Satellite Dogs
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Satellite Dogs

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"Year of the Dogs"

Year of the Dogs
Local band Satellite Dogs For the Love of the Music
By B. Noel Barr, The Music Writer Dude

Like kudzu, organically derived music grows in the oddest of ways and in the most interesting of contexts. Two childhood friends who wanted to emulate their musical heroes across the pond formed the Minutemen. Or a toddler-aged Billy Tapia wanting to play the ukulele like those that played at the late night parties in his neighborhood.

The Satellite Dogs, however, began shortly after Mike Salas answered an ad in the Recycler that read, "Anybody into Dream Syndicate, or Green on Red, want to jam, call this number." After 12 years the Satellite Dogs are still working on getting the recognition they deserve. They’re performing their latest album release, Show Down at Big Dalton.

I caught up to the Satellite Dogs just ahead of their performance at the San Pedro Brewing Company on January 25.

Mike DeBe, vocalist, guitarist, and mandolinist, was the one who placed the ad in his effort to put together a band. The fledgling musical partners would do crazy all-hours-of-the-night jams just the two of them at first, until they found a drummer. During this time, the two Mikes and the bass player sans drummer worked as an acoustic group, "Guitar Voodoo," playing songs they had written
"We were being songwriters and guitarists, but we didn't get into doing songs as much as we just jammed," explained DeBe.

DeBe describes his abilities in blue-collar terms, noting that his musical gift sprang from hours of trying to play music he liked.
"I guess how I got into songwriting was just through playing guitar," Mike DeBe explained. "I was never one of those guys who was a virtuoso on guitar, there are a million players who could shred on the instrument, I was not one of them. I just got into the sound of the instrument, I just played what I liked and got encouragement from people who liked what I did."

Salas, for his part, has been playing guitar since he was 8 years old, but he credits DeBe "for teaching him everything he knows."
The inspiration behind the name "Satellite Dogs" stemmed from when the band were going electric and were rehearsing at Mike Salas's house. Salas had a little dog running around the house with a cone around his neck, looking like a satellite dish. The current edition of the band now includes Douglas Freyre on bass and backing vocals with Alan Combies on drums.

These days, the Satellite Dogs are playing at various venues around town like the Liquid Lounge but are comfortable playing in any environment.
"We have a lot of variety in the band, because we can fit in about anywhere playing small acoustic shows to country to venues where really go electric and play our faster stuff," Debe explained.

Their current CD Show Down at Big Dalton was the culmination of ten years of work.
"We were at a peak for this, Salas explained, "because we had been preparing to record for some time." The Dogs hooked up with Producer Mike Halby of Canned Heat / John Mayall's Blues Breakers fame at his studio, Big Dalton along with engineer Ken Raines who has done sessions with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

They recorded mostly live in the studio without the help of music editing programs like Pro Tools or other special effects in just a few days.
"Yeah, these guys taught us the old school way of recording the band live all in one room using old tube amps and vintage mics going direct to 2" tape. We recorded the whole CD live in one take with just guitar fills for the overdubbing," said Salas.
The recording process was enhanced by the fact that their producer a studio veteran Mike Halby had this room full of microphones that dated back to the fifties, which help create the unique sounds found on this CD.
"On a couple of the tracks we used this old ball microphone that was used in broadcasting that you would hold down a button to activate"

The Satellite Dogs are currently working on another album. Salas, fired up by the work being done on it said, "We have a least half a disc of new material' and some songs we've had for a while." The band will be playing a few of the songs at the San Pedro Brewing Company show. Though the star of the Satellite Dogs is rising, they still play with the excitement of a group of teenagers playing out of a garage after 12 years.

In reference about what the future holds for the band, Salas explained, "We're gonna just play until we drop. There is a certain time that you pass that even though you want to be a star, that you just do it for enjoyment."

DeBe, also reflective about the band said, "I really like playing in this band." Salas picked up on the thought, and said, "I really like the way we change things up when we play. We'll take song in put into a context of a Gram Parsons style, we're just having fun."

Without being deluded with visions of rock stardom, this is a band that plays for the music. They would like to play South by Southwest in Austin. They've also been looking into doing a tour up north to Oregon and Washington.

In the meantime, they will continue playing in communities in and around Los Angeles and Long Beach. DeBe noted that, they used to play at the old Sacred Grounds, before it moved to its current location and have since played at the San Pedro Brewing Company a few times.

"It has always been fun." DeBe said. "We always have a good time playing we have a real mixed crowd there so it should be lots of fun."

