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Dog Eat Dog biography

Dog Eat Dog may be a household name to people nowadays, an overnight sensation to others, but there's a lot more to the story than that, so here goes...

Jump straight to: 1987-1993 | 1994-1995 | 1996-1997 | 1998-2003 | 2004-2024
John Connor | Dave Neabore | Sean Kilkenny | Brandon Finley

1987-1989 The Muckypup days
Dave Neabore and Sean Kilkenny met through the New Jersey music scene way back in 1987-88. Dave had joined a popular NJ band called Mucky Pup, and Sean had been a friend of the band as well, jamming with the members on the side playing cover songs.

Dave Neabore
Dave Neabore
In the summer of 1989, Dan Nastasi quit Mucky Pup, leaving them without a guitar player for their upcoming European tour. Since Sean was always jamming with the band anyway, he seemed the obvious choice to replace Danny. So Dave and Sean began playing together that summer, and had become instant friends and drinking partners. When they returned home from that tour, it was time to write material for a new MP record. Dave and Sean started to write songs that were a bit heavier, with a different groove to what Mucky Pup had done previously. Mucky Pup wasn't sure they wanted to go in that direction, but Dave and Sean were. So after a long discussion, it was decided that the two.

1990-1993 Forming Dog Eat Dog
So Dave and Sean, ideas in hand, locked themselves in Dave's basement and continued to write about what was on their minds... BEER! The two banged out a ton John Connor
John Connor
of riffs over the next few weeks, and decided it was time for this "creation" to have a voice. There wasn't a second thought that the only person to fill that slot would be Sean's high school friend, and former Mucky Pup crew member, John Connor. John was a singer in many local bands, and had a reputation for being a madman when you put a microphone in his hands. He was just that...
So the trio put their heads (and beer mugs) together and quickly wrote songs like "Funnel King", "Strip Song", and "Psychorama". These became instant party classics and can still be heard at DED shows even today.

The next thing they needed was a drummer. So after searching their phone books, and asking friends, they found a drummer named Brett. Brett was able to bring to life the songs the trio had only played acoustically for weeks. So after a few quick rehearsals, they decided to see what their friends thought of the music they had created.

The first concert
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The first concert
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So they had the first "official" show right there in Dave's basement!!! And if cramming 50 people into Dave's tiny basement wasn't enough, everyone was required to wear a "toga" to make it more interesting. They even asked their good friend Kevin Reilly to bring his saxophone along to liven up the "Strip Song". After two kegs of BEER, and countless bottles of liquor later, they hit the stage (the floor to be exact!), and the band was born...
People liked what they heard and they decided to play "real" shows, instead of basements. So after playing birthday parties, ice cream parlors, and college Fraternity bashes, they started to make a name for themselves. But that was the one thing the band DIDN'T have... A NAME!!!

Billing themselves as "F-Troop", "B-Load", "Rubber Band" ... they just played and had fun. That was to be the most crucial part of Dog Eat Dog's commitment to music... FUN.
After hearing about the buzz, and some rough live tapes, Dan Nastasi expressed interest in the band, wanting to see what it was all about. They invited Dan to come to the basement with his equipment and jam along for fun. After jamming for hours with Danny, the band seemed even more powerful and Dan was asked to join full time. So Dan again left Mucky Pup and joined "The Band" permanently.

In the studio back in 1992
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Dog Eat Dog and Sooty
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Thus begins the "Spinal Tap" drummer syndrome... Brett decided he wanted to move to San Francisco, California and did just that. He was never seen or heard from again. John "Booge" Milnes of Mucky Pup filled his place until a permanent replacement was found.
The band also knew it was time to name this thing they had created. Many names were thrown around and some stuck for a day or so, and some never lasted one rehearsal. But when the name Dog Eat Dog was thrown into the mix, well, everyone loved it.
From there, DED decided to take the songs they had written and put them on tape for real. They went into the studio for 2 days and recorded the first 5 song demo. Sean Kilkenny
Sean Kilkenny
Sean had contacts with a pro skateboarder named Andy Howell, also known for his artwork on NEW DEAL skateboards. Andy drew up a bunch of dogs and logos, the most famous being the "doghouse". The demo was done.
They continued to play bigger and bigger shows, selling more and more demos. Very excited about the growing popularity, they wrote and recorded another 5 song demo and kept playing, playing, playing. At this point DED had a drummer named Mark Marri behind the kit. The second demo was received with more approval than the first, and they were happy.

It was at this time when their friend Billy Graziadei from BIOHAZARD gave a DED tape to an A&R man at Roadrunner records in Europe. The tape was then sent back to the New York office. So R.R. people came to a few packed shows, and soon signed DED to their label. Unfortunately, Mark had to make the painful decision to leave the band to be with his wife and baby. The band wished him the best and began looking for yet ANOTHER drummer...

Dave's childhood friend and neighbor, Greg Merkle, was set to try out for the band. But on the day before his audition, he decided to back out, persuing his own musical interests. He did however, provide the band with the name of his friend who also played drums. That friend was Dave "Mopey" Maltby.
Mopey auditioned and fit in well with the members, so he was officially in the drum stool.

The band also started looking for a more serious saxophone player, and found that in Scott "Sooty" Mueller. Soon followed the Warrant EP, and DED was released worldwide...

forward to 1994 - 1995: All Boro Kings >>