One of my favourite bands, Street Dogs, announced recently that they are calling it a day, and the news was greeted with sorrow by many people in the punk scene.
Formed by original Dropkick Murphys vocalist Mike McColgan in Boston, Massachusetts, back in 2003, they released six studio albums and a fistful of singles during their 17-year career.
I was lucky enough to see them live a handful of times, most memorably at an intimate gig with a few dozen others at Trillians Rock Bar in Newcastle in 2012.
They played their heart-on-the-sleeve punk rock like there were thousands there, and I broke a personal rule about never acting like a fanboy around your heroes by having my picture taken with McColgan afterwards.
Still steaming after putting on a blistering show, he complimented me on my Stiff Little Fingers T-shirt, and gladly accepted the offer of a drink – a pint of coke, as he wasn’t boozing on tour!
Street Dogs became one of the most popular bands at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, though they had to pull out of their last scheduled appearance a few years ago due to McColgan’s commitments to the Boston Fire Department.
I’m gutted that they’ve decided to break up before I had the chance to see them one last time, but I guess the writing’s been on the wall for a while.
They went eight long years between 2010’s self-titled fifth album and 2018’s Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing, and when former Darkbuster main man Lenny Lashley left to concentrate on his other band Gang of One, the cracks seemed to widen.
Sure enough, on February 13 the band announced on their Facebook page that after a small run of shows with Flogging Molly and Mad Caddies, and two headline shows in California and Boston, Street Dogs were disbanding.
McColgan and bassist Johnny Rioux said in a statement: “It was tough collectively coming to this decision but we have said, played, and done about everything we could have imagined, and then some. We were and are incredibly grateful for all of it.
“It’s been such a wild ride and we will cherish the memories and friendships we have made over the years and we all look forward to the next chapters in our personal, professional, and musical lives.”
The farewell dates had to be postponed due to coronavirus restrictions, but I hope the lucky fans Stateside get to say goodbye before it’s all over.
In the meantime, here’s my personal Street Dogs Top 20. Make it into a playlist, burn it onto a CD, whatever your listening method of choice. But play it loud and sing it proud! Street Dogs R.I.P!
- Punk Rock And Roll (from Street Dogs, 2010 album)
- Tobe’s Got A Drinking Problem (from Fading American Dream, 2006 album)
- Fighter (from Savin Hill, 2003 album)
- Not Without A Purpose (from Fading American Dream)
- Savin Hill (from Savin Hill)
- White Collar Fraud (from Back To The World, 2005 album)
- Fatty (from Fading American Dream)
- Rights To Your Soul (from Fading American Dream)
- Kevin J. O’ Toole (from State Of Grace, 2008 album)
- Up The Union (from Street Dogs, 2010 album)
- Justifiable Fisticuffs (from Savin Hill)
- Cut Down On the 12th (from Savin Hill)
- We’re Still Here (from split CD/10in release with No!se, 2014)
- Broke Down Inside (from Two Angry Kids digital single, 2008)
- Johnny Come Lately (from split with No!se)
+ 5 essential cover versions
16. Borstal Breakout (Sham 69 cover, from Savin Hill, 2003 album)
17. There Is Power in A Union (Billy Bragg cover, from Fading American Dream)
18. Into the Valley (Skids cover, from State Of Grace)
19. GOP (Menace cover, from 2012 single)
20. Straight To Hell (The Clash cover, from the band’s MySpace page circa 2011 – you can find it on YouTube)