Introducing Interview: The Bar Dogs

Formed in late 2015, The Bar Dogs are already getting tongues wagging in their native Glasgow, drawing comparisons to Springsteen and The E Street Band amongst others.

I caught The Bar Dogs live in December at Glasgow’s O2 Academy when they supported Gigslutz Award Winners, The View, and was instantly captivated by their performance and sax-infused sound. The Bar Dogs current debut double A-side single ‘Running/Pearl’ is testament to what the band are capable of. Bazza Mills caught up with Bar Dog Tino Macdonald to find out more about the band and hear about the inspiration behind tracks.

Hey Tino, how are you and what are you up to?
I’m sound. We are fantastic. We’re having lotsa fun.

If memory serves me correctly, when I caught The Bar Dogs supporting The View at the O2 Academy, there were seven of you on stage. Can you introduce the band?
There is: JOHN GERRARD O’NEILL on Vocals, JOHN MCCARTHUR on guitar, MICHAEL GAHAGAN on drums, SCOTT DUNCAN MCPHERSON on bass, ROBBIE NOBLE on keys & TINO MACDONALD on guitar. We sadly lost MARIO FERAUD our sax player to Colorado, but we’re working on getting him back.

So how did The Bar Dogs get together as a collective?
Sweet story. I had first heard of John through his previous band BLINDFOLDS, and thought they were amazing. My previous band had split up and I thought I was going to be out of music forever. I was done with it. It was at this point I discovered Instagram and thought it was a cool idea. A few months later, John was posting these pictures that blew my mind so I thought I’d get in touch because I loved his photography. I asked some mutual friends and I got his number and he agreed to meet with me. I met him for a pint and we were rockin’.

It was then I discovered me and John could write together. After a few months of writing together we had no choice but to get other people involved. I refused to play with another drummer but Michael, so he was in, John had already been speaking to John about a project (a boy who I grew up in Coatbridge with) so he was in, Scott was the only bass player in Glasgow with the good sense to want to be in the band so he was definitely in… And Scott’s amazing eye for talent found darling Robbie on keys.

What is the story behind your debut single release ‘Running/Pearl’?
Pearl is a song about the sad loss of John’s grandmother Pearl whom he was very close to. From my interpretation John was very inspired by his grandmother Pearl and grandfather Al’s relationship, and quite rightly so. Love conquers all. But you would need to ask him. ‘Running’ I wrote about being in a shitty job but actually believing I could get out, a feeling I’d never had before.

The videos for both songs look like they were a lot of fun to make, what was the filming process like?
We are a band who believe in 3 things: friends, love and fun. We didn’t think there was a point making a big glossy video. The ‘Pearl’ video was based on Pearl & Al’s life and John had a very clear vision for it that the band loved and was shot at ‘The Grand Ole Opry’, which means a lot to us. The ‘Running’ video was simply us having fun with our friends.

Having heard a number of The Bar Dogs tracks a few times now, there is one track that’s stuck in my head – ‘Glasgow Saturday Night’. Surely a single release for the future?
Maybe, who knows? We’re sitting on another 12 belters that might beat it. But we love that song. Then again, the groove in ‘Mr Darling/My Blood’ blows my mind.

Is there an early album in the pipeline?
Fuck knows. We just love writing and playing songs that makes our days that bit brighter; they give us hope. If someone offered to put out an album of ours and pay for us to tour, of course we would do it – it would make sense to us.

I believe you are one of the main songwriters in The Bar Dogs, how did you get into songwriting? Girls.

The Bar Dogs appear to be gracing a few Tenement TV nights, is there a story around the link-up?
We have always thought Tenement TV were a great company because it was young people doing things off their own back. Spit & Sawdust. They have created a brand through sheer hard work and determination… and they have great taste, hence the link-up.

What can we expect from The Bar Dogs in 2016?
God willing & the creek don’t rise: more great songs & shows.

Finally, when are Gigslutz readers likely to get the opportunity to hear The Bar Dogs live for themselves?
Don’t ask me…

Tino, thanks for your time and I hope to catch you on stage in the near future!

Find out more about The Bar Dogs on Facebook or catch them on Twitter.

Bazza Mills
G'day my name is Bazza Mills! Whilst my wife watches reality TV shows, I enjoy listening to music, going to gigs and taking some photos. Growing up between Scotland and Australia exposed me to a variety of music and my tastes range from The Stone Roses to Guns N Roses. Typically, I love most things guitar based and have a love for live music and photography!