Interview with Jo 'Dog' Almeida of Dogs D'Amour

Jo Dog was always the elusive one. When The Dogs D'Amour were in their prime - and pretty much untouchable - I'd managed to meet Tyla, Steve and Bam on several occasions, but never Jo. Stumbling upon his MySpace profile, I just had to shoot him off an email and then follow it up with a cheeky request for an interview. Good guy that he is, Jo agreed and here we are.

There's a lot more to Jo Almeida than simply The Dogs D'Amour and I really wanted to get this across in an interview. No questions about his memories of certain songs, but hopefully some questions the answers of which many fans may not have been aware of. Of course, I couldn't let The Dogs go completely, so I decided to open the interview with a not too subtle question about a gore-filled night in 1991.....

1) Let's talk about the infamous Florentine Gardens gig in LA where Tyla cut himself open and collapsed right next to you. In the documentary 'Badsville', Bam talks passionately about that night and how American (bad) management and an array of girlfriends backstage resulted in a highly emotional atmosphere. How do you recall the events of that night?

Backstage was filled with strangers, dealers, girlfriends, a famous newscaster... the usual LA stuff. Tyla was in a drug haze - the H type - and we could all feel it. I thought the band was sounding good as we started, especially Bam. The audience seemed distant, Tyla made some remark about it. Next thing he's laying on his back, ribs showing and lotsa blood. Ric Browde rushed him off to hospital before we could think. I remember leaving with Dave Tregunna and being pissed off. The drum roadie got so scared he run off without getting paid. It was the beginning of the end for me.

2) What were your reasons for not rejoining The Dogs D'Amour when they reunited, with Darrell Bath of The Crybabys eventually taking your place?

Tyla and I were in LA, Bam and Steve in the UK. We started with a plan but things slowly started falling back to the same situation we had with the label/management. Tyla came over to my apartment and it wasn't easy turning it down. It just didn't feel right - we were rushing into it.

3) You did rejoin The Dogs in 2000 and record the album 'Happy Ever After', with Bam's wife Share Pedersen taking over bass duties. How did this reunion come about and how was it without Steve James?

The Alice tour got put together very quickly and of course Steve was our first choice, but he had a job, a house and responsibilities - something the rest of us didn't at the time - so Share was the only one that could fill his shoes.

4) You mentioned the Monsters Of Rock tour headed by Alice Cooper and rounded out by Thunder and The Quireboys. That must have been interesting?!?

Great to meet Alice. He was an early hero and we met some great people from his entourage and toured all of Europe. Monsters Of Rock was only in the UK and on that stint we had twenty minutes to do our set, so no slow songs!!! Great to hang out with The Quireboys. Jason Bonham was drumming for them.

5) You remain good friends with Bam and Share, even appearing as a model for their 'Punk Knits' project?!!

They are my best mates. We always help each other out in whatever we do: music, art, raw food, plumbing....

6) Following The Dogs split, what was your take on Bam joining The Wildhearts and playing in an altogether more heavy style?

Yeah, I thought they were heavy… but remember, I toured with Shooting Gallery!! We used to joke about it.

7) Did you ever hear The Wildhearts version of 'Heroine' on their critically derided 'Endless Nameless' album?

I seem to remember a bad production job!

8) Ginger Wildheart's previous outfit The Quireboys hit, not only the same larger venues, but also the Top Of The Pops studios and the higher reaches of the Hit Parade at the same time as The Dogs - was there any real rivalry or was there more of a mutual respect?

No rivalry, we always thought we were the dog's bollocks!

9) You have worked with 'Straight' producer Ric Browde on several occasions since that album, including the infamous release by MTV VJ Jesse Camp. Browde, in an email last year, hinted that I must be mental to own that record! What are your memories from working with the guy who carried the glam rock torch all the way from music television to a job at a pet supply store?

Well, that project made me some good money and got myself sorted. Ric wanted it to be a Glam/New York Dolls thing and that was what Jesse wanted. Ric brought all his mates into the project, myself, Bam, Alex Kane, Rod O'Brien (engineer). We both share a lot of musical tastes. He loves country, blues, gospel.

