1277489_635007626522635_1018637010_oThe year was 1975 and there appeared a band whose sound cut through the Mississippi blues and the country songs of Missouri, putting keyboards, string instruments and astonishing vocals in the middle of a guitar based music industry. Pavlov’s Dog is a band whose name drew attention to the controversial experiment that helped (?) understand the relationship between a stimulus and the reaction to it. The release of the band’s debut album entitled ‘Pampered Menial’ in 1975 featured at the cover, an almost hypnotized and agitated dog alluding to Ivan Pavlov’s experiment. The vocals and the mind-numbing delivery of the lyrics left a permanent mark on everyone who listened to this album. It is one thing to expect a great debut album from a band but it’s quite another to be hit with the melody of ‘Julia’, the very first track of the debut album and David Skurkamp’s voice which has this admirable and other-worldly tremble! 41 years have passed and this song’ s impact has not lessened. Let’s not forget that 1975 was the middle of the glam rock, progressive rock and punk frenzy. It was the time of  early experimentation with electronic music and the period when designing an album’s artwork was equally important and time consuming as recording and producing the music of this album.


David Skurkamp has joined the small list of vocalists who are recognizable from the first note and it is hard to believe that the quality of the band’s music was not reflected in the album sales at theR-2283643-1328731376.jpeg time. The band has changed its line up several times and after the passing of Siegfried Carver (violin) and Doug Rayburn (keyboards), David Skurkamp is the only remaining member of the original line up. Pavlov’s Dog released two albums before their dissolution and both these albums were of distinguished quality. ‘Pampered Menial’, an album that no other release of the band has surpassed, was co-produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman, both known from their work with Blue Öyster Cult. The next album entitled ‘At the Sound of The Bell’ marked a recognizable difference in the sound of the band by revealing more clear influences from jazz ( i.e. ‘She Break Like A Morning Sky’) and progressive rock music (i.e. ‘Did You See Him Cry’). This was a more ‘classic’ and less experimental album in terms of rhythms and melodies and more instruments were included. The album was co-produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman who were now joined by John Jansen (known from his work with Jimi Hendrix) and Sam Ginsberg (known from her work with Patti Smith, Aerosmith).In this album Bill Bruford (known from Yes, UK, King Crimson) played drums and Michael Brecker and Andy Mackay (saxophonist and founder of Roxy Music) played saxophones. It is important to stress that there has not been a single album in the discography of this band whose production and the overall sound quality, was not exceptional. At the same time the arrangement in each song, has been done so thoughtfully and sensibly that every little note played on every instrument seemed to contribute in a unique way in the end result.

13 years passed after the first dissolution of the band and in 1990 the band reformed in order to release its third album, ‘Lost In America’ on which synths were more prominent and the overall atmosphere was ‘lighter’ emotionally than in the previous albums. Additionally, the music in this album revealed stronger influences from rock and bluegrass music (i.e. ‘Don’t Rain On Me’). The band’s lyrics have always dealt with issues of personal betrayal and loneliness, yet I don’t think that there is another voice like David Skurkamp’s that is able to convey so many conflicting emotions as those inferred by the words of the lyrics in such a heartfelt and engaging way! This is one of the few bands that has melody at the core of its synthesis.

David Skurkamp has also released two solo albums in 2001 and 2007 respectively entitled ‘Roaring With Light‘ and ‘Dancing On The Edge of a Teacup: The Pavlov’s Dog Trinity Sessions‘ In terms of live shows it was after 2004 that Pavlov’s Dog with a new line up has started offering live shows on a regular basis and in 2012, they shared the stage with the Blues Brothers Band . In a few days we will have the opportunity to see this band perform live at The Underworld in Camden and it will be a real pleasure to experience the atmosphere of this band’s songs in a live show. Tickets can be purchased from here: http://www.theunderworldcamden.co.uk/gigs/events/22-may-16-pavlovs-dog-the-underworld/


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