OK, he's Keanu Reeves, but in Dogstar he's just the guy who plays bass
by Linda Laban
If Dogstar were an ordinary, average power-pop, garage-punk trio . . . "You wouldn't be talking to the drummer and the bassist," concludes the bassist, speaking by phone from Dogstar's tour stop in Vancouver, B.C. (The band plays here tonight, with Silver Jet and Chaser, at DV8; 8 p.m., 206-628-0888.)
"Bret would be the only one you'd be talking to," says Dogstar's drummer.
"I can't wait," says the bassist. "Bret can't wait either," he jokes.
Bret is Bret Domrose, Dogstar's somewhat overshadowed singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Overshadowed mainly by the bassist - one heart-throb actor named Keanu Reeves.
The drummer, Rob Mailhouse, who did his time in the archetypal bodice-ripper soap opera "Days Of Our Lives," is also an actor but not such a high-profile one.
And then there's the accountant
Next to these Hollywood scenesters Bret's sideline in accounting seems a little at odds, not to mention very unrockstarlike.
"I didn't quite make it to becoming an accountant, but I was on my way," Bret had explained earlier in the conversation. For 10 years he has been playing in bands and, despite the drummer and the bassist commanding the only two phones in the room right now, Dogstar is the happiest experience he has had. It's just less uptight.
"Right now what's going through Bret's mind is: Why are you talking to the bassist?" jokes Keanu, but really he agrees. Since the band started playing shows in 1995, Keanu has done his utmost not to be the focus of the media's attention. In that he has failed. Dogstar's press clippings say little about the wholehearted guitar pop on Dogstar's debut full-length CD, "Our Little Visionary," and a lot about the bassist.
"It could be anyone there! Who cares about the bassist?" Keanu groans. If this were an ordinary average band . . . "I wouldn't even have to do press. I could be back in my hotel room," Keanu dreams, but he doesn't sound that worried about it. Mostly, all three members are very lighthearted about Dogstar's fame.
Where are the hits?
"Hey Bret, will you write a hit so we don't have to do this?" pleads Rob.
"He's working on it right now," says Keanu.
Right now, Dogstar's lack of hits is likely due to its having no record label. It's a complicated story, one best left at: The band hasn't found the right label with the right attitude yet. (As in, one that will market the songs and not the bass player?) Dogstar is selling CDs at gigs and on the Net.
"I hear we've sold a couple records," deadpans Rob. Earlier, Bret had joked about how little accounting he has had to do concerning Dogstar's royalties.
The current tour has been a long one; 50 dates over the past couple of months. Seattle is on the home-run down to L.A. to finish the tour at the House of Blues on Aug. 4.
"We don't really have a plan," says Keanu. "We're just gonna get back home and see what happens."
Whether the band will land a record label is also up in the air.
"I have no idea," says Keanu, unconcerned. For now, for an ordinary, average band, as Rob says, "We're doing pretty good."