10) You also worked with Gilby Clarke, another notch on the Browde production bedpost, with a track that you co-wrote - 'Bourbon Street Blues' - turning up on his 2007 greatest hits album. How was your time recording and playing live with Gilby?

We got very close. Gilby helped me to open up and have fun. I always tend to be too serious about music. He joined Guns N' Roses just as we were in our poverty stricken collaboration. Bourbon Street was written when we were putting some demos together.

11) Gilby Clarke's one-time Kill For Thrills bandmate Todd Muscat later joined Junkyard. Didn't you join that band for a series of Japanese dates in 2000? How were they?

David Roach is an amazing singer and lyricist. Gilby introduced us. We have a lot of great material written together that HAS to be recorded. We formed a great band called Borracho. Bam was on drums, Ted Hutt and myself on guitars...

12) You were recruited to Andy McCoy's band Shooting Gallery as a live second guitarist. With rumours of fist fights and fuck ups dogging the outfit, how did you find working with them?

The vocalist was not what I wanted to hear. I did enjoy touring with them. Dave Tregunna was great… I saw him knock out the tour manager with a single headbutt! Andy and I shared hotel rooms and had a lot of fun. Mind you, he's not exactly the type to bring home and meet the family. The Dali of Rock!

13) You did play with Shooting Gallery as support to Kiss on a number of US dates on their 1992 'Revenge' tour. This must have been more than a little interesting! Did you get to try on any of Gene Simmons' hair?

Gene was cold. His crew loved the fact that he wanted the ugly boilers as they were less trouble! Paul Stanley was great - he'd share stories about seeing Zeppelin and the old days.

14) Shooting Gallery; Gilby Clarke; Jesse Camp; Todd Muscat - all produced at some point by Ric Browde. Is he getting some kinda commission for recommending your services?!

He loves to help out his mates.

15) You must be gutted that Browde never produced the legendary hot water bottle blower-upper Jon Mikl Thor! He could've bent his steel bar and you could have used it as a slide - would've been a show stopper!

Ha!

16) Ric Browde's cool novel 'While I'm Dead...Feed The Dog' - with its own soundtrack "featuring members of The Dogs D'Amour!" - lists you in the thanks list as Jo "I'm Not Glam" Almeida!!!

I always thought glam was Bolan! But Ric and my wife keep reminding me about polka dot shirts, heavy eyeliner and wearing 3 belts at the same time!!!!

17) You worked with Paul Black - formerly of The Joneses and LA Guns - on a project entitled Sonic Boom, which saw you play in a style probably more suited to your influences. Listening to the tracks, you seemed to be relaxed and having fun with those tunes....

He's really easy to work with. I'll throw a lick, he'll come in with something and we can keep things pretty eclectic.

18) In more recent times you have been involved with the Americana act Hawkeye. Is this style of music where you see yourself today?

I have always loved country and I get bored with doing the norm way. Hawkeye was all about playing less. Playing what you need. It was a great band.

19) You have a finger in the art pie these days. Your MySpace profile contains several photographs of your work, with images of a series of guitars made from paper that are wonderfully impressive. Is art more than a hobby to you now?

Right now I have to raise my daughter which doesn't leave any room for many hobbies. The guitar sculptures are quite intricate and take time and patience. I do love making art.

20) Without shamelessly digging for any kind of exclusive ;-) do you have any music plans for the immediate future?

I've been recording with Paul Black again and Muddy Stardust (Burning Tree) for the last few months. It's a great unit, but don't know what we are going to do with it as yet. We'll see.

21) Finally, did you ever find out what happened to your "Jo Rocka" telecaster?

Yes, our old producer Dan Priest 'lost it'. I left it at his studio in Battle, UK after we recorded some Dogs demos. So, once again I have to start a search. It was stripped by Steve James years ago when he tried to sell it and I had to buy it back.

Huge thanks to Jo for agreeing to take the time to answer my questions. I'm sure that every one of you reading this will soon be reaching for some Dogs D'Amour and reaquainting yourselves with many great songs. Me, I'll probably go digging through a few boxes in my attic looking for that dusty C90 of a famous gig at Cardiff Square Club........

Interviewed by Gaz E.

Show Jo some love HERE