|Click here for an exclusive gallery of shots from the recording of Foamin' At The Mouth Live.|
On Saturday, August 6th 2005, American Dog entered John Schwab Recording Studios with 80 of their favorite fans and cranked out a blistering marathon recording session that yielded a classic, raw, live rocker titled Foamin’ At The Mouth Live. If you are unfamiliar with American Dog, head over to their Official Site and sample some of the songs from their previous studio and live efforts. Giving a middle finger to trends and fashion, American Dog deliver a loud, raucous brand of rock boogie that will satisfy anyone who has ever owned a Ted Nugent, AC/DC or Motorhead CD. From Out Of Nowhere editor Rob Kern had the pleasure of attending the recording session for the disc and photographing the proceedings, yielding the back cover photo for the live disc. Shortly before the release date Rob hooked up with bassist/vocalist Michael Hannon to discuss the recording of Foamin’ At The Mouth Live, life on the road and what’s in store in the future for American Dog.
Michael Hannon: If we’re gonna start the interview, let’s keep with tradition. Ya have to crack a beer first. (Cracks open a cold one).
FOON: Let’s get the interview rolling with an update on your happenings over the past few months.
Michael Hannon: Basically we did Germany with the V-8 Wankers, they are kind of a more punkish-metal, kind of a garage meets punk stuff. We did a split vinyl with them, which is where each band has two songs on each side of the vinyl and it’s a seven inch vinyl but it’s 33 rpms, and we printed 300 of those, it was kind of fun, we did Germany with them. It was all punk clubs, which was kind of cool, but I am always bitching about lack of monitors and they had no monitors. They would say “Oh just listen to the front of the house.” And you’re drinkin’ like a pig every night and you’re playin’ these small places and it’s so fucking loud in there so it’s like fuck it, you just blow your throat out.
FOON: Yeah, you just crank it up and go.
Michael Hannon: Since they’re kind of punkish man, we had to throw away all the fuckin’ you know, anything with any subtlety at all went out the window. No “Lucky 13”, none of that, just obnoxious, as fast as you can, “Hear Me Howling”, “Last Of A Dying Breed” fuck you in the ass rock-n-roll.
Michael Hannon: And then we go to one show in Belgium, which is one of our best places to play… is this place called Spirit Of 66, and we headlined that, we were on our own. That was fun, you know it was a professional place; it had a balcony and was something like a small Newport Music Hall (Columbus, Ohio). And then we go to France and hook up with Crucified Barbara. We went from punk rockers in Germany to a fuckin’ beautiful, all female Swedish band. Jesus Christ. Needless to say we liked the French leg of the tour much better!
FOON: Yeah, yeah, that has to be much easier on the eyes.
Michael Hannon: Oh my god, it just makes the world a much better place when you’re traveling with good lookin’ women. Even Steve (Theado, guitar) bathed then. Christ, that made him finally shower. We were actually kind of clean and being nice. You know, all these clubs in France where we do much better, and so do Crucified Barbara, were nice and we had good monitors with good production and everything, ya know. So, I was glad it was in that order because we would have had to do all the good fun stuff with the Barbara’s and then had to go to these fuckin’ shit hole punk clubs it would have been like “Fuckin’… godddd-dammit.” But this way we had the good stuff at the end.
FOON: That’s great, and it had to be a kick too, to go to these clubs that want bands to play original music.
Michael Hannon: Oh, I know, I love playing in Europe because it’s just like it used to be here in the mid 80’s to early 90s, just be real rock-n-roll man. There are always people in line waiting for us at every show outside the place, all loaded and they know the words to every song and sing along to everything. It’s fuckin’ great. It always makes me question the guys at the record companies, they go “oh, we didn’t sell that many records” but everyone at every show is singing every goddamn word. Wait a minute, wait a minute here, how do they know this shit? Also the cool thing about Europe was that we had a day off in Paris, it wasn’t really a day off but we went and we were on this thing called Anthony and the Pirates. But he’s the Howard Stern of France; and the whole thing is you gotta belch on their show. And we got to play a live song, and that’s like 800,000 listeners. So we played “Workin’ Man”, that was good fun.
Michael Hannon: Then we hung out with the Barbara’s and then they went up and did a show in Sweden, and we went and did another show in Belgium and then we flew back.
FOON: You guys have been hitting’ the Easyrider shows this summer too right?
