Local Artist Spotlight w/ Hair of the Dog
Rochester rockers Hair of the Dog — who are playing a show this Friday, November 5 with The Shackletons at Fox & Fern Floral — joined us a while back to answer a few questions about their musical inspiration and background. We were fortunate enough to get some video from their show last December with the Shackletons at Thesis Beer Project, so be sure to check out that video at the end of the article for a taste of what’s to come on Friday!
Hair of the Dog primarily consists of Jeremy Jewell, Tracy Sonnier, Mike Nesbit, and Erik Henriksson, though they are often joined by fellow members Kirstin Kooda and Whitney Gunhus. You may recognize these music scene regulars from various events around town. From running the sound at shows to organizing Bob Dylan Tribute concerts, or even hosting weekly open mic nights at Forager, these guys are embedded in the Rochester music scene, and we all benefit from it. But that’s enough about how much we love this band, let’s get into the conversation…
First, tell us a little bit about how Hair of the Dog came to be.
Jeremy: Tracy and I were both bartending at Whistle Binkies and the owner needed a band for New Years Eve. The band I had been in for a long time had just recently stopped playing so I asked Tracy if he wanted to try and put something together. Tracy knew Kirstin from the open Mic he hosted every week and we knew Mike and Erik from bandoake at Kathy’s, although we cycled through a few drummers at first because Erik was still working full time running sound. We played December 31, 2014 and it went well enough that we started booking some other gigs around town.
Who/what were your guys’ musical influences growing up? Have they changed as you age?
Jeremy: I still listen to a lot of stuff I listened to back then, but a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have come close to liking when I was a kid, now I love. Bob Dylan is and probably will always be number one for me. I listen to a lot more old country now than I did back then.
When did you realize your passion for performing live?
Tracy: I had a garage band with two of my buddies in junior high. We wrote a song for an English project and performed it along with a couple terrible cover songs in our school auditorium. Our class and a bunch of other students attended filling about 10% of the hall. We were all absolutely petrified, but after hearing the very first cheer I knew I would seek that out forever.
Jeremy: I played in a band in 9th grade and we played our end of the year dance. That gave me the bug, but probably my high school talent show was when the addiction was really set. I was playing through a really old tube amp and kept getting electrocuted throughout the set, maybe it zapped my brain into needing to plug in, in front of people.
What has been your favorite performance experience?
Mike: When we packed the full band onto the tiny stage at Palmer’s. That was ridiculous. Also, the Halloween show at fox and fern – we always make good use of Halloween shows
Jeremy: Playing at Thesis for their opening weekend I feel like was one of our better performances.
What artist would you love to meet?
Jeremy: Wayne Coyne, Hayes Carll, Dean Ween, Slash. Wheeler Walker Jr. would be cool to party with.
What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Rochester music scene?
Jeremy: There’s a lot of really good musicians in town, and really, quite a bit of places to play. But it sometimes seems like it’s hard to get people to let go and just have fun. Rochester is a weird town with an amazing hospital, that probably has lot of sad shit going on inside it, and I think it can take a while for people to realize it’s okay to have a good time.
Huge thank you to Hair of the Dog for taking some time with us and letting us get to know more about them. If you haven’t checked out their music yet, be sure to make it to their show with The Shackletons this Friday, November 5 at Fox & Fern Floral.
In the meantime check out the video below of the guys performing “Cash is King”, live at Thesis Beer Project.