|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
Dogstar is an American alternative rock band from Los Angeles, California. They were initially active from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, during which time the band found moderate success but garnered significant media attention due to the band's bassist being Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves.
The band officially reformed in May 2023 for a performance at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival. Their upcoming album, Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, is set to be released on October 6, 2023.
Inception and name origin
The genesis of Dogstar was a chance encounter between Robert Mailhouse and Keanu Reeves in a supermarket in 1991. Mailhouse was wearing a Detroit Red Wings hockey sweater, and Reeves (an avid hockey fan and a keen player of the sport) asked if Mailhouse needed a goalie. As the two men formed a friendship, they began jamming together, and were joined by Gregg Miller as the original lead guitarist and singer in 1992. Reeves said that one thing led to another in the band's history:
You know, we started in a garage, and then you end up starting to write songs, and then you're like "Let's go out and play them!", and then you're like "Let's go on tour!", and then...you're playing
The band originally called themselves Small Fecal Matter, and then BFS (Big Fucking Shit, or Big Fucking Sound), before settling on Dogstar, after Mailhouse found the name in the book Sexus, written by Henry Miller.
1994–1999: Quattro Formaggi, Our Little Visionary and live performances
Dogstar was joined by Bret Domrose as an additional vocalist and guitarist in 1994. One year later, the band toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Asia, and opened for David Bowie at his 1995 Hollywood Palladium gig, where they covered a song by Pink Floyd, as well as for Bon Jovi on their 1995 These Days – Crossroads Tour in Australia and New Zealand. However, Miller left the band at the end of the tour. With Quattro Formaggi, they released their first sound carrier in the form of a four-track EP in 1996, via Zoo Entertainment, and followed this up with their debut album, Our Little Visionary, which was only distributed in Japan, even though Dogstar already had a worldwide fanbase at the time. The band also performed at the Zee Cine Awards in India, the 1996 Zwemdokrock Festival in Lummen, Belgium, and the 1999 Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset, England.
1999–2002: Happy Ending, breakup and post-Dogstar
Although the band members had other work commitments, a second album, Happy Ending, followed in 1999, produced by Michael Vail Blum and Richie Zito. Domrose called the music on this record more "pop-aggressive" than the band's earlier work. Their last performance was in October 2002 in Japan, and the band broke up afterwards. Domrose went on to perform as a solo artist, briefly played guitar with the band Berlin and is currently writing music for film and television. Reeves and Mailhouse later performed together in a band called "becky".
2020–present: Rehearsals and reunion
In the years following the band's final performance in 2002, its three members occasionally met up for jam sessions at Mailhouse's home in Silver Lake. The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 led the band members to spend more time together in quarantine. Eight-hour rehearsal days soon turned into songwriting sessions; within two and a half months, the band had written more than enough songs for a new album, which they enlisted Dave Trumfio to produce. In July 2022, a post on Dogstar's Instagram account declared, "We’re back".
In May 2023, Dogstar gave its first public performance in over 20 years at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival, after an invitation from the festival's organizers. The performance consisted of songs from the band's first two albums, alongside new music from their upcoming third album. Two months later, the band released the single "Everything Turns Around" and announced their new album titled Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, set to be released on October 6, 2023. The band also announced a 25-date tour in North America and Japan in support of the album, beginning August 10 in Hermosa Beach, California.
Appearances and influences
- Keanu Reeves – bass, vocals (1991–2002, 2023–present)
- Robert Mailhouse – drums, vocals (1991–2002, 2023–present)
- Bret Domrose – lead guitar, lead vocals (1995–2002, 2023–present), backing guitar and vocals (1994–1995)
- Gregg Miller – lead guitar, lead vocals (1991–1995)
- Our Little Visionary (1996, Zoo Entertainment)
- Happy Ending (2000, Ultimatum Music)
- Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees (2023, Dillon Street Records)
- Quattro Formaggi (1996, Zoo Entertainment)
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