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Interview:
New studio puts mojo behind Dr. Dog's latest album
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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"B-Room" is more than just a title for the psychedelic soul band Dr. Dog's eighth and latest studio album.

It's also the name of the studio the sextet built in its home town of Philadelphia, where the album was recorded. And the group's Toby Leaman says that the facility "was pretty crucial" to what transpired, musically, on the album.

"We kind of knew what kind of record we wanted to make before we started to build," Leaman recalls. "We spent about a month and a half working on (the studio) before we worked on the record at all, and doing that rally afforded us an opportunity to get together and talk about stuff and actually work on things every day.

"When we set aside two weeks to (record), no songs were really even brought to the table. We would just play for eight, nine, 10 hour a day -- which you could never do if you were paying for (studio) time. There was so much time put in just hanging out and being together and getting stuff done. It was an interesting way to start a record. It was definitely more of a band-centered record than we'd ever done before."

That, of course, comes after years of Leaman and co-founder Scott McMicken dominating the songwriting and direction of the group. Ceding some of that control, Leaman admits, "was a little harder for me. I know it was easy for Scott -- it was sort of his idea, too. just to let everybody sort of ease into their own roles." But Leaman found that the approach worked better than he ever expected it would.

"By and large we all have similar tastes and similar directions," he explains, "so 90 percent of the time if somebody has an idea, it's definitely worth exploring. Whether it gets used or not it's helpful just to let it out there into the ether, and maybe it will be used later if we don't pick up on it right then and there. It's always good to have things you can refer back to later on."

Dr. Dog and Fly Golden Eagle perform Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 day of show. Call 313-833-0700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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