My introduction to the ENGLISH DOGS was in a family owned supermarket/deli in Montrose New York called Cole's Market. My brother and I would walk down there to get wrestling magazines and Yoohoo. Anyway there was this dude that worked there that always wore cool shirts, I remember he had a SLAYER 'Criminally Insane' shirt and that sparked up a little conversation, he was a bit older so I was always a little nervous. One day he had on a shirt that all it said on the front in big font was ENGLISH DOGS. I asked him who they were and he replied "a cool thrash band", simple enough.
A day or two later we were in the Music World or Record World or whatever it was called in the Westchester Mall and my brother bought a cassette copy of 'Where Legends Began'. Somehow, somewhere I traded him something for that tape, I was blown away by the 'DOGS and just couldn't stop listening to it. It was often my soundtrack for those late night drives home from my girlfriend's house who lived 40 miles away.
Awhile later I scored myself a copy of it on vinyl and gave the cassette back to my brother. Now I had the 'To the Ends of the Earth' / 'Forward into Battle' double CD and was a full blown addict of the eclectic blend of hardcore punk and thrash metal. Soon after I had a copy of 'Metalmorposis' in my hands.
The ENGLISH DOGS have always been one of my favorite crossover bands; never was much of a fan of the earlier punker stuff, it was ok but the metal stuff was worlds better! For Chirt's sakes...watch a few clips of the footage from the Olympic Auditorium and you will understand what I am talking about!
A few weeks ago my jaw bounced off my Vans and hit the floor when I saw that the ENGLISH DOGS were touring the US. Holy Fuck Batman! This rules! The punk version has been on these shores in some form in recent years as well as AT WAR but not this! Not the 'Forward Into Battle' lineup! Immediately I reached out them and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk with Adie about the 'DOGS and this tour! Read on...
ThrashHead: When, why and how did you join the band?
ENGLISH DOGS: I had been in a punk band called ULTRA VIOLENT who had played with the Dogs a few times and had recently left them when I saw an advert for a singer for the "English Dogs". I made the phone call got the audition and got the job.
ThrashHead: And when did Gizz Butt join?
ENGLISH DOGS: When I joined "Gizz" had joined a couple of months earlier. This was 1984.
ThrashHead: Was it Gizz that was responsible for bringing the metal influence to the band or was this a planned out progression?
ENGLISH DOGS: A bit of both really, "Pinch" had wrote the lyrics for 'To the Ends of the Earth' and Gizz brought that extra guitar. It seemed to just click into place very quickly.
ThrashHead: Who were some of the bands that influenced you at the time?
ENGLISH DOGS: Well, all the early thrash bands such as METALLICA, SLAYER, EXODUS... but we were also listening to bands like BLACK SABBATH and IRON MAIDEN at the time.
ThrashHead: How was the crowd response to the new sound initially? Did people take right to it or was there some push back?
ENGLISH DOGS: 'To the Ends of the Earth' went down really well with the punk audience, but when 'Forward Into Battle' came out it didn't really get the response we wanted in England, but in America it went fucking mental. I think there was an animosity to it over here and people were saying we had sold out. That couldn't have been further from the truth.
ThrashHead: With the change in sounds came a lyrical shift to more "fantasy" type lyrics. Who was mainly responsible for the lyrics and where did the inspiration come from?
ENGLISH DOGS: Pinch wrote most of the lyrics and myself and Gizz chipped in with some too. I think he had started reading books by Tolkein and authors like that and I think that just transferred into his songwriting.
ThrashHead: At this point did the band continue to perform any of the "pre-metal" material?
ENGLISH DOGS: Yeah definitely we were still doing the old crowd favourites like 'Psycho Killer' and 'Left Me For Dead'. We had a good mix of old and new which seemed to go down very well.
ThrashHead: As the sound of the band shifted did your peer group, the bands you hung out and gigged with change as well?
ENGLISH DOGS: Ummm.. yes and no. Nearly all our gigs we headlined and generally there were always punk bands supported us. We did play with 'VOIVOD' and 'POSSESSED' in London.
ThrashHead: With the 'Metalmorphosis' complete did you consider yourselves a metal band, a punk band or did it even matter?
ENGLISH DOGS: Well personally it didn't really matter to me. We were writing and performing the music we felt happy with and whatever genre people wanted to put us in that was up to them, I admit it was a lot more metal but it still had the punk roots, a crossover really that was where the term "metalmorphosis" came from as it seemed we were morphing into a metal band.
ThrashHead: How did the deal with Music For Nations come about?
ENGLISH DOGS: We were actually on a subsidiary of theirs, 'Under one Flag'. You know I am certain they approached us with a deal.
