Pets are like family. Really, they can be better than family; They don't complain about your haircut, career goals or new girlfriend. For these 10 Dallas-Fort Worth musicians, their pets are everything: sources of inspiration, a friend when it gets lonely and most importantly, an ear to their music. Whether you've seen these furry creatures at the bar patio, heard their pitter-patter in the background of local recordings, or "liked" their silly videos on Facebook, let's take a moment to recognize some of DFW's most awesome music-loving pets.
Human: Christopher Hughes, musician and sound engineer at Miscellaneous Sound Pet: George, cat
What is his full name? George P. Orridge.
What kind of cat is he? Grey Tabby.
What is George's favorite type of music? He's into Serge Gainsbourg and free jazz.
Where all have you taken George music-wise? George gets social anxiety around large groups of people, so he doesn't go to shows. However, we've taken two cross-country road trips, blasting Guided By Voices most of the way.
What is George's favorite food? Fancy Feast "Tuna Feast" (flaked).
What is George's favorite activity? Sprawling out across my shoes and basking in the odor.
Have you taken George to work? I've offered. He refuses.
Has George been featured on any recordings or in any videos? He's never "featured," but he gets involved whenever he feels the need.
Human: Chris Flemmons, The Baptist Generals Pet: Brunswick, dog
What is Brunswick's full name? Charles B. Brunswick. The "B." over years has served a number of applications depending on his behavior/demeanor. Biscuit, Born-crazy, Big-head, Bro-dini, Bestie, Behind-the-eightball, and some days Bast#%?! animal. In the litter I watched him regularly push his way quietly through his pile of siblings and decided to name him after that billiard/bowling company.
What kind of dog is he? Australian Shepherd and Shar Pei.
What is Brunswick's favorite type of music? Kraut-rock, Happy Jazz, Bacon.
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Where all have you taken Brunswick music-wise? He's a regular at Dan's Silver Leaf. He's been to Rubber Gloves and one time pooped on stage in the middle of my set there. He's been on a couple of solo tours. He's been to the St. Louis Arch. He's walked up the Exorcist stairs, and got kicked out of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. I remember telling the security guard I thought it was "pretty un-American that a dog can't visit the Lincoln Memorial and where's the sign saying I can't have my dog here?". At least he took a drink from the Reflecting Pool before all that happened. He has scarfed down a Nathan's hot dog from the original location on the Coney Island boardwalk. These are things every red-blooded American mutt should experience.
What is Brunswick's favorite food? Roma Tomatoes. Used to feed them to him whole but three years ago he almost choked to death on one and I had to doggy-Heimlich him. Frightening for me, once it was out of his mouth he tried to resume eating it like nothing had just happened. Little bastard. Now he gets quarter slices.
What is Brunswick's favorite activity? Year after year his primary motivation is food. Ways to get food. Psychic Force; Food. Brunswick never met a trash can he couldn't make an exhibitional disaster out of. This is his art. The day before his 10th birthday he figured out how to open the same fridge he'd been around for the previous 10 years. A few months after that he destroyed the 10th Anniversary Rock Lottery cake, decorated with the event's poster art, and being stored in that fridge. He'd figured out the locking mechanism I'd installed to prevent destruction like that. Bro-dini. This is his art.
Before demonstrating locksport prowess, one time I came home to find my crock pot, upright, in the center of the kitchen floor. When I'd left the house it was on the counter with a half-done pot roast in it. I didn't see spattered stew anywhere. The interior of the ceramic pot had been licked clean and was sitting in its heating base. What I had no explanation for was the fact that the glass lid was in its place on top of the ceramic pot.
I placed my fist to where the lid met the pot, and pushed. The lid fell off on the floor easily. Brunswick's head is three times the size of my fist. His big head in that pot would have pushed that lid off onto the floor. To this day I believe the kid made a lucky landing of getting the crock pot off the counter, feasted, and then -- with much self-loathing and regret -- replaced the glass lid and went to go hide. Shame, shame, shame-filled Bro-dini.
Have you taken Brunswick to work? Undercover, he lived (as I did) in the 35 Denton office for a year or so. Years before that when I worked for a film production house, he was a studio dog.
Has Brunswick been featured on any recordings or in any videos?
