Poi Dog Pondering
30 years on, 15 band members deep: Poi Dog Pondering are stronger than ever & continue to thrive & evolve on their 8th full length album entitled “Everybody’s Got A Star”. Their unique signature ‘Acous-tronic’ blend of orchestral, rock and dance music influences, shine through with PDP’s ever present irreverence to stylistic conformity.
“Everybody’s Got A Star” is an un-apologetic off-road venture, recalling the joys of the 80’s/90’s Discos that careened from one genre to the next with a membrane of madness to the method.”Growing up in Honolulu, Hawai’i, we really only had one good Live Music/Disco/ Club; The Wave. It was a Punk Rock/New Wave Club from 9 to 2am, then a Gay Disco from 2am to 4am. Everybody mixing it up & having fun. You could hear everything from Iggy Pop’s “Lust for life”, to the Clash’s “Magnificent 7” to Loose Joints “Is it all over my face”. I’m super thankful for that eclecticism. Music for dancing is like an elliptical orbit, it’s always around me, but sometimes it swings in real close and sweeps me along full force for a while”.
Poi Dog Pondering keeps thriving because their ethic has always been about following their musical heart. Their steadfast independence has allowed them to perennially bloom. From bohemian street buskers to impossible to market major label sacrificial lambs, to hard won autonomy with their own record label; Poi dog pondering have ripened into staunchly independent musical voyagers. They have let every sound that excited them flow through their music and flood it with ever changing colors: Orchestral, Acoustic and Electronic textures. Rock Band Disco, Chicago Stepper Soul & their unique ‘Soul Sonic Orchestra’ Sound. (Threaded all along the way with ‘heart on the sleeve’ lyrics that embrace the beauty and pain of everyday life).
30 years down the line there is a bolstered sense of history within the band now. A swagger that comes from having steadfastly carved their own path. It is quite apparent that PDP has always been, and ever will be, in-it-for-the-love-of-it; creating and performing. Line up changes are par for the course. PDP is an organic entity, it changes like life does. But there is a core with strong roots & deep personal history, open to new ears and ready to experiment. That’s what keeps it vibrant.
Poi dog pondering formed in Hawaii in 1986. The first live performance was at the Honolulu Arts Academy. Filled with youthful imitative exuberance and inspiration from reading about Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground’s ‘Exploding Plastic inevitable’ projected film and music happenings, PDP projected films of lava eruptions, ocean and other natural environments over the band as they performed. The tradition of projected imagery along with PDP live performances developed and matured over the years and continues to this day thanks to long time film and video artist/collaborators Luke Savisky and Marco Ferrari.
In 1987 PDP’s wanderlust drew them to the mainland where they embarked on a year long bohemian travel tour across the United States and Canada, playing acoustically on street corners for gas and food money, while sleeping outdoors all along the way. This experience forged Poi Dog Pondering’s self identity & confidence as a “D.I.Y.” entity. PDP was signed to the noble boutique label Texas Hotel who released their first record in ’88. Sony / Columbia released the next 2 records “Wishing like a mountain…” & “VoloVolo”. PDP relocated to Chicago in ’92 and formed their own label Platetectonic Music and released the critically acclaimed “Pomegranate” in ’95. For the next ten years PDP delved heavily into developing their orchestration skills, culminating in major collaborations with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta (with PDP’s Susan Voelz, Paul Mertens, Max Crawford & Frank Orrall doing the arrangements). Band leader Frank Orrall’s interest in electronic music garnered him respect from the Chicago House/Electronic music community for his solo project 8fatfat8, and lead him to become a member of Thievery Corporation as percussionist and vocalist. All this influenced PDP’s next 2 records “Natural Thing” and “In Seed Comes Fruit” which saw the band experimenting with electronic textures, beautiful lush arrangements and unhurried, sometimes instrumental song structures, letting musicality determine the song structure, rather than traditional “verse / chorus / bridge” style song writing. In 2005 PDP combined all of it’s experience together and set out to write and record “a straight up Rock and Soul record”, complete with strings and horns. The result was the critically acclaimed; “7”. Two EPs & a Live DVD later, PDP just released their 8th Studio album “Everybody’s Got A Star”.