Exclusive Interview With Tobe of Street Dogs: Survivng Life on the Road and the Fans
The past few years have been packed with writing, recording and touring for Boston’s Street Dogs. Now the band who opened for the likes of Flogging Molly and Social Distortion have the chance to play their first headlining shows in one of North America’s biggest punk rock cities, Montreal.
Formed in 2002, the band have seen their share of lineup changes. However, the current lineup stands strong with five members: vocalist Michael McColgan, bassist John Rioux, guitarists Marcus Hollar and Tobe Bean III, and drummer Paul Rucker. As the band continue to rise in the punk-rock pantheon, Tobe sits down to give fans an insight into the very busy life of rising punk stars.
Life on the Road
What influenced the band’s decision to switch over to Hellcat Records?
Tobe: We were free and clear with our other label, who were basically closing up shop. Hellcat was a no-brainer; that’s where Mike got his start with Dropkick (Murphys), so it was always our home, it just took us a little while to get there.
Do you prefer the larger venues or the smaller ones?
Tobe: I prefer the smaller venues. We’re a grassroots band, you know? I think we thrive in the venues where kids are right up in your face. I feel so removed from the kids in a large venue. The energy just isn’t the same.
How does it feel to have a headlining tour in Montreal?
Tobe: This is awesome. I’m stoked. This is our first headlining show in Montreal. It’s one of our favorite cities in the world.
How does the band work together as you all live in different cities?
Tobe: We never go home. We live in that RV eight months out of the year. We have a rehearsal space and a recording studio in Houston, so we all fly into Houston four or five days before the tour starts. Mike splits his time between LA and Boston now, Paul lives in LA, Marcus lives in a tiny city in northern Texas, and Johnny and I live in Houston.
We’re a very diverse group of people. But the band will always be a Boston band because that’s where Mike writes from, you know, that’s where his heart is. You’re never going to take the Boston out of him, and he’s the mouthpiece of the band.
You play a lot of shows in Asia, and on the DVD that came with the Fading American Dream album there are kids jumping on stages and who know the lyrics to every song. How does it feel to go that far East and have the people know your band better than some people from Boston?
Tobe: It’s amazing. I remember the first time I got paid to play in a punk rock band, and made $15, and I remember thinking, “Oh, we actually got paid to do this!” And now I think about that when I’m onstage in Tokyo, and it’s an unbelievable feeling. And when they’re waiting at your hotel for you to arrive at eight in the morning. It’s really flattering.
Any other countries you’ve visited where the fans are a little quirky?
Tobe: The first few tours when we went to Germany. You’ve got to prove yourself. It’s like going on American Idol, but for punk rock. They want to see what you’re made of.
How do you feel about living every kid’s dream every day? Does it ever wear you down?
Tobe: The only time it ever grinds me down is when there’s lots of flying involved. As long as I can sleep somewhere, I could tour non-stop.
What can fans expect from Street Dogs in the future?
Tobe: Touring and touring and touring. New record. We’re going to tour throughout the year on this record, then go to Japan with Flogging Molly, then do a headlining tour in Europe and some festival shows, then come back to the US and either do a headlining tour or support a really big band. It would be huge if it happened, and I’d love to tell you more but I can’t.