A&E » Arts

Doug and the Slugs still delivering at Dusty’s



Who: Doug and the Slugs

Where: Dusty’s Bar and BBQ

When: Saturday, Dec. 21

Biker bars, big festivals, bar mitzvahs – these guys have done it all. They’ve spent 10 years at the top of the charts and another 10 touring every tiny town across the country. They’ve racked up four gold albums, a legion of life-long fans, known as Slugophiles, and a rockin’ reputation as a good time party band. Welcome back to Whistler, Doug and the Slugs.

For those wondering what a band with such an exotic, perhaps risqué name could possibly sound like, ask a long-time Whistler local. They’ll tell you Doug and the Slugs are one of the original bands that helped establish this fine ski resort way back in the ’80s, before moving on to become mainstream massive. The top Slug himself, Doug Bennett recalled those humble beginnings.

"There was no village, no nothing. The only venue around was The Keg down by the lake and the centre of town was the Husky gas station because it was a bus stop," he said.

So what’s the best way to describe Sluggish music?

"Time honoured pop, R&B with a little attitude," said Bennett.

Come on Doug, I’ve heard you’re a lot wilder than that.

"Okay, consider us guerilla musical theatre. We break down the wall between the stage and the audience. They come on up, I come on down."

That’s more like it.

The Slugs’ tour diary, on their Web site, is full of book-worthy stories. Like the time Doug danced around a gold strippers pole.

"Well it was there, so best to make use of it," excused Bennett.

Or the time a super Slug fan, crowned Dhali Doug, got down to his undies to twist in excitement. Or the twins plucked from the crowd to make a pork sandwich, a Doug-created dance. He explained: "The girls were the white bread and we put as many of us fat guys dancing between them as we could."

Bennett attributes the band’s longevity to their live shows.

"We’ve always focused on touring. We played for three years before releasing our first record. By then word of mouth had spread, which pretty much kept us in the charts and the recording studio from 1980 to ’89."

When the radio rotation eventually ended, the band decided to return to their roots and a successful long life on the road.

"Radio-based bands these days are cannon fodder," said Bennett. "So many acts come out with a huge hit on the radio, which turns into a CD that sells well at first but then they never tour and that’s it, they’re done. They think the CD is in the end of the road but it’s actually just the beginning. You must get out to the fans if you want to survive," said Bennett.

These days the band is no longer reliant on touring to stay alive. All the Slugs have their own side projects, preferring to play together for fun rather than profit.

"We’ve always been slow at making records, even though I love writing songs," said Bennett.

Slugophiles can rest assured though, a new album is on the horizon.

"Our first album in eight years is almost ready to release, probably by June next year."

The best way to describe the band, according to Bennett, is to take the title from their first album, Cognac And Bologna.

"There’s some classy aspects to us like a fine glass of Cognac, thanks to the arty pieces we play, and then there’s the fun stuff, the radio hits, the Bologna, the comedic antics," said Bennett.

That mix is yet another reason why they’ve lasted so long.

Catch Doug and the Slugs at Dusty’s Bar and BBQ in Creekside for just $20. Doors open at 8 p.m. Phone 604-905-2171 to pre-purchase.