The Times Union, Albany, NY (US), November 17, 1996

The big star in Dogstar is bassist Keanu Reeves

(Previously published on November 17 as a longer version under the title 'Keanu's Just a Boy in the Band')

Paul Freeman

Usually a band's vocalist, guitarist or primary songwriter receives the bulk of the attention. In the rising rock trio Dogstar, Bret Domrose capably fills all three roles. Yet it's the bass player who inevitably finds himself in the spotlight. He's a fellow named Keanu Reeves. "I've still managed to maintain much of my anonymity," Domrose chuckles. "It's kind of nice, actually. I don't feel deprived by any means. I feel that I get my share."

"I see the things that Keanu deals with," Domrose continues, "and I wonder if I'd be happy if I had to handle that all the time. If he wanted to meet with the fans after a show, there would be mayhem. It's weird."

Reeves accepts his fame with a shrug. "It's not always that extreme," the actor/musician says. "It's flattering. But I would like to be able to go out and go my own way, and sometimes I can't." Certainly Reeves' cinematic celebrity has led to opportunities for Dogstar that would have other bands panting with envy.

But it also has prematurely placed the trio in pressure-packed situations. There was no chance to develop invisibly. "The band," Reeves says, "in its innocence, has sometimes jumped into things. Our first show as a three-piece was opening for Bon Jovi at the Forum in Los Angeles. That was just crazy." He laughs and continues, "But we did it and did pretty good. We threw caution to the wind and just went for it."

Drummer Rob Mailhouse remembers another early gig, opening for David Bowie. "We were really nervous. We probably shouldn't have been there. But Bowie was so gracious to us. We all ended up having a great time."

Despite rushing into major venues, the band took it's time about recording. The debut album, Our Little Visionary (Zoo Entertainment) deserves to make a big impact. The power of Domrose's edgy pop is maximized by Ed Stasium's production. Stasium has worked with such bands as the Ramones, the Smithereens, Talking Heads and Soul Asylum.

"I think the album is surprising a lot of people," Domrose says. "We were really careful not to record or release anything before we were ready. We waited until we had 100 percent confidence from all three of us. I think that comes across in the music." Though Reeves has had fun on stage with Dogstar, he has no plans to abandon acting, his primary artistic love.

He is scheduled to begin shooting Taylor Hackford's The Devil's Advocate this fall.

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