Michael Hannon: Yeah we did two shows in Kentucky, Easyrider’s Bike Rodeo, two of them in North Carolina and we have two coming up in Chillicothe, Ohio this weekend.
FOON: Good ole Chillicothe, yeah.
Michael Hannon: Which is the Granddaddy of ‘em all! More flapjack boobies than any place on this side of Jamboree in the Hills.
FOON: That’s all right, boobs are boobs.
Michael Hannon: Yeah, that’s why they invented alcohol, I swear to god, tell ya what, you gotta get drunk to walk around those fuckin’ boobs.
FOON: …and the new CD’s going to be available there right?
Michael Hannon: I pick it up Thursday dude. We’re gonna have the beer on ice and as soon as I’m all loaded in the van I’m crackin’ the first beer and we’re gonna listen to it the whole way back.
FOON: All right! So, it’s Foaming at the Mouth?
Michael Hannon: No G, just foamin’, Foamin’ at the Mouth. Foamin’ at the Mouth Live. 13 live tracks and 1 studio track, which is a very sick perverted song called “D & D” and that does not stand for dungeons and dragons. It stands for drinking and driving, and this is such a sick sense of humor-this song, real black comedy, and I’m not talking’ Richard Pryor. I mean like this is the most politically incorrect song you can do. It tells you the correct ways of drinking and driving. It’s very disgusting. It’s drunk drivers against mothers.
FOON: Nothing’ wrong with a few road sodas…and let’s talk a little bit about…just kind of tell everybody about how it was recorded, how it came about, the whole story.
Michael Hannon: We did it just like we did the Six Pack: Songs About Drinkin’ And Fuckin’ EP we put out a couple, three years ago. Instead of taking all that expensive recording gear out into a club full of drunks, we decided to take the drunks to the expensive recording gear, which gives us a controlled environment. It’s much easier, and we keep our sound man over there in a big glass booth and he records everything, and we don’t let the drunks in that side; and we just basically do a live show. We set a couple of room mikes up and we direct miked every instrument and we recorded 2.5 hours worth of material on a Saturday. On Sunday I listened to the three CDRs of it, we all did. We wrote down notes on every song, which ones came out best. Then, on Monday we met back at the studio and sequenced it, mixed it, and then on Tuesday I took it down to Cincinnati to the pressing plant, and I pick it up 26 days from recording it live- in our hands.
FOON: That’s just incredible.
Michael Hannon: I know it man.
FOON: And I tell ya what, just from what you played to me man, Joe Viers, he does a helluva job capturing you guys live.
Michael Hannon: Oh fuck yeah dude, this sounds so much better than the Six Pack… recording, which we don’t have the rights to anymore. So, we kind of needed another live album. We don’t have the rights right now for Last of a Dying Breed or Six Pack…, so what we did we… a lot of times when we play Bob’s Hillbilly Bar in Flushwater, WV, people want the one that has “Drank Too Much” on it, and we don’t have them anymore. And it was a good time to do a live album because we’ve done three good studio albums now, that’s what KISS did and they knew what they were doing’, so let’s put out a full length live album with all the greatest hits on it. It’s weird because all the obnoxious songs came out the best. There’s no “Can’t Throw Stones” or “Dog’s Life”, we broke a string on one of those or somebody was slightly outta tune or something’. So, it’s all the real hard ass songs like “Hear Me Howlin’” is on there and “Last of a Dying Breed”, “Workin’ Man”; “Shitkicker, it seems like the heavier stuff came out better.
FOON: That’s great.
Michael Hannon: And “Bomber” is on there, the Motorhead cover.
FOON: Cool. Cool. It was one helluva day, I tell ya what.
Michael Hannon: We were there till 1:30 in the morning.
FOON: You were talking about a 26-day turnaround from recording to release, that’s wasting no time.
Michael Hannon: We had the album cover pretty much done, and we knew the concept of the centerfold was going to be everybody that was there. That’s kind of a tradition with us as well. We’re very fan oriented and really close with everybody who comes and sees us. So we put everyone who came to the recording inside the CD. It was cool, like when we did Six Pack…, but there were three times as many people this time.
FOON: But that type of turnaround, if you were on a big label, realistically, there’s no way you could do a turnaround that quick.
Michael Hannon: Oh no way, even after it was completely done, packaged, and all that horse shit, you’ve got three months of lead time for it to get in the magazines. A magazine has a three-month print time when you put an ad in.
