Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
The original version of Dogbane began rehearsals in June of 2010. The line-up consisted of myself and David Ellenburg on guitar, Jerry Cloer on drums, Kevin Davis on bass and Jeff Neal on vocals. That first incarnation was probably always destined to be. We come from a very rural area of North Carolina. If you play in a band here you pretty much know of everyone else who plays in a band here. Your paths always cross eventually; whether it’s through doing shows or in a studio somewhere. We all already knew of each other and had respect for each other’s abilities. It just so happened that we were all free to begin Dogbane when the opportunity presented itself. Then about eight months after we released “Residual Alcatraz” David suffered a massive stroke. He passed away about a week later. Then after months of searching we received a message from Jeff Rinehart. Jeff came in prepared and nailed the audition and we’ve been moving forward ever since.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
Dogbane is definitely rooted in old school traditional metal. We are all in our mid-forties and pushing fifty. So that style from the late 70’s through the early 80’s is what we grew up listening to and that is what resonates with us the most. We also try and tie in more contemporary influences such as My Dying Bride, Candlemass and Trouble, but you will also find bits of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and early American metal such as Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road. At least that’s the feedback we always seem to get from most reviewers.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
If you like no frills traditional heavy metal Dogbane should be right up your alley. No pro tooling, no triggers and songs that have a story to tell songs that deal with both real life and fantasy themes. Our production is often criticized for sounding dated, but we would rather have a less modern and more organic feel to our music than the mechanical unfeeling synthetic style that seems to be more widely used these days.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Our first album “Residual Alcatraz” was released in 2011 on Heaven and Hell Records. We also appeared on a KISS tribute compilation album called “Rock and Roll All Nite: A Tribute to KISS” out now on Versailles Records, and as of this past June we released “When Karma Comes Calling” once again through Heaven and Hell Records. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive with “Residual” for the most part. Like I mentioned earlier some find fault with our production and our musical journey down memory lane, but I guess that is to be expected. The reviews for “Karma” are just now starting to come in and it appears things are moving in the same general direction.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
Dogbane performs locally very frequently and sometimes we step out of state for bigger shows. We went to Chicago in 2014 and performed at Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse. The festival was headlined Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper and Riot V. We’ve also played alongside fellow North Carolinians Overlorde SR on a couple occasions and last summer we played with a reunited False Prophet and doom/progressive monsters Confessor. We will also be playing alongside King’s X this September.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
They should know that we do our best to stay true to the formula we feel that made metal great, the formula that was handed down from Black Sabbath, and the NWOBHM era. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, nor do I think we intentionally try to sound like any of these bands. We truly believe in our roots and try to honor them as such. This love comes from an honest place. We do not do this to try and cash in on the retro metal movement that currently seems to be such a trend. This is the type of metal we would be playing if we were still in our garage without anywhere to go with it. If you can get on board with that I ask that you give us a listen.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
As ambitious as it may sound the writing process for our third album has already begun. Obviously this will be slowed to a certain extent as we try to promote “Karma” and play shows in support of it, but there is no time like the present to get started. Hard work always pays off if you are willing to do it.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Our music and other merchandise can be purchased directly through our band website, as well as our Bandcamp, Facebook and other social media sites. All of our available music can be previewed at our previously mentioned Bandcamp site. I will enclose those links below. Many thanks for allowing us access to your readers. Stay true, stay heavy and cheers to you all!!!