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Workdogs

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Biografia

The Workdogs consists of Rob Kennedy (bass, vocals) and Scott Jarvis (drums), who have provided the backbeat for Half Japanese, Velvet Monkeys, and a number of other bands over the years (Jarvis also produced and engineered the Beastie Boys' Pollywog Stew EP and served as their tour manager when they hooked up with Madonna's 1985 Like a Virgin tour). The only Workdogs' constant is change as they've operated under a different lineup for most every release and/or live performance. Jon Spencer (Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and Jerry Teel (Honeymoon Killers, Chrome Cranks) have played with the duo so often, however, that they would almost qualify as permanent members. A variety of other New York and New Jersey-based indie rock and avant-jazz artists have joined in throughout their career to back them up on guitar, saxophone, and other instruments. The Workdogs' debut single, "Funny $," was released in 1986 on the band's own King Dog Biscuit label and featured Rudi Protrudi (the Fuzztones) and Mark Dagley (High Sheriff). Their debut full-length, the bluesy Roberta, was issued by Okra a couple of years later. In 1990, they released another 45, "Haunted House of Love" (Vital Music), featuring Bond Bergland and Malcolm Riviera (Gumball, Velvet Monkeys), and teamed up with Ohio's Gibson Brothers for the 18-wheeler hoedown Punk Rock Drivin' Song of a Gun. 1992 brought forth "Electric Mutt," a single on In the Red featuring Spencer and Teel. In 1993, they released self-described "blues opera," Workdogs in Hell, featuring Moe Tucker, Lydia Lunch, Jad Fair, J.G. "Foetus" Thirlwell, Gibson brother Jeffrey Evans, and underground filmmaker Richard Kern (in turn, Kennedy and Jarvis played in Tucker's road band). The next year, they signed up with Sympathy for the Record Industry for "A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson" with Spencer and Marcellus Hall (Railroad Jerk). Sympathy reissued Roberta (plus bonus track) in 1994, followed the next year by the surprisingly accessible Old (compared to previous efforts, at any rate). The album track "Robert Kennedy Blues" was also released as a single that year. One Night Only!, a live-in-the-studio release featuring Spencer and Teel, hit the streets in 1996. After that flurry of activity, the Workdogs went on recording hiatus, taking up a residency as house band at Max Fisch in New York City where, for several years, they would meet on the first Sunday of each month to jam with a variety of guitarists (over 24 different players in two years). ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, Rovi