FOON: Yeah, like I saw Nashville Pussy’s new one coming out on Spitfire.
Michael Hannon: Yeah, there are already people talking about it on the Internet, about how they already got it online.
FOON: Realistically what’s Spitfire going to do for them? Wouldn’t they be better off, ya know, going on their own and trying to do it?
Michael Hannon: You know, they’d probably make more money, but they’re not going to get as much exposure as people knowing it’s out there. And they are gonna get in all the chains now at least. I mean that’s the one advantage; myself, my perfect plan for American Dog is to get a record deal for one record and have it pushed, and then I’d hope they drop us, just at least one song, even a goofy novelty drinkin’ with yer buddy song…to get it out there, cuz that’s what the classic rock stations are gonna play. So it has to be on a major label, ya know what I mean?
FOON: Yes, exactly.
Michael Hannon: Like if you listen to Jackyl, they’ve put out like six albums now, if you hear any of them, you’re going to hear something off that first album. I mean they’ve done great stuff. One even has Brian Johnson, from AC/DC, one of the biggest selling bands in the world with ‘em, and those don’t get played. So basically, the best you can do is hopefully get an album that they’ll keep in print, but they’ll drop you. You go out and let that one song make you cool, and then you can go make it on your own.
FOON: Exactly. Right. Now what about satellite radio?
Michael Hannon: I hope that takes off, but I don’t know.
FOON: I do that free three-day internet trial on XM every now and then, and crank that up. You seem to get a lot bigger variety; you’re not going to hear “Tom Sawyer” every three hours.
Michael Hannon: It’s just not in every car yet.
FOON: Right. I’d love to see that take off though.
Michael Hannon: From what I’ve been reading, it’s already making FM stations nervous enough that they’re starting to expand their play lists. It takes a kick in the butt for people to get off their ass.
FOON: I remember listening to FM radio in the early 80s and it was, “Oh by the way, here’s side one of UFO’s Mechanix.”
Michael Hannon: Yeah, man when I was in LA, KNAC was on, I remember exactly what you’re saying, they said “ we just got the new Love Hate CD in the mail. We’re going to play a few commercials, in 45 minutes we’ll be on and we’re going to play it for you in its entirety.” They wouldn’t do that-any station today!
FOON: It’s a shame, they’re not breaking’ local bands, it just seems like a hard road to go.
Michael Hannon: There’s no local flavor to anything anymore. It’s all programmed from wherever the company’s owned, New York or wherever they’re from. Like you know, there’s that great classic rock station in Cambridge and they’re being run out of Denver. What the fuck do they know about the area?
FOON: Yeah, exactly, and that was one of the great things about Columbus, Ohio. I mean there were a lot of local acts in the 80s that sprung up and especially Q-FM-96 with the Hometown albums and all that.
Michael Hannon: Yeah, remember they’d push Rosie and the Godz? I mean Christ, it was great.
FOON: Yeah, it was a great time.
Michael Hannon: Well and now the big companies own it; it’s the bottom line. So hopefully they’ll start getting’ it together. Right now there’s nothing you can do. I mean we haven’t even tried to start shopping this live record. It’s basically a way for us to keep our name out there while we plan our next move. So this will keep the machine rolling. Right now we have no management, which is great. We package the thing, we’ve recorded it ourselves, we do everything on our own. And Bam! Everything’s in our hands so now the next record we will really shop the labels. This is keeping us alive and out there. This will be the first time we’ve ever released two records in the same year.
FOON: There didn’t seem to be any misfortunes this year.
Michael Hannon: Yeah, nobody got ran over by a car.
FOON: Exactly, nobody got ran over by a car. You know I heard about the crazy first mix of “Scars-n-Bars.”
Michael Hannon: Oh, it’s fucking god-awful! You know, that slowed us down for three months.
FOON: Oh yeah, I can imagine.
Michael Hannon: I mean, the motherfucker, I’ll play it for you sometime as a joke, the guy used Marilyn Manson spooky voices on it. I mean, that’s fine, I kind of like Marilyn Manson, he’s just this generation’s Alice Cooper, there’s nothing wrong with that, but for fuck’s sake, it ain’t us.
FOON: Yeah, what was he even thinking’? That had to be like a punch in the gut when you got it, like “What the hell?”
