Dogstar orbits around music, not movie guy Keanu Reeves
He's the bass player but not the front man in a band he started with two other actors.
by Kendall Morgan
Dogstar is another name for Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It's also, rather coincidentally, the name of a band that features actor Keanu Reeves, one of the brightest stars in Hollywood.
But Dogstar differs from other actor-turned-musician projects such as Lou Diamond Phillips' Pipefitters and the late River Phoenix's Aleka's Attic in that Reeves is just a member of the group - and not even the lead singer.
"Keanu just loves playing bass,'' says guitarist Gregg Miller, who shares vocal duties with guitarist Bret Domrose and drummer Rob Mailhouse. "He's not the front man of the band, although he's the focus of the band. We're faced with that, but I've been doing (music) my whole life and Rob and Bret have been doing it for a while.
"We've had this opportunity, but it's not like we have this break and we don't deserve it. We feel that we can put on an entertaining show. Otherwise we'd just play in the garage for our friends.''
Dogstar, which launched its first national tour in Dallas on July 14, really did start in a garage. After a chance meeting at a supermarket and discovering a shared love of hockey, Reeves and Mailhouse started playing instrumental jazz and blues for fun. Once Miller was brought in from New York, the then-trio began to take the project a little more seriously.
"This started as completely just something for fun 3 1/2 years ago, and we didn't think it was going to attract that many people. Then a friend of ours said, 'Let's do a music video,' and it came out really cool and we started taking it a little more seriously.''
Once Domrose (a veteran of San Francisco punk band the Nuns) was added in 1994, the Dogstar sound was cemented. Miller describes the band as "definitely in the alternative category of music - it's toe-tapping music.'' In the past, Dogstar has done covers of Joy Division, Neil Young and Fugazi .
Mailhouse and Miller are also actors, so Dogstar deals with the time constraints of filming schedules.
"It's a little strange when we take a three-month break but I have other things going on,'' Miller says. "It actually works out perfect - when our schedules can meet, we can get together. I think without a doubt it's Keanu's favorite thing to do when he's not doing a film, so the day he gets back he wants to play.''