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Riverdogs History
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Riverdogs History

Paul Sarno

Let me start by saying, that Rob Lamothe is one of the greatest singers I've ever heard in my life. This man sings with such emotion, such passion... he makes you feel & believe every word he sings. Rob can sing anything.....from heavy, rocking numbers, to sweet heartfelt songs about love, loss, and dispair. This is a man who could sing the phone book to me, and I'd think it to be a masterpiece!! He is, in my humble opinion, a TRUE legend. The Riverdogs came to my attention back around 1989/1990 when Vivian Campbell (former Dio & Whitesnake - currently with Def Leppard) proclaimed that he had a "new" band. A band of unknown rockers from California called Riverdogs. Their self titled debut album would come out on June 5th of 1990. Those who knew Vivian from his Dio days would be quite shocked by how melodic and bluesy this band was, a far cry from his metal roots, but few could be disapointed after hearing such emotional outpourings as "Whisper" "Spooky" and "America" (just to name a few). With Rob's masterful voice and acoustic guitar, mixed with Vivian's still somewhat hard rock lead guitar, this band fell somewhere in between heavy rock/blues/folk music...a strange cross breed, but it sure worked well!! Around this time, the Riverdogs did a promotional tour of America, stopping at radio stations across the country, playing a song or two acousticly. THIS is where the true essance of the Riverdogs came through... just an acoustic guitar or two, and a voice..plain & simple. Epic Records, thinking this would be a great promotional tool, took these performances, recorded them on a cd (in the same sequence as the original cd, along with an unreleased song called "Pennsylvania") , and shipped them to radio stations across the country. Titled "On Air", this is the most amazing Riverdogs cd I've heard....but VERY hard to come by since it was never mass-produced or publicly released. Unfortunately, the Riverdogs never seemed to catch on that big. This could be greatly due to the fact that their label lumped them in with metal bands (because of the presence of Vivian), but this wasn't where their appeal lied. So Epic Records quickly dropped the Riverdogs, and soon after, Vivian left too. Being the only career Vivian knew, he had to make a living, and left the band for greener pastures. I'm sure this hurt the rest of the band, but to this day Vivian still speaks highly of Rob and the Riverdogs, and vice-verca. Vivian claims it's the most fufilling situation he's been in. So the Riverdogs move on, with their bassist Nick Brophy switching to lead guitar. (he started off on guitar to begin with...he switched to bass to bring Viv into the band) and recruiting Cary Baere for the bass chores and Ronnie Ciago for the drumming. 1993 brought 2 new releases....first the wonderful "Absolutely Live". A live cd which served as a fresh new way to present a bunch of new songs....LIVE !!! Said Rob in the liner notes: "Rather than toil away for weeks or months in some studio, worrying about perfection, we wanted to make a record the way they USED TO...they just played". And this cd certainly matches, and exceeds any studio recording they could have made. It has some of my all time favorite Riverdogs music in songs like the rocking opening number "Can't Have You" and the wonderful ballad "Raining All Over" (a song about Rob's son), as well as great versions of old songs like "Toy Soldier" and "Whisper".....a MARVERLOUS cd from beginning to end !!! Then would come their 2nd studio cd titled "Bone". Another great opus of amazing songs ranging from the heavy, to the heavy-hearted. On the heavier side were songs such as opening number "The Man Is Me", "Two Birds" and "Get Out Of My Mind". On the softer, songs like "Pennsylvania", first heard acousticly on the "On Air" cd, the chior-flavored "Love Is Not A Crime", and the fabulous "Brave Enough" where Rob contemplates his control over his emotions. Then, songs that are somewhere in the middle... such as "Revolution Man" with it's tribal percussion (complete with "various garden tools" by Ronnie Ciago) and the poppy "This Ain't Love" featuring lead vocals by bassist Cary Beare. Unfortuneatly, this would be the last we'd hear of the 'Dogs.....soon after "Bone", they would break up. But the story doesn't end there........

Rob Lamothe
Marc Danzeisen
Ronnie Ciago
Vivian Campbell
Nick Brophy