On Baptist Generals first release Dog, Brunswick barks and ruins a live recording of the first track, "2/3 Jim's Head." He didn't ruin it really -- he made the track better. Rubber Gloves owner Josh Baish had knocked at the door.
Human: Jason Reimer, creative director at Texas Theater; musician in Baptist Generals and History at Our Disposal Pet: Fitz, dog
What is Fitz's full name? Fitzgerald Scott Fitzgerald
What kind of dog is he? Schnorkie: one half Yorkie, one half Schnauser.
What is Fitz's favorite type of music? One hundred percent '60s tropicalia--without a doubt.
Where all have you taken Fitz music-wise? He's been to 35 Denton pretty much every year, including when it was called NX35. He's been to South by Southwest. Before we moved to Oak Cliff he was at several shows at Dan's Silverleaf, which is an incredibly dog friendly bar. He's been to dozens of events at the Texas Theatre.
What is Fitz's favorite food? In-n-Out cheeseburger, or cat poop.
What is Fitz's favorite activity? Trying to kill squirrels, (failing always).
Have you taken Fitz to work? Yes, for sure. Fitzel is with me almost always so he's been with me since we got the Texas Theatre opened. He's sometimes in the audience during movies without anyone knowing, sitting next to me.
Has Fitz been featured on any recordings or in any videos? He's on the most recent History at Our Disposal record and he was the partial inspiration for recent "Dog That Bit You" video I directed for Baptist Generals and Sub Pop.
Human: Robby and Jennifer Rux, drummer and guitarist for Year of the Bear Pet: Shadow, dog
What is Shadow's full name? Shadow Rux.
What kind of dog is he? Golden Retriever.
What is Shadow's favorite type of music? He likes King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, and other early dub.
Where all have you taken Shadow music-wise? Shadow prefers to have the bands come to him and play at Dreamy Soundz. He has been know to hang out with Bitch Bricks (he loves bitches), Fungi Girls, The Longshots and Spiderfriends. In his younger days he saw the Gourds at Magnolia on the Green and Brave Combo at Prairie Fest.
What is Shadow's favorite food? Shadow loves peanut butter, bacon, scrambled eggs and wieners.
What is Shadow's favorite activity? Shadow's favorite activity is hanging with the bitches. He also likes chilling with bands in the studio, strolls in the hood and visiting his girl Juicy when she is in town.
Have you taken Shadow to work? Shadow lives at Dreamy Soundz studio. He occasionally leaves the studio to go for a walk or visit his girl Juicy, the Golden Retriever.
Has Shadow been featured on any recordings or in any videos? Shadow can be heard on The Longshots' "Me or California," Fungi Girls' "Turquoise Hotel" and Bitch Bricks' "This Song is the Tits." He has made appearances on all recordings at Dreamy Soundz, if you listen closely. Shadow also made an appearance on the recent Siberian Traps video "I Am Not A Body" that was shot and recorded at his home.
Human: Kelly Upshaw, The Hope Trust Pet: Millie, dog
What is her full name? Millie is her full-name. When I took her in, my friend Jon had been putting out water and food for a couple days, and had named her that. It seemed to fit her. No sense in messing that up. She has nick-names: Millie-ton (usually in a Jamaican accent), Baby-girl, Sweet-Mama-Bear, etc.
What kind of dog is she? I've had a lot of different people suggest a lot of different things. My girlfriend, Kay, and I say she's a "prairie dog," because that's where she was found. She's a mutt, but that's usually the best kind of dog. If I took a shot in the dark, I think that she comes from the Asian-Spitz breeds, but the accent is hardly noticeable.
What is Millie's favorite type of music? If I play the harmonica, she will usually perk up and sing along. It's hilarious when it happens. I can't tell if she's saying, "OH MY GOD, PLEASE STOP!," or if she's singing away the woes of days spent relaxing and being fed regularly. She does like it when I play the drums. She will just sit and watch, and kinda bob along to the beat. Maybe she likes Rhythm and Blues.
