Interview with The Prairie Dogz
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
It’s Keith here from The Prairie Dogz. The guys in our band all have a different story to tell. For myself, I started playing when I was nine years old. What got me hooked was hearing some of the great bands of the 70’s. I was blown away when I heard the sound these great players were making on their guitars and got obsessed. Dwight, our lead singer, got started later in life discovering his talent at Karaoke bars singing blues and classic rock. Dave (bass), Terry (guitar) and Martin (drums) are all life-long players like myself. If I hadn’t discovered music, I would have a sales job maybe, it’s hard to imagine since I’ve been playing all my life.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
All of us love getting out of town and spending time at some of the beautiful mountain lakes near where we live. We are usually booked through the Summer but get out on the water every chance we get. I usually get up early and have some one on one time with my acoustic guitar.
How long has your band been around?
We got our start in 2018. Before that, Dwight, Terry and myself played in a classic rock cover band, gigging around Alberta. It took a long time to find a bass player and drummer like Dave and Martin (joined in 2021) that gelled with us so well musically and personally. What a stroke of luck!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Okotoks, Alberta which is just south of Calgary. Growing up in Southern Alberta had a major influence on our sound and taste in music. Going to The Calgary Stampede every year and being exposed to country music gave us a great sense of our culture.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
When Dwight and I decided to get started, we realized that we would write about years of experience, wrong turns, bad decisions, lost love and hard lessons learned. We were a couple of old dogs from the prairies.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We have been so fortunate to play in a large variety of venues over the last few years, big and small. We love the large stages because you get the room to stretch your legs and really run around (Canada Day, Medicine Hat, 2019 or Sangudo Music Festival, 2022)
We have played a couple events in huge open beamed barns converted into venues that have been absolutely magical. Even last weekend (Apr 22), we played at the Brewster Barn, right beside the Chateau Lake Louise in the middle of the mountains. It is a magical place and everyone in the room got caught up in the moment and swept away by the music– it was very emotional.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We love venues with ambiance and character. Big barn dances or outdoor events when the weather is just right, make for a great show.
I always wanted to play at Red Rocks Park in Denver CO or Wembley Stadium in the UK.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I would think it would be with U2 at Red Rocks or Led Zeppelin at MSG.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would say for people starting out to learn as much about all aspects of the business as you can. Become a student of the industry. Learn everything you can about live performance.
I would tell myself to have more confidence when I starting to play out.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to have more confidence and really enjoy every time I was able to perform.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Probably Me and you, because it shares my feelings about my marriage. Also, Help Me Breathe and Almost See The Sun because I felt I was honest about the feelings I was sharing. I think Dwight is really proud of Sometimes and Gratefully Waiting for the same reasons.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We love playing Almost See The Sun because it goes over well and Terry and I get to trade guitar solos at the end of the song. Also Red Neck as You because the lyrics are funny, it’s really up tempo and goes over great.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
So far, either Dwight or I will write the lyrics. I will come up with a chord structure, main riffs and arrangement and then Dwight will come up with the vocal part (melody) and we will refine the arrangement together. Terry will usually come up with a solo and Martin and Dave will come up with their own parts. On most of our previous recordings, Jeff Muller/Alchemy Studios played bass and wrote the drum programs.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We push each other to be honest and share our experiences, painful or not. We joke around and say we can write about anything as long as the songs are about isolation and heartbreak.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course, we have disagreements. We have driven many miles locked in debate over numerous musical points. We respect each other are really care for each other so we have always been able to work things out.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The next song Emanant/Blues Vox will be releasing is called Let Me In. It is a hard driving blues song about a woman with long, dark hair and high healed boots that the writer is defenseless against.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?