Lost Dogs Find A Second Home
CCM Magazine February 1994
by Bruce Brown
If you sat down and decided to organize a Christian rock "Supergroup," you might, at first glance, have picked more likely collaborators than Terry Taylor (Daniel Amos), Gene Eugene (Adam Again), Derri Daugherty (The Choir) and Mike Roe (77s), the four gents who make up Lost Dogs (along with former Ambrosia drummer Burleigh Drummond and steel guitar player Greg Kellogg). After all, Taylor is best known for playing eclectic alternative pop, Eugene's favors a cool urban funk approach, Daugherty's group leans toward atmospheric modern rock and Roe's band is a blues-based, Stone-influenced outfit.
So more than a few were surprised in early '92 when Scenic Routes
(the Dogs' debut) appeared, and the predominant influence was country. That led many to suppose that Taylor, who played country rock in the early days of DA, was the catalyst for Lost Dogs. But Daugherty says it was Gene Euegene who originally tried to organize the group. "Gene had spoken with each of us individually over the years about putting together some sort of 'one-shot' project for the fun of doing something different from our regular bands, but nothing ever panned out."
Daugherty says, "(The) commonality with country and gospel ended up being the ice-breaker. Mike's blues roots and Gene's love of soul encompassed both those styles; my father's a pastor and a big fan of Hank Williams as well, so I grew up on gospel and country, and of course Terry had had a lot of exposure to both country and gospel." Mike adds, "No one was more surprised than me that Gene turned out to be such a soulful country singer. But he's so good at whatever he sets his midn to, I really shouldn't have been shocked."
The recording process for both albums echoed the approach of an earlier era, when more attention was paid to feel and less to sterlized studio perfection. "Basically, we sat around in the lounge of the studio and tossed out songs that each of us had either completely written or at least started," says Roe. "That became such a comfortable way of doing things that we recorded ourselves 'live' in the lounge. We added real drums, percussion, violin, steel guitar and banjo, but the essence of the songs was the four of us singing and playing 'live.'"
Daugherty says that the way Scenic Routes
turned out was reward enough for the group. But the four were blown away when the album actually yielded a few hit singles. Still, says Roe, that didn't guarantee there would be a sequel. "I think we all knew we wanted it to happen again. But there was this sort of unspoken feeling that if the second session wasn't happening, we would chalk up Scenic Routes
as a fluke. Fortunately, we had even more fun the second time."
Roe's favorite moments on Little Red Riding Hood
include "our cover of (The Beatles') 'I'm A Loser
,' because that's another place where all our influences meet; [and] the 'Free At Last
' blues which was an unused 77s song the guys ad-lipped new verses to as we recorded it." But Roe feels his best contribution may be "Jesus Loves You, Brian Wilson
," a tribute to the troubled founder of the Beach Boys. "That was also a Sevens tune, but there was never an appropriate place for it. It gave me a chance to reach out to a big influence in my music."
Even though their legend looms large, the Lost Dogs have, at this writing, played less than a dozen live shows. Daugherty hopes that will change this spring. "If it's financially feasible, we actually might go out as each other's opening acts!"
Meanwhile, Daugherty and the Choir have just finished constructing a new studio in Nashville, Gene Eugene continues engineering and production in California, while preparing for an Adam Again album release and tour, Terry Taylor is finishing up both Swirling Eddies and Daniel Amos records, and Mike Roe is getting set to tour behind the forthcoming 77's album. Still, all four await the day when that special whistle inaudible to human ears sounds out, and the Dogs meet again.