Where all have you taken Millie music-wise? We take her to Dan's Silverleaf in Denton, usually once a week. She's seen countless Hares on the Mountain shows. If the vibe is low-key enough, we will usually listen to whomever is playing there, because there is a nice patio, and the people there are always friendly. She sang some backgrounds for Savage and the Big Beat last weekend. She likes to make her way around to everyone for a friendly hello, and is easily settled with a few pieces of popcorn. I've taken her to a few of my gigs. One specifically was a fundraiser for the Denton Animal Shelter. There were lots of dogs. I was playing solo, so it was a quieter setting, but when I got to a certain part of "Whatever Suits You," she let rip a big "WOOOWOOOOOOOOO," like the guitar part does. It was hard not to laugh my way through the rest of it.
What is Millie's favorite food? Anything, well mostly anything. When we found her, she had been abused and abandoned, and was in pretty bad shape. She looked strung out on dumpsters and various findings. Now, she has it pretty good. I always share with her a little bit of whatever I have, but I think that early experience of desperation makes her curious for all food. It's kinda like Depression-Era conservation, "You gonna eat that?...cause, I will."
What is Millie's favorite activity? I think that when she and I bonded, and I took claim of her, we shared a tacit agreement that, I was her's, and that I better take good care of her. Other than that, she eats, sleeps, does the other thing, and is a full personality in my family and house. It's amazing the similarity in needs between people and dogs. I try to include her in as much is possible, and make sure she's happy. It's not much work. She likes a good walk, hanging out with her peeps, and getting a belly-rub all cuddled up on the couch.
Have you taken Millie to work? I usually don't take her to work, but we've taken her on some pretty cool road trips. In December, my girlfriend and I went up to PA, by way of Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Kentucky and Pittsburgh. Millie got to see some of the coolest cities in American Rock n' Roll. I think she liked Memphis, but I don't think she liked me not sharing my Gus' Fried Chicken. She got to send two weeks chasing deer through the 4 feet of snow we got in the Allegheny's. She was so into it. I took her with me to some gigs in Oklahoma in January. She's got a real curiosity of things, but I can trust her to stay with me. It's a lot of fun, to be able to bring her along.
Has Millie been featured on any recordings, or in any videos? I couldn't help myself. I did put a video of her singing to the harmonica. I love how involuntary it seems, and again, I'm not sure if it's torture to her.
Human: George Neal, Hares on the Mountain Pet: Matthew, dog
What is Matthew's full name? Matthew Fox Neal (because he looks like a fox and I was watching a lot of Lost at the time.)
What kind of dog is he? Chihuahua and Miniature Greyhound.
What is Matthew's favorite type of music? Anything with harpsichord.
Where all have you taken Matthew music-wise? He and my other dog, Baylee, often accompany me to Dan's Silverleaf and other places around Denton. Matthew also has a little doggie backpack he rides in while I bike. His ears scoop off residual energy left over from the creation of the universe, which he then channels directly into my brain, thus revealing the very origins of the cosmos to me. I did a Springsteen tribute show at Dan's Silverleaf. I covered the song "Fire." Matthew was sitting on stage with me. During the break I wiped my sweaty, sweaty brow with his little, tiny furry body. It was a transcendental experience for everyone.
What is Matthew's favorite food? There are some who would say that Matthew has transcended mere flesh, has eschewed the need for material sustenance and is nourished by the divine music of the spheres. Others would say he likes bacon the best.
What is Matthew's favorite activity? Snuggling.
Have you taken Matthew to work? Yes. I used to take him all the time to the college where I teach. A student was allergic to him so I had to stop bringing him.
Has Matthew been featured on any recordings or in any videos? Not as such, but I made a video of him chasing a ball to the Magnetic Field's "Fido, Your Leash is too Long." I need help.
Human: Michael Briggs, owner of Gutterth Records Pet: Lucy, cat
What is her full name? Lucy the Dragon.
What kind of cat is she? Fluffy.
What is her favorite type of music? Industrial.
Where all have you taken her music-wise? She's present at most every Violitionist Session and Macaroni Island house show.
What is her favorite food? Fresh toes.
What is her favorite activity? Sleeping, of course.
Have you taken her to work? Never at my old job, but now that I'm working from home she's always nearby.
Has she been featured on any recordings, or in any videos? One instance that comes to mind is at the very end of "So So Sweet" from Sarah Jaffe's Violitionist Session.
Human: Pablo Burrull of Pageantry and Bird Meets Winter Pet: Mitchell, dog
What is his full name? Mitchell Mitchum Burrull.
