The band Dog Trumpet was created in 1990 as a side project by Mental As Anything members Pete and Chris O’Doherty. Chris of course, is more widely known as Reg Mombassa. In 2000 the brothers left the Mentals to concentrate on Dog Trumpet and their visual art projects. Dog Trumpet is now seven albums old, with an eighth in the works. All seven previously released Dog Trumpet albums are soon to be available on coloured vinyl for the first time, via the Demon label. The first three are available now and the others will follow on February 4th.
Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Reg and Pete via zoom to talk about Dog Trumpet’s career, their art and the upcoming vinyl release.
Dog Trumpet, one of Australia’s most unique bands is about to go global with Demon Music. After thirty years of performing and recording, all 7 albums will be available on vinyl for the first time and remastered for digital release. Reg Mombassa and his brother Peter O’Doherty began their musical careers playing and writing in the Sydney art school band Mental As Anything. The Mentals had 20 songs in the top 40 (a record for an Australian band) and a global hit with ‘Live It Up’ that only last Christmas hit #1 on many UK charts. In 2000, Reg and Pete split from the Mentals to pursue their own sound. Describing what that is can be tricky – an eclectic blend of rock, psychedelic folk and semi-abstract blues; whimsical, political, curious, intimate, scientific, erotic and witty.
They are part of a long tradition of left-field song writers and storytellers relative to the canon of work by such acts as the Kinks, Nick Lowe, Squeeze and John Prine. The Sydney Morning Herald said: “Brothers Peter O’Doherty and Reg Mombassa can’t help themselves. The charm oozes from the lyrics, the singing and the instantly appealing melodies. Part of it is down to the absence of posturing, part to the way the catchiness of pop is anchored to earthy grooves.” Dog Trumpet have released 7 albums so far. Produced by Peter and written by both of them. The title of the first one ‘Two Heads One Brain’ sums them up, the brothers having an intuitive melodic connection that infuses their music with a classic timelessness. Peter and Reg are also visual artists. Reg is one of Australia’s most recognised artists well known for his work for the Mambo label, along with graphics, posters, album covers and many decades of fine art. Peter’s fine art painting focuses on the urban and suburban built environment and is equally well regarded.
Dog Trumpet have toured extensively throughout Australia, and a little bit across the US, culminating at SXSW a few years ago. Demon Music recently approached Dog Trumpet about releasing their back catalogue internationally. The Demon label was started by Jake Riviera and Elvis Costello who later produced the Mentals single ‘I Didn’t Mean to be Mean’. Demon Music is known as one of the best catalogue/reissue labels in the world releasing specialist BBC titles and focusing on niche and cult bands. All albums are available digitally on all platforms now, with the full vinyl release due on 4th Feb 2022.