Blue Dog Pict was one of Toronto’s most beloved and misunderstood bands of the early 90’s. Between rave reviews and abject bewilderment, the media recognized their musicality and organically grown and fiercely loyal and colorful audience, one that the Toronto Star and MuchMusic likened to a cult, while others used analogies like a flying saucer wreck on Easter Island or any number of bemused adjectives to attempt to explain what they witnessed or perceived from the outside.
Within two years of their debut at a high school talent night in 1991, they had headlined every major club in Toronto on a weekend, including Lee’s Palace, The Horseshoe Tavern, The Ultrasound Showbar, The Opera House, Sneaky Dee’s, The El Mocambo, The Silver Dollar, The Rivoli, The Edgewater, The Cameron House, The Cabana Room and more.
Their first album – “The Picture Album” – was recorded at Eastern Sound – a legendary recording studio in the north of downtown Toronto and was engineered by Michael Baskerville, and produced by Keram Malicki-Sanchez and Mario Marengo.
In 1992, lead singer and founder Keram Malicki-Sanchez was cast in the role of Johhny Camden on a TV series about a band called “Catwalk” that modulated how the Blue Dog Pict was able to operate but also help to finance their independent recordings. Thus their publicity was always aggressively obtuse as he was not able to discuss his involvement in the real world band.
Nonetheless, BDP recorded their second album – “Anxiety of Influence: a nodding into…?” – at Sounds Interchange on the east end of town. This is the same studio where bands like RUSH and Smashing Pumpkins had recently recorded. The discography of albums recorded at this same studio, filled with Neve and SSL consoles is too massive to list here, but includes KISS, Black Sabbath, Jeff Healey, Cowboy Junkies, Alannah Myles and many more.
The album featured such singers as Kathryn Rose, Jackie Richardson and Joanna Schellenberg, and world champion harmonica player Carlos del Junco.
The album took two years to record, produce and mix and used some interesting acoustic techniques, like filling the basement with Marshall 4×12 cabinets to create an a massive reverberating feedback chamber they affectionately referred to as DOOM that had its own effects return on the SSL console.
After several years of touring, where they played everywhere from The Pit and Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa to CBGB’s and Lion’s Den in New York City, to the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Blue Dog Pict teamed up with their longtime front of house soundman Joshua Joudrie to record their third and final record at Number Nine Sound in Toronto in 1995. The album “Spindly Light und Wax Rocketines” was recorded mostly after hours and was released in 1996.
Blue Dog Pict was theatrical, provocative, dangerous, and often disconcerting. It was amorphous, and chameleon-like, shifting styles as quickly as it did wardrobe. Themed events, with full sets, dancers, puppets, robots, and other performers invaded clubs, and every show was a true event, in every sense of the word.
Many of their opening acts – carefully curated by ringleader Keram Malicki-Sanchez and then manager David Buchanan – went on to major success. Such acts included Moist, treble charger, Rosie O’Shea, Rev, By Divine Right, Suckerpunch, Kat Rocket and many more.
Their songs were in regular rotation on college radio throughout North America for half a decade and their self-released albums got international distribution from Distribution FUSION III out of Montreal and Yikes! Records in the Unites States.
By the mid 90’s the band was being courted by several major labels including Maverick Record, Mercury Records, MCA and others. And then, suddenly, it was gone.
This site will attempt to capture glimpses of their story.