Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DOUG AND THE SLUGS


It's such a damn shame that Doug and The Slugs were never bigger in the states. And everywhere else. Started in 1977 in Vancouver, Canada by newspaper editor/cartoonist Doug Bennett. Their first album, titled Cognac and Bologna, was released in 1980. They continued to record work that, in my apartment in those days and in spite of my deep abiding love for Costello in those days, rivaled Costello and Joe Jackson lyrically and musically. Hell they could have kicked the ass of Huey Lewis not to mention The News! The Slugs songs were hooky as hell, clever, witty, sharp and often quite poignant but for some reason in spite of a top twenty album that sold over 100,000 albums in Canada their mix of R & B and smart pop barely crossed over here. But that's nothing new for Canadian bands. Perhaps the songs were a little too witty for yanks. Like Canadian Bacon. So other than comedian and fellow frost back Norm MacDonald using the Slugs song Too Bad for his short lived TV shows theme song Doug and The Slugs never made any real dent stateside. For me Doug and The Slugs has always been my happy little secret. Nobody knows about 'em and nobody knows I like 'em. Except me. And now you. The Slugs released six albums (not including a hits package and Doug's solo stuff) and all are long out of print in the U.S. You can find the first couple online if you look a little. Doug Bennett passed on in 2004, the victim of a bad heart, at age fifty-three.

Chinatown Calculation - MP3
Soldier of Fortune - MP3
Too Bad - Mp3
Drifting Away - MP3
Tropical Rainstorm - MP3
Alibi - MP3
Forget About Me - MP3
River - MP3

34 comments:

  1. Hi Rick
    I had seen Doug and the Slugs a few times when i was living in Toronto in the early 80's. I passed on seeing U2 at Larry's Hideaway, a small club in Toronto, saying i wouldn't pay 5 bucks to see a band with just one album out. I went to see Doug again at the El Mocambo instead.
    Now i wouldn't pay a cent to see U2, but would give anything to see Doug and the Slugs again.
    Russ Graham

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  2. I'm with you guys. What talent, what intelligence, what wit! Living on the east coast, I saw them, several times, in Halifax and Moncton and even Miramichi, if you can believe it. I interviewed Doug one time. He took a very aggressive line in his set patter. He said he did that because he wanted to jolt people into thinking. He also said that, at any given time, 90% of what is popular is crap. Doug and the Slugs, Simon Kendall, in particular, put them in the top 1% in my books. You couldn't listen and watch without a huge grin!

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  3. I'm in Florida. I first heard Doug and the Slugs on the Norm McDonald intro - loved the song; didn't have TiVo so struggled like hell to figure out the closing credits. As soon as I decoded the name of the band, I rushed out to look for an album, finally finding the Cognac and Bologna/Wrap It double-CD at a funky little head-type shop in Sarasota. What a find!!

    For the past several years I've been trying to get my cyber-friends exposed to these great, witty, intelligent songs. I keep posting links on discussion boards; I won't give up.

    Don't you either.

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  4. I won't! By coincidence, I am in Florida for the winter, in Gulfport. If you could give me any tips as to places to look for the Cognac And Balogna CD, I would sure appreciate it. I lost mine in a fire. You Tube is such a treasure. I never even knew the videos existed. I also saw Doug Bennett play the lead in John Gray's musical "Rock 'N' Roll" in Toronto years ago. The force and edge in his voice and the lyrics are unique. I wish you could have seen them live. Simon Kendall, the keyboard player is the deep, booming voice. He is tall and can be very comical in his stage manner. They were such a hoot! Excuse the babble. It is just good to communicate with people who got them.

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  5. Sadly the albums seem to be all out of print. Used cd/record stores or Ebay etc will be your best bet. That or or find someone internet savvy enuff to download the albums for you from a site like piratebay.org (which is where I found Doug's solo album).I still havnt found a couple of their albums. Good Luck! -Rick

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  6. Yeah, I was just hoping Dori might know some good used CD stores in the area where I might find one. I did see one on Amazon for $139. My daughter is checking out our mutual friends where she lives hoping someone has one we can duplicate. Even iTunes doesn't have them. Incidentally, do you know which song has the "roomful of clues" line. I can't remember. Thank you very much for hosting this site.

