Twenty Two minutes. That, amazingly, is time it took for FEROCIOUS DOG to sell out The Bodega when tickets went on sale for their headline set which takes place at the venue this Saturday. It’s pretty impressive going, but then, this is a band that has already sold out the Rescue Rooms TWICE in a year. So with the gig just days away how are the band feeling?
“We’re feeling really relaxed” song-writer DAN BOOTH tells, “we’re looking forward to getting the place jumping, we have about twenty tracks to play”
Not that they are resting on their laurels with plenty of hard work being put in to ensure they give the best performance they can.
“We have rehearsals tomorrow night, Friday day time, Friday night and Saturday morning so by then we’ll be ready”.
Following on from the Rescue Rooms shows The Bodgea offers the chance of a more intimate gig.
“We had the choice, because we’d sold out the Rescue Rooms twice we didn’t want to do that one again and we also didn’t want to play Rock City with a brand new album that nobody had heard yet. So that’s why we have chosen the Bodega, it’s a different venue, it’s smaller, it’s intimate and we thought we’d give our hardcore fans a chance to listen to the album before it’s even come out. So that was the idea behind that.”
Talking of the new album the band are currently in the process of recording it with a release date pencilled in for May.
“Yeah, we’ve been away for a week, we’ve got the drums, the bass and the guitar down, most of the guitar, so we’ve got another couple of weeks of putting the vocals, the violin, and Ellis’ instruments – he plays loads of instruments on it. There is even an orchestra on one of the songs.”
The band are also working with one of the top producers in the game to help ensure the album meets the high standards they aim for.
“We’re recording with a guy called Matt Terry, who is huge, he did a couple of Wonder Stuff albums and did the latest Ocean Colour Scene album. He’s just a top guy and we’re loving working with him because he gets what we are.”
What’s more it seems that Matt is a fan of what the band are doing.
“He chose us, we didn’t choose him. He’s at that level where he says yes or no. He knew about us and likes our kind of music and it’s working really well, what we’ve done so far sounds brilliant.”
The new release follows up from the bands debut album back in 2013, since then it’s been quite a ride for the band, it has also seen big changes to the line up with Scott Walters (drums) and John Alexander (bass) joining the band.
Not to mention Les Carter, from the legendary former Glastonbury headline act Carter USM, on guitar. So, just how did that come about?
“We did a couple of festivals that Carter USM did and this is their final year of playing festivals and gigs so they headlined a few festivals that we played at and I got chatting to Les and they invited us down to play at their final ever sold out Brixton Academy gig, in November. He asked if FD wanted to play the aftershow but, unfortunately we had another engagement in Haworth in Yorkshire so obviously we couldn’t play.”
Fortunately things went on from there.
“We carried on chatting and I asked Les what he was going to do once Carter ended and mentioned that we were looking for a new guitarist. He then did an interview with The Independent who asked him the same thing, about his future. He mentioned that he was seriously considering an offer to join a new band but wouldn’t tell them who the band was.”
Turns out that the band was Ferocious Dog, after further chats things worked out and Les joined the band, unsurprisingly Dan is extremely pleased about this.
“He’s one of my heroes. I was in the Glastonbury crowd when they headlined in ‘92, I was in that field watching them, I was a huge Carter fan, as many people were then, and still are, so to be talking to him and then he joins our band, was just fucking crazy.
So far, it seems to have been going rather well.
“Watching him record, because he’s put some his guitar down on the new album already, seeing him get his typical Les Carter sound and putting it down on our album is good. Good for us.”
Any lineup change for the band can be a quite the task, ensuring you find the right person who, while bringing their own thing, can still fit in with the feel of the band, however for Ferocious Dog replacing three key members turned out to be rather less troublesome than one might expect.
“You’d think, with changing the drums, the bass and guitar, you’d think it would be really complex, and really it should be. But, actually, the people we got in, like Scott, he’s such an amazing drummer and I’ve known him since we went to sixth form together so I’ve known about him for years and I knew how good he was and he fitted in perfectly. He’s a really accomplished drummer.
John, the bassist, he was a fan of the band and he just got in touch because he saw a Facebook post I put up and I spoke to him and checked him out, he sent me some videos of him playing, and he looks the part, he’s got tattoos all over his neck and arms, he just looks like a punk but he’s a really nice chap. He’s fitted in really well.
And then Les has just managed to make his work fit with Ferocious Dog but you can still hear that it’s Les Carter. It just works.”
Though there may have been some concerns over making so many changes they were soon put to rest once they all started working together.
“We did worry, but we put a few gigs on and had a week away recording and it just works. They’ve all nailed the old stuff and the old album, and obviously this is their chance to put their stamp on the new album and so far they are absolutely shining.”
Saturday’s gig is the start of quite a run of shows for the band, which will, ultimately culminate with them playing a headline set at Rock City in November, a show only announced last week.
“Yeah tickets went on sale for that last week and we’ve already sold loads”
By the time the Rock City gig comes around fans will have had a chance to digest the new album, something that was important to the band.
“Yeah. The album will be out in May and people will have got about six, seven months to listen to the new album and, obviously, we’ll be playing lots of songs from the debut album and the new album at Rock City. Everybody will know the songs by then. So that’s kind of how it’s worked for us.”
A long with the show at Rock City the band will also perform at the O2 Academy in Bristol towards the end of the year.
“We have only released two Autumn tour dates so far, there are going to be about thirty, but the two we have released are going to be the two biggest shows ever that we have done. We headline Rock City at the end of our tour, obviously when you go on tour you always end up at your home town. The finale is going to be Rock City. Then we’re supporting Mad Dog Mcrea in Bristol, at that O2 Academy.”
Mad Dog Mcrea will then return the favour by supporting Ferocious Dog at Rock City, as a fan of the Plymouth folk act Dan is glad to be be sharing a stage with them.
“We’re good friends with Mad Dog and big fans as well. I have been a fan of Mad Dog for years, found out about a year ago we have the same agent and we’ve done a few gigs together and it has always worked, it’s always worked really well.”
The band will also be playing a number of festivals throughout the summer, including some huge ones that they are not yet allowed to announce, however one festival that has be announced is Deerstock, which the band will once again perform a headline slot at after previously doing so last year.
“I have to take my hat off to Deerstock because they were fantastic. Last year we played the Saturday, because we were booked for them, played for a really cheap fee because they said they’d put money into The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund. Our agent said that Secret Garden Party have come in for you and they want you to support Faithless, play just before, and it was the same day as Deerstock. We honoured that gig because that’s what you do. Fair play to Deerstock, after the gig, our fee was nominal, it was for charity, they gave about £4,500 to the charity.”
For those that do not know The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund is a fund named in the memory of Ferocious Dog frontman Ken Bonsall’s son, a former soldier who tragically took his own life after leaving the Armed Forces. The aim of the Fund is to raise awareness about the mental health care of ex-service men and women.
Unsurprisingly Dan and the band were blown away by the donation from Deerstock.
“We had never agreed what they were going to give to the charity so when they said £4,500 we were like ‘Fucking what’, that was worth turning down Faithless for, because if it helps our charity that much, raises that amount, then it’s worth it all day long.”
All in all things are going pretty well for Ferocious Dog and it is fair to say they have had quite an impressive progression since opening the Jagermeister stage at Splendour back in 2013.
“I remember Mark Del interviewed us (before we played Splendour) and said we’re not quite cutting it in Nottingham, and asked why? We said, we were kind of new and people are hearing about us, then we went on to sell out the Rescue Rooms about four months later and then did it again, even quicker in the November. Then we went on to sell out The Bodega, which we’d struggled to sell out fourteen months before and we sold it out in 22 minutes. So it’s kind of been a progression.”
Progression it may well have been but it is a progression that has come via hard work and intense belief and passion.
“We know what we’re about, we have watched the growth of the fan base, in fourteen months we have come a massive way, but that is through hard work and pumping every penny back that we get through gigs and stuff, straight into promotion and into paying top people to produce our music and stuff.”
One thing that has also become apparent is that Ferocious Dog have a vocal and loyal army of fans, as was shown when we asked for people to suggest which Nottingham bands we should watch out for in 2015. We were inundated with comments from fans of the band pointing us in their direction. Indeed it seems their fans will go to quite some length to show their support.
“There are so many people having Ferocious Dog tattoos it is unbelievable. It’s crazy but in a really good because they want to be a part of what we’re doing. It’s not just a band it’s like a movement.”
With a sell-out show at The Bodega Saturday, a new album in May, a host of festivals across the summer and, to round it all off, a Rock City headline set in November then it’s clear to see why fans of the band are so keen to say that Ferocious Dog are the band to watch this year, and we reckon they may well be right.
It comes however to Dan to have the last word and that is a bit of advice to the readers of NottinghamLIVE.co.uk
“Yeah, if you’re from Nottingham make sure you get a Rock City ticket because that place is going to go off on 28 November.”
We’ll definitely be there.
Ferocious Dog play The Bodega this Saturday, 7 March, which has sold out, they also play Rock City on November 28, for ticket information click here
Interview by Darren Patterson.