Street Dogs

Street Dogs

 Boston, Massachusetts, USA
BandRockPunk

Teeming with fist pumping punk-influenced rock, the Street Dogs' new album State of Grace speaks from and to the working class with poetic heartfelt tales of family, hardships and cries for unity.

Biography

"State of Grace is the most raw, honest and punk rock record The Street Dogs have ever done. Definitely a contender for best album of 2008."
Mike Davies
The Punk Rock Show/ BBC Radio 1

Tracing the Street Dogs’ story on the eve of the release of their new album, State of Grace, is no easy task. One thing that all parties can agree on is where it all started. At a time when the music scene teems with mediocrity and fashion-oriented bands that are simultaneously from nowhere and of everywhere, maintaining a sense of roots, politics, and place has become the band’s calling card, a way of demonstrating to the world that they most decidedly stand for something.

The Street Dogs, it is somewhat of an understatement to say, are from Boston. Mike McColgan’s name was already indelibly linked with the city, as he had already made his name as the frontman for the Dropkick Murphys, the standard-bearers of Boston punk during the late 1990s. Most musicians dream of achieving that kind of once in a lifetime success. But the Murphys’ rise to fame was something of an entr’acte for the duty-bound McColgan, who had already served in the military prior to forming the band, and who aspired to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and join the Boston Fire Department. So it was that McColgan left the stage for the firehouse in 1998, working over the following years as an EMT and a firefighter.

Now, the way these stories usually get told, the hero doesn’t fade out quietly into the night. Instead, he returns one last time before heading off into the sunset. And at first, when McColgan the firefighter continued to write during his downtime, and later began to moonlight with bassist Johnny Rioux in 2002, it almost seemed like that’s the way this story would end, too. They formed a new group along with members from each of their former bands (in Rioux’s case, he had formerly played for the Bruisers, another stalwart on the Boston’s 1990s punk scene). To hear Rioux tell it, the Street Dogs started as little more than a “poker night” for musicians, with piles of chips traded in for stacks of amps, instead. By the following year, the band recorded an album of new material, Savin Hill (named after the section of Boston from which McColgan hailed). They booked a date for a record release party at the Axis in Boston, and the scene was set for a triumphant return, one last time.

A funny thing happened on the way back to the firehouse, though. Boston’s a long way from Hollywood, and if the script called for the Street Dogs to hang it up after that comeback show, somebody forgot to tell them. “Savin Hill was going to be a one-off deal,” remembers McColgan now. However, upon arriving at a sold-out venue, with lines stretching around the corner, the band realized something was up. Both Rioux and McColgan remember this night vividly today. “Everybody was singing the songs,” Rioux recalls, while McColgan adds, “the feedback we got from the very first show was electrifying.” The album was released on Crosscheck Records, and the band began to do a series of regional dates touring alongside the likes of longtime Celtic punk stalwarts Flogging Molly.

It was in a conversation at a truck stop during one of these tours that McColgan and Rioux decided to make the band a full time endeavor and work on a follow up to Savin Hill. During this time, Marcus Hollar, a talented young guitarist from tiny Pilot Point, Texas, had become enamored of the first Street Dogs album and convinced himself that he needed to become part of the band. After months of emails and demo CDs, Rioux was sufficiently impressed to invite the young guitarist up to Boston for an audition with the band. He began playing with the Street Dogs shortly thereafter, so that in a matter of months Hollar went from never having been on tour to touring the world with his favorite band.

With McColgan on leave from the fire department and Hollar on board, the band was set to record the follow-up to Savin Hill, 2005’s Back to the World. The Street Dogs began to tour the US and abroad, playing dates on the Vans Warped Tour during the summer of 2005 and opening for the likes of the Pogues, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, The Bouncing Souls and Rancid. Critical recognition only increased with the release of the band’s third full-length in 2006, Fading American Dream, which like its predecessor was released on the band’s own imprint, Brass Tacks. Always fiercely political, the sound and fury reached fever pitch on the record, an insistent polemic against the excesses of the Bush administration and the redemptive power of the labor movement.