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  7. The Lyrics "Roomful of Clues" is on the song Just Another Case.

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  8. doug and the slugs evoke pretty special memories when I hear them
    on the radio, I was 12 when they were big and the songs sound GOOD!

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  9. Saw them in Winnipeg a few times and remember once in particular. The sound went down completely and the group was left with nothing right in the middle of a song. The roadies all ran up on stage to try and fix it, but it was starting to take too long and the crowd was all talking amongst themselves. No one was paying attention any longer. Doug, being the pro that he was, started making the shush sound with his finger over his lips. Once he had everyone's attention, he started mouthing the lead guitar to Wipeout. With that, the drummer started playing it quietly and they performed that whole song while the sound was restored. The sound actually came back during Wipeout, but he finished the song as any pro would. What a great save from a potential disaster.

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  10. Saw them a few times, in Calgary once and in LA twice in the 80's. Always entertaining, yes, they were vastly underappreciated. Listen again to " Drifting Away " - it's best heartbroken lament of the 80s !

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  11. just came across this site while i was supposed to be working through a 3 hour training course for my job.
    beyond excited to see that there are others who appreciated this band.
    i wake to "too bad" daily

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  12. What cracks me up is that I've never known anyone else who liked the slugs. my friends couldn't figure why I liked them so much. Yet this post has got more comments than any I've ever done. Nice to know there are still fans out there. If only their stuff was still in print. I suppose the surviving slugs don't own the rights or they could sell CDs via cd baby at least. Cheers everyone!

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  13. Hey Rick

    Saw Doug and The Slugs many a time around Vancouver.Still have the vinyl.I was not initially into replacing vinyl with CDs so I did not purchase the 2LPs on 1CD(first 2 albums) reissue.I have since purchased the Slugcology 101(Best of) CD.Every now and again I will look around ebay,amazon marketplace etc to look for that reissue.I note a 34.99 pound copy on ebay today.I will ask some savy music bloggers to look in cyberspace.Maybe it is time to get a vinyl to CD record player.

    Doug and the Slugs were a great live band.Many a touring act regreted having bands like The Powder Blues Band and Doug and The Slugs open.

    Obviously Doug Bennett left us too soon.

    Cheers.

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  14. I live in Cleveland Ohio now, but am originally from the Detroit MI area. I found Cognac and Bologna in a record store pile of promo copy records not being played. I knew the owner and he said take it. We kind of developed our own little Doug fan club and got to see him perform twice. And I heard he was pretty popular in the Boston MA area. We loved him and the band, but I like quirky stuff anyways.

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  15. Great tribute site, Rick! You wouldn't happen to have an mp3 of Nobody (No, No, No) would you? I'm searching all over for it, no luck.

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  16. Hey Anonymous- it's yr lucky day. I just did a search and found Music for the hard of thinking online. The song is called Nobody But Me. Want a link to download the album? -r

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  17. Doug and the Slugs has a special place in my life - I met my wife at a Slugs concert in Inuvik, Northwest Territories (yes, that's northern Canada) in 1985. We saw the Slugs a number of times over the years. As a live band they were criminally underrated. Doug was great in Rock and Roll (Toronto, around 1989). He's much missed. FYI: the Slugs recently played in Vancouver with Jerry Doucette.

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  18. I live in Toledo, Ohio and I was fortunate that my father is a huge slugs fan so I got to see them while we were on vacation at Lulu's in Kitchener, ON back in June of '96. Amazing band and Doug was an incredible performer. I managed to track down the "Cognac and Bologna/Wrap It" disc that was released by One Way Records some years back and my dad has all their vinyl, the "Tales From Terminal City" CD, and the US released "Doug and the Slugs" cassette. "Day By Day" and "Never Say Die" are two of the greatest songs ever. RIP Doug

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  19. Been a fan since 1982, saw them on MTV and went out to get Wrap it!. Saw them once in Seattle, wish it could have been more. Was sad to hear Doug passed. 1) any chance of finding out who owns the rights to their music and trying to get them re-released? 2) could you please share the link to Hard of Thinking? Let me know how that needs to happen. I can't find the group website anymore, know there used to be one...

