Originally named Hug The Retard, Dog Fashion Disco was formed in 1995 by Todd Smith, Greg Combs, and John Ensminger in Rockville, Maryland. Tod, Greg and John were high school colleagues. Combining many different music styles from the 70’s psychedelic, through jazz to heavy metal and circus music, Dog Fashion Disco was categorized as avant-garde metal band being heavily influenced by Mike Patton’s Mr. Bungle. The band’s lyrical content is often highly esoteric and satirical, with constant tongue-in-cheek references to the occult, drug use, and other oddities.
Their first two albums were self released and low budget products. The first – “Erotic Massage” (1997) – was funded by a loan taken out by drummer John Ensminger. The second self-released album was titled “Experiments In Alchemy” and released in 1998. While the first album was more blues related and slower, the second one was more intense and heavy metal rooted.
In 2000, DFD played on USA Network’s FarmClub and that exposure lead them to signing with Spitfire Records. Their major label debut was released in and entitled “Anarchists of Good Taste”. For this album they also recorded the track called “Mushroom Cult” with System of a Down front-man, Serj Tankian who, obviously, providing vocals.
In 2003, they released “Committed to a Bright Future” on Spitfire Records and toured with Lacuna Coil. Although the album contains the same lineup as Anarchists, both guitarist Greg Combs and drummer John Ensminger left the band before it was released. Several line-up changes followed, Mike “Ollie” Oliver was the new drummer while the spot of lead guitar was temporarily filled by Jason Stevens. Also bassist and original member Stephen Mears left the band to join the Navy and he was replaced by Brian White. Later guitarist Stevens was replaced by Margret Heater.
In 2005 DFD were signed to Rotten Records. On April 4, 2006, they released their sixth studio album, “Adultery”, which featured the return of original drummer John Ensminger.
On December 5, 2006, Todd Smith Dog posted a blog entry on Dog Fashion Disco’s official MySpace stating that the band had decided to call it quits.
They performed their farewell show at the Sonar Lounge in Baltimore, Maryland on January 13, 2007 to a capacity crowd, with fans coming from as far away as the United Kingdom.
On April 17, 2007, a bulletin was posted on the Dog Fashion Disco MySpace page, announcing a new project, Polkadot Cadaver.
Polkadot Cadaver released 3 albums, “Purgatory Dance Party” (2007), “Sex Offender” (2011) and “Last Call in Jonestown” (2013), a split with Ideamen “Wolf in Jesus Skin/Horse’s Head (2010) and a Christmas EP “From Bethlehem to Oblivion” (2013).
The group reunited four times after breaking up before in 2013 they reconsider it and decided it that broken up Dog Fashion Disco was a mistake. Did crowd funding campaign for a new album and raised $85K… So, Polkadot Cadaver it’s out of the picture and Dog Fashion Disco it’s resurrected. I do not really see any point in doing this, I think people get used to Polkadot Cadaver by now, but if the guys feeling better being DFD again and considering that this name fits them better and eventually there are other contractual and marketing considerations as well, long live Dog Fashion Disco!!
The line-up is the same as the previous three reunion line-ups, however, Tim Swanson will replace Jeff Siegel on keyboards.
Todd Smith – vocals
Jasan Stepp – guitars
John Ensminger – drums
Tim Swanson – keyboards
Brian White – bass guitar
Matt Rippetoe – saxophones and woodwinds
It was then announced that Mike Oliver would be playing drums on the summer tour of 2014.
“Sweet Nothings” sounds and feels like Tomahawk’s 2013 album “Oddfellows“. It seems they just can’t get rid of it Mike Patton’s influence!! 😆 This is both something good and something bad… Fans of experimental, avant-garde rock will enjoy it anyway.
This is a quite eclectic and extensive mixture of many radically different flavors from metal to circus music, from blues to psychedelic and from grunge and hard rock to jazz, all together and back and forth. Not an easy listening, but an exciting one. It never gets boring, hard to guess what they are up to in the next sequence. This is their one of the strong points and the talent to blend all that styles and sounds together. But for the medium (mediocre) listener this could be a little bit too sophisticated, too exclusive. But then again, this is not for the medium, mediocre listeners. For them there are a bunch of medium and mediocre artists! 😆
The untitled closing track, an over 9 minute “song” it’s a direct thank to those fans who contributed with $170 on the Indiegogo crowd founding campaign and make this album possible.
1. Greta (3:42)
2. War Party (4:15)
3. Scarlet Fever (3:45)
4. Tastes So Sweet (3:17)
5. Doctor’s Orders (4:36)
6. Envy The Vultures (4:26)
7. Approach And Recede (5:30)
8. Down The Rabbit Hole (3:37)
9. We Aren’t The World (5:01)
10. Struck By Lightning (4:34)
11. Sweet Nothings (3:52)
12. Pale Horse (5:54)
13. End Of The Road (7:29)
14. Untitled (9:10)
Interesting, give it a try – mandatory if you love Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Polkadot Cadaver and… Dog Fashion Disco. Sweet madness.