Ryan Cook - Lead Vocals
Hair Of The Dog Interview

I am totally floored at the quality of the album.

Yeah it was above and beyond what I was expecting to hear.
Oh thank you. We're huge rock fans and I gotta tell you there were a lot of ways we could've done this record. The musical climate right now in the U.S and I'm pretty sure around the rest of the world and the thing we were up against when we made this record was to either do what we'd done all along and pay attention to our roots like early Van Halen, Aerosmith, Kiss and AC/DC or we could have gone the other way and totally gone industrial with loops and all different kinds of stuff and make that kind of record.
But you know what we couldn't have done that because we're not that kind of band. We're a real rock band.

I'm so pleased to hear that because several years ago there were a lot of bands making music influenced by the early '80's and the '70's and making records in that vein, but bands today, I don't know who they're influenced by. I wonder what did they grow up on.
I don't know the thing is the band getting everyone's attention right now is Korn and Limp Bizkit. I'd like to say first and foremost above everything else is that I don't want to sit and judge another band and what they do.
Ultimately if it's dance music, county, hip hop or dance music there is a common thread and that is we all want to be successful at what we do and we all want to sell records. I can respect that from any band. On the other hand some of the bands that are coming out and doing what they're doing it's real hard for me to call rock n roll. I say that in the sense those to me and a lot of other people in the world rock n roll means AC/DC. It means Van Halen and it means a band that has guitars, drums and bass. You don't rely on computers and drum machines. They are not human elements of music. They are things that are made from computers. When you listen to our records - that is exactly the way we're are going to sound live.
That what we live by it's all about the rock.

I think that shines through on the album. It's a very raw, live sounding album that has a great production still.
Thanks. The production, well that's no accident that it sounds good because look who produced it....Michael Wagner.

He's a legend isn't he!
Yeah he is. You can imagine what our excitement was when we got to work with that guy. For the people who don't know it's Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Skid Row, Extreme and even stuff like Janet Jackson.
What that means is that we've got a guy so good he can work with anyone that's great. That was always to our advantage and we ended up with a really good sounding record.
I'm really proud of it. Michael did a really good job and I can't say enough good things about him. He was super.

I must say that out of all the records that have come out of the States this is one of the best sounding records I've heard in a long time. Honest, good hard rock.
Thank you. I think the next step is we want to go out and tour. I think anyone that tells you there are not rock n roll fans out there are pretty out of touch.

Yeah well judging by the amount of e-mail I get there are plenty of fans out there.
Yeah there are. I wanna come to Australia, London and Japan. We want to go everywhere.

Have you got any release schedule for outside for Europe and Japan?
Believe it or not the whole record was released worldwide April 3rd. It was April 4th in the U.S.

Well great I think it would go down very well in Japan particularly.
Most certainly. We've gotten a really good reaction from Japan. Even Germany actually, they like it. It was funny actually but one of the representatives over there actually phoned and called our record label and told them they thought we were the next Van Halen for them.
It was a huge thrill for us to hear. That band being one of our heroes. You can never depend on that sort of thing, you need to take it with a grain of salt and appreciate it but you don't rest on it you know. We think if someone likes it then god bless them.

This is your first big budget album isn't it?
Most certainly. Definitely.
We were no different to any other band in the world.
We were doing demos and shopping them to record labels. You do it in hope that one of them is going to call you and say we like you we won't to see you about putting out a record. We put out demos all the time and got turned down by every label in U.S, every major label. They all got back to us with the same response about us being too rock n roll.
They wanted us to be the next Bush or Nirvana.
They are good bands but they're not Hair of the Dog. They said you're too much like Aerosmith or Kiss.

How can that be a bad thing with all the millions of records that they sold?
I think that everyone forgot that bands like Bush I bet if you had a look in their record collections they'd all have Toys In The Attic in there.
So what we did was to take what we thought was our best song and it was released on an album sampler that went to every radio station in the U.S and low and behold a month and a half later that song ended up being the most requested song on several playlists across the States.
Record labels were calling our manager going what is this and who is this band. We bent the truth as far as we could without breaking it and that was the song was the lead track off our new record, which they are finishing in production right now and the record will be out in the stores in 3 months.
So we ran to the studio and recorded 3 more songs and took 6 other demos that we already had recorded and mastered it and tried to make it sound like one cohesive record. We put it out ourselves.
When you print a record yourselves you can't print just 10 copies there's a minimum of a 1000 records to print. We printed a 1000 copies of this record and we're like how are we going to get rid of 1000 records?!!
Before we knew it the 1000 were gone. We ordered again and then the next thing you know we've sold 15,000 records. We'd been touring for almost 2 years and whether it was good or bad every record label that had turned us down had a file on Hair of the Dog.
Whether it said good stuff or bad stuff I don't know they all knew who we were. When we came home we did a new record with Michael. So we did the record first and then went and shopped with that.
When it came time to sign we had that liberty that a few different labels wanted to sign us so it turned out great.

So Spitfire bid the hardest?
Well every label wanted to sign us for different reasons.
Spitfire being a new label and everything one would think that we wouldn't want to go with them right away. Then other labels that were a lot bigger that said 'you know what we really like this record but there's 20 of us on staff and only 3 of us really love this record' told us.
We had to think about that. We thought if we sign with someone like that are we going to be in the position that only 3 people who work there are going to work this record. Then you have a label like Spitfire where everyone on the label loves the record. So that's what we did.

Other bands have said they had only one person they liased with within a company who then left soon after.
Yeah well been very happy and very fortunate. Spitfire have been great to us, they are great people and are taking that the album gets out there. The record had only been out a week.

