“Public Warning: Do not, I repeat DO NOT go on tour with the band Sleeping Dogs. They will: lock you in a van and drive you to strange and sunny places (it’s winter in Wellington, wtf?); shine crazy lights in your eyes while you’re trying to play; provide you with an attractive and helpful crew to make you feel bad about your own shortcomings and lack of personal hygiene; make you eat oysters whilst sitting in duck poo on a riverbank in Wairoa; give you fucked-up sleep patterns; put earwigs of beautiful music in your brain so you can’t sleep anyway; call you rude names like “eccentric”, “hot” and “button-nosed”; make you laugh until your face melts off (ouch); and finally, have the MOST fun you’ve ever had and probably ever will in your pathetic, humdrum excuse of a life. It was HELL people. We were totally spoilt and will never, ever recover from it. I instruct anyone with a conscience to “like” the Sleeping Dogs band page just so you can keep an eye on the insidiously clever and unhealthily talented behaviour of this band, who are going to be HUGE globally and will affect the minds of small children if we don’t do something about it now. They’ve obviously made a pact with the devil to come up with songs like Death of a Muse or Natalie (Get out! GET OUT OF MY BRAIN!!!), and must be destroyed. I dare say we’ll have to take one for the planet and tour with them again sometime to attempt just that – they appear invincible, but if there’s a weakness somewhere, we will find it. Oh yes, we will.”
- Monroe NZ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: This Autumn, Sleeping Dogs are on the road again, with a 15-date, two-month long tour of the country. This follows a hugely successful last twelve months for the band; in 2012 they completed their latest album, Death of a Muse, with veteran producer Greg Haver, and completed their first ever international tour of the UK and Europe.
This latest run of shows precedes the inevitable burst of creative activity as Sleeping Dogs, never ones to be let lie, embark on the recording of another album, with returning producer Haver, to capitalise on the success of their previous year’s efforts.
Catch Sleeping Dogs, plus local support artists, in April and May 2013, before they disappear to make their next masterpiece.
Death of a Muse
is available here
, and through iTunes.
Thurs 11th – Palmerston North, Royal Hotel
Fri 12th – Napier, Cabana
Sat 13th Gisborne, Smash Palace
Thurs 25th – Mapua, The Playhouse
Fri 26th – Takaka, Roots Bar
Sat 27th – Kaikoura, Strawberry Tree
Fri 3rd – Arthurs Pass, Bealey Hotel
Sat 4th – Fox Glacier, Cook Saddle cafe & Saloon
Thurs 9th – New Plymouth, The Mayfair
Fri 10th – Auckland, Juice Bar
Sat 11th – Dargaville, The Funky Fish
Thurs 16th – Timaru, Barkode
Fri 17th – Invercargill, Tillermans
Sat 18th – Wanaka, Opium
Thurs 23rd – Wellington, Mighty Mighty
Thurs 30th – Christchurch, Dux Live
Fri 31st – Lyttelton, The Wunderbar
Last week I was abruptly awoken from a deep slumber by a loud knock on my front door. Stumbling down the stairs in a pair of shorts while pulling on yesterday’s t-shirt, I opened the door to find two huge men in black suits sporting impeccably polished Wayfarer sunglasses. They were identical in their emotionless expressions, but differed slightly physically. The taller man on the left had the sort of face that could be attached to the handle of your grandfather’s axe and used to hew down 100-year-old pine trees. The man on the right had a protruding jaw muscle that betrayed his childhood tendency to eat the crayons, rather than use them for drawing. The tightly fitted suit jacket around his giant arms further strengthened my assumption that he was there for forceful encouragement, and not for talking.
I stood, blinking in the little sunlight that managed to squeeze through the minuscule gap between their shoulders.
‘We have come to take you to Sleeping Dogs HQ’, said the taller man. He had a voice that could cut diamonds. The silent one on the right turned around and gestured towards their car – an Aston Martin Vanquish.
They wrapped a blindfold around my eyes and led me into the car.
We arrived an indeterminate amount of time later. Disoriented, I was led up some steps and into a cooler area, where my blindfold was taken off. A stunning sight greeted me. There were scores of supermodels in varying states of undress all around me. After my eyes adjusted, I noticed that there seemed to be particular groups of women assigned to different tasks: all the redheads were serving red wine, all the blondes were serving white wine, all the brunettes were holding trays of cuban cigars and oddly, several albinos were carrying kilo bags of pure, uncut cocaine. After absorbing this startling sight, and upon receiving a Merlot from a passing redhead (it was only polite), I began to wonder if I was in Fendalton. The unmistakeable aroma of Botox, denial and stretch marks was wafting over from the surrounding properties – a musing that I uttered, without thinking, out loud.
