Keep the Dog

Last updated

Keep the Dog
OriginNew York City,
United States
Genres Avant-rock, experimental, free improvisation
Years active1989–1991
Labels Fred
Past members Jean Derome
Fred Frith
René Lussier
Kevin Norton
Bob Ostertag
Zeena Parkins
Charles Hayward

Keep the Dog was a United States-based experimental rock touring band from New York City formed in 1989 by English multi-instrumentalist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith. The sextet was conceived as a review band for performing selections of Frith's extensive repertoire of compositions from the previous 15 years.

Contents

The band lineup was Frith, René Lussier, Jean Derome, Zeena Parkins, Bob Ostertag and Kevin Norton. Later Charles Hayward replaced Norton. The group existed until mid-1991, performing live in Europe, North America and the former Soviet Union. A double CD, That House We Lived In , from their final 1991 European tour, was released in 2003.

Background

Keep the Dog began purely as a review band, performing Fred Frith compositions from his solo albums, from some of the groups he belonged to (Henry Cow, Massacre, Skeleton Crew and French Frith Kaiser Thompson), and from his many collaborations with other musicians. But as the group grew in stature it started extending itself. Instead of simply covering Frith's compositions, they began to adapt them and improvise around them. Frith remarked in an interview at the time: "The group is constantly evolving into things we don't expect." [1] By 1991, Keep the Dog had become largely an improvising band, very different from what they started out as in 1989.

During the band's three-year existence they toured extensively, performing in the United States, Canada, mainland Europe and the former Soviet Union. They also played at a number of festivals, including the 7th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada in October 1989. [2] Every concert was different: Frith often juggled the material around and in some cases re-arranged it, for example if a venue provided a piano. While remaining a sextet throughout, they were occasionally joined on stage by guest musicians, including Tom Cora, John Zorn and Tenko Ueno.

Being a touring band, Keep the Dog never went to the studio, but every concert they performed was recorded on DAT. While bootleg recordings of some of the concerts soon began circulating, Frith never considered officially releasing their work until a decade after the band stopped performing. In a 2003 interview, Frith said: [3]

It was more that none of us were convinced the material was good enough, and we were all busy with other things so we kind of forgot about it. When Jon Leidecker saw the tapes in my office he flipped and said "I'll do it" and it was his energy and enthusiasm that got the ball rolling again (not to mention his editing skills).

Leidecker sifted though about 20 DAT recordings from the band's final performances in Austria, Germany and Italy in May and June 1991, and built a montage which he passed on to Frith for further editing. [4] The result was a double CD, That House We Lived In , which was released on Frith's own Fred Records in 2003. Frith remarked in the album's liner notes:

Listening now I'm struck by the fact that the members of this band are not only what the press described at the time as "sharp improvisers" but also, everyone of them, wonderful composers as well. I raise my glass to them with love and gratitude.

Members

Discography

Live albums
Other album appearances

Related Research Articles

Fred Frith English musician, composer and improvisor

Jeremy Webster "Fred" Frith is an English multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improvisor.

Skeleton Crew (band) American experimental rock and jazz group

Skeleton Crew was a United States experimental rock and jazz group from 1982 to 1986, comprising core members Fred Frith and Tom Cora, with Zeena Parkins joining later. Best known for their live improvisation performances where they played various instruments simultaneously, they also recorded two studio albums Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986).

Art Bears English avant-rock group

Art Bears were an English avant-rock group formed during the disassembly of Henry Cow in 1978 by three of its members, Chris Cutler, Fred Frith and Dagmar Krause. The group released three studio albums between 1978 and 1981, and toured Europe in 1979.

René Lussier is a jazz guitarist based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a composer, guitarist, bass guitarist, percussionist, bass clarinetist, and singer. Lussier has collaborated with Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Jean Derome, and Robert M. Lepage. He combines elements from several genres and is often referred to within the discourse of contemporary classical music or Musiques Actuelles in French.

<i>Learn to Talk</i> 1984 studio album by Skeleton Crew

Learn to Talk is a studio album by United States experimental rock band Skeleton Crew, recorded at Sunrise Studio, Kirchberg, Switzerland, between Christmas and New Year 1983/1984. It was their debut album and was released in 1984.

The Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville is an annual international music festival held in Victoriaville, Quebec that showcases contemporary music.

<i>That House We Lived In</i> 2003 live album by Keep the Dog

That House We Lived In is a double live album by the United States experimental rock band Keep the Dog. It comprises material from their final European tour in 1991 and was released by Fred Frith on his own Fred Records in 2003.

<i>Speechless</i> (Fred Frith album) 1981 studio album by Fred Frith

Speechless is a 1981 solo album by English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith of the group Henry Cow. It was Frith's third solo album, and was originally released in the United States on LP record on The Residents' Ralph record label. It was the second of three solo albums Frith made for the label.

