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Mountain Stage returns to Keith-Albee on Sunday

Oct. 31, 2012 @ 11:45 PM

Some people don't believe in fate. Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick seems to. How else to explain the circumstances that led to him joining the band?

After approaching maybe his favorite Philadelphia-area indie/psych rock band as a formative 19-year-old fan years ago, and later being brought on, right as the band released its Anti- Records debut "Shame, Shame" and continued to hit new heights of fame and acclaim, it's a neat story.

"They were doing an in-store session at Tower Records in Philly, on Broad Street," Slick recalled over the phone from Philadelphia, on a break after finishing the first leg of Dr. Dog's Fall tour, describing his first encounter with the guys. "I'd seen them before, the first time was with The Raconteurs in Atlantic City. I'd been a fan of theirs for a while."

Dr. Dog, loved by fans for their infectious songs and energetic live shows, with a new EP, "Wild Race" in tow, will play a Mountain Stage show in Huntington on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, as part of the Marshall Artists Series with guests The Mountain Goats, Nellie McKay, Red Wanting Blue and Spirit Family Reunion.

Tickets are free for full-time students with Marshall I.D., part-time students can receive one ticket half-price. Regular tickets are $25 or $30.

"So they played this small record store show, and there weren't a lot of people there, so I felt the need to introduce myself for whatever reason," Slick recalled, laughing hard. "And about two weeks later I saw them at another show in Philadelphia, and they're like 'Hey, you're that kid from the record store show,' and we hit it off a little bit. Zach (Miller), the keyboardist, wrote down my number on a little business card.

"Then, a week after that, I was at Bonnaroo in Tennessee, and I was camping with my friends, and they literally pulled up right next to me," he said laughing. "So it was kind of like fate that I was supposed to be friends with them because we kept infiltrating in each other's lives."

Now, Slick has settled in after being welcomed on in early 2010, after infiltrating the minds of co-front dudes, singer-guitarist Scott McMicken and singer-bassist Toby Leaman, musical cohorts and friends since middle school.

"Before Dr. Dog, I'd been playing mostly in jazz or progressive rock bands," Slick said. "So I was coming from a much more cerebral place with music.

"Then, conversely, going to a band like Dr. Dog and having to kind of scrap everything I've learned and understand a new process? Scott and Toby's songwriting process, maybe it's more creative, maybe it's more traditional, but it's completely different from any kind of songwriting I had been used to at that point.

"So there was a little bit of a learning curve with that," he added. "I had to really get inside their heads and understand where they're coming from."

The drummer said it's been great to be a part of, and witness, Dr. Dog's progression as a band.

"They have a very specific vision, and it's getting broader and broader," Slick said of the McMicken-Leaman tandem. "That's really exciting. I feel like I came in at a really positive and pivotal time for the band, just in terms of growth and how they're writing songs these days."

After helping the band record its critically acclaimed, self-produced February release "Be The Void," Dr. Dog's sixth studio effort and second release on Epitaph Records' sister label, Anti-, more than a decade after forming, Dr. Dog is in a good place creatively, Slick said.

"The band is almost kind of operating autonomously at this point," Slick said. "We go up on stage, it's really dialed in, the band just performs as hard as we play as hard as we humanly can."

The process of rocking, creating music, live and in the studio, and sharing that energy with their fans, is a mutually re-enforcing symbiotic thing, Slick said.

"The live shows are what keeps us going," he said. "You learn a lot playing live. Sometimes, we'll try out a song and it doesn't work, and sometimes we try them out and they work perfectly. The live process is really like the laboratory.

"It also helps that there's a few hundred or maybe even a thousand fans that are there, singing along, and helping you out with that experience," Slick said. "It's only getting more and more interactive, and the fans are only getting more and more excited about what the band is doing.

"Now, we're at this place where the band is super confident in its live ability. We can really take it anywhere at this point."

If you go

WHAT: A live taping of Mountain Stage, a two-hour music radio show produced by WV Public Broadcasting and distributed worldwide by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Voice of America's satellite radio service

ON THE SHOW: Dr. Dog, Nellie McKay, The Mountain Goats, Spirit Family Reunion and Red Wanting Blue

WHERE: Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, 925 4th Ave., Huntington

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4

HOW MUCH: Free for full-time students with Marshall I.D., part-time students can receive one ticket half-price. Regular tickets are $25 or $30.

GET TICKETS: At the box office on the campus of Marshall University at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, by phone at 304-696-6656 or online at ticketmaster.com. The Keith box office will be open day of show.

SPONSORS: Neighborgall Construction, Air Systems, Inc., Boggs Roofing, Marshall University Alumni Affairs, Cabell Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Edward Tucker Architects, Frontier Communications, Oldies 97.1, TCR, WVHU, WOWK, The Herald-Dispatch, Marshall University, and the College Of Fine Arts.

Bands on the bill

DR. DOG: The Philadelphia-based, six-piece indie rock band has now been creating music for over a decade, specializing in a genre-bending style that draws from 1960s harmony-laden pop-rock, a hint of Americana Twang, a dash of 1990's- esque/ psychedelic breakdowns and a little hint of funk-rock. Go online at www.Drdogmusic.com

NELLIE MCKAY: There is really no limit to where McKay's musical talents have been heard, from radio, to TV, to Broadway and even in movies. She has written original music for the Rob Reiner film "Rumor Has It," as well as performed on-screen in the film "PS I Love You." Her music has also been heard on a variety of TV shows, such as "Weeds" and "Boardwalk Empire." Go online at www.nelliemckay.com

SPIRIT FAMILY REUNION: The Brooklyn based home-grown Americana band made a stir this year at the Newport Folk Fest and was the last band to open up for the late Levon Helm.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS: California folk rock band fronted by John Darnielle, who The New Yorker magazine referred to as "America's best non-hip-hop lyricist," and in its June 2006 issue, Paste Magazine named Darnielle one of the "100 Best Living Songwriters." Go online at www.Mountain-goats.com

RED WANTING BLUE: Led by singer-songwriter Scott Terry, the Columbus, Ohio-based roots rockers have chalked up more than 150 dates a year since 2000. They recently have hit a national audience with an appearance this summer on David Letterman and VH-1. Go online at www.Redwantingblue.com

POST SHOW JAM: The Carpenter Ants host a post Mountain Stage jam at the The V Club, 741 6th Ave., directly following the show. That concert will also feature AC30 and musicians from the Mountain Stage show are known to show up and sit in with the locals. Cover is $5.

ON THE WEB: www.mountainstage.org and www.marshallartistsseries.org

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