Wild Dogs "the best kept secret in 80's heavy metal"










Wild Dogs came together after a summer of playing gigs as The Ravers.

Mick Zane AKA mike Landauer ( Malice ) called me and asked me to come play bass wtih Pete Holmes and Jeff Mark( Spring 1981.We did a bunch of shows as the Ravers i had booked before the Raver's drummer shot someone on a city bus and went to jail.We wrote a dozen songs and recorded most of them on mikes 4 track and the practice studo was located in the basement of a modeling school. The same summer Mick and i took a trip down to visit Kip Doran in Santa Rosa and saw Motorhead play at the Old Waldorf a memory that is as fresh as colorado snow

September 1981 Jeff contacted me and me asked me if i would be interested in recording songs for a class at a studio, and of course i said yes but there was already a bass player(Danny Kurth) i played guitar and had songs to record that fit their style the first session yileded one of my tunes Fugitive of the law we did another session before Pete joined Black n Blue and their previous drummer(Jaimie St James)who was now singing for the group join us for the next 5 song session that became the first half of the self titled Dogs LP we stuck to a 4 day per week schedule with no live dates in mind ever Malice and BnB moved to Hollywood the same time period I saw a clip on the new MTV about mike Varney and his label Shrapnel Records looking for bands with great guitatrists and Jeff qualified so we sent a tape to him and he responded enthusiastically and asked for more

Round this same time Jay Reynolds was putting together Malice Kip,Deen and i played on the demos while Jay lived in this very room i am typing this thats how he lured Mick into joing KGON FM in Portland was having a contest to find bands for their compilation and we submitted Born to Rock and won! that song got dailyairplay for a few years! and was in the closet classics show for a decade.Varney included the Tonight Show AND Never Gonna Stop for Shrapnel Record's 2nd compilation US METAL Vol 2

The group had songs on volumes 3, and 4 and 2 full length albums the self titled WILD DOGS and MAN'S BEST FRIEND on Shrapnel Records and my Dr Mastermind LP was released on the label as well Mike Varney was " instrumental" ( pun intended) in my career and Deen's trajectory

The Name Wild Dogs came as a joke. we hadn't planned on being a real band! everyone was either moving to LA or working in cover bands every night . NO venues except the punk clubs allowed original music and would never book any band like this

We rehearsed in Danny's family house in the basement low ceilings just barely over 6 ft and way too much gear! Jeff had 2 50 watt marshall half stacks and danny had 2 ampeg Svt setups( for rehearsal!) loud didnt exactly describe it.

When both drummers moved to LA it all stopped! I played drums to work songs out to keep this great creative streak going we held auditions and nobody was right except Bryce Van Patten. then Kip calls and raves about"this kid who plays like Neil Peart and let's go see him! so Jay and i and kipper went down the club Eli's to see Deen's band the Enemy and they were great The drumkit so large it took up the entire stage the other 2 bandmates had to stand on the dancefloor. The next day was Deen's birthday turning 17 i drove to salem 30 min south and was dispatched to help unload the gear from his dad' s 30 foot truck including the massive 12'x12'drum stage made of 2x4 and plywood

we met Deeno and became friends that night. A few weeks later Jay hired him to play on the first demos for Malice and Metal Blade records Me, Kip and singer James Neal went to Ace Tunnel Sound and produced 3 songs. Deen called me a month or so later asking to come jam with Wild Dogs and i said YEAHHH so i arranged it and he came over and played Jaime St Jame's kit and broke everything and all the heads, sticks and cymbal even the kik pedal footboard! and i thought "man this guy is incredible"( i was alone in my thoughts though Jeff had a list of reasons why he wasn't the right guy one being "we won;t be able to control him" he is fat and and he is too young and he "overplays" i said" that all sounds great to me "... jeff gave in and he was a little bit correct. the creative song writing sessions ended (in fits of laughter Deen is a clownaround ) so you give a little and got alot and Deen made the live band work once we started doing shows aug 20 1982 in at The Stone in San Francisco for MTV

Culprit headlined that show at the stone and invited us to join them in Seattle 2 weeks from than and we found the fans there even more rabid than the bay area and they knew all the lyrics from the tape trading circuit. The next 2 years we were all over the region from washington to Los Angeles sharing the stage with Rail,Steeler, Black-n-B,Culprit,Rail, Metal Church, Anthrax, Raven, Slayer,Dio and Headlining our own shows too it was great fun travelling with the 6 person road crew and Deen. We had 2 vans Jeff and Danny and the sound guy ( PDX blues legend Jesse Samsel) in the other van .

So for the better part of 3 years we made some Great songs many that still hold up today as strong themes or anthems that have transcended the decades and pertinent today the traditional song about love or wanting love or the lonlieness of bornt to rock a girl in her room before MTV or the internet dreaming of being the rockstar or the Child abuse in the song the Evil in Me that i saw in my friends lives i never set out to write about any of these songs, the lyrics just found me based on the rythm alot had to do with the drums i never have written a song lyrics first always fit the words to the beat.

As soon as we had some critics giving their opinion, the whole thing went to shit i had already experienced this common plague and learned that you can NEVER please anyone by changing your style you lose the vision and your integrity it is the theme of stick to your guns the song believe in me was urging the band to listen to their own hearts we did fine without any outside info and experienced some success without trying we played what came naturally and that was never recaptured no matter how many times we tried to capture that essence it was like we lost our virginity and nothing is the same after that. in any instance.

Matt McCourt Vocals

Jeff Mark Guitar

Danny Kurth Bass Guitar

Pete Holmes Drums( first demos )

Jaime St James Drums( Wild Dogs 5 song demo and Lp)

Deen Castronovo Drums ( Wild Dogs, Man's Best

Friend, Reign of Terror


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the band who played at HOA in 2008