A second album on the way, two new band members joining the line-up (including the legendary Fruitbat aka Les Carter from Carter USM), and their own Dogfest festival a regular fixture on the circuit – it’s all happening for folk-punk band Ferocious Dog. Their fiddler Dan Booth talks to the NWN about the band’s forthcoming gig at Arlington Arts, Newbury on Saturday, 25th April.
As a young lad watching Carter USM headline at Glastonbury Festival in 1992, Dan Booth, fiddler with folk-punk outfit Ferocious Dog, never dreamed that one day that his hero would be joining his band.
Fruitbat’s arrival, along with that of fellow newcomer, bassist John Alexander, is just one of the incredible things that have happened to the busy five-piece (I meant six piece! Marge x) in the past few months.
Ferocious Dog invariably get compared to the likes of the Pogues, New Model Army, and the Levellers and it’s much more than a resemblance of sound. Despite a heartfelt fusion of punk, folk and raw passion – it’s perhaps more of a shared non-conformity and insistence on doing things their way.
“We’re always being compared to violin-led bands as well as Billy Bragg and the Dropkick Murphys but we’re not trying to hide from the genre. We know we’re Ferocious Dog though,” laughs Dan.
Having formed in 2011, the Nottinghamshire-based band released their eponymous Ferocious Dog album in 2013 to much acclaim without the backing of a record label.
“We’ll never sign to a record label – we do everything ourselves” says Dan. “Being controlled by a record company would destroy everything we believe in. We put out what we want to and do it the way we want to. We have no backing or promotion; we just work hard and put all of our recording, touring and festival fees back in.”
And it’s definitely working. It’s not just their studio debut receiving plaudits (named “best album of 2013” by the Shite’n’Onions online magazine), their live performances are building a huge, and sweaty, reputation.With a growing army of fans, known as the Hell Hounds, tickets tend to be snapped up within hours of going on sale and the band have set some sort of record by selling out at their local venues (the Rescue Rooms and the Bodega in Nottingham) in hours rather than days.
The band has also seen its fair share of sadness. Lead singer and guitarist Ken Bonsall lost his son Lee who tragically killed himself following a tour of duty in Afghanistan. His death prompted the band to write the anthemic favourite ‘The Glass’ in his memory and have raised £60,000 towards The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund, helping charities which support ex-servicemen who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Meanwhile, the eagerly-awaited second album is on its way after the collective recently locked themselves away somewhere in Warwickshire safely in the hands of famed producer Matt Terry. His previous production credits include albums for The Wonder Stuff and Ocean Colour Scene.
“Expect more of the same, but more polished,” says Dan. “The new album will all be self-penned songs – no covers, and will include guest appearances from musicians such as Nick Burbridge from McDermott’s Two Hours, who saw us perform in Brighton and then agreed to perform on the new album.”
And then there’s an autumn tour and a summer of festivals coming up. “We’re not allowed to announce them yet, but we’re playing some massive festivals this year. And I mean massive,” adds Dan.
Their gigs are customarily high-energy sessions and mosh pit fans will be relieved to hear that the Arlington Arts gig will have a mix of seating and standing.
Ferocious Dog play Arlington Arts, Newbury on Saturday, 25th April.
This appeared first in the Newbury Weekly News on Thursday 26th Feb 2015
Pics by Pete Waggy