Golden Dogs celebrate rebirth on road

After touring the world promoting their 2006 record Big Eye Little Eye and playing shows alongside Feist and Sloan, Toronto pop band The Golden Dogs returned to their Toronto home in 2008 at a career crossroads.

In the first potential setback for the band, they found themselves without a record label. The group’s longtime label True North was bought out by another company and in the process, dropped the band from its roster. And in another unexpected twist of fate, the band’s long-time bass player left his bandmates behind to get married in Hawaii and make Los Angeles his new home.

Golden Dogs keyboardist Jessica Grassia admits that things were pretty tentative in their world for a little while.

“We had been with True North for approximately five years when we were dropped. But in the end, we felt it was probably the best thing for the band to be left on our own and work on our own terms rather than being forced into making a new record. I think if the latter had been the case, I don’t think it would have worked for us,” she says.

“Finding the motivation to make a new record probably took the longest.”

Alongside her husband, Golden Dogs vocalist-guitarist Dave Azzolini, the duo began spending their days hanging out at the studio of their friends Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien, who would go on to form the indie-rock band Zeus. There, they began collaborating on new material while other friends would drop in and contribute their two cents.

Grassia says that the material on the Dogs’ latest record Coat Of Arms (released on Toronto’s Nevado record label this past July) ended up coming together very organically as a result of the relaxed studio surroundings.

“We like to think that these songs came together the way they were supposed to. We had to let things unfold naturally and though it was spread out over a longer span of time than what we typically would have worked on a record, it really was the best case scenario for us.”

In Grassia’s opinion, Coat Of Arms best serves to bridge the gap between the Golden Dogs frenetic live show and the Golden Dogs on record while also considering the album a rebirth of sorts.

“I think that it is definitely the best record we have released in terms of matching our live show to what we sound like on record. Coat Of Arms is the product of exactly what we have wanted to sound like on record.”

The band, rounded out by Jay McCarrol, James Robertson and Taylor Knox, will perform alongside Sloan this Saturday at The Manhattan.

Article published in October 22, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript