Artists On The Rise: Dogs In A Pile
Article By Barry Brandow. All Photos Credited To Jeff Crespi ROCKS
Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride, hot as a pistol but cool inside
Cat on a tin roof, dogs in a pile
Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile – The Grateful Dead “He’s Gone”
Over the years I’ve seen many aspiring bands in their infancy stage work and play extremely hard to get noticed and get their name out there to the live music world. Bands both young and old play night in and night out, hoping someone notices and spreads the word about this great band they saw the night before. Spreading the word and watching a young band or artist rise up in the music industry is one of the things I love most about writing. It’s very exciting to see young talent support jam music and strengthen the future of a genre many of us older (and younger) fans love. It’s especially gratifying when these musicians are passionate about their own music and gracious to the fans that support them early on.
A band that recently got my attention is a four-piece band of young musicians (ages 16 to 21) from the Jersey Shore called Dogs In A Pile. At the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park NJ, where they opened in support of fellow rising star Brandon “Taz” Niederaeur, I had no prior knowledge or expectations. It was very refreshing to see and hear a budding band embrace a genre of music many of my friends and I enjoy most, improvisational jam. Not only did they embrace it; they ROCKED it like seasoned pros who had been playing together for years. With a setlist that included a few Grateful Dead and Phish covers as well as several well-crafted original tunes, this gifted quartet had an entire venue full of music lovers dancing, singing, and wanting more.
Who are Dogs In A Pile? Well, you take four cohesive and proficient musicians who all have a passion for creating and recreating psychedelic improvisational music, and you’ll have Dogs In A Pile. Formed during the summer of 2018, they took their name from a lyric in the song “He’s Gone” by The Grateful Dead. You would never know these guys have only been together as a band for one year. Although they are very young, they seem to approach each live performance with the maturity evident in bands that are much older and have been playing together much longer.
Like most of the veteran jam bands, you can detect strong musical influences such as rock, jazz, funk, and fusion from the moment they start to play. There is also a live musical atmosphere that is quite reminiscent of the festive atmosphere created by such bands like Spafford, Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and, yes, Phish and the Grateful Dead.
During this first year they’ve established a passionate fan base that continues to grow rapidly with each live performance. Start with 20-year-old guitarist and lead singer Jimmy Law. Law, who studies music at The University of Arts in Philadelphia, is no novice to the stage. He has been seen frequently gracing many of the stages in the Asbury Park area since the age of 11.
It’s easy to detect that his biggest influences are guitar giants like Jerry Garcia, Trey Anastasio, and Warren Haynes. When Law joined forces with longtime friend and drummer Joey Babick, they knew they had something solid and special.
Babick, 16, started playing drums at the age of 9 and spent three years as part of the Rockit program for gifted young musicians at the famous Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. With a passion for improvisational theory its evident that his biggest influences come from Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kruetzman and jazz legend Buddy Rich. It was when Law and Babick started playing with keyboardist Jeremy Kaplan and bassist Sam Lucid that the final pieces of the puzzle locked tightly into place.
Kaplan, 20, has been performing live since age 12 with several rock bands, jazz combos, and big bands. He was also awarded a scholarship from Billy Joel to advance his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston MA in 2017.
21-year-old bassist Lucid follows a similar path by also furthering his skills and knowledge at Berklee as well as working towards perfecting his technique under the tutelage of accomplished jazz bassist Lincoln Goines. Both Lucid and Kaplan also lend their vocals on many of the songs in the band’s expanding arsenal. Together the four budding musicians locked in quickly, and it didn’t take long to create original music as well to recreate the music and style of their many influences. I have no doubt that they will continue along the path of success and strive to follow in the footsteps of those bands and musicians mentioned above. It’s also no surprise to see their ambitious tour schedule grows at a rapid pace.
In and Out of the Garden We Go 2019 LIVE from Snipes Farm & Education Center
Posted by Dogs In A Pile on Saturday, June 8, 2019
Recently we were able to catch them headlining a small Grateful Dead-themed festival at Snipes Farm in Morrisville PA called In and Out of the Garden. Not many of the 1,000 music lovers in attendance had heard of Dogs in a Pile before. During conversations with the fans around us, my wife and I assured them that they were in for a real treat and that they were going to enjoy what they were about to hear.
To confirm our suspicions, about three songs in, our friends and those we spoke to earlier told us how right we were about the band. “The future of jam music is alive and in very good hand,” “These guys are straight-up legit,” and “Wow! Love them” were just a small sample of the great feedback we heard.
More importantly, they all said they looked forward to seeing them again and were going to spread the word to their friends who didn’t attend. I suspect that was the sentiment throughout the entire crowd. It was awesome to see the open area in front of the stage packed with dancers and twirlers as the crowd sang along to all the songs they knew. It was an amazing vibe.
You can catch this phenomenal band at several venues and festivals throughout the summer, especially in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area. They have more dates opening for Taz as well as playing the pre-show party for moe. and Blues Traveler at the iconic Stone Pony Summer Stage on July 12th. If they are playing at a venue near you, GO! If they are on the lineup of a festival you are attending, make sure you catch their set.
For detailed information including complete tour dates, bio’s, awesome merch, and live videos go to the band’s website. We also encourage you to add their Facebook page to your list of followed pages for daily updates and live streams as well.