Flock of Doug
Gig Seeker Pro

Flock of Doug

Band Pop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Name of This Band is Flock Of Doug"

Doug Utter takes on Rick Santorum in bathtub brawl

by Molly Priesmeyer

The loan Doug Utter received from the good folks at Capitol One was causing him to bolt upright in bed with a bad case of sweaty self-hatred. "I'd wake up in the middle of the night," remembers the singer-songwriter, "thinking, 'I am such a loser. What have I done?'" What he had done was sign up for one of the umpteen-million loan offers he got in the mail--a big loan, intended to finance a recording project and taken out not long after he had spent a bundle going to law school. It's not terribly uncommon for musicians to go to law school after they've abandoned pop-star dreams. Taking on the pop-star dream after passing the bar, that's just bad planning.

In school, Utter entertained noble dreams of going into death-penalty defense. Then he realized that such a path required skills like organization and round-the-clock dedication. "Not my style," he jokes. Utter now works in a call center as a lawyer assisting other lawyers with various legal minutiae for "not much money." Off the job, he writes cleverly crafted tunes probably best kept away from the cubicle boombox. He has a song in which a gay guy lovingly lathers up a straight dude in the bathtub, and another about wanting to be someone's "meat thermometer."

Though Utter is a fan of heart-on-sleeve songsmiths such as Gillian Welch and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, in his own work he prefers left-of-center satire. "People writing about their feelings, it's totally cool," Utter says, sipping on peppermint tea from a cobalt blue Fiestaware cup in his northeast Minneapolis home. "But I don't know if my feelings are that interesting. Obviously I have feelings, and I'm happy to share them. But to just spill it seems kinda...fey."

Of course he means "fey" in only the most delicate sense, not the way some meathead with gut rot and zero knowledge of wrestling's homoeroticism would use it as a derogatory euphemism. After all, almost all of the 10 songs on Wish I Were Here, the debut from Utter's band Flock of Doug, are subversive ditties about political oppression and sexual preference. There's "Boyfriend, You're My American Flag Underwear," a roots-rock tune about wanting to serve in a ridiculous war alongside a gay American who is not only a pair of patriotic panties but also a copy of Tropic of Cancer and a shitty Datsun B210. In a sense, the song's subject is everything; just your average human looking to get a little health insurance. Is that too much to ask?

And there's the aforementioned gay-bathtub romp, "Brian's Other Song," where Utter croons like a less self-loathing Mark Eitzel: "The shower it mists so lightly/The water runs down your chest to the floor of the tub/Hey, Brian, I can see the silhouette of your half-chub." Female background singers coo "rub-a-dub" like angels christening the sudsy bath water and the straight boy's half-hard member from above. When Utter and his band (the members of which he met at open-mic nights around town) played the song opening for El Vez at First Avenue a few weeks ago, a fortysomething couple placed their hands in the backs of each other's faded and butt-stretched Levi's, bobbed their bespectacled heads from side to side, and bounced on the balls of their feet as if it were a song about unicorns jumping through clouds made of cotton candy.

"I love the fact that children sing it," Utter says with an air of excitement, recalling enthusiastic responses from some of his friends' children. "It's my great hope that some day Tom DeLay's grandchildren will say, 'Come on, Granddaddy. Play that song about two guys taking a bath together.' I doubt that's going to happen. But if it did, I would consider myself successful beyond my wildest dreams," he says.

Talk of the current administration and its homophobic agenda gets Utter riled up. He leaves his tea and still-steaming Thai noodles in search of the tape case for "Utopia and Terror in the Twentieth Century," a 24-part lecture about violence and dictatorships he picked up at the library. He listens to it on his way to and from his call-center job in Eagan.

"I almost have to trick myself into believing that America is not that far gone," he says, adjusting his big black wire-frame glasses that look more Euro-chic Walker Art Center than Utter's humble surroundings suggest. "There are these Michele Bachmann types who believe homosexuality is unnatural. It's insane. It's hate, and it's ugly."

Utter's exasperation with the Christian right and his fondness for burlesque leads him to an amusing schadenfreude fantasy about Sen. Rick Santorum. "Santorum said, and I'm paraphrasing here, 'It's a slippery slope, once there's man-on-man sex there's man-on-dog,'" Utter says. "So it would not surprise me, in fact it would please me, to read in the paper one day, 'Rick Santorum has sex with a dog.' I'd feel bad for the dog," he laughs. "I suppose it'd be okay if it were a dead dog."
- City Pages


"Wish I Were Here" was officially released on 6/4/2005! It is now available on www.cdbaby.com and in Cheapo Stores in the Twin Cities.

We are currently being spun at KUMD Duluth, and Centipede (see Audio) was recently featured on Drive 105, Twin Cities Alternative Rock Station!


Feeling a bit camera shy


Founded in 2004 by songwriter Doug Utter, Flock of Doug released its first CD, "Wish I Were Here" in June of 2005 to critical acclaim.

Utter, formerly a solo performer and host of the popular "open mic" at the Chatterbox Pub in south Minneapolis, has assembled a kickass group of musicians for some semi-serious button-pushing rock fun.

Utter's music places melody and groove at the fore, with influences as diverse as Elvis Costello, Mark Eitzel and Fountains of Wayne.

As performers, Flock of Doug just wants to have a good time and give the audience a reason to smile and jump around. Utter says, "If you're not having fun doing what you're doing, then you should be doing something else. Audiences are smart -- they know when you're faking it. There's nothing cool about that."