‘Well, you’re right!’
Thomas Reid, vocals and piano, had entered the room.
‘You know Alex, it’s rather ironic really’, he said, shaking my hand.
‘All these beautiful women around and I’m not drinking this month!’
‘Why’s that?’, I replied.
‘Because it’s February, don’t you know? It’s the shortest.’
This statement struck me as so efficiently obvious that I was rendered mute for a moment.
‘Why don’t you come through to our pool? We’re conducting vocal harmony practice in the water, much more relaxing that way!’
Thomas lead me through a beautiful brick arch covered in roses and out into the cool shade of the yard, where the rest of the band were firmly ensconced in the water.
As I settled down at last for our interview, Jay Arthur, drums, was splashing around with his water wings on as only a drummer could. Rocky, the bassist, was going through his melody lines, alongside Tony Pantera, the guitarist. All three were wearing Wayfarer sunglasses. It seemed to be a trend.
Thomas slid into the pool with effortless grace. ‘You know’, he offered, carelessly sipping an orange juice, ‘I find it interminably dull rehearsing at the studio all the time. Yeah, sure, it’s got some of the world’s best audio gear available to mankind, but I find if I really want to connect with my bandmates’ – he gestured over to where Jay, Rocky and Tony were now singing together – ‘there just isn’t anything to compare to a pool party with heaps of beautiful women, booze and mountains of coke!’
Tony, followed by the others, began to swim over to where we were sitting. ‘Hi Alex’, he said, and shook my hand. Tony is not only the guitarist of the band. He also has the dual role of the spiritual leader; the man who keeps everyone grounded when the heavy excesses of fame and fortune become too much.
‘Since we got back from Europe in November’, he mused, ‘it’s just been crazy. Fan mail. Parcels. Little postcards that sing when you open them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been trying to practice guitar and one of the little bastards topples over from the sheer volume of my playing and happens to land, open, on the kick drum microphone. I’m telling you, if I ever hear “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” again from those shitty little piezo-electric speakers I’m going to -’
‘Bass’. Rocky interrupted Tony’s Buddhism-influenced speech. ‘I play bass’. Rocky was looking at me with a benevolent smile and rather dilated pupils. ‘I have a Roger Waters Fender P Bass’, he began to say, when he toppled, face first, back into the pool. He didn’t resurface. ‘GUARDS!’ Jay yelled, with a weary tone of familiarity.
The two thugs who had earlier during the day escorted me to Thomas’ villa came running from wherever dark place they reside, picked up Rocky, and carried him out of sight. I decided to follow him, while Jay accompanied me.
‘Normally it’s not Rocky who goes overboard on the hookers and coke’, he explained, ‘but we had a great practice yesterday and he came up with some brilliant riffs. He started drinking last night and has been talking about playing bass guitar ever since.’
I followed Jay into a softly lit room, on the other side of the house. The cackling of the supermodels was barely audible. The guards had disappeared, having brought Rocky back to consciousness.
‘What happened?’, he asked, gratefully accepting a glass of Chablis from a well-endowed blonde.
‘Oh, just the usual, a Level 4′, Jay explained. I asked what the other levels were while Rocky drained his glass.
‘Well, there’s your usual Level 1 Rock’n'Roll State of Existence. You know, writing songs, practicing them, performing them in pubs. After that, there’s Level 2, when you begin to get quite good shows, a few albums under your belt and a tour overseas. Us on a bad day is Level 2. After that, there’s Level 3. All the good stuff of before, plus a healthy measure of partying at hotels with people you met at the show. You know, you finish the gig and and stay up until 7am ordering ridiculous things like boiled spinach from room service.’
Jay flicked the ash from his cigar onto the carpet.
‘Then there’s Level 4, which is our usual cruising level, where we have to have medical staff on hand at all times because we’re always partying.’
‘Is there a Level 5 Rock’n'Roll thingy?’ I asked, fearing the worst.
‘Level 5 Rock’n'Roll State of Existence’, Jay corrected me.
‘Oh yes, we’ve reached that a few times. The last time was when Thomas had found this particular harem of albinos – I swear I don’t know where he finds them – whose main attraction was that their external labia were perfectly suited to snorting great big lines of coke from. Everyone got so involved in the process, we reached a Level 5 without even trying. It was chaos! Tables were thrown, the pool was drained and filled again with jelly and M&Ms – no brown ones though – and I’m pretty sure there was even a sheep and a couple of chickens wandering around. It was lucky our staff were already at their usual Level 4 readiness, because by the time that party was over we all had to be helicoptered to Wellington for detoxification.’
