Paul Jago, The Gandharvas, and Said Dog

This is kind of a ‘jumping the gun’ report…let’s call it news…and in the age of Twitter and the 24 Hour News Cycle I’d say it’s fine to jump the gun a bit when something exciting happens.  Let’s paint the picture…

It’s the early 90s.  Rural Ontario.  A young dude, not yet grown into his pink hair, is music-obsessed and always looking for something unique.  He was raised on a strange concoction of radio pop (New Kids, Tiffany, and the more recent hip hop explosion) and obscura bizarro (Captain Beefheart, John Cooper Clarke, The Jazz Butcher).  There is a new genre emerging that bin boxes at CD stores calls ‘Alternative’ and, shockingly, one of his favourite bands (aforesaid Jazz Butcher) is shelved there!

…Alternative…I guess it’s the weird shit he likes to listen to!

As Alternative broadens, and bands like Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins find their way into the bin, it starts to look like this dirty rock (…grungy perhaps?) is taking over…when all of the sudden a song is played on the radio.  A song that sounds nothing like the other tracks being broadcast.

He buys the album within the week, ‘A Soap Bubble And Inertia.’  Rhythmic.  Melodic.  Complex and chaotic but not like Captain Beefheart…it’s catchy, hooky.  It becomes his favourite album.

Not long after a second album comes out, ‘Kicking in the Water,’ and it actually, somehow, manages to outshine the first.  Every song is a new experience.

And finally…’Sold For A Smile’…it was more rockin’, more rock radio friendly…or so it sounded.  From the small University town of Guelph, and before the internet became a powerful beast, it seems like the band has made it…was breaking into the US…they’re even coming to play the University!  But for some reason everything…just…stops.

(shift in perspective in three…two…) I never really knew why the Gandharvas broke up.  There are dozens of possibilities: they didn’t get along anymore, they owed the label so much after three albums that they couldn’t continue, the third album just didn’t sell, or maybe people just didn’t get it.

I had heard from a friend that Paul Jago, the lead singer and songwriter in the band, was in London.  That he had heard some of Paul’s 4-Track Demos of upcoming solo music.  They never materialized.

The next I heard, he had left music and moved to the states to study rocks.  Honestly, my first thought was ‘Good for him!  I hope he loves it.’  But I also thought to myself… “Damn…I was hoping I’d see him again.”

Note the date…a month and a half ago.  I stumbled across this video when I revisited the Facebook group for the Gandharvas and saw three videos, this one was titled ‘Thanksgiving Treat.’  It’s strange the number of things I discover through random acts.

I don’t know if the rest of the Gandharvas fans have noticed yet.  The views are under 100…they should be much higher.

Further inspection has found that Paul is now performing roots rock with his wife under the name Said Dog.  He’s still studying rocks.  But music seems to be back…maybe it’s never left.

Now…to the jumping the gun part.  I write all of this…before I’ve listened to any Said Dog music.  Everything is free on the site, just head to and you can grab it.  I’m almost too scared to.  Which makes no sense.  Years ago I heard he had 4-Track demos and wanted nothing but to hear them.  Now I hear he has full fledged songs and I’m nervous!

Maybe I should just do it.  I mean, I got back together with my high school bandmate and we did just fine.  It’s hard to dive into the new music of your high school musical mentor, years after you thought it was all done.  I guess there’s only one way to find out…




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4 Responses to “Paul Jago, The Gandharvas, and Said Dog”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Ahhh, alternative. I also picked up Soap Bubble and enjoyed it (though the shine wore off fast for that one for me). Some of my favourite albums came out and really fit under the true “alternative” banner. Last Splash by the Breeders, Strays by Junkhouse (blues rock, but quirky enough that it fit), Dig by I Mother Earth… I also listened to a lot of interesting bands in the local Ottawa scene, the same scene that spawned Furnace Face gave us neat bands like Sully, Project 9, and Cold Motor Rodent that never really made it big.

    The First Day of Spring still stands out as one of my all-time favourite songs. Looked for it on YouTube forever until I stumbled across it one day. My tastes as of late have become much more mainstream rock (Matthew Good, Rival Sons) and classic rock (Cream, 13th Floor Elevators, The Guess Who), but I still have and listen to those old albums (and a few more recent ones, like Tunng, Donovan Wood, and Fleet Foxes). I even saw Last Splash available on vinyl at a shop near where I work!

  2. gknight80453 Says:

    Said Dog has been known to smoke…….

  3. Cyanide Kiss Says:

    The Gandharvas and Said Dog Rule! Long live Balls Deluxe too!

    • Roo Says:

      Delayed reply (by a year!) but yes, I totally agree 🙂 I’m glad I stumbled on Said Dog…it essentially gave me a Gandharvas fix I needed 🙂

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