in the fall of 2007 and put it out in March 2008. That’s “Loud and Live.”
So how does someone in Seattle get the blues?
We have this thing called seasonal affective disorder, and unlike you people down there in sunny Southern California, in the wintertime, we only get daylight from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., so we pretty much sit around and beat our collective heads against the wall, drink a lot of coffee or some people do things that I no longer do and that’s how it happens. I’d like to clarify: I am not a traditional blues player. I like to do songs that have an element of that, but they are not necessarily blues songs.
Who goes to a Howlin’ Houndog show?
Usually, it’s the crazy people. I play a lot of punk rock shows — guys with pink hair and girls with various appendages impaled. I like it that way. It’s a weird crowd but I play weird music. I keep politics out of it. It’s all about the music and I’m not preaching to anybody.
Any lessons learned on the road?
I’ve learned that east of the Mississippi it’s easier to make a living as a traveling musician. You drive less, you play more and, for whatever reason, people are a bit more respectful of the fact that you’re actually a professional doing something that most people out west construe as a hobby.
— Bill Locey-
Night After Night, Listings March 13-19, 2009
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Howlin' Houndog & the Infamous Loosers at Sam's Burger Joint Howlin' Houndog is the alter ego of Eri...Howlin' Houndog & the Infamous Loosers at Sam's Burger Joint Howlin' Houndog is the alter ego of Erik 4-A, owner of Seattle's Vagrant Records. Howlin' plays unvarnished, unpolished and unapologetic raw blues built on the deep roots of the Mississippi Delta but filtered through Howlin' Houndog's, er, unique sensibilities. Howlin' Houndog & the Loosers play originals and covers of Robert Johnson, Captain Beefheart, Leadbelly, Leon Payne and many others.
Howlin' Houndog "Loud & Live" Review
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Howlin’ Houndog Loud and live (in the studio) Vagrant Street: 09.2008 Howlin’ Houndog = Howlin’...Howlin’ Houndog
Loud and live (in the studio)
Howlin’ Houndog = Howlin’ Wolf (no relation) + Scott H. Birham
This rockin’, stompin’ bluesman from Seattle gets down and dirty with his blues. Songs about trains, whiskey and regret are plentiful on this record. This ain’t the watered-down blues Eric Clapton’s been peddling; this also ain’t just a copy of the original stuff, although it pays plenty of homage to the old boys like Lead Belly and Robert Johnson. What’s so great about this record is that Houndog has interpreted the blues for himself; not for an audience, but just for his personal joy. Tons of different musicians show up to make their mark on this record as well; Chris Morda’s slide guitar work is essential to the sound of these Seattle blues. The vocals are a little hard to get through—Houndog seems to think his character and personality will more than make up for what his throat lacks in melody—but for the most part he does just that. Hey, after all, everyone can sing the blues. –James Orme
The Baron Dave Says!
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Howlin' Houndog & The Infamous Loosers Erik starts off his own CD of Howlin' Houndog & The Infamo...Howlin' Houndog & The Infamous Loosers
Erik starts off his own CD of Howlin' Houndog & The Infamous Loosers (yes, loosers) with an outtake. Grunting and howlin' for a minute. Most people put this sort of stuff at the end, but here it's a perfect beginning, leading into the actual Dylan song Tell Me Mamma. Howlin's roots are up front: In addition to his own compositions, the CD has two covers of Captain Beefheart songs, one from a science fiction movie and reworks several blues classics.
Benson Arizona is from the college movie project Dark Star and this isn't the first cover, but I appreciate it. Psycho refers to the same shooting incident that Kinky Friedman recounts in The Ballad of Charles Whitman. He tries to write a letter to his former girlfriend, and while Worm Quartet comes up with a Great Idea For A Song, Howlin' laments I Couldn't spell @#%&!* Send this one to Dr. Demento!
A solid collection of blues that takes the music seriously but almost nothing else. Recommended.
More Reviews from Baron Dave
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Loud & Live (in the studio) When we last checked in with Howlin' Houndog, he was with the Infamou...Loud & Live (in the studio)
When we last checked in with Howlin' Houndog, he was with the Infamous Loosers. In Loud and Live, he fronts several lineups. All are rocking, hard driving blues, as he draws on songs by Leadbelly, Lou Reed, Roger Miller and more.
Howlin' Houndog, one of the nom-de-guerres of Vagrant Record's Erik 4-A, has a Wolfman Jack raspy voice, and knows how to use it. He picks great songs and wrings the blues right out; the other side of Leadbelly, just this side of Dave van Ronk
I don't really have a lot to say about this CD. Look at the song list. You either like blues rock or you don't. Howlin' Hounddog is a particularly good practitioner of the art, and if this is your thing you will do well to add him to your collection. If it isn't your thing and want to dip into the genre, Loud and Live (in the studio) will be a good introduction. The whole CD is iPw.
Songwriter, JesseLee Kinkaid says
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A very big thank you for your excellent rendition of my song, "I Got A Little " on your album, "howl...A very big thank you for your excellent rendition of my song, "I Got A Little " on your album, "howlin' houndog and the infamous loosers" . You brilliantly captured the spirit of the song, wedding the good vibes of the text with the traditional blues form of the music. The whole production is upbeat, positive, and a lot of fun. Big thank you to Bobby taylor for the fine harmonica work, and thank you to the great band. Your vocal is peerless.
