Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - August 10, 2012

Taking it easy on the Peninsula

Suburban pace suits indie-rock band just fine

by Nick Veronin

Just north of Highway 101, tucked into the back corner of a squat, unassuming strip of Mountain View office space, Andrew Heine hunches over the piano, listing slightly to the quick rhythm of Ramon Esquivel's kick, snare and high-hat; and to the bouncy, rapid punches of Jared Milos' bass guitar. Heine tickles the keys, coaxing out chords and melodic accents that dance around the beat, linking with Ryan Kingsmith's acoustic guitar work, swinging about in the higher registers, as he croons in a quiet, gravely voice.

This is Dogcatcher. The Mountain View-based alternative rock band recently released its second album, "It's Easy": a six-song set peppered with jazz-funk syncopation and rough-around-the-edges indie charm. The Dogcatcher musicians are the "artists-in-residence" at Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View, performing regularly at the Castro Street cafe.

Dogcatcher recently released its second album, "It's Easy," recording it at the band's practice space: the Red Rock Recording Company's recording studio, where Kingsmith works part time as an audio engineer.

The Bay Area has spawned its fair share of rock 'n' roll legends. The Grateful Dead began its long strange trip in San Francisco in 1965; The Doobie Brothers came smoking out of San Jose in 1970; and Green Day came out of the late-'80s and early-'90s East Bay punk scene.

Obviously, talent factored heavily in all these bands' respective success stories, but so did access to the clubs where they were able to build their fan base. Many suburban bands serious about making it in the music biz will relocate to the nearest big city in order to be closer to the bars and clubs, and to the other artists and musicians inhabiting these urban centers.

But Heine and his cohorts make no bones about it: Dogcatcher is a Mountain View band, and plans are for it to remain that way. For the past year they have played at Red Rock Coffee on the first Saturday of each month. Their next Red Rock gig is scheduled for Sept. 1.

"We feel pretty patriotic about Mountain View," Heine says. They say they like the slower, laid-back pace of this city, a preference that is reflected in their tunes and perhaps even in the title of their latest release.

"It's cool being a little bit outside, because it keeps you a bit isolated," he said.

If the band enjoys the Midpeninsula community, the locals seem to appreciate the musicians in return. Dogcatcher frequently plays shows outside of Heine and Esquivel's house in the Old Mountain View neighborhood. People come from the surrounding blocks to listen to them play, and Heine said he even gets requests to leave the front door open when he is practicing the piano.

At the end of the day, the guys from Dogcatcher say that as long as they can play a few shows here and there and have some fun, that's all they really care about. And if it just so happens that their friends and neighbors want to listen to them while they do it — well, that's even better.

"I think, no matter what, the plan is to just keep playing and keep making music," Heine says.

Info: Dogcatcher is scheduled to perform with the San Francisco band Sunrunners starting at 8 p.m. Sept. 1 at Red Rock Coffee, 201 Castro St., Mountain View. Admission is free. For more information, go to http://redrockcoffee.org or call 650-967-4473.

Nick Veronin is a staff writer at the Mountain View Voice, one of the Weekly's sister papers.

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