Fred Frith Guitar Quartet American contemporary classical and experimental music guitar quartet

The Fred Frith Guitar Quartet was a United States-based contemporary classical and experimental music guitar quartet comprising Fred Frith, René Lussier, Nick Didkovsky and Mark Stewart. The group was formed in 1989 by Frith and they performed extensively across North America and Europe for the next ten years, including at the 14th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada in May 1997. They recorded their first album, Ayaya Moses in 1996, and released a live album, Upbeat in 1999.

<i>Step Across the Border</i> 1990 film by Nicolas Humbert

Step Across the Border is a 1990 avant-garde documentary film on English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith. It was written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel and released in Germany and Switzerland. The film was screened in cinemas in North America, South America, Europe and Japan, and on television in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France. It was also released on VHS by RecRec Music (Switzerland) in 1990, and was later released on DVD by Winter & Winter Records (Germany) in 2003.

<i>Step Across the Border</i> (soundtrack) 1990 soundtrack album by Fred Frith

Step Across the Border is a soundtrack double album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith, of the 1990 avant-garde documentary film on Frith, Step Across the Border. The album features music from the film performed by Frith and other musicians, and covers ten years of Frith's musical career.

Jean Derome Canadian musician and composer

Jean Derome is a French Canadian avant-garde saxophonist, flautist, and composer. A prominent figure in the Montreal musique actuelle scene, Derome has been a member of experimental, jazz, and rock groups, and has appeared on over 30 albums, including seven solo albums. He has written scores for over 30 films and co-founded Ambiances Magnétiques, a Canadian musical collective and independent record label.

<i>Learn to Talk / Country of Blinds</i> 1990 compilation album by Skeleton Crew

Learn to Talk / Country of Blinds is a CD compilation album by United States experimental rock and jazz band Skeleton Crew. It was released by RecRec Music in 1990 and comprises the band's two studio albums, Learn to Talk and The Country of Blinds, with two tracks omitted from the former album, and one track omitted from the latter.

<i>Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire</i> 1999 live album by Fred Frith

Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire is a double live album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith. It comprises a series of graphic scores Frith composed in 1992 "for any number of players". It was performed live by Frith, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins and the International Occasional Ensemble at five concerts in Canada, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. Frith also conducted and directed the performances.

<i>Nous Autres</i> 1987 live album by Fred Frith and René Lussier

Nous Autres is a live album by Fred Frith and René Lussier recorded in October 1986 at the 4th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada. The live mixes were later enhanced with additional material recorded by Frith and Lussier in December 1986 at a studio in Montreal, Quebec, and the resulting album was released on LP in 1987. The album was released on CD in 1992 with four additional studio tracks recorded by Frith and Lussier in January 1992 in New York City.

Maybe Monday is an American experimental electroacoustic improvisation music ensemble comprising guitarist Fred Frith, koto player Miya Masaoka and saxophonist Larry Ochs. The trio was formed in San Francisco in March 1997 when they performed in a concert at the Great American Music Hall. They have since toured the United States, Canada and Europe, and released three albums between 1999 and 2008.

Cosa Brava American experimental rock and free improvisation group

Cosa Brava is an experimental rock and free improvisation group formed in March 2008 in Oakland, California by multi-instrumentalist and composer Fred Frith. The band comprises Frith on guitar, Zeena Parkins on keyboards and accordion, Carla Kihlstedt on violin, Matthias Bossi on drums, and The Norman Conquest on sound manipulation. All About Jazz described their music as "somewhere between folk, Celtic, modern chamber, Latin, funk, Eastern, and prog-rock".

Les 4 Guitaristes de lApocalypso-Bar Canadian electric guitar quartet

Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar, also known as Les Quatre Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar was an electric guitar quartet founded by André Duchesne in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1986. It was one of the first electric guitar quartets and was billed as a band from post-apocalypse Canada "inspired by the ghost of Jimi Hendrix".

André Duchesne is a Canadian experimental music guitarist and composer. He was a co-founder of Ambiances Magnétiques, a Canadian musical collective and record label, and formed several experimental music bands, including Conventum, Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar and Locomotive. Duchesne has also released five solo albums.

<i>Duo (Victoriaville) 2005</i> Live album by Anthony Braxton and Fred Frith

Duo (Victoriaville) 2005 is a 2006 live album of improvised music by Anthony Braxton and Fred Frith. It was recorded on May 20, 2005 at the 22nd Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Quebec, Canada, and released in May 2006 by Les Disques Victo, the festival's record label.

References

  1. Wolff, Sander R. "Defining The Edge: The Musical World Of Fred Frith". The Long Beach Union Newspaper. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  2. "7th Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville". International Festival Musique Actuelle Victoriaville. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  3. Sękowski, Tom (October 2003). "Fred Frith interview". Bagatellen.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2006. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
  4. Jon Leidecker homepage News archive.