I sat with Rocky for a while, digesting this information, while Jay finished his cigar.
‘You know’, he puffed, ‘I freaking love this band.’
We have now had enough time to get over our jet lag and hangovers, and process the amazing trip that was the European tour 2012.
After having been to Los Angeles, survived an attack by a drunk Canadian pash-rapist, and explored Venice Beach so that certain people could get their license to smoke pot in California, we arrived in London for our first show which was on the 18th of October. That day we had just taken delivery of the giant double-decker, 12-bunk tour bus and were now well prepared to party in style. The show was great; Sleeping Dogs closed the night’s entertainment to a spellbound crowd of Londoners, all of whom were happy to leave the show with their appetites for rock and roll whetted. Our favourite producer, Greg Haver, came to the show as well!
After the show we got on our giant bus and drank the way to Liverpool for a day off before we headed to Dublin – liver training time! If anyone reading this ever ends up in Liverpool, watch out for the local girls. They all seem to horrendously overdose on fake tan; at night-time you could be forgiven for braking for an orange light if one of them walked past.
Anyway, back on track, we headed for Dublin on the Holyhead ferry from Wales (after a quick detour via an 800-year-old castle), and by that evening we were setting up our show in one of those classic old Irish pubs, in a fair city where the girls are pretty.
We smashed the gig right out of the stratosphere; in the face of adversity overcoming a horrifically under-powered sound system to impress the locals once again. We also managed to play loudly enough to drown out a rival singer-songwriter playing downstairs – that’s how it is done. The Dubliners finished with, we headed North through the night, hopped on the Belfast ferry and arrived in Scotland the next day.
Scotland was true to form; the day started off sunny and by the time we had arrived in Edinburgh we had to almost attach ropes to each other and form a line to get through the mist. With visibility poor, we decided to use this free evening to our advantage and go to a Scottish pub, as one doesn’t need one’s eyes to drink. The Voodoo Rooms is a beautiful venue with high ceilings and chandeliers, and we had an awesome time playing there! It was pretty cool knowing that we had more gear than a certain other Kiwi band who had preceded us.
We hit the road again that night to arrive in Liverpool for our long-awaited show at the legendary Cavern Club. This, of course, is where every classic British band has played since (and including) the Beatles. The crowd loved the music, and it was an awesome experience being in a place of such musical history. It must be from all the experience, because the usual underwear being thrown by the swooning females was particularly accurate at this show.
We left Dover for France the next morning and arrived in Paris by 2 PM. What a country! The language barrier is slightly intimidating at first, but one soon realises that they know what you mean when you gesticulate heavily at the wine behind the counter.
We travelled through some of the most narrow and crowded streets you can imagine, to play our final show on the banks of the River Seine in a venue called Cafe La Cigale. Sleeping Dogs provided a final-night, all-out, bombastic musical extravaganza that will stay with the locals for a long time! Thomas belted out his vocals with accurate ferocity, Rocky held down the groove, Tony melted people’s faces with his guitar solos and Jay’s arms became invisible with the force of his drumming.
Au revoir! Until next time…
We are a little over a week away from leaving on a jet plane to the other side of the world to bring our music to the European masses. Excitement is mounting here at Sleeping Dogs HQ, and preparation is the word of the day. Practices are taking place nearly every evening, after which must always come the late-night liver-training sessions at The Monday Room.
A rock band is just like a sports team. Only when all the players are fighting fit from months of training – in terms of music and drinking – can they succeed in their task of producing flawless musical performances for the discerning listener. Therefore, upon our arrival on foreign soil for the first time, Sleeping Dogs must get all the variables right to make an impression the Europeans will never forget.
What will happen? from Jay’s fear of flying, to certain people’s irrational fear of body cavity searches, I will be documenting the trip as we make our way across the world. Stand by for some great stories.
For information on which shows we are playing, check out our tour page. Each poster links to the Facebook event.
For all our major past and upcoming shows, you can now view their respective gig flyers on our new tour page. New tour flyers are added as soon as they are available!
Last week, we debuted our new single Death of a Muse to rapturous applause on Facebook! The song is available as a free download off our Reverb Nation profile. Enjoy!
Things are going very well in Sleeping Dogs camp. We now have six shows confirmed in Europe, and it is beginning to look like a liver-bending, ear-assaulting tour de force of excellent music, with a show just about every second day as we wend our way across three different countries and two continents. The civilised hemisphere won’t know what hit it…