With the addition of a young, explosive rhythm guitarist, Tobe Bean III, and drummer Paul Rucker (replacing Joe Sirois, formerly of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones), the lineup was set for the Street Dogs’ coming out party. “We’ve always tried to earn our own stripes,” says Rioux, instead of trying to capitalize on McColgan’s legacy with the Dropki

Lyrics

Free

Written By: treet Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

FREE

All my life I have searched for clarity
I have wrestled with two paths
Buried deep inside of me
I lost some rounds
Been knocked around
Felt my share of defeat
Yet somehow I've always managed to get back
On my feet

The world keeps telling me
To get a grip or I won't last
Got to break away from solitude
And let go of my past
I've never found it easy
To change my stubborn ways
Or to gain persepective
Throw away those soulless days

We have struggled
We have braved
We're still searching for something more
We have struggled
We still brave
We're looking for the chance
To be free

Our music is a shelter
Where we know we're not alone
We sing the words of our favorite songs
They bring us home
We find a little comfort
A little piece of mind
Say goodbye to being left out
Hello friend, please come on in

We have struggled
We have braved
We're still searching for something more
We have struggled
We still brave
We're looking for the chance
To be free

Go slow young man
Go slow young girl
Grow strong young man
Grow strong young girl

All of my life I have searched for clarity
I have wrestled with the demons inside me

We have struggled
We have braved
We're still searching for something more
We have struggled
We still brave
We're looking for the chance
To be free

To break free
Because you got to hold on to your dreams
It's not as easy as it seems
Because you got to fight
Fight to be free
You got to stay free
Stay alive, stay alive, you see
Don't give in
Stay free please

Mean Fist

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

For as long as I remember
I ran a life of crime
Harmed everyone that I know
Stolen what’s not mine
Problems solved through violence
Feelings dulled with booze
Father always yelling at me
Shape up or you will lose

The law’s closing in on me…
Just made a BOLO list
Hear this confessional
These are the tales of the mean fist
The tales of the mean fist

And to my abandoned daughter
I know I let you down
And I hope some day you’ll pardon me
For the damage that I’ve done
Your father fought the needle
And a judge says the needle won
Looks like I traded our picket fence
For a prison cell

The law’s closing in on me…
Just made a warden’s list
Hear this confessional
These are the tales of the mean fist
The tales of the mean fist

Now listen…

Three walls and prison bars
Are all I’ll ever know
Love and compassion
Will become foreign words
And it won’t make a damn bit of difference
If I repent or make amends
Life on the installment plan
Will surely be my death

Consider this a junkie’s
Last will and testament
And when I die I know that it is
Safe to place a bet
Not a tear will be shed
Nor a rose for my casket
It will be a cold, grey day
When they lower down mean fist

Two Angry Kids

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

Hey you, remember me
Way back in North Quincy
Go fast, hold back
If we hold on for one day
We just might last

I remember bouts
Morning blackouts
Coupled with a hate of interior self
Reluctantly admit desperation
Availed a place for an education

Hey you, do you remember when
We were two angry kids

The first days they were rough
Living a bluff
Talking the talk but not walking the walk
You stuck a finger in my chest
Saying mister don't jest
Your life is on the line
This is not a test

Hey you, do you remember when
We were two angry kids
Hey you, do you remember when
We were two angry kids

Yeah I know we have never seen eye to eye
And I know we have had our falling outs
Still got lots of love for those early days
Looking back you know they saved our lives

Hey Waller, Thank you for the Benson and Hedges therapy!

So as the days go by
Remember Quincy
In the barbershop
Down in the hole
In the name of a hope
In the name of a prayer
Look at the whole gang
We're still making noise

Hey you, do you remember when
We were two angry kids
Hey you, do you remember when
We were two angry kids

Rebel Song

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

The strain of these times
Cuts right into our lives
These conflict days they kill
They wear us down
Blood stains the ground

The belt it has tightened
The green has gone thin
Recession speak is spreading
We hear the sound of fear spun round

They say to stay calm we know better
The rich staying rich the upsetter
Organize you working poor
What are what are you waiting for
Let's take a chance and tear it down
What are you waiting for
Come on along, roll with the strong
And kick this rebel song

We've battered and torn from going along
The pain of sacrifice runs over us
Who can we trust
This system it uses corrupts and abuses
Every person in it
For far too long
So much is wrong