Any feedback yet?
We got a lot of feedback before the record was even released.
The label serviced tones of press and radio stations. I am just extremely happy and the amount of good response we've been getting. I think for every band out there the one that made it, they would have twenty set backs. Up to this point we have had so many great reviews that it scares me.
It makes me think that I'm going to wake up one day and get a package with all the bad stuff in it. We've been really fortunate.
There are people out there that think you can walk on water and then there are people that wish you would drown in it.

I think it's tremendous.
Do you have any favourite songs just for my own interest?

Yeah, it's not my favourite track, but I thought the first track on the album was more contemporary then say the rest of the album.
Yeah that was the first single that's being played on radio over here in America at the moment. Being the title track and the first song on the record I'd be a liar if I didn't say we had that in the back of our minds. On the other hand it's very rock. It's a very simple song only three chords.

I really like Five to Nine...It's an anthem.
That's a song for the working man and the party girl.

The other song I really like is You Are The One.
Yeah that it my favourite one on the record.

I think it's a very nice commercial pop/rock/ballad song.
It's got enough edge on it so it's not just you're average ballad but the sentiment in the vocal is enough to make it a love song.

It's an interesting hybrid between the two and I like that feel.
You know I see big things happening to the band because of that song.
I think that song could be the cross over song for Hair Of The Dog. The rest of the record is aimed at the full on rock n roll fan that doesn't like that kind of stuff.
I think that song can really reach a lot of audiences and help spread the word about us.

The other track I like is the last track, the Kiss cover.
Yeah we're big Kiss fans. The early Kiss days when no other band mattered to me in the whole world besides Kiss. The way they made me feel. I know they made a huge impact in Australia.

They were a dangerous band, they were hungry.
They were in it to play rock n roll and get laid, they believed in that.
That's what made them a great rock n roll band in a lot of kid's eyes. The thing about the song that we did was by the time the record came out people really weren't sure if Kiss were still around for that matter.
We thought we would take a great Kiss song off a not so great Kiss album.
We wanted to let people know that we are huge Kiss fans and show them here was something about Kiss that you might not have heard.

Yeah it was an obscure track for sure!
Most bands if you asked them to do a Kiss song they would have down Detroit Rock City or Rock N Roll All Night.
We were like let's do something different and shake it up a bit. How many cover bands do you see in the bars play all the Kiss hits? How many cover bands have you heard of 'I'?!! I think they'll be happy to hear that we did it.

What you did with the middle section of the song was cool.
Yeah. Do you know what those songs are?

There's a couple in there.
Well there's Strutter. Love Gun. I Was Made For Lovin' You.
Long after Kiss the Kiss Army is still going to be around.

Well you could pick up a few of them. You've got the same feel good and fun rock n roll so I hope you can.
I never thought I'd be in anything that got this kind of attention. For example we've already got fans that turn up at our shows with the Hair Of The Dog logo tattooed on their bodies.

Oh no, fantastic.
It got so big that in our newsletter we dedicated a part of it to our fans who have tattoos. It's exciting.

So what are the band up to next, the next six months?
We are on tour forever. We know there are tones of people who still don't know about this band. We are still a new band and this is our first major release so the main thing that the label and the band agreed upon is that the band will tour to promote this record.
We are talking global, not just the U.S.
Anywhere that will have we will come there and do it. If it's rock festivals we'll be there, we just want to get out there and play. We think we can stand out from the rest with our strong work ethic of getting out there and playing.
We care about playing and we enjoy it. Bands that just put out records and never tour I think are missing out on a lot.
Our mission is to have as good a time as possible as often as possible with as many people and especially any cheeky monkeys as possible

What a great attitude!

Can you think of any other reason to be in a band?

Some of these bands take themselves far too seriously.
Oh, I agree with you completely.
We could do a whole other conversation on that.
The thing I never understood it's don't let any band fool you into thinking they are doing you a favor by merely existing. We're the lucky ones, the band is.
The band is fortunate there are music fans that allow us to be heard on the radio. If a band thinks that without there fans they can exist or go out and do what they like to do without treating their fans with respect.
I think that's a real bad attitude to have. I think its terrible when bands start taking their fans for granted or treating them like shit. I believe that 100%.

I think with an attitude like that you guys will go a long way...
Oh thank you. It's not lip service or bullshit. It's just the way the band is. We were all kids who wanted nothing more than to be in a band and make a record. To have a label that gives you money to be able to go out on the road and tour I mean how many people have jobs like that?
The other thing is how many other bands wish they had that going for them. Getting a record deal to me is like getting a gift. It's about getting something that you have to give a lot of respect or you'll lose it.

That's great. It's really refreshing to see a band that's happy and has a great attitude. It's good to hear.
Well I know one day you and the rest of the band will get too meet face to face.

Next time I'm in the States for sure.
Yeah if you're here you are more than welcome to look us up and vice versa.
I just want to say that a lot of music the last 8 years or so has become so depressing and songs about the bad things in life we're always coming out but my theory is wasn't music supposed to be fun.
What happened to the fun element? But anyway we're making our music and we've stuck to our guns, we've still got long hair.
We're not wearing flannel yet. The main thing is we won't people to know if you want to have a good time come and hang out with us. We'll supply the party if you just tell us where to show up.
I think 2000 is going to be a good year for us

I'll do my bit and get the interview on there and hopefully get some more people onto you.
Whatever we can do to help you. This is a huge favor for you to do this.

No worries Ryan…thanks for your time and the call.
Thanks Andrew.