October 11, 2014

Dr. Boogie Debut and EP Release

I’m not going to try and be diplomatic about this: go to this show. You do not want to miss Dr. Boogie’s debut and EP release show at El Cid, 9PM.

Dr. Boogie guitarist Dustin James’ long working relationship with the incendiary rhythm section of Jeff Turpin, on bass and Luis Herrera on drums has entered its ultimate form with the addition of lead-singer and guitarist Chris P. In essence, Dr. Boogie is what happens when musicians develop down-in-the-roots rapport for one another in the studio and in the jam room. (Dr. Boogie on Facebook)

Last week, The Dead Notes co-founder Trip Loon and I were invited to Dr. Boogie’s lockout to watch them perform their set. The first thing that drew me in was the simple matter of decibel levels; it was loud. The kind of loud that feels like a punch in the gut and a slap across the face. Now pepper those punches and salt the slaps with great riffs that call back to the riff maestros of the ages (simple and effective—you’ll know what I mean when you hear “Queen of the Streets” and “Personal Matter.”), tight and reactionary work in their grooving rhythm section and a vocal style that melds the harmonies of rhythm ‘n’ blues with the lung-capacity of arena rockers. As Dustin liked to put it, they want to be tighter than a crab’s asshole, and they are.

Dustin explains why it was important to have an EP ready before the band play their first show. “We’re selling a product.” So tonight, they’re not only debuting their set and performing their songs, but they’ll be promoting their EP and selling it at the show, along with merchandise. Trip tells me, though he’s been here a while, this is the first time he’s seen a band get shit done this fast and have all that ready on their first show. Hollywood bands, take note: step one – get shit done.

Turpin and Luis have worked together as a rhythm section for four years now and it shows instantly. The basslines are tight and articulate and they’re complemented by Turpin’s tub-thumb duck-strut. Luis reminds me of a cartoon octopus and gets me thinking “how the hell did he manage to fit those fills in the bar?” They’ll command your attention, rattle your brain a bit, move you and bring you right back down to where the beat falls. In essence, that’s what groove is all about. Like Chris put it, Dr. Boogie deliver the roll that keeps on rocking. Then, you feel the right jolts hit you with Dustin’s leads and riffs, built over Chris’ emotionally-arching chord changes. It was obvious to me that these songs were challenged continuously until they came to fruition. Dustin and Turpin have been working together for eight years now and all that experience gushes out of the amplifiers. Talk about chemistry—this band is like the lab accident that gave The Flash his superpowers.

Even the imagery has a lot to lend the listener: The final logo is a custom font and color-scheme indicative of the band’s attitude and sound, created in collaboration with Adam Turkel.

Though it’s easy to assume that a group of guys who’ve played together for almost a decade are going to sound great, Chris has been working with the rest of Dr. Boogie since their formation less than a year ago and he fits in seamlessly, like the frontman they’ve always needed to perform with an honest delivery, authentic to the band’s sound and style. It doesn’t hurt that his voice sounds like the drunken love moans of Bon Scott and the melodic rasp of Steve Marriott.

Believability is a big deal in this business. It’s also the hardest selling tool to market because it requires a very humble understanding of the individual characters in a band and what they represent as a collective. Some bands achieve this naturally by sharing a scene, or a childhood (think Sabbath) and others exploit made-up mannerisms. The most successful bands, however, exploit the hell out of their mannerisms and amplify their raw personalities in the public spectrum (think Stooges). Dr. Boogie achieve a visceral blend of both without pulling any stops.

With an EP ready for release—on pretty much every popular digital platform and CD—tonight and another in the pipeline, Dr. Boogie leapt over the hurdles that other bands spend years stumbling over. That’s not to say they don’t still have a lot of challenges lying ahead of them. (The rock ‘n’ roll scene is on the rise in some markets but it’s still a relative niche. Only a few bands, in recent years, have managed to break through into the mainstream market and sustain their success, while others fall into obscurity after their first major festival performance.) Keeping that in mind, Dr. Boogie’s name isn’t all jive and drawl. It has the appeal of a mad surgeon jumping in to perform heart surgery on the artform. Now, that might be saying much and the truth is that we won’t know if Dr. Boogie can deliver that until the amps get hot tonight.

But this isn’t a story about the industry or the artform. It’s about the dedication and realism that bands need to command the public’s attention with ideas and action. Dustin, Turpin, Chris and Luis have all had varying levels of success in the past with other projects but the reason we at The Dead Notes are excited about this debut goes back to the band’s self-actualization as individuals and how that translates to the pinpoint precision and tightness of, well, a crab’s asshole. (Listen on Reverb Nation)

Last night, Trip was telling me a story about a drunken conversation with the band. It took the ironically quiet Luis no more than a sentence to sum up why this band are going to fight tooth and nail to stay on the rise: “We don’t want to cut the butter with a kitchen knife; we want to cut it with a machete!”

Again, we’re not in the business of diplomacy here at The Dead Notes. We don’t like sugar-coating the truth either. So, you know where to be. Prepare for that sigh of relief after a cold shot of it’s-about-fucking-time.

Dr. Boogie go on at 11PM sharp Saturday 10/11 at El Cid. $5 cover. Doors open at 9PM. Go to the Facebook Event Page.

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