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Speical Section: Altamont Fair Preview Archives The Altamont Enterprise, August 7, 2008
Irish, with a big energy sound, Hair Of The Dog plays Altamont
By Jordan J. Michael
ALTAMONT The Irish folk and rock band Hair Of The Dog is recognized internationally so much so that its bass player say others have tried to steal its identity.
Many people ask the band where the name comes from. “It’s a cool name. I thought of it and it stuck,” said Rick Bedrosian, the bands bass player and vocalist. “We eventually had to copyright the name and logo.”
Hair Of The Dog, which bills itself as “America’s number one Irish folk band,” will be playing at the Altamont Fair on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. The 17-year-old band with steadfast instrumental attack, big energy sound, and sleek four-part harmonies names the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs as its home base. It will play at nearly 50 East Coast venues this summer.
The phrase “hair of the dog” is from centuries ago, Bedrosian said. Dog bites were common some years ago, he said. People thought that if you could catch the dog that bit you and cut off some of its hair, it could be used in a remedy to heal the wound. “Obviously, it was a psychological effect,” said Bedrosian.
Today, “hair of the dog” refers to the drink that bit you. “Drinkers commonly believe that the best way to get rid of a hangover is to down a glass or two of whatever it was that you had over indulged in the evening before,” said Bedrosian. “When we were growing up, people suggested a little ‘hair of the dog’ on Saturday or Sunday morning. Drinking is closely associated with Irish culture and our music.”
Even though Hair Of The Dog and its logo are copyrighted, people have been stealing the name. The band has a lawyer who will send out nasty letters every now and then, said Bedrosian. “It’s not really a wise idea to sue these people because it’s a waste of money and time,” he said. “If I was going to start a band, I would go online and make sure no one else has that name. Some people don’t use their resources.”
The group’s interesting mix of celtic folk and rock has attracted faithful fans across the globe. “We’re happy to have so many fans,” said Bedrosian, “We just play music as we see fit. If people like it, then that’s great.”
Bedrosian used to produce the band’s albums. He let his drummer, Scott Apicelli, take over those duties on the last album, 2007’s Donegal.
“Scott is a great producer and band mate,” said Bedrosian. “He has his own studio and everything. I kind of stepped away and let him take over.”
Apicelli and Bedrosian are joined by Mike DeAngelis on acoustic guitar/vocals; John Haggerty on banjo, acoustic guitar/vocals; Larry Packer on fiddle; and Eric Finn on electric guitar, mandolin/vocals.
Earlier releases all on the October Eve Records label include: Let It Flow, 2003; At the Parting Glass, 2001; and Release the Hounds, 1997.
Hair Of The Dog has played with the likes of The Clancy Brothers, Cherish The Ladies, Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul, Gaelic Storm, Seven Nations, and Off Kilter.
The band was featured on a charity compilation in 2005, One Child At A Time. The song list included huge acts like U2, James Talyor, The Cheiftains, and Carly Simon.
Hair Of The Dog will be throwing its second annual Hair-A-Thon in January 2009. “It was a huge success last year. We play every Friday and Saturday night in the month of January at the Parting Glass in Saratoga,” said Bedrosian.
Evolution of a band
Bedrosian has been playing bass for a long time. He started the band with Haggerty and DeAngelis in the early 1990s. “We were just a three-piece folk outfit back then,” said Bedrosian. “As the years have gone forward, we’ve become more of a rock band.”
DeAngelis started his solo music career in the Cape Cod area in the 1980s. He eventually moved to Albany, where he met Haggerty and Bedrosian. All three bonded over music and the rest is history.
Haggerty spent seven years with DeAngelis in a band called the Porters’ before they played in Hair Of The Dog. “My guys and I have been in music for ages upon ages. It’s a way of life,” said Bedrosian.
A music touring veteran, Packer has been labeled a “fiddler extraordinare.” He has spent time on the road with Jimi Hendrix, Sha Na Na, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin. He was in The Bands’ The Lest Waltz 1978 rockumentary and on Saturday Night Live, in skits with John Belushi.
Finn and Apicelli are Berklee School of Music graduates. Finn was born in a decade of jam band studies. Apicelli used to spend his time in The Candles, a well-known Boston based band. He was a freelance drummer in the rock and jazz circuits in the late 1990s. He joined Hair Of The Dog in 2003.
Apicelli owns Blue Sky Recording and Music Studios in Delmar, where the band records and produces its music. “It’s a really nice place,” said Bedrosian. “I used to have a studio, but that is no more. Five of us grew up in Delmar. It’s kind of funny how we’re all still there.”
The band hasn’t been west of Chicago, but it plays plenty of shows. “We have toured Ireland about seven times,” said Bedrosian. “Why haven’t we made it past Chicago? I really don’t know why; good question.”
Hair of The Dog attributes its healthy record sales to the variety of its music. “We dabble into a bunch of styles,” said Bedrosian. “They like us live, so they pick-up a CD before they leave. The music is uptempo and happy. A lot of people like that kind of stuff.”
The group’s fans are all ages. “Sometimes you’ll see three or four generations watching us, baby and grandma. However, the 13-to-20 age group may be a little lacking,” said Bedrosian.
The band is writing new material and says the crowd in Altamont should expect a great show.
Local party-band legends, The Refrigerators, are known and loved throughout the Capital Region.
Todd Hanhurst sings lead vocals; Robert Istorico plays guitar; Chris Gentile plays bass; Dave Cerrone plays trumpet, percussion, and sings vocals; Chris Beck plays trombone; Chris Haley hits drums; Mike Dietlein plays lead trumpet, John J. Costello plays keyboards; Jim Marine strums rhythm guitar; and Stephen Christman plays saxophone.
The Refrigerators will be taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night.
The Audiostars will play Northrup stage at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. The band showcases J. Yager on vocals/guitar, Matt Pirog on lead guitar, Chad Ploss on drums, and Bobbie Van Detta on bass/vocals.
2096 plays songs that everyone knows, a mix of classic and contemporary rock. 2096 is made up of Kevin Green on vocals, Tom Green on drums, Mike Palma on bass, Ed Barbagelata on guitar, Maike Brown on guitar, and Mark Sudano on percussion.
Kevin Green and Barbagelata created 2096 in 2001. For a band name, they referred to “1048,” police code for a situation involving a mentally disturbed person. They multiplied 1048 by two, which is 2096. They will perform at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
The Charlie Smith Blues Band will kick off the week on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.