Kerbdog are a heavy metal band from Kilkenny in southern Ireland who began writing in 1991. Their music has been described as ‘an unbending alloyof matt-black, titanium-tough metal and shimmering melody.’, in contrast to compatriots U2’s ‘fake authenticity’ and the ‘tyranny of soul’ espoused by Van Morrison.
Kerbdog were formed in 1991 by Cormac Battle (vocals/guitar), Colin Fennelly (bass guitar) and Darragh Butler(drums) under the repressive regime of the Christian Brothers. The bandmembers were underage drinkers and self-described lousy students,devoting their energies to music rather than studies. Their early work primarily consisted of cover versions of songs by Sonic Youth, Loop,Spaceman 3 and Fudge Tunnel. Billy Dalton (guitar) joined the band inMarch 1992. Initially Cormac was suspicious of Billy’s liking for Metallica and Slayer. Though he liked elements of the sound, he feared the genre’s tendency toward dragging its knuckles along the ground.Equally Billy regarded Cormac’s fascination with the British and NewYork undergrounds as obnoxious and elitist. What they both recognisedin each other was a certain uncompromising determination. The songsthat resulted from the disparate influences of the band’s primary members was visceral and cerebral, a large sound that left you’thinking as your mind blew’. Realising that they had a potential forsuccess with the band, Cormac, Colin and Darragh dropped out of college and Billy left his job as a truck driver. After only three gigs at the”New Park Inn” in Kilkenny, their fanbase grew rapidly within Ireland. By mid-1992 word of the band reached the ears of an A&Rman from Los Angeles, who, finding himself in Ireland, decided to hear them play. Before the end of the opening number of the band’s act,”Cleaver”, he found himself winded and crushed against the stagebeneath swarms of sweaty teenagers. Battered and bruised, he returned to Los Angeles, wondering whether to sign the band or sue them.
In 1993, Kerbdog recorded their self-titled debut album at the studios of PolyGram/Vertigo Records in London. The album was produced by Jack Endino, who had also worked with artists like Nirvana, Soundgarden,Mudhoney and Gruntruck. They were also planning a major tour of theBritish clubs.1996 saw the band back in the recording studio, although Billy Dalton had left the band the previous year. This time they were with adifferent record label – Mercury/Fontana, part of the same organisation (PolyGram) as Vertigo Records. Produced by GGGarth of Rage Against The Machine fame, and recorded in Los Angeles, ”On The Turn” set out to be their best album.They disbanded in 1998 and Cormac and Darragh went on to form another band Wilt. However, after just two albums Wilt also broke up and after much speculation Kerbdog was reformed in 2005….well sort of.They’ve played a few shows since and have consistently delivered and reminded us why they’ll never be forgotten. Long live the dog!
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