Street Dogs interview at Groezrock 2009 with Johnny (bass)
OOS: “Mike was the previous front man of the Dropkick Murphys, he’s a former veteran and a fire fighter. How has this all influenced the beginning of the Street Dogs?”
Johnny: “Actually when the Murphy’s where together and I used to be in the Bruisers with Al, now the singer of the Murphy’s, the Bruisers and the Dropkicks used to play a lot of shows together. When Mike stopped doing the Murphy’s so that he could be a fire fighter we started playing music together just as fun. Than we stopped for a while, we didn’t call it the Street Dogs at the time he left the Murphy’s.
A few years later we decided to get the Street Dogs going. Mike had been a fire fighter for a couple of years and I was working for a music management company and we started playing songs. The songs that came out we’re kind off real life experiences that we’ve been through. I think the ones that really were imported to people are the experiences he had when he served and when he was on the department. There are a lot of fire fighters in his family so it has heavily influenced our music.”
OOS: “The Street Dogs have a lot of social and political inspired songs. Now that Obama is the new President of the USA. How will this influence the song writing of the Street Dogs? Do you think it is going to be better?
Johnny: “We always champion for the working class and we champion for people that aren’t as fortunate as others and I think there will always be people like that. We never really tried to be overly political preachy. Our heroes were always like the Clash who did more of a social commentary, by writing about what is going on around you, it comes across as political and that is what we do.
When they are talking about closing down Guantanamo Bay and about bringing the troops home, there is going to be a whole new list of issues to deal with: getting the veterans home, giving them a job, taking care of them, …
So long as you are dealing with a society, a culture that is run through greed, money and things like that, the people that always get fucked in the end are always going to be the working class and the people that aren’t as fortunate as the wealthy.
OOS: “A lot of Boston bands like the Murphy’s sing about the working class and about the Union. Is the Union something that is very alive in Boston?
Johnny: “Definitely, at least where we’re from there would be no week-ends, there would be no paid holidays, there would be no medical benefits, … It is different in our country because the government don’t give anything, you have to work for it.
In a lot of corporations, in a lot of companies, if they had the chance they would not offer this types of things but because of the labour movement they can organise these things for the worker.
I know that in some cities the labour movement is not as strong as it is in Boston. It is past on from generation to generation. What you see in other cities is that the labour movement is getting as greedy as the companies so there is no balance. For the most part what we see is that our fathers and grandfathers are teaching us how to do it.”
OOS: “Back to the Street Dogs. You played Groezrock 3 times before, do you like playing here?
Johnny: “We love it, for us, we are not big fans of a lot of mainstream music so … this is a very special festival because its got many different kind of bands … I don’t know …it is great and every time we do it, it is better then the last. We always have a good time here. In the US we have the Warped Tour and that is not as fun as this festival.”
OOS: “You had to delay the European Tour except for Groezrock. How come?”
Johnny: “We got an offer to do a tour in the US with the Offspring. We played to a lot of different people in the United States but we never played to this type of audience. Whenever there is an opportunity fur us to take the social messages and the messages of our music to a younger audience, we always go for that.
When the European Tour was booked and a lot of tickets hadn’t really gone on sale yet, we thought that the best option would be to postpone it to October, take a good package with us and try to make something really cool in Europe.”
OOS: “How did you teamed up with the Offspring?”
Johnny: “I have no idea. It really surprised me because the Street Dogs have always been a band that does everything ourselves. Only in the last year we singed to Hellcat and before that we build up our audience and our fan base all on our own. So the idea that a band like the Offspring or the people that book them even heard of us or know who we are is strange.
Our booking agent called us and told us that the Offspring would like to take you on tour. At first we didn’t know if we should do it. But again when there is a platform for us … we never change our sound or who we are or what we do … but when their is a opportunity to expose ourselves to kids that usually listen to a lot of shitty music we take it.”
OOS: “Is there still something you want to achieve with the Street Dogs?”
Johnny: “Yeah, to be honest we have never really achieved what we wanted to in Europe. We never really had label support. You never really been able to get our records and we have 4 records out. European kids have to get in on import or download it, so what we really want to do is keep working hard in Europe.”
OOS: “In Boston there must be something in the water because a lot of good bands come from Boston.”
Johnny: “Yeah, people say that sometimes and I agree. I always had a lot of pride in the city and the music scene. We have great clubs and a great punkrock scene. It is funny because you have people on the streets who do what they do like Slapshot and the Dropkick Murphys and you got bands from the streets that do something different like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and then you got bands that started in college like the Pixies. There is a lot of support for Boston music in general. We have a very supported music scene, a very supported radio station, and a newspaper that is very supportive. It means something being a musician in Boston. The problem is that a lot of Boston bands can’t tour. We are one of the few bands out of the new bands that constantly tour. It is so hard to do nowadays, especially for punk rock bands. It is really difficult because punk rock is not what it used to be but there has always been a very supportive scene in Boston. I’m proud of being a part of it.”
OOS: “Thank u for the interview.”