Watch: Keanu Reeves’ Grunge Band Dogstar Plays First Concert In Two Decades

Governo do Estado de São Paulo, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Keanu Reeves has come a long way. From beginnings in Canadian kids shows and tv movies to stirring dramatic portrayals in films like My Own Private Idaho, all the way to action superstardom via Point Break, Speed and ultimately John Wick, Keanu can pretty much write his own ticket at this point.

There’s always been a musical streak in Reeve’s overarching body of work. After all, he’s Ted  in the classic  Bill & Ted sci-fi comedy movies. It goes much deeper than that, though. One only needs to see Keanu in the soul-shattering River’s Edge to forever cement him as a full-fledged hesher. This suspicion was further confirmed when he was asked by about his favorite music by Entertainment Weekly in 1996: “I’d say Fugazi, The Ramones, Exploited, Discharge, early Elvis Costello, The Clash, Violent Femmes, Joy Division, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains. That’s definitely what I cut my teeth on.”

Now, the actor’s long-dormant grunge band Dogstar played their first concert after a two-decade hiatus yesterday at the BottleRock festival in Napa Valley, California. The band, which features Reeves on bass along with singer-guitarist Bret Domrose and drummer Rob Mailhouse, played music from their forthcoming album.

Watch fan-filmed video of the concert below.

Having not performed live since October 2002, Dogstar announced their comeback on Instagram last summer. The band have been posting updates about the recording sessions in over the following months.

Talking to Billboard ahead of the show, Reeves said of the new record: “I think all three of us just said, ‘Well, if we’re going to do this, let’s make a record.'” Frontman Bret Domrose added: “We just knew that there was ‘X’ amount of time, and we needed to make the most of it. We just locked on as wanting to make this record, and it happened pretty quickly.”

The upcoming Dogstar album was produced by indie rock luminary Dave Trumfio. According to drummer Rob Mailhouse: “[Dave] understood where we were coming from,” said Mailhouse, “and worked really well with Bret, layering guitars and doing lots of different sounds and ambient things — things that weren’t just hard rock, in-your-face music, [but] a little more textural.”

The next Dogstar album will be the band’s first new music since their second record Happy Ending in 2000. The band have confirmed via Instagram that they will begin making some of its new music available this summer.

“Thank you everyone for the kind comments. We are overjoyed to see such a response,” the band wrote. “Honestly, didn’t expect this. It makes us want to play out even more.

“We will be rolling out some new music this summer, followed by some gigs. As soon as it’s all figured out we will let everyone know immediately. So much to do, but rest assured, we are on it and have assembled a fantastic team that are helping us. We are also going to make a music video to support our first tune. That’s all I can say now.

“Can’t wait to share our new music with everyone. It’s the most satisfying and meaningful batch of songs we’ve ever done. Thanks again for being so patient with us. We truly have the best, most loyal fans!”

In an interview with GQ in 2019, Reeves recalled when Dogstar were somehow booked at the 1992 Milwaukee Metal Fest, alongside Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and Deicide.

“We played Milwaukee Metal Fest. Got killed. I think we played close to [New York hardcore band] Murphy’s Law. Imagine. So we played a Grateful Dead cover, at Milwaukee Metal Fest. We were, like, ‘They hate us. What are we doing here? What can we do? Let’s do The Grateful Dead cover…They were just like, Fuck you, you suck. I had the biggest grin on my face, man.”

John Wick can do whatever he wants.



John Wick Star Keanu Reeves Is Bringing Back His Grunge Band 'Dogstar' For New Music + Shows