It seems like some musicians were just meant to come together. That’s how it is for The Lives of the Monster Dogs.
The band members joke around with each other; they tell stories about funny onstage moments; they call a certain member of the band—who we won’t name directly—“Doodle.”
And they make awesome music.
“You gotta like each other, and you’ve also gotta gel musically,” said K.T. Bitner, The Lives of the Monster Dogs’ bassist. “We come from all different backgrounds, but we really seem to gel.”
In fact, those different backgrounds coming together inspired lead singer and acoustic guitarist Melinda Kingsley when naming the band. The Lives of the Monster Dogs came from a novel of the same name by Kirsten Bakis, which tells a modern-day Frankenstein story with dogs. Melinda drew the parallel of a band coming together with different elements to create one sound, almost like the creating of Frankenstein. The novel's author is even known to sport a band t-shirt from time to time as well.
The Lives of the Monster Dogs fuses rock ‘n’ roll with honky-tonk and a dash of blues to make controlled, yet powerful tunes rooted in Southern tradition and covering topics on everything from zombies to cheaters. Songwriter Kingsley says she creates songs to “tell an emotional truth.”
The band started when Kingsley, then a solo artist, asked next-door neighbor Bitner if she wanted to start a band. Later, after some lineup changes, they found electric guitarist Robin Hall and drummer Jason Brewer.
The Lives of the Monster Dogs has recently put out its second album, “Living End,” which Hall describes as a “strange mix of impressions, moods and stories. It represents where we’re at right now.”
Where they are is a great place to be. “Living End” is chock full of talent, showcasing the musicians’ abilities and the songwriting talent of Kingsley.
“Melinda is a wonderful wordsmith,” Hall said. “Her songwriting is poetry and that’s rare. She paints pictures in her songs.”
Many songs on the album are like mini-stories, woven together by similar themes. There’s “The Sheriff and the Undertaker,” a dark tale set in a town called Babylon about a sheriff and his son, the undertaker, who profit from one another’s business.
The title track, “Living End,” traces a story about zombies but is ambiguous on whether it’s told from the viewpoint of a zombie or someone fleeing one.
“I think it’s some of our best work,” Hall said.
Check out other songs off “Living End” here and come out to hear The Lives of the Monster Dogs at this week’s Friday Night Live, a free concert series in Atlantic Station’s Central Park.