SERIOUS TALENT meets TWISTED EDGE
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Love the record, it sums all the classic afro-caucasian definitions of what´s been made past four de...Love the record, it sums all the classic afro-caucasian definitions of what´s been made past four decades!!
From my pesonal favourite sci-fi country classic to a "dylanish" unadorned punk "sensibility", if I may say so.
Like tributing Don Van, the first alternative root-punk rooster himself, with a huge respect, yet being honest to your own sound.
Hey, I didn´t know "psycho" was made so early!!!
A comprehensive look through electric/organic, handmade-music that I love, this kind of music´s not easy to be heard nowadays on air ´, cept under the ground sort of speak.
Good atmosphere in your studio, you´ve mission had complished with an results that one with two ears cannot deny...
keep the grass-roots growing, crazy natural madness always appreciated here!!
Steve Froy from Radar Station says!
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Frying Pan (instrumental) 2001 US CD Hold The Vocals. A tribute to the instrumental hits of the 5...Frying Pan (instrumental)
2001 US CD Hold The Vocals. A tribute to the instrumental hits of the 50s 60s 70s on Go-Kustom Records GKR008-2
An interesting album this one but I can't help thinking that something's missing on 'Frying Pan' ... oh yeah, the vocals! Why did they choose this one when there's other tracks that would stand up better as instrumentals? Shouldn't it be Erik 4-A and the Requiems!
Erik 4-A replies:
"I had a version of 'Frying Pan' with vocals but in order to get it on the compilation I had to mix them out (as it was an instrumental tribute comp). Don Van Vliet is an excellent Harp player and that song is an example of his early blues harp work with the Magic Band. I feel I did him justice with my version. I also had help from Evan Foster and Joel Trueblood of the Boss Martians. Hopefully this explains the situation for you."
Thanks to Erik for the explanation ... and I agree he does justice to the song. Are there any labels out there willing to release the version with vocals? I wanna hear that too!
2005 US CD The Continental Magazine 12 Compilation
2006 US CD Ruff Mix on Vagrant Records
Yes, the vocal version finally got a release on this collection of 'surf, garage, rockabilly tunes' compliation CD available with issue 12 of the Continental Magazine from Bellingham, Washington. This is Erik 4-A but under the moniker of Monkeys With Machine Guns.
It has also been collected on the Ruff Mix album of songs recorded over a number of years and under a variety of names. The CD is credited to Howlin' Houndog & The Infamous Losers - another of Erik-4A's aliases.
Sure Nuff 'n' Yes I Do
2006 US CD "Howlin' Houndog & The Infamous Loosers" on Vagrant Records
A largely acoustic version - without any slide guitar, which is kinda strange but a nice take on the song nonetheless.
Erik also includes an incomplete version titled 'Mo Strang Breakin', which, as you can probably guess, finishes prematurely due to a breaking string.
"Reminds me of those early Rolling Stones albums~!"
"Reminds me of those early Rolling Stones albums~!"
We mix up a combination of both original material and obscure (or radically rearranged well known) covers. Sets are usually 35-45 minutes long with very few breaks for chatter between songs. We believe in playing music and not wasting time talking about it to the audience.
Here is a list of some covers we do;
Set Lists for August 2007 Tour
Set 1- Folk-Rock Set
Track Song Title Key
1) Psycho D/E
2) Bobby Fuller 4-Ever (inst) G
3) Time Will Tell G
4) Keep Pushin' G
5) Every Single Day of the Week G
6) Sittin' on Top of the World D
7) I Got a Little C
8) Benson Arizona C
9) Drivin' Nails (in my coffin) C
10) Lorena E
11) Trouble on the Turnpike E
12) Knoxville Girl G
13) Disfigured G
14) There She Goes G
15) I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better A
16) Highway to Hell A
Set 2-Blues/Honky-Tonk Set
1) Tell Me Momma A
2) Cat Scratch Fever A
3) Key to the Highway A
4) Frying Pan A
5) Trucker's Lullaby G
6) Never Fall In Love Again G
7) Puttin' Me In The Ground G
8) Understand Your Man G
9) I Couldn't Spell @#$! E
10) Mean Woman/20 Flight/Moneymaker A
11) Riverbed E
12) Lowdown Blues/D-Train E
13) Ring Dang Do E
14) Route 66 A
15) Cocaine Blues C
Set 3- The Extras!
1) Rollin & Tumblin' G or D
2) Statesboro Blues D
3) Midnight Special G or D
4) Long Black Veil G
5) Cigarettes & Whiskey & Wild Women G
6) Rosalyn C
7) Don't Bring Me Down A
8) 32/20 Blues A
9) Sho Nuff, Yes I do A
10) Game E
11) Spanish Lace Blues G
12) 11th St. Overcrossing A
13) Ridin' On the L&N A
14) Cant' Turn Me Loose C
There are no upcoming dates at this time.