Nostalgia for Unknown Songs: Dog Party

I’ve been feeling my age and find myself waxing nostalgic for things of twenty and thirty years ago. Most of the time, we move through our day-to-day without really noticing time passing, then one day we look up and it’s been five or ten or twenty years. I guess this is me noticing. Really, after the first few thousand days, they all start looking alike. We stop noticing.

Without some significant signposts to delineate the years it’s hard to look back and see where we’ve been or how we’ve changed. Music is important to most people and often serves as sign posts of the years as they pass. For me I tend to avoid the overplayed, shoved-down-our-throat songs that the record industry feels that everyone is required to like. Meaning: the Doors, Freebird, Poison, the Backstreet Boys, Beyonce, and Miley, to give an example from every decade of my life. However, there is music that I have kept close for years.

Many years ago I was a big fan of a website call, where people could post their original music for people to discover. It was the beginning of digital music and there were a million undiscovered songwriters and bands to explore. If you liked a band, you could order a CD of their music; a real physical CD. I discovered a lot of great music on there and have thousands of files that I continue to listen to.

But, that was twenty years ago, the turn of the century for chrissake! The site has disappeared along with much of the music they stored. However, one of those artists was a band called Dog Party, specifically their album: Blindsided. The track Getaway Car is one of my all time favorites and still gets heavy rotation. However, they are not on Spotify and I have been unable to find their music anywhere.

A recent listen got me curious about what happened to the band and its members. Did they go on to bigger and better things? Are there other albums out there? Have I heard their material since and not known it? You know, life goes on for all of us and I was curious to see how they fared. The magic of the internet makes answering these questions relatively easy. It lets you check in on people without them knowing. Much like stalking but with less creepiness.

Dog Party has been important to me partly because they are relatively unknown and unspoiled. If I hear Madonna or Van Halen or even N’Sync, I can sense the years on them. But many of the songs I saved from still feel fresh and new, because I haven’t heard them a billion times. They’re not overused and worn out.

The songs are much more like intimate friends that have tagged along with me for years. They are very private and personal because I never had to share them with a million other people. Part of their appeal is that I discovered them, rather than the music industry shoving them into my ear canal so incessantly that I was forced to associate with them. gave me those songs. The ones that I knew were mine and mine alone. For many of these songs, I am probably one of the few people that know they ever existed. I guess that makes them even more special to me. Fans of Learning To Fly by the Foo Fighters are everywhere, but a person that has even heard Getaway Car by Dog Party is a true rarity. Which is sad, because it is a wonderful song.

Which brings me back to my actual topic. Where are they now? This is the only album by the band that I have been able to find. There is an online rumor that there was a previous album, but I have not been able to find it or verify its existence. The band members were a bit easier to locate.

I originally looked up Eileen Dorn, the lead singer, a few years ago. I love her voice and delivery and was curious if she was able to build a career on her talent. She is now a martial arts instructor in California and part of a city-wide womens’ choir. She can even be found on PBS and youtube.

The guitarist Steve Gregory is still active in music and is a musician for hire. He is also on youtube and I have used his lesson videos a few times. Of course, this is assuming it is the same Steve Gregory. He looks similar, but I have yet to find any reference to Dog Party.

Drummer Mike Packer seems to have done the best for himself becoming a very sought after drummer and instructor in California and even touring with Wilson Philips. (Which is huge in my book!)

The bass player appears to have disappeared into life somewhere – like people do.

What I didn’t find in my research of the members was any mention of the band – at all! No one listed it in their bios or resumes or credits.

Life happens, which is what lead me to this topic. The members of this band have moved on to other things. But on their journey they created music that is still important to me. This is honestly one of my favorite albums and that they fail to even mention it as an accomplishment is a bit of a gut punch. Was it really so forgettable for them? Yes, it was twenty years ago, but I would think they would want to advertise it somehow.

I still listen to this music as if it’s current. It doesn’t feel twenty years old. Even after all those years and a million other songs, these small rare, nearly unheard songs are still important to me and I would like to hope that others feel the same as I do.

On our journey, certain small insignificant things end up having larger meanings than others can understand. It’s not the same for everyone. There will always be people that get all worked up about Freebird or Smells Like Teen Spirit or, hell, maybe even Getaway Car. These songs are part of the soundtrack and montage of our lives and unique to ourselves. Just because it’s a rare unknown song doesn’t make it less important.

Feeling nostalgic and looking back at our journey is important. We need to see the paths that lead us to here; the experiences, mistakes, and accidents of fate that made today. Those things are important and what makes life worth it. This is wisdom I’ve recognized only recently. I don’t like to think about regrets or missed opportunities, but rather about the little memory tokens that can trigger pleasant recollections. Like songs.

  1. Peter Girolamo said:

    Wayne, thanks for remembering Dog Party. I’m Peter, the elusive bass player who disappeared into obscurity. Yes we did have an album prior to this one. It was titled “On All Fours” and the cover art is something to behold. I actually liked this first album better – raw, upbeat, joyful, rudimentary but quality production. I was in charge of working with back in the day. I’ll never forget when our track “Something Wicked This Way Comes” reached number 2 on the most downloaded list. Who was #1? Todd Rundgren. Tough competition. Thanks again. I enjoy your writing and all the best to you in your new home.

    • Peter! what a lovely surprise!

      After I posted my blog, I did finally find a copy of “On All Fours”. It’s been my driving music for a couple of weeks now and I agree that is a strong album. I actually remember “Something Wicked” back in the day, but never got a copy of it. Now, I’ve got both discs on heavy rotation. The one song that stuck with me most is “Getaway Car”. My young daughters grew up hearing it a lot, singing along.

      On occasion, I’ll post a link to music I like to Instagram or Twitter or the other one. But, unfortunately, Dog Party is not on Spotify yet, so I was unable to link to any of the songs. That would have been great. However, I now have completed my collection and can enjoy.

      Thank you for reading my humble ramblings and I hope life finds you in a great place.

      Finally, thank you for the music. We are what we listen to.

  2. Eileen Dorn said:

    There I was on a random Saturday afternoon when my husband said “oh wow. Your former bass player just reached out and sent you a cool link to a really nice article about your former band,” and here I am, writing to tell you thank you for such a beautifully written piece that got me major brownie points with my kids.
    As you note, I teach martial arts in Los Angeles and I sing with Vox Femina Los Angeles which has brought me incredible satisfaction musically although I miss the joy of writing and producing my own material. It got too tricky to chase band stuff and raise kids in a meaningful way. So here I am, playing old cds for my visiting kids who now think I am far cooler than I truly am.

    Once again, thank you so much for your words. What a lovely lovely thing to read!!

  3. Daniel Gill said:

    And woe is the original guitarist/co-founder/co-writer forgotten after leaving SoCal to pursue a dot com fortune never realized.

    • Sorry about the omission Mr. Danny Gill. I only had the 2nd CD in hand at the time of writing. I have since become very familiar with your incarnation of Dog Party and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope you have prospered, even if your music dreams are in the past and your dotcom millions went to someone else. One of the truths of life is that we never really know where we’ll end up.

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