Doug and the Slugs
|Doug and the Slugs|
|Origin||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
John "Wally" Watson
|Past members||Doug Bennett|
Doug and the Slugs are a Canadian pop music group formed in 1977 in Vancouver. They are best remembered for the Canadian top 40 hits "Too Bad" (1980), "Making It Work" (1983) and "Tomcat Prowl" (1988). "Too Bad" was used as the theme song for The Norm Show, a 1999-2001 sitcom starring Norm Macdonald.
Doug and The Slugs was founded by Toronto-born Doug Bennett, who had been a graphic designer in his home town before moving to Vancouver in the mid-1970s. Bennett would be the band's chief songwriter, frontman, and lead singer.
After some turnover amongst Slugs in the early months, the lineup stabilized by 1978, and for the entirety of their recording career (1978–1992), Doug & The Slugs consisted of lead vocalist Doug Bennett, guitarists Richard Baker and John Burton, keyboardist Simon Kendall, bassist Steve Bosley, and drummer John "Wally" Watson.
The band built a solid following in the Vancouver area through constant gigging. Determined to exert control over their own music and artwork, the band founded their own record label, Ritdong Records, and worked out a distribution deal with RCA Records for their recordings. Their debut single "Too Bad" was issued on Ritdong in February 1980, and became a substantial hit in Vancouver, rising to #2 on local Top 40 station CKLG. Shortly thereafter, the track entered the Canadian hit parade, peaking at #20. Doug & The Slugs self-produced debut album, Cognac & Bologna was also issued in 1980.
Throughout the 1980s, a string of singles and albums followed. Their biggest success was 1982's Music For The Hard Of Thinking, which in Canada peaked at #22, and spun off two top 40 singles: "Who Knows How To Make Love Stay" and "Making It Work". However, the band didn't break through internationally, and RCA ended their distribution deal with Ritdong in 1984, after the release of the best-of compilation Ten Big Ones.
Ritdong then entered into a distribution deal with A&M Records. Two Doug & The Slugs albums were issued via this deal (1984's Popaganda and 1988's Tomcat Prowl), as well as a Doug Bennett solo album (1986's Animato, on which all the Slugs played.) The 1988 single "Tomcat Prowl" became the band's final top 40 entry, peaking at #23.
Ritdong's deal with A&M expired after Tomcat Prowl, and the group didn't record for several years. Doug & The Slugs' final album (1992's Tales From Terminal City) came out on their own Tomcat Records label. It is the only Doug & The Slugs album not to have hit the Canadian charts.
Most of the Slugs left the band after 1992, although Kendall stayed until 1994. After this time, Bennett toured with an ever-rotating cast of new musicians, still billing the act as Doug & The Slugs. The original Slugs reunited to back Doug for two "25th anniversary" shows in Vancouver in 2003; Bennett continued to perform with other Slugs until his death, in October 2004 in Burstall, Saskatchewan.
After a gap of several years, the original Slugs (Baker, Bosley, Burton, Kendall, and Watson) reunited in 2009 and invited singer Ted Okos to be their new frontman. The group still performs live dates as Doug & The Slugs, although there is now no-one named Doug in the band.
Band member timeline
The initial band members were (based on available information):
Dennis Henderson retired from being a high school electronics teacher at Hugh McRoberts Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. He now teaches guitar at Hillcrest and Killarney Community Centres. He performs original roots based folk music with his long time partner, Barb Fraser, as "Fraser/Henderson". Their web site is fraser-henderson.com
In Season 3, Episode 11: It's Backwards Day of Da Vinci's Inquest Simon Kendall is heard playing his beautiful composition Hymn For Believers from his CD Sweet Compassion as the episode closes and continuing on in place of the customary Da Vinci ending theme. It is a very moving and very effective use of the piece.
Other performers with the band (timelines unknown):
- Vince Ditrich
- Larry MacGillvary
- Pat Steward
- John Ellis
- Elio Martelli
- Al Rodger
- Darrell Havers
|Release date||Title||Chart positions|
RPM TOP 100
|1980||"Too Bad"||#20||Cognac and Bologna|
|1981||"Real Enough"||-||Wrap It!|
|1983||"Who Knows How to Make Love Stay"||#25||Music for the Hard of Thinking|
|1983||"Making It Work"||#29|
|1983||"Nobody but Me"||-|
|1984||"It's Alright Medley"||-||Ten Big Ones|
|1984||"Day by Day"||#92||Popaganda|
|1984||"Waiting for You"||#83|
|1985||"White Christmas"||-||Non-LP single|
"It's Got to Be Monday"
|1988||"Tomcat Prowl"||#23||Tomcat Prowl|
|1989||"(I Don't Want To) Walk Away"||#84|
|1989||"It's a Powerful Thing"||#64|
|1992||"Terminal City"||-||Tales from Terminal City|
|Release date||Title||Chart positions|
RPM Album charts
|1980||Cognac and Bologna||#36|
|1982||Music for the Hard of Thinking||#22|
|1992||Tales from Terminal City||-|
- 1984: Ten Big Ones
- 1987: Doug and the Slugs (U.S. release only)
- 1993: Slugcology 101
Awards and recognition
- 1981: multiple nominee, Juno Award:
- Composer of the Year, "Too Bad"
- Best Album Graphics, Cognac and Bologna
- Single of the Year, "Too Bad"
- 1983: nominee, Juno Award, Most Promising Group of the Year