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  20. Hi Kids-
    Here's where I snagged a few OOP Doug albums. Hopefully the download links still work:

    Popaganda
    http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2010/02/doug-and-slugs-popaganda.html

    Music for the hard of thinking:
    http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2010/02/doug-and-slugs-music-for-hard-of.html

    Wrap It:
    http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2010/02/doug-and-slugs-wrap-it-1981.html

    and as if you wouldnt already have it but just in case: Cognac and Bologna:
    http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2010/02/doug-and-slugs-cognac-and-bologna-1980.html

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    Replies
    1. http://www.dougandtheslugs.ca/index2.html

      One of favorite live bands of all time. Saw them at Lulus in the 90s.

      Henry Rasmussen mascon@sympatico.ca

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  21. ...and if ya do grab those Dougs- please leave a thank you for the blogger who posted 'em!

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  22. Saw them in Toronto in 1987 which is something I will never forget. Boyfriend at the time turned me on to them and that's all we played. I live in Cleveland (USA) Ohio and they came here to play one time, took all my friends, everyone loved them. It was the most fabulous memories, as we partied with them later. All so nice and fun. Saw them in Detroit about 1988, again fabulous. They actually got to know Mark and I as we were always there when we could be. Such great times, and more than anything extreme talent. Singing along with the songs, knowing all the words is an exercise in living life and loving such a talented band. Miss them all and was so, so sad when I heard Doug passed away. I know he's up there and his spirit and music lives on. Great to hear there are other fans who remember them and love them even now in 2010. Doug & the Slugs forever!

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  23. Never saw them but heard them a lot on CFNY a long time ago. Never saw their material in the shops in Buffalo but now I'm so happy to have stumbled across them. Thanks so much for the blogger that posted them!!

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  24. Saw them at the now defunct Bottom Line in NYC during the mid 80's. Always loved their slightly off-centered lyrics, and they put on a terrific show. My husband is Canadian and he first learned about D&TS from friends back in Montreal and Toronto. Hardly anyone I know has ever heard of them and whenever I think of their songs, it makes me smile!!

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  25. Cool cool cool gotta check out your blog. I am a huge SLOW CHILDREN fan and I just posted a radio show series they were doing for RCA in 1982 with vinyl releases and there is this DOUG and the SLUGS record on the cover of the LP (I think they did a radio show for him too!!)and a slew of like minded 80's bands who I am just discovering and crazy over like POLYROCK (I posted the LP and EP on my blog too just hit my icon up here).

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  26. OH.MY.GAWD. ALL the Doug albums for DL right here!

    http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2010/06/doug-and-slugs-slugcology-1011979-1988.html

    Be sure and thank the blogger!
    -Rick

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  27. Any reason why ITunes does not carry any of their songs was there no estate for Doug. They were neat songs and deserve to be heard by a new / different generation, as they are still relevant especially a song such as Day by Day...

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  28. After Steve, Simon, Rick, John and Wally played the first song "Get Up and Go" followed by the intro for Mr. Doug Bennett walking to the stage in his tuxedo for his first song "Operator" you knew it was going to be a special evening. Man do I miss this band.

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  29. Used to take the kids to Toronto to see Doug and the Slugs. Well, the kids are now 39 and 42 years old, but we still remember the good times like they were yesterday! Doug, we still miss you!

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  30. Doug and the Slugs were the first video I ever saw on MTV, I was never much for MTV but since then I have been a life long Slug. They didn't get a lot of exposure down here in Arkansas (I think I'm the only fan in the state) but they have been in my top 5 collection constantly for almost 20 years.

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  31. I hear ya krowdady. I'm in N.FL and i'm fairly certain i'm the only slugs fan around. My wife gently mocks my love of them so I only play 'em when no ones home. Makes them even more personal that way. cheers!

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  32. I still have my copy of Music for the Hard of Thinking on vinyl - sitting up on a top shelf in my living room. One of my absolute favourite albums from back then.

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  33. http://www.dougandtheslugs.ca/index2.html

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