ThrashHead: This brings us up to the infamous US Tour...Who was responsible of putting that together or how was that organized?
ENGLISH DOGS: We just got a call one night from an agency asking if we would be interested in doing a USA tour. That was the Golden Voice agency, and of course we said yes.
ThrashHead: The Olympic Auditorium show in LA is a famous gig. What made that show so special and who were the other bands that rounded out the gig?
ENGLISH DOGS: Well...it was the biggest audience we had had played to and of course having bands like the UK SUBS actually supporting us was a big feather in our cap at the time.
ThrashHead: Beyond the LA show what were the crowd responses like and what bands did you play with on that tour? Were they primarily thrash and crossover bands or were there some hardcore punk bands in the mix as well?
ENGLISH DOGS: Everywhere we played on that tour the audiences were pretty amazing. I remember 'Fenders Ballroom' in Long Beach being absolutely mental. I for one loved every second of it. Hope it's going to be like that again this time! There were a lot of good punk bands like YOUTH BRIGADE but also decent thrash bands like HEATHEN so it was a good mix really.
ThrashHead: What memories do have of that tour? Any stories that stick with you to this day? Any absolute nutso anecdotes you want to share?
ENGLISH DOGS: There is a few Josh, but as you should know "what goes on tour stays on tour". But yeah we went to a house party in Baltimore after the last show and a couple of hours later a bloke just appeared in the house covered in blood. It turned out he had been robbed and stabbed at the house next door.
ThrashHead: You were one of the first dudes to ever sport the punk mullet (that I know of). Did you ever imagine that the punk or dread mullet would catch on as much as it has?
ENGLISH DOGS: Fucking hell Josh! Is this some sort of joke? That wasn't intentional it was just me who had grown a bit of long hair and then started going bald on top around the same time. Ha, Ha!
ThrashHead: Since the late 80's the English Dogs have gone through numerous line-up changes and transformations often confusing the fans with which faction to follow. There was even AT WAR, a different name but the songs were there. What are your thoughts on the last 15 – 20 years of the band, why so many changes and directions?
ENGLISH DOGS: I wasn't any part of that but the band has stood the test of time. I think there has always been somebody who wanted to keep the band going so I have never had a problem with it.
ThrashHead: The "punk" side of the band has been fairly vocal in their disproval of the upcoming tour. How do you respond to that?
ENGLISH DOGS: I had a feeling this might have been one of the questions. But the fact that they have totally dismissed these songs just about says it all really. I totally understand their views on this but this is not reciprocated. If they don't want to do these songs well that is just fine but I think there are thousands of people all over the world who would love to see these songs played live by the members who wrote them. I don't have an issue with what they are doing.
ThrashHead: There will always be naysayers that will question the integrity of any band reuniting (I on the other hand am stoked!). With that in mind what led to the decision to re-unite?
ENGLISH DOGS: It has been a long time coming, the question was put to me around 3 years ago now and naturally I said I would do it but we did agree on one thing and that was that we would only do it if there were 3 original members from that era, so finally the time has come for that to happen. There had been rumblings from the states for a while, wanting us to do this tour.
ThrashHead: As far as material what can the fans expect? Are you going to cover material from all of the "metal" albums ( 'Forward Into Battle', 'To the Ends...', 'Metalmorphosis' and 'Where Legends Began') or are you going to limit it to certain releases?
ENGLISH DOGS: We will be playing the whole of 'Forward Into Battle' which...by the way we have never done before, the whole of 'To the Ends of The Earth' and a track from 'Metalmorphosis'. That is the plan for now but this is not set in stone so it could change.
ThrashHead: Are there any plans to re-issue any of these titles?
ENGLISH DOGS: No...not that we know of.
ThrashHead: Where does the band go from here? Any plans to record new material?
ENGLISH DOGS: Well...All it is at the moment is the 'Forward Into Battle' tour, there are no plans to record new material.
ThrashHead: Will you guys look as cool as you did back in the day? I think that was part of the appeal, you all had a cool punk / metal crossover look. The videos from the Olympic Auditorium show are badass and again part of it was the look! I certainly don't have the hair or look as cool as I did 20 years ago!
ENGLISH DOGS: Well... Ha,Ha...I don't think any of that was meant. To be honest, we just dressed how we dressed that is it really. We didn't follow any dress code. It's just how we were.
ThrashHead: In closing what do you want the world to know about the ENGLISH DOGS?
ENGLISH DOGS: Good question that...one thing is for certain we are only doing this for the music...nothing else...the gigs are going to be fucking raging every night and everyone will know that the ENGLISH DOGS are back and on form! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN LETS GO FORWARD INTO BATTLE!
Have a listen to a couple tracks and view the gallery below.