NME (UK), August 3, 1996

The Dogstar Man goes barking mad for it

You Cannot Be Sirius!

(Transcripted by EverythingIsMagic)

Exotic screen sex god KEANU REEVES is a tricky blighter. One minute it's all 'excellent, party on dude!', the next it's 'hey nonny no, forsooth...'. But now it's all thundering basslines down Mr 'Cool Breeze Over A Mountain's street as he picks up his bass for his rock combo DOGSTAR! GILL WHYTE harkens to his rocktastic tales of murder, drug abuse and some bloke called Bacchus. Sirius-ly, folks: DEREK RIDGERS

"Keanu Reeves, 31, movie hunk, Shakespearian actor, surf dude, box-office sensation, looks bizarrely bleary. All bloated and stubbly, distressed in dishevelled clothing, which looks as if, horreur!, it might just whiff a bit. Then again, this is a man who claims to have been "f---ing five birds and doing coke and heroin al night."

But woah there, members of the tabloid press and legal persons, there's more to this story - much more...

See, Keanu is in attendance at Glasgow's T in The Park with his rock 'outfit' Dogstar, playing their first British gig. Thus we find him in a modest hotel room attempting to prove his rock credentials to NME by fabricating a tale of wanton sexual and chemical indulgences. The jury is out.

Sunday, 6:20 pm, the NME tent. Bis have just wowed an excessively teenage audience into a frenzy of hairslide-popping disco mania. A few Bissettes remain, pushed ever further forward as the tent begins to swell with excitable females of every age clutching instamatics. Some are accompanied by scowling boyfriends seemingly determined to be unimpressed. A few hapless passers-by enter the fray. The place becomes rammed.

Then it happens. "AAAAAAAAAHHHH! KEE-ANN-OOOO!" A flurry of fluffy animals pelts down the stage. That'll be the sound man testing the mike, then.

So overwhelmed is the female contingent, that when Keanu and cohorts do actualy come onstage, the initial shrieks are intermingled with hushed swooning, concerted craning of necks and much popping of camera flashes. The girls, bless them, stay for a respectable few minutes, then depart contentedly, Hollywood hunkage forever theirs on film. By halfway through the set of abysmally average grunge pop/rock (including a horrifically faithful cover of Badfinger's 'No Matter What') there is so much cat-swinging room it's embarassing.

The band plod steadfastly onward. Keanu's lacklustre stage routine consists of static fret board watching and the occasional rock-nodding of head; his bass-playing competent if undynamic. And then the set ends, squib-like, with an obligatory, "You've been a wonderful audience."

THREE GUYS from LA, actors one and all, into Pearl Jam, probably. Two of them (Keanu and drummer Robert "Bob" Mailhouse) meet in a supermarket, start talking about hockey, play hockey together, start talking about music, meet up in Keanu's house for a 'jam.' Sometime later, singer and lead guitarist Bret Domrose--formerly of punk band The Nuns, whoever they are, and possesor of blond surf-boy good looks--joins them. They play local bars. A Dogstar is born.

"Yeah, after a while we were just like, "Hey! Let's go play a bar.' I'd never been in a band before," offers a laconic Keanu.

Hmmm. Can the explanation be so simple? A vague act of whimsy following a bit of a mess about round a mate's? Are Dogstar 4 real in a rock'n'roll stylee? Is Keanu just a beefcaked, airhead making a large prawn of himself in the name of vanity rock? So many questions... Let's go.

Sadly, however, there are two obstacles in the way of our quest for hot Keanu interview 'action'. Specifically, Bret and Robert, who seem determined to witter on endlessly about how they're "really into" Pink Floyd and how they're "exploring their emotions through music", and how Dogstar's 'art' lies midway "between Radiohead and the Foo Fighters" and oh dear the entire planet seems to have fallen asleep.

Time then, to get tough in an attempt to make the sleepy-eyed icon, like, converse. By a happy coincidence, Dogstar's first would-be single, "Honesty Anyway", has been dropped by the bands label, RCA, supposedly because the band are "unavailable for promotion". Which is strange, since right now they seem to be in a Glasgow hotel room promoting like billy'o.

OK, guys, so the single's arse, but you can still make gadzillions from all those drooling fans, so why not just release the f----er?

"You want people to hear the music, now it's like the horse before the cart, I suppose there's got to be a reason for it," bemoans a bewildered Bob. "The artist never understands the corporation, like why we're touring without an album, it's strange."

"It's very upsetting," Keanu concurs.

Blimey, the mighty screen idol speaks! Out loud! To us! Etc! So why all the silence? Well, obviously Keanu wants to be taken seriously as a musician. Thus he resolutely refuses, behind a facade of nonchalant calm, to answer questions of a non-muso nature. So having lulled Ke out of his stony state with our evident, ahem, interest in all-things strictly musical, we tramp ever onward.

You've already got fame and fortune, what's the bloomin' point of all this?

"To express and earn a living," drawls Keanu in mock sincerity. "I think what's important," he continues more earnestly, "and I always say this, is the music. We get a chance to create and perform and hopefully people come and hear it and dig it. And of course (singing) 'All we need is love', so it'd be nice if people responded to the music and dug it."