They say to stay calm, we know better
The rich staying rich the upsetter
Organize you working poor
What are you what are you waiting for

Let's take a chance and tear it down
What are you waiting for
Come on along, roll with the strong
And kick this rebel song
Our time has come to rise above
This climate of defeat
Come rally round the people's sound
And kick this rebel song

Failure to quit will be our cry
The odds are tough but we must try
To take action do what we can
To take it back this is our land

Take a chance and tear it down
What are you waiting for
Come on along, roll with the strong
And kick this rebel song
Our time has come to rise above
This climate of defeat
Come rally round the people's sound
And kick this rebel song

Guns

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

We like to stress a lot
Never blow our top
That red light pace
Screaming in our bus
There goes the blood
Too cold tonight
On board a mother crys
Over a passing daughter
Spike in a line
Heartbeat not fine
Let's shock and go

Stray shots ignite this city
Into a casualty zone
Goodbye young girl, farewell cruel world
She's never coming home
Stray shots ignite this city
It's all so heartbroken and torn
Goodbye young girl, farewell cruel world

Keep it coming, keep it coming, keep it coming...
Don't stop

They got straps to go
Boston explodes
A gang will roll
Hummy hits the street
Spies the enemy
Shot gun that fool
O mercy look
It sniped a baby right off a mailbox
I guess they got it wrong
When are bullets right
Want to choke the night

Stray shots ignite this city
Into a casualty zone
Goodbye young girl, farewell cruel world
She's never coming home
Stray shots ignite this city
It's all so heartbroken and torn
Goodbye young girl, farewell cruel world

Keep it coming, keep it coming, keep it coming...
Don't Stop

"STOP"

Guns are indiscriminate
You know they take away
How many young kids do you think
They just took from us today
Hey NRA do you have a say
For the mothers of the world
Whose kids gun stole
Sending them too soon into a six foot hole

Keep it coming, keep it coming, keep it coming...
Don't Stop

No no more, No no more, No no more
No more guns

Kevin J. O'Toole

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

Pray as you rest on this night
As God, November, and Boston
Let you take flight
May you rest in peace
After you leave Albany Street
So much love you left to your family

Ten Milton open, coffee's brewing
Chewing the fat with me, so to speak
You worked a trade that put others first
You lived your life that way
Thanks for all the good advice
It saved

So to you I say

Tonight, tonight, tonight
We toast to you
With a deep respect for
All that you served through
O Kevin J. O'Toole
We'll raise them high
Knowing O so well
Your spirit could never die
Could never die

Braved Korea, snuffed out Big Red
Hey a first national cracker jack cut man
You watched out over St. Ann
Through her battles all the way
St. Peter set a table for you two

O i know it's true

Tonight, tonight, tonight
We toast to you
With a deep respect for
All that you served through
O Kevin J. O'Toole
We'll raise them high
Knowing O so well
Your spirit could never die
Could never die

Fourteen down in Peabody
Or fixing up the FIU
Running brigade, pipe and drum
Cooking for four hundred
In Florian

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
Til we meet again..
My dear friend

Tonight, tonight, tonight
We toast to you
With a deep respect for
All that you served through
O Kevin J. O'Toole
We'll raise them high
Knowing O so well
Your spirit could never die
Could never die

Will never...
Should never...
Could never...
Will never die

(Reverential Tone)

The General's Boombox

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

You were the razor edge poet
From a punk lost generation
Shaking off praise, so humble man
Shattering expectation
Your relevant right now
More so than you were yesterday

Seventy seven broke
Your voice came charging through
Was that changing of the guard
Bearer of a new flame
Begging what's my name
Who's to blame
We're under complete control
You taught us all when we were young
To be true to ourselves

You lit the fire in us
And we play on in your trust
A reluctant, poetic guttersnipe
Beyond images and songs
More than your memory carries on
As the general's boombox still plays on
As the general's boombox still plays on

You evolve with each new year
You always push for change
When you got called out
You stood your ground and kept it tight
Let the ragga drop
Act like a cop
When Bernie got in your head
You sacked St. Mick
Went on a walkabout and stayed true to yourself

You lit the fire in us
And we play on in your trust
You reluctant, poetic guttersnipe
Beyond images and songs
More than your memory carries on
As the general's boombox still plays on
As the general's boombox still plays on