Michael Hannon: Oh my god, what a joke, and then the guy wanted paid, he said it’s the best mix he’s ever done. What a joke. And then he put like electric like synth, like techno drums on songs ya know. What the fuck are you thinking’?
FOON: My god. Yeah. Well, I’ll tell ya what…. the Joe Viers version of it, I think it’s great!
Michael Hannon: It’s the best one sound wise so far. I think there’s a lot to that two-inch tape analog we went for.
FOON: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s great.
Michael Hannon: We’re gonna keep doing’ that.
FOON: Yeah, I look forward to the next studio effort cuz Scars-n-Bars was a phenomenal release….
Michael Hannon: Yeah, because basically this live album is gonna hold us through, like we have this weekend Buckeye Lake and the two Chillicothe shows, those are our release parties for our CD, then we have that big outside radio show in Massillon, Ohio. Then the weekend after that we’re in fuckin’ Europe. Then we come back and we got like 4-5 weeks off and we’re gonna start writing songs and demoing. We’re only gonna take bigger shows, or else little legs of tours. In October we’ve got three shows with Broken Teeth. Are you familiar with them?
FOON: Yeah, with Jason McMaster, right?
Michael Hannon: Yeah, who I played with in Dangerous Toys; then Paul Lidel, the guitar player for that band, he was in Dirty Looks. We’re doing Marysville, Coshocton and Indianapolis with them and we may be doing Chicago as well. So basically we’ve been playing a lot around Ohio lately. We have the live album out and we’re gonna do a few here and there but that’s about it. It’s time to start writing and get ready for an album for April. I want to start recording in December or January, because it’s really cold and it’s a pain in the ass to play and go out so fuck it we’ll just go out do the stuff now when its cold as shit and get it out and ready so we can tour in Spring and Summer. They’ve already got us booked with Waysted, Pete Way’s band, in the UK in April and playing LeMans outside festival in France in May and we may have some shows with Molly Hatchet in France as well. So, the Spring is looking’ real good for us over in Europe so right now this live album will just hold us over. When I go over in three weeks I’ll be negotiating if they want to buy the rights to the live one for Europe. We’ve also got 8 more songs for the live recording we didn’t put on it, so you never know, it might end up being a double CD over there. If they do that, there will be enough room to…. we have 76 minutes of music on this live CD, so with the other 8 songs, we could add a few studio tracks on it too, kind of like ZZ Top did with Fandango, half live and half studio, we could do that kind of stuff. We’ve got so many unreleased songs, studio stuff, that aren’t like other places you know like “New Evil” is only on the Red, White, Black and Blue in Europe, and then “D-N-F” the studio version is only on the American version of it.
FOON: I didn’t know that.
Michael Hannon: That’s not studio for anybody but the yanks. We’ve got that version of the Deep Purple song that Steve sings, “Black Night.” That’s only on a fuckin’ piece of vinyl.
FOON: That seven incher, yeah I was playing’ that the other night in the basement.
Michael Hannon: Oh, you were? I’ve never heard it…I’d love to hear it on vinyl.
FOON: Yeah, I was sitting’ down stairs and yeah hell, going through some vinyl and slapped that on.
Michael Hannon: Cool, I’ll have to listen to that with you sometime. I mean I’ve got it on CD but I’ve never listened to myself on vinyl. Not that one anyway. I think Steve did a great job singing it.
FOON: Yeah, I tell ya what man, the boy can play and he’s got he pipes too. What happens if a …do you guys ever foresee an Aerosmith phase when… what’s going to happen if you decide to sober up and get your AA chips, are you going to be able to sing the party songs?
Michael Hannon: You never can tell (laughs). You can’t really do this for the rest of your life. I mean Christ’s sakes, somethin’s gonna break eventually. Hell I don’t know, hell even Ted Nugent sings “Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine.” You can do it. I don’t know dude. That’s one of those questions…. I’ll just have to find out what happens to us. I mean Alice Cooper still does “Lace and Whiskey.” Alice Cooper said that in an interview once, he said, “When I sober up the first thing I want to do is go to a bar.” He said, “I did it to prove to myself that I could do it, hang out and be a human being, that’s what I did and I was fine. I faced the demon.”
FOON: I don’t want to think about stopping’ drinkin’ right yet though. (laughing)
Michael Hannon: Oh me either, it’s awful isn’t it? Give me back my personality! (Laughing)