But, your audience is a bunch of screaming girls, they know arse-all except primitive sexual desire. Wouldn't you prefer a more gen-u-ine audience?

Keanu: "No, I'm glad that people sometimes come out and hear us play, for whatever reason. Sometimes it's disappointing if we get reviewed and they don't review the music, it's just like, 'Oh, man."

Enough of the heartfelt twaddle! Do you or do you not rock?

"We're too old for that Keith Moon stuff," reckons Bob. "We're not like 18, running around in a van doing whippets....not the dogs! Well, we drink beer, play poker. We're a silly group. I mean what is that rock'n'roll thing?

"Indulgence," slurs Keanu tetchily.

"It's not good to feel crappy all the time!" observes Bob.

Keanu: "That's why you just keep drinking, hur hur." (A joke, a joke, Keanu made a ruddy joke!)

Oh come now, you must have participated in a few acts of rockness?

Bob: "I once broke a pencil in my room!"

Keanu: (Annoyed) "Put on a really good show."

"I swallowed a goldfish," announces Bob by way of light relief and a little surreality.

Bret: "Oh, you've asked a boring band. (Thinks) I once had to change my hotel room 'cos I didn't like it...Oh, hang on, I smashed a guitar once."

Bob: "Yeah, but that's not a rock thing. You were just pised off with the guitar."

Keanu: Yeah, but that's what it's about. A show thing."

Bob: "No, it was a legitimate non-show thing. Like, 'This guitar is a piece of shit, I'm going to smash it up so I never have to see it again."

Brett: "Yeah, that and the show was going really badly."

Keanu: "So you could get offstage?"

Bob: "Then the Bon Jovi guys (they supported Jon and the boys on tour earlier this year), like, ran down (mock sobbing), 'You've dented our stage!'"

Keanu: (More sobbing) "'I could trip and hurt my caboose!'"

The Jovi thing wasn't too good then?

Bob: "We never had a soundcheck. Nothing worked. It was very difficult. You don't know what's gonna happen...

Keanu: (Hollering in mock panic-stricken terror) "Like today's gonna be! We have no idea! WE'RE GONNA STEP ONSTAGE... and not know anything, 1-2-3-4...(affects catatonic expression)."

Bob: "We're a bit nervous, 'cos they're videotaping every show we do."

Keanu: "Yeah but they're gonna be at the back right? I'm not having a f---in' camera on a crane with the director, like, going, 'Cut' every two minutes. No, no, no I'm not gonna let that happen. I don't want no f--- in' camera onstage. They can go at the back and do a little f--in' wide shot."

Any other fears for the day we should know about?

Keanu: "Shunned! We'll be shunned! All alone in our Dogstar cubicle."

"We'll get what we deserve," chips in Brett stoically.

Keanu: "What does that mean, man? 'I'm already guilty' said the Catholic boy!"

Bret: "I heard a rumour we're gonna have a party with Oasis in the next couple of days, maybe something huge is gonna happen. So, y'know, we may finally have a good rock 'n' roll story to tell."

A fight with Oasis maybe?

Keanu: (Exploding) "Look man, it's about the music... THE MUSIC. MUSIC. NEW MUSIC EXPRESS (sic). MUSIC. (Really not very happy) When are you gonna talk about the, er, what is that, the er, bottom line of self abuse? Or, er, anger, pain in music, in the creative act? Then we could speak about that maybe: masochism and creativity or, er, hate and the psycho motive, the Bacchanalian and Dionysus influences in music. (Side note: I'm going to go a little Beavis & Butthead here and say he he, he said psycho motive. It seems there's a lot of that going around. Don't mind me, like I said I'm on cough medicine and obviously bouncing off the walls. - EverythingIsMagic)

Oops! The New 'Music' Express has once again done what it does best: upset one of the most famous people in the world. Best to ask him about drugs then. Er, take many?

"Oh, like we're gonna confess we do drugs and have indiscriminate sex," he explodes once again. "Look, OK, we're just not 'fessing up to it, but we are in fact morally bankrupt. OK? OK? You want it? YES! OK, you got it. We're naughty. OK!"

Bret: "What's morally mean?"

Keanu: "It's a mushroom....(Going off on one) Hey, but anyway when we're in London, do you know anywhere we can scroo... Where are your girlfriends, the white women and needles?!"

(side note AGAIN: A mushroom!! ROTFLMAO - EverythingIsMagic)

Bob: "I know something rock that happened. Keanu and our manager had a punch fest to see who could hit each other the hardest...."

Keanu at this point does a very curious thing: gone is the laid-back is-he-or-isn't-he as thick as shit mystery, instead blazes into an astonishingly mercurial soliloquy:

(Affecting an Ealing Broadway murder mystery accent) "After f---ing these five birds and doing coke and heroin all night I woke in the morning, I drank my own mini-bar, then started on my own piss and blood. Then I found out one of the girls was dead, another girl woke up screaming, so I punched her out and then the police came to the door, they shot me in the leg as I tried to strangle the constable.

"I've had my blood changed recently. I feel quite good..."

Uh-oh, Keanu Reeves has quite literally gone pop.

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