Dog Eat Dog is an American band originally from Bergen County, New Jersey. They began in 1990 as part of the hardcore music scenes of New York City and New Jersey.
With members now scattered through New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Europe, the band refers to themselves as being based out all three locations. They were one of the earliest bands to fuse hardcore and rap, a style that would later become commonplace.
They've achieved commercial success with singles such as "No Fronts", "Expect The Unexpected" and "Who's The King" - all showcasing their blend of hardcore, rap and saxophone.
Since their first album, the band's sound has evolved to incorporate elements of funk, ska and hip hop.
Dog Eat Dog is embarking on a 25th Anniversary tour throughout April and are appearing in London at the famous SCALA, we hope to be there to capture the mood and let our hair down (what's left of it...) for the evening. In the meantime, we caught up with John Connor (vocalist) and had a good chat about memories of starting out, touring with Biohazard and Woody Woodpecker, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We are an international traditional rock band with a non traditional approach to making fun
You’re called Dog Eat Dog, how did you come to choose this name?
by process of elimination
‘All Boro Kings’ was a huge hit back in the day, what do you guys remember from those days?
Of course, it was a thrilling time for us. Things were very different 20+ years ago. We were just beginning our journey. It was a lot of fun
You’re about to go out on your 25th Anniversary tour….does it feel like it’s been 25 years? What has kept (most of you) together?
Yes and no, time seems to go by much quicker now than it did 25yrs ago that’s for sure. Sometimes I think it’s the space we have given each other over the years but really it comes down to friendship and respecting what we can do collectively. We feel blessed to be able to bring people together thru the medium of music
I witnessed you guys live at London Astoria in 1996, Sugar Ray supported you, the Astoria is one of many music venues that are closing down, what is it about playing in venues such as the Astoria and clubs in Camden that you enjoy most?
Yes I remember those gigs (2 nights). London has a special place in our history. We gigged many of those old rooms and had a lot of free time to go out and socialize in that city. It will always be a special city to us. Probably my favorite venue we played in was Camden Palace. It reminded me of the ‘AC/DC video for “Thunderstruck”!
At one stage back in the 90s you seem to tour a lot with Biohazard what was that like and would you consider any future gigs with them?
Biohazard were friends of ours locally before either band left the NY scene so we had a great bond that was based on friendship not business. We had amazing shows back in the day with those guys (and other groups like Downset, Dub war, Madball) of course we would be up for doing gigs with them in the future!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer.
I have two dogs, my border collie is pretty smart but I’m glad he doesn’t sing. At least I know what I am getting with the dog. Gorilla? No thanks
If you could bring one musician back to life, who would it be and why?
Bob Marley. No question. His lyrics still mean the same today as they did in the 70’s. I am a big fan of him and his message. I would love to be able to see him play live
The sax and bass has just started on ‘If These Are Good Times’, are you aware of how your music affects your fans? (I’m listening to it whilst writing these questions)
We have the pleasure of connecting with our fans for 25 years and counting. Its amazing that people still give a shit about songs that we wrote 25 years ago but as a fan of music I understand completely as I listen to mostly older music myself.
Tell me a fascinating fact about one of the band members?
I drive a Zamboni when I’m not doing DED (for those of you like me who didn't have a clue what a Zamboni was (I thought it was a supercar), it's a machine used to resurface ice, predominantly used at ice hockey games or ice skating rinks)
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
I learned how to play “shake it off” (Taylor Swift) on ukulele because it's my 2 year old nephews favorite song.
Who designed the album cover to ‘All Boro Kings’?
Todd James aka REAS. Wiki him, he is a NYC artist/graphic artist who did all the original art for ABK. Our longtime graphic mastermind Kim Berlin (who did layout for ALL our records & most merch) did the layout. (We did WIKI him, you can read up on him HERE)
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
My parents – be yourself & whatever you choose to do in life, do it to the best of your abilities
On your album ‘Play Games’, RZA from Wu Tang Clan played on ‘Step Right In’ how did that come about?
Our lawyer was his lawyer and He knew that RZA wanted to work with a rock band, we were lucky enough to meet up and the vibe was cool so we arranged a studio session. Step…is the result. It was very cool & RZA is a talented guy. He was very hands on with the song. It's no fluke that he has consistently been at the top of his game for 20+ years
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 100 million copies.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
They used to do free rock concerts at the park in the summer in my hometown. It was just cover bands & stuff but some of the guys playing were older dudes I knew so it was fascinating but at the same time a reachable goal because I saw my peers doing it. I caught the bug right there & then. Never looked back
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Well as I said I'm not really the guy who is on the forefront of new music as I pretty much listen to older music BUT a few artist/records I discovered (maybe not new but new to ME) lately: J Roddy Walston & the Business, Phantogram, I really like the Riff Raff Neon Icon cd (very ambitious effort) and a plug for my friends from DC…Ex Hex
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
What are your plans for 2015? Any festivals confirmed yet?
Despite being a world famous megastar, we thought that it was only fair that we put John through the round of quickfire questions that every other interviewee has to endure, here we go....
Coffee or Tea?
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin or CM Punk?
Coke or Pepsi?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Zombie or Vampire?
Taco or Burger?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Live show or recording studio?
Car or Motorbike?
MMA or Boxing?
Acoustic or electric?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank John Connor for taking time out of his hectic social calendar to come chat to us, we wish the band every success on the forthcoming 25th Anniversary Tour and look forward to seeing them, rockin' on at their 50th Anniversary Tour in another 25 years time!
For more Dog Eat Dog information, please check out their website
Interview by Mark Wincott