Showdown at Big Dalton is currently available from the band as well as from CDBaby.com. The Satellite Dogs have produced a self-titled EP about seven years ago, and they have featured tracks in the indie film, The Waiters. Sales said, "It was cool to see how the director used our music in his film, it was totally out of our hands, but it was a great experience." There is no CD soundtrack, but you can get this movie through Netflix.
- Random Lengths, Jan 25 – Feb 7, 2008 [local publication]


"Showdown at Big Dalton"

Debut CD released September 2006 - Satellite Dogs


"Long Beach Underground"

The Satellite Dogs are an indie/alternative rock band, as their myspace states, from Long Beach, Ca who, in my opinion, have more of a country indie rock sound to them with a little bluegrass twang to the guitar. I listened to their new release "Showdown at Big Dalton" and my first impression was that while the music itself was a cool blend of styles, the lyrics seemed to lack a bit. The quality of the recording is professional sounding with good warmth to the bass lines and as I listened to the CD a couple more times, track 6 titled "Me is Mine", a folksy Dylan-esque ballad, starts to stick out at me and became a clear favorite. "Me is Mine" seems the best fit of lyrics to music as well as vocal progression throughout the song. I also enjoyed the guitar solos that are common over slower parts of their music. Overall, the Satellite Dogs put out a quality record and have a rather unique sound to them. I have never seen these guys live but I would bet that their shows are equally as good as their new release Showdown at Big Dalton.

by Shea Newkirk of LBPP.net
November 2006 Issue - Shea Newkirk


""Cry Havoc, Let loose the Dogs…,""

December 7, 2007 - Friday
Repost: New lead in, Satellite Dogs @ The Liquid Lounge
Category: Music
"Cry Havoc, Let loose the Dogs…," said Shakespeare, It is time for you to meet the Satellite Dogs.
From out of Long Beach, hail one of the most interesting groups I have heard in a while, The Satellite Dogs. They are fronted by singer songwriter's Mike Salas, Vocals Guitar, Harmonica & Mike DeBe Vocals, Guitar & Mandolin , with Douglas Freyre on Bass & backing vocals and Alan Combies on Drums (Who did not play that night, it was an almost all acoustic show).
These men are cut from the same cloth as Dylan and tailored like REM; they play with power, passion and conviction. Writing songs that are accessible yet not "American Idol" Pop fodder, songs that matter with the musical chops to back it up. These "Dogs" have been around the block for a while, and show the artisanship of learned journeymen. Their songs were featured in the Indie film release of 2000 "The Waiters", and have a CD that came out in 2006 called Showdown at Big Dalton.
Satellite Dogs at the Liquid Lounge in Long Beach
Random Lengths News rolled into this fine Long Beach bar, was immediately surprised at the friendly atmosphere and the (thank god) lack of pretentiousness that you get from the Pine street joints. Here was a place made for real people; I guess my best description was it had soul, instead of the jukebox; we had Jim Ladd from KLOS pumped into the room for some free form rock that played well within this rustic urban setting.
We got a spot at one of those raised natural grain tables with wooden bar stools, in front of the band. As we kicked, back a cool beverage, taking the edge off the short drive across the island from Pedro. The Satellite Dogs started right in a strong tempo with "Something's Coming" a fiery mix of electric and acoustic guitars, with a stand up double bass driving the bottom end.
This is a small stage area, but for semi acoustic music it is perfect and the sound was great from where we were in the room. The second song of the evening is a killer number called "Gift Giver", and this song should be in heavy rotation on every rock and college station in America.
This band has a very real organic feel to their music, a harmonious soundscape with vivid lyrical imagery. They followed up next with "The Lie", "Radio Girl", then the electric guitar was replaced with a mandolin on "Fools".
I might compare this group to REM, but I do not think it fair to either band, The Satellite Dogs have their own vision, so this point one might make, is mute. They rounded out the set with "Drag", "Shed Another Skin" and finally "Tail Lights"
The Satellite Dogs will be in town on January 25 at the San Pedro Brewing Company at 331 West 6th Street, or you can catch them at the Liquid Lounge at 3522 East Anaheim Street (Redondo and Anaheim) in Long Beach on December 27.
You get their CD from cdbaby.com or buy it from the band at the show, you can contact them at myspace.com/satellitedogs or satellitedogs.com
Reviewed by B.Noel Barr, The Music Writer Dude
RandomLengths News, San Pedro California
- RandomLengths News, San Pedro California


Discography

Showdown at Big Dalton...our first release is here!
Available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/satellitedogs and various location on the net.

Satellite Dogs on Netflix? Yup...well via The Waiters film. Back in June 2006 several tunes were featured in the comedy/drama indie film "The Waiters" and now it's been released on Netflix...so go rent it and give it a review!

Photos

Bio

Satellite Dogs based out of the South Bay/Los Angeles area. With eclectic tunes stemming from folk, punk, alt .country, psychedelic rock, coming from both singer/songwriters Mike Salas & Mike DeBe, always melodic but never sounding like just one of these genres.

The just finished CD titled "Showdown at Big Dalton" is a result of exactly that, a showdown between the band and Big Dalton studio owner/producer Mike Halby (Hound Dog, Canned Heat, John Mayall's Blues Breakers) and engineer Ken Raines (sessions with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett) which left all parties laying in the dust, waking up wondering what happened....the result - A great F$cking Record!
Recorded mostly live in the studio, no Pro Tools and nare any effects in just a few days. Yeah, these guys taught us the old school way of recording the band live all in one room using old tube amps and vintage mics going direct to 2" tape through real plate reverb and an old Amek/Neve board. Mastered by Evren Göknar (Iggy Pop, Grand Funk Railroad, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duran Duran, Mariah Carey, Queensryche) at Capitol Studios. Several songs from the album have been chosen for the indie film soundtrack "The Waiters".
Two songs from the album have been included in the Mexican indie film "Corazon de Campeon".