by Thomas Crone, The Riverfront Times, Nov. 8-14, 1995, p. 31:
It's not scientifically proven, but you may just have to be from St. Louis to fully appreciate the role played by Pavlov's Dog in local musical history.
In the early-to-mid-'70s, the band released Pampered Menial and At the Sound of the Bell, two releases that would send the band into immortality here, gold-record fame in Australia and Europe, and cut-out-bin status in the rest of the U.S. Heck, KSHE has never been the same since.
Though the act would go through myriad lineup shifts, a couple of reunions and a late version fronted by the singer/guitarist David Surkamp, the "original Dog," Mike Safron, is back with Pavlov's Dog 2000. Talking to the man is like talking to rock & roll personified, like this sincere apology for a late phoner: "You'll have to help me through this; I'm normally not up until 3 p.m." Though most people can't imagine a PD without Surkamp, the new incarnation is for real, with a new release, end of the world, on one Kanned Goose Records, and plans in the works for touring in (yes) Australia and Europe.
On Mr. Surkamp: "I've heard lots of different stories. But David auditioned for me. As a guitar player. He wasn't singing in any band and wasn't a very good guitarist. Very shy about his voice. I was just about to show him the door when he said, 'I want to sing a song.' It was 'The Wizard' by T. Rex. I had just gotten my passport to tour Europe with Chuck Berry. But when that thing came out of that mouth, I just knew I had to stick with it. It just floored me. What a voice!"
On rock & roll's elusiveness: "Pavlov's Dog probably had the most screwed-up situation of any group in history. The chance we had was just unbelievable. We signed the biggest contract ever for a starting-up national band. We signed for $650,000 to ABC/Dunhill, then were fired. Two weeks later we signed for another $600,000 to Columbia. The first album came out in all stores on the same day, on two labels. Never before in history."
On the new stuff: "I find it difficult to analyze my own music, but a lot of people have said it sounds like a cross between old Pavlov's Dog, Meat Loaf and Queensryche. I'm from the old school of rock & roll and I don't listen to the radio that much, so I can't compare it to today's acts. So some might say it's outdated, others may say it's like no other sound they've ever heard before."
On the secret weapon and the others: "My prize catch is Harry Simon, a sax player who was in the original Bob Kuban and the Inmen. He played on 'The Cheater.' He's 65 years old and the ladies just love him. Right now, the band's an eight-piece. It was 10-piece, with a string section. I just couldn't afford that luxury anymore!"
On philosophy and the future: "My motive is different now than 15 or 20 years ago. I'm doing the only thing that I know how to do. The last time I had a day job was in 1969. I'm really trying to get a living as a producer and arranger if I can pull this thing off. And I hope the people in the band can further their careers in music by making good contacts via this band, because nothing lasts forever."
On performance: "People have heard the CD and said, 'Is that David?' Well, David and I don't sound anything alike. But we have a similar feel. I may be doing some of the drumming in our upcoming shows, as we're shifting drummers. But even as a frontman I feel like I'm drumming. I feel the beat. I like to put on a show and I move to the rhythmic accents."
On the "wall of sound": "No matter who I had in this band, it would sound like this. This wall of sound. You've got to get the CD to really understand."
While Europe and Australia wait, St. Louis gets to peek at Pavlov's Dog 2000 now. On Friday, Nov. 10, 1995 they play Rooster's in Stanton, Mo. On Saturday, Nov. 18, 1995 they play the Soundgarden in Sauget, Ill.
"I need to not play this band too often in any one area," Safron says. "It's too weird. Too wild. We're not your typical local band."
Find the CD. You'll agree. You'll understand.
by Bob Baker, Spotlight, Nov., 1995, p. 6:
Remember Pavlov's Dog from the mid-'70s? The act was one of St. Louis' early label signing stories, during the era of Mama's Pride and Head East - back when Sweet Meat still had a joint in his mouth. Anyway, original drummer Mike Safron is keeping the dream alive with Pavlov's Dog 2000, a group he's been breathing life into over the last couple of years. Safron says he has a role in a Chicago-based movie production called The Vagrant, scheduled for release on cable in the spring of 1996. A track from the band's End of the World CD is slated to be included on the film's soundtrack. See PD 2000 this month at Rooster's in Stanton, Mo., on Nov. 11, 1995 and the Sound Garden in Sauget, Ill., on Nov. 18, 1995.
by Bob Baker, Spotlight, Oct/Nov., 1996, p. 4:
Pavlov's Dog 2000 (building a rock & roll bridge to the 21st century) recently scored on the internet when the band stumbled upon Dream Disc , an Indiana-based exporter which has agreed to distribute PD 2000's End of the World CD to Sweden, Japan, and Germany...
by Hypertext Markup, NightTimes Magazine, Nov. 1996, p.17
Strange: Cyberbags full of email flow into my computer containing comments and questions about the St. Louis music scene. The band I get the most mail on, as you might surmise, are the melodic-industrial boys TVT. Now guess what the #2 band is. The Urge? Nope. Fragile Porcelain Mice? Nah. New World Spirits? Uh, no.
The #2 band I get asked most about is Pavlov's Dog. Pavlov's Dog was signed in the mid-seventies and released a couple of albums that sold quite well, but never achieved the degree of recognition that other St. Louis signings from the same period, such as Head East, enjoyed. Their lushly orchestrated light metal sound possessed the bombastic, sweeping quality of Meatloaf or Kansas, and their singer, David Surkamp, warbled in the most bewildering voices I've ever heard-something like Geddy Lee swallowing helium. They even had a song named "Julia."
Stranger: Almost all of the email comes from countries other than the US: Mexico, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Japan. The fans often want to know if they can get PD on CD, or if a certain rumor is true. Two most common/amusing rumors: the band ended because some of the members went to jail (not true) and that David Surkamp perished in a knife fight (also not true).
Strangest: Mike Safron, drummer/arranger for the first PD CD, has been fronting a new ensemble called Pavlov's Dog 2000. I find PD2000 shows immensely entertaining, but not for the usual reasons. Their spectacle of something like This is Spinal Tap doing the Time Warp Again. An outfit in Indiana called Dream Disc, which distributes to foreign markets like Germany and Japan, recently bought a passel of PD2000's End of the World CD's for sale in those foreign lands. Go figure.
The Spotlight Chart by Michele Ulsohn, Spotlight Magazine, December 1996, p.13
No major surprises in the charts top 3 section-all three spots remain exactly as they were last issue. Lots of new local releases making their chart debut, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. New World Spirits, major label first on Universal lands at No. 4 as Wilco's sophmore effort, "Being There," follows closely behind. The rap group Los show up at No. 6 with its debut, while Columbia, MO's Colony hits the chart at No. 10. This issue's final newcomer is a band whose roots go back to the late '70's, Pavlov's Dog 2000, currently playing local clubs.
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