The Screaming Bluedogs
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The Screaming Bluedogs

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"Here Come The Dogs"


With a style dubbed ‘electrolive,’ the Screaming Blue Dogs look to rock The House


The MidWeek took the opportunity recently to ask Chris Maring, the groups bass player, a few question. The following is his responses to a variety of questions about the band and its music.

Screaming Blue Dogs is a unique name for a band. How did you guys come up with it?

Kevin wouldn't let anyone leave the room until they agreed on a name, and The Bluedogs was one of the names floating around. It wasn't accepted at first, until some bladders began to give out. The "Screaming" was added when we did our first disc in 1997 and found there was another group with the "Bluedog" name.

Where did you guys first meet and decide that blues was what you wanted to play?

The band was formed by my brother, Kevin Maring (guitar) in 1990. I was playing in another band at the time, with the current drummer and singer. One by one, Kevin stole us back. We're honest musicians working hard to develop something legitimate in the electrolive style, rather than just cut and paste techno blues.

The bass plays a big role in the blues; what do you bring to the table for the Dogs?

The bass suits me well, I love to just sit back, close my eyes and groove with the music.

Who are your and the band's influences?

Firstly, all your standard blues influences...a small sample would include Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, J.B. Lenoir, The Three Kings (B.B., Freddie and Albert), Hound Dog Taylor, Otis Rush and on and on, more modern blues artists like R.L. Burnside are very interesting as well. Electrolive comes from combining those blues influences with bands like Crystal Method, and Moby, of course, who has done some great work combining those different styles We grew up on your standard rock and roll diet, and we've developed some pretty far reaching tastes which may or may not show up in a noticeable way in the music.

Do blues artists get as rowdy on the road as ... say ... rock and roll stars? Any strange stories from going on tour?

Drummers should not be allowed to drive--mainly we're trying to recover from harrowing highway emergencies and close calls, or to relax after a show. It would be unwise to go into too many details...

Do you think that the blues gets enough respect in today's music market?

It gets too much...it's been dead for 30 years, they use it to sell macaroni and cheese now. There's a lot of talent out there, and a very high caliber of musicianship, but the things that attracted us to the blues are all but gone, probably, forever – you don't learn to be Mance Lipscomb by sitting in front of your CD player learning riffs. The more you try and duplicate the unaffected stylings of the great blues singers, you only grow more affected yourself, which is why we are not in the least purists.

What's the key to a good blues song. Strong lyrics? Solid base line? Sweet guitar pickin'?

All of the above really, a great vocal helps too. Most of the truly great songs are ones that anyone can relate too, yet they carry the possibility of a deeper meaning. They don’t do this in a learned way, like some "literate" rock songwriters, but in an almost mystical way that really defies explanation.

What can the average person expect from a Dogs show?

We’ll play some music people know, and some that they don’t. We try and experiment a little and also try to be pretty loose on stage and have a good time, hopefully the audience does too.

Have you ever been to DeKalb before? If so, what's your opinion of it.

Not in a long time-I understand they know how to have a party-which works for us.

How many albums does the Dogs have?

We just put out our second disc, "Take What I Find.”
Do you have any strange references to the song "Who let the dogs out?" in any of your songs, concerts, etc. If so, does this anger you?

We thought about doing a bit of that for a laugh, but never got around to it. If someone did make reference to it, I’m sure we wouldn’t get angry about it.
- By Josh Albrecht, The MidWeek


Discography

#1 The Screaming Bluedogs (1998)
#2 Take What I Find (2002)
#3 Next Phase (currently in production!)

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Bio

For over ten years The Screaming Bluedogs have given Chicago area audiences huge helpings of Chess-style blues, colored by jazz and rock influences. Of late the band has been moving into the twenty-first century by adding modern dance beats and techniques to the traditional blues sound. In this way the group hopes to create new music, expanding the genre while remaining true to the traditions that inspired them, and continue to be their guiding light. The Screaming Bluedogs were formed in 1990 by guitarist Kevin Maring, who had already developed a commanding vocabulary on his instrument. The intention was not to exclusively feature virtuoso soloing, as so many have done, but to develop an ensemble sound, one capable of expressing many moods and styles, while retaining a consistent sound of it's own. Through several personnel changes this ideal has remained constant, as has the concept of a blues band not merely to party to, or to reproduce the great sounds of the past, but to express the frustrations of our technological, impersonal age. The band released it's self-titled debut CD in spring 1998 and garnered radio play from east to west coast and as far as Europe. Aside from several festival dates the band continued to play mostly in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, expanding their audience with each new date. The second album, Take What I Find, uses the innovations of performers like R.L. Burnside as a jumping off point, and it brings out a fresh, innovative approach to the blues, while not abandoning more traditional sounds. This infectious mix of styles has old and new fans of the band jumping out of their seats. With one eye on the past, and one on the future, the Screaming Bluedogs have much to offer, and would make an excellent choice for any engagement.