What kind of dog is he? Mutt: Half English Shepherd, Half Pitbull (I think).
What is Mitchell's favorite type of music? Deep down in his heart, Mitch is a sucker for classical tunes. Concertos, symphonies, quartets, Bach, Mozart, you name it. But on the weekends, he usually jams some "indie" stuff: Dirty Projectors, Tame Impala, Deerhoof. The shit kids are listening to these days. Even though he's like 35 in dog years.
Where all have you taken Mitchell music-wise? Mitch is a regular at band practice. I've never taken him to a show or anything like that because he's kind of a pussy when it comes to loud noises. I think he has super hearing, so it hurts his ear drums when the snare kicks in.
What is Mitchell's favorite type of food? Well, it would be squirrel, but he never seems to be able to catch one. Cats...That's another one he would enjoy, but can never get to. Venison is one he eats every so often. When it's available, he immediately sits, lays down, shakes, stays...whatever he can do to get a piece of that sweet, sweet venison.
What is Mitchell's favorite activity? Camping, definitely camping. What else would a dog want? Trees, deer and armadillo to chase, water to swim in, fire to sit by, children to bark at -- Come on, dog paradise.
Have you taken Mitchell to work? Mitch has been to work with me a few times. If you count band practice as work, make that many times. If there was room in the car to take him on tour, he would totally be down.
Has Mitchell been featured on any recordings or in any videos? I did a low-fi recording session with my good friend Taylor circa 2010. We were roommates, and Mitch's best childhood friend, Bo, also lived with us. In the background of a few recordings, you can totally hear them playing, i.e. collars rattling, growling, barking, bodies hitting the wood floor. All in good fun. We liked that about the recordings. Who wouldn't want their dog to be on a record?
Human: Chris Brown, Spooky Folk Pet: Buster, dog
What is Buster's full name? Buster Brown.
What kind of dog is he? Part pit bull, part boxer, mostly cuddle-whore.
What is Buster's favorite type of music? Talking Heads.
Where all have you taken Buster music-wise? He frequented Spooky Folk shows, venues and house shows for the first two years we were playing. Overstimulation.
What is Buster's favorite food? Whatever his humans are eating at the time. He usually doesn't chew his food, so I'm not sure if discretion is his thing. He also conducts crumb sweeps when he thinks no one is watching.
What is Buster's favorite activity? Statutory cuddling and wiping his face on someone after he drinks water.
Have you taken Buster to work? Wish I could. Pits scare stupid people, and seeing as how stupid people constitute the largest demographic, I can't really take him out to many places.
Has Buster been featured on any recordings or in any videos? He toured with Missy Elliot in the '90s.
Human: Isaac Hoskins, solo musician; The Heelers Pets: Lily, Kaiser, dogs
What is his full name? Mine and Jamie's dogs are named Lily Mae and Kaiser Schnitzel.
What kind of dogs are they? Miniature Dachshunds. Kaiser is what they call a Dapple, his coat is brown and spotty. Lily is what they call Double Dapple, she has similar spotting but her main color is white. Kaiser has one brown eye and one blue eye, Lily has blue eyes and man, they're really blue.
What is their favorite type of music? Lily seems to like it when I put on Sam and Dave records. I'm not sure about Kaiser's favorite music but he loves the Empire Flooring commercial that airs on local T.V.
Where all have you taken them music-wise? They are so little that I don't like to take them to shows for fear of them getting hurt. I'm sure Kaiser has been to Jazz Fest but that's about it.
What is their favorite food? Considering that we have to watch their diets very closely, on account of their long backs, they don't get a whole lot of "human food." However they love carrots, especially Kaiser, and they love it when we go to Beth Marie's to get them Dog Ice Cream. Lily Mae likes to sun bathe, play tug-of-war, and torment her big brother.
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What is their favorite activity? Kaiser is really into burrowing down into a blanket and sleeping, he likes to fetch tennis balls and he tap dances when he wants your attention. They both like to take walks around the neighborhood and you'd better not mention the words "dog park" unless you really mean it.
Have you taken them to work? I have taken them to work or at least my place of work on multiple occasions, they like making new friends.
Have they been featured on any recordings or in any videos? They made it onto some demos for the new record I'm working on but I'll leave the dog records to Chris (Flemmons) for now.