In this day and age, you can consider yourself lucky to be in one band that is recognised. ToP DoG, Loren Molinare has been in a successful rock band and is currently playing his punk band The DoGs, to an underground fan base in Japan, where they previously played in 2007 after they found that 28 punk bands were having dog days and had put together a cd called Doggy Style, on Future Now Records, featuring nothing but The DoGs songs! “Who knew, a tribute to ThE DoGs?” exclaims an illuminated Molinare.
The box set is out now under the name Doggy Box containing Doggy Style +Live LA to Tokyo+ and the new The DoGs Unreleased; lost tracks from the 70’s. The band just got back to North America from a short promo tour in Tokyo.
Photo from the UFO Club/Tokyo Feb 10, 2013 courtesy of Loren Molinare/ The DoGs
Raised in Detroit his roots were in dirty punk, so he was always allowed to be a little confused. Iggy and The MC5, Motown and The Who were all in the musical listening range of the writer/guitarist/vocalist and each had an impact on him.
“When we first got together as The DoGs we were 16 or 17, we didn’t know what we were doing. No-one liked the name and we loved that. We were before the Ramones. In fact we are just now going through a trunk full of music that was like the Ramones before The Ramones. Mary Kay, who plays bass, was Suzi Quattro before Suzi Quattro.
In the late 60’s ThE DoGs opened for The MC5, The Stooges and Ted Nugent.
In the 70’s in New York, ThE DoGs opened for Kiss, The Stilettos and Television
Soon they hauled themselves to the west coast where they landed gigs opening for AC/DC, Van Halen and The Ramones.
“We actually ended up squatting in London, UK at some point.” Molinare tells; “ We had a deal that fell through. We sold everything and the band lived in extreme conditions. We barely made it through three months. All our roadies left and I figured I was destined to stay in Michigan and farm!”
The farm didn’t come to fruition. Instead Molinare and his Dogs moved back to LA…
“Another attempt to get signed was made. It was almost in the bag with Atlantic Records, but as fate would have it, Atlantic did not sign the band. At that point band broke up, or took a rock and roll hibernation, while the world could catch up.”
It just so happens that the world did catch up and in 2000 Dionysus Records released Fed Up, a compilation of DoGs singles and outtakes. Then in 2002 a new full length named Suburban Nightmare came out.
With the band playing big events like SXSW in Austin 2009 and the NXNE Festival in Toronto also 2009, things looked great and in Jan 12 the band released the LP Hypersensitive, on their own Detroit Records.
To those of you around to live the 80’s will doubtless remember Little Caesar. Tattooed and long haired, with a denim and leather wardrobe and two wheeled transport. Their song Chain Of Fools, an Aretha Franklin cover charted Billboard 100 and was critically acclaimed. Loren Molinare is also the guitarist with this very band!
Has Molinare got multiple personality disorder? “I think I will have that put on my tombstone.” He agrees.
Having toured Europe with both bands, Molinare has seen the good and bad.
“On stage we always used the audience as a barometer. When Little Caesar was with Geffen, they didn’t take enough notice of that.”
Molinare goes on to tell;
“Even though our second record, which was the first to feature Earl Slick, (Guitarist on David Bowies new record) Lucky, was critically acclaimed in the UK and we sold out the Marquee in London and all the dates on the 1992 tour.”
“They didn’t print enough copies of Lucky. They were already on to the next thing, which at the time was Nivana. If they had stayed believing in us, we would have shown them how it’s done. Back then the record companies owned bands. It’s different now.” Molinare is quite matter of fact.
Of course Little Caesar were on the cusp as it were. Hair metal was phasing out, Seattle Rock was breaking through. Little Caesar were neither here nor there. A little scarier than their made up hair counterparts in Poison and Ratt, a little cleaner than Kurt, Krist, Pat and Dave!
“Back then Geffen, in fact all the record companies, wanted instant gratification. We lost Apache and Earl Slick came and went… It wasn’t so easy for us. It was sad that we imploded from the lack of record company support and way too many expectations to be the next big thing.”
Honesty really is the policy of Molinare.
“In the 80’s in LA all the guys looked like chicks. Geffen tried to change us. Of course they gave us a lot of fucking money too. They tried to clean us up by sending us to Vancouver. We just ended up scaring kids with our facial hair.”
Little Caesar toured with Kiss, Social Distortion, Billy Idol and Janes Addiction, to name but a few. A sold out headliner at The Marquee club followed.
The personal toll could have been much greater if Little Caesar had continued to try and climb the ladder and when the demons started to show a little too often, Little Caesar played their last show in Las Vegas in 1992.
“We lost sight of who we were as a band, because of all the record company stuff and I think especially when the band members starting leaving or quitting, it got to be too much and we broke up.”
Molinare aged 40, took a year to figure it out.
“I had been attached to my guitar since I was 9 or 10 years old, it was my identity. I put it away for a year and found it to be a good experience. I’m not saying it wasn’t daunting. I had a family to support, you know and I needed to find out who I was as a person, without the guitar.”
Luck on his side,Molinare found a job with Ron Young selling Groove Tubes. No suit and tie were required and he landed at NAMM the following year.
“I was inducted. It was like, welcome to the graveyard of signed musicians. The best of it is we all get a paycheck!”
NAMM has remained a yearly retreat for Molinare, he works in the music business as not only a musician, but as an advocate for the products he uses; Product Manager for Blackstar Amps for Korg USA in the US.
Fortunately for some, a second, second, second chance is given.
As with The DoGs, Little Caesar has been resurrected.
2010 saw a new release titled Redemption, which was promoted by live performances in the UK and Europe.
2012 saw yet another release, titled American Dream, which was followed by a European tour.
Molinare just finished recording with Mike Hudson of The Pagans, Jimmy Bain of Rainbow and The Ronnie James Dio band and Reckless Dave Liston, to mention but a few.. Reckless Dave and The Burning Rings Of Fire are not scheduled to tour as this point.
Karen Graham February 11 2013 revised February 19 2013