I remember the cold December day
When I got the news
I will never forget, I will never forget

Found some guitars
Broke up bars
Chapter 11
Detroit stars

You boot it, you boot it, you boot to full

Can hear that angry spirit
In garages around the world
From amplifiers, barrel fires, eveywhere
They sing it on, won't forget
You're living on

You lit the fire in us
And we play on in your trust
We'll try to carry on the flame
Do you right boyo
And if you listen close enough
You can hear him in our songs

As the general's boombox still plays on
As the general's boombox still plays on

Elizabeth (feat. Heather Waters)

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me
Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me

She shuffles her feet
In that kitchen retreat
Victorian respite
Irish streets of gold
Far removed from her sod
Where they ran from an angry god
Then settled into
Triple stacked apartment row

Yes the husband came next
Then young children test
No doubt she cared so well
Fed an army of six
With Ol Harr im the mix
The patience of a saint

A virtuous woman
Bearer of the family flame
Elizabeth, Elizabeth
We honor your name

Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me
Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me

Told it was to that Harry
She had up and wed
But we never got to know him
'Cause the bottle struck him dead
Informed he carried that curse
So of us would know
So she waved goodbye to Hartland
Off to Romsey she'd go

Then the kids they have kids
Once again testing wits
She took it in her stride
Up until her last days
Steadfast in her ways
Inspiring to me

A virtuous woman
Bearer of the family flame
Elizabeth, Elizabeth
We honor your name

That virtuous woman
Bearer of the family flame
Elizabeth, Elizabeth
We honor your name

Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me
Sha-La-La
Sha-La-La
Shine on me

San Patricios

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

Two hundred Irish go into Mexico
To fight a battle of manifest destiny
Driven by their Catholic conscience
They chose to rise and do what's right
Joined up with the natives for the fight

Confused then torn by aggression
Born against a sovereign land
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios

Sick and tired of the anglo abuse of might
And of following orders from a bent U.S. regime
They joined ranks with the Mexican army
Red headed ones led by Johny Riley
When you stand behind your principles you never lose

Confused then torn by aggression
Born against a sovereign land
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios

Fight with Riley fierce and wild

Mirar aqui Rudy

Churubusco de el 72
No queridos en la corte marcial
50 colgados, 16 madriados
Portrados como trydores
Grito para ellos, grito para todos
Parados nunca calleron

So we celebrate Irish and Mexican unity
It was forged with blood during manifest destiny

Confused then torn by aggression
Born against a sovereign land
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios
Led by Riley fierce and wild
They paid the highest price

El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios
El battalion, El battalion de San Patricios

A State of Grace

Written By: Street Dogs (M. McColgan, J. Rioux, M. Hollar, T. Bean, P. Rucker) and Ted Hutt

Taken to skid row
Apocalyptic downtown
Wandered from Foley's Pub to this
Somebody gather me
I need a rescue mession
Push me out of harm's way and into help

I'm just searching for a state of grace
A king of nothing
I've been whittled away
Like a thief in the night
Rum crashes and steals you, No warning
I'm just searching for a state of grace
A state of grace

Cop cars and whistles
Those bold testimonials
Look at me screaming at the moon
Got hospitals and preachers saying
Son we can't reach you
I guess I don't know
How to ask for help

I'm just searching for a state of grace
A king of nothing
I've been whittled away
Like a thief in the night
Rum crashes and steals you, No warning
I'm just searching for a state of grace
A state of grace

What have i come to
Where am i going
These nights are wasted
And my days I'm throwing
Jesus I'm fallin
Do you hear me callin
I need a time out
From my own personal hell

A reprieve, a new chance, some immunity
Goodwill, maybe mercy
Could you give it to me

I'm still searching for a state of grace
I'm so tired of running this race

I'm still searching for a state of grace
I'm so tired of running this race

I'm still searching for a state of grace
I'm so tired of running this race

Discography

STATE OF GRACE - 2008
(Hellcat Records)

FADING AMERICAN DREAM - 2006
(DRT Entertainment)

BACK TO THE WORLD - 2005
(DRT Entertainment)

SAVIN HILL - 2003
(Crosscheck Records)