Dogstar Has Its Day: Keanu Reeves' Band May See Its Debut Album Finally Released
by Melinda Newman
Dog Days of Summer: How does a group ever find time to make an album and tour when the bassist's day job includes making such hit movies as "The Matrix"? That's the challenge before Dogstar, the Los Angeles-based pop/rock band that features Keanu Reeves, as well as vocalist Bret Domrose and drummer Rob Mailhouse. The group's full-length U.S. debut "Happy Ending" comes out Tuesday (11). The first single "Cornerstore" went to radio June 12.
"Keanu is shooting another movie in August in Chicago, so we'll be based out of Chicago for a while," says Domrose. "That's kind of what it takes to make this band work. We'll pick up and relocate, and we'll do shows on the weekend."
As most of you know, the band has been kicking around for several years but has run into several spurts of bad luck. For example, Zoo Records, to which the band was originally signed, released a four-track EP from the band in July 1996 but decided not to issue its full-length album, "Our Little Visionary", later that year in the U.S. The album was, however, released in Japan and garnered the group a small following. As the band looked for another label, it eventually decided on Ultimatum Music, the record company started last year by the William Morris Agency, which books the band. However, the label decided the record the group turned in needed more work. "We thought it would come out in 1999 because we finished it in six weeks", says Reeves, "but the label said no. We kept working on it and made it better for the most part. It was worth the work, because you want your music to be heard.
And to be given a fair shot. Often seen as a vanity project for Reeves, Dogstar has had to work against that perception. "Having Keanu in the band has been a blessing in that we've had the opportunity to do a lot of things that other bands don't get (to do), but it's a curse in that the industry doesn't take you seriously," says Domrose.
For Reeves, the joy comes in playing the material live. "There's something that happens when Rob, Bret, and I are in a room," he says. "We really enjoy creating and working on music. It's fun to record the album and get it out, but really the thing that's driving us is the joy we have making music together."
Just back from a tour of Japan, the band's next gig is a July 13 stop at L.A.'s Key Club.