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An Interview with Rick Bedrosian of Hair of the Dog

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By Jessica Nicosia

Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog has released a whopping 10 CDs since starting out in 1993. The band includes Rick Bedrosian on bass and vocals, Mike DeAngelis on acoustic guitar, bodhran and vocals, John Haggerty on banjo, acoustic guitar, accordion and vocals, Larry Packer on fiddle, Eric Finn on electric guitar, mandolin, violin and vocals, and Scott Apicelli on drums and percussion. (For those who don’t know, the bodhran is a handheld Irish drum.)  The members all had illustrious careers before joining Hair of the Dog, including work with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Gene Clark of The Byrds. The band has toured throughout the US and appeared in countless Celtic Festivals in addition to doing eight tours of Ireland.

A popular local fixture, Hair of the Dog has been voted Best Local Band by both the Albany Times Union and Metroland. They were also one of many popular artists, including U2, James Taylor, and Carly Simon who were featured on Project Children’s 2005 compilation CD One Child at a Time, all proceeds of which go to helping children in Northern Ireland rise from the political turmoil of their country.

I spoke with Hair of the Dog’s Rick Bedrosian at the beginning of this “month of the Irish” on the band’s background and a look forward at what is to come.

The Free George: Your humor is considered an integral part of your group. How do you feel that comes across in your music and live shows and why do you think it’s so important to your band?

Rick Bedrosain: Audience interaction is important. The band, especially John and I, are frustrated stand-up comics. We are pretty funny I think, and this comes across in our interaction with the audience and our overall presentation.

TFG: There’s a lot of talented musicians in the Albany area. Why do you think it’s such a great area to be involved with music and how did HOTD come to be based here?

RB: The weather is so lousy that there’s nothing to do here from November until April except play music!  We’re based here because 5 out of 6 of us were born and grew up here. We were too stupid to move away.

TFG: The members of Hair of the Dog have very different backgrounds. How did you all come together?

RB: John, Mike and I knew each other from other bands that we were in. We used to get together occasionally before we decided to start HOTD as a 3-piece. John and Mike actually played together in folk-mass at their church. We added the other 3 guys along the way.

TFG: I know that some of the members have a pretty extensive background in Celtic music. But how did those of you who started out in different genres become drawn to it?

RB: We all love Celtic music. There’s a market for Celtic music. We all want to work, create, and get paid to create. Celtic music was a perfect vehicle for all of us at this stage of our careers.

TFG: HOTD employs pretty unique instruments, such as the mandolin, banjo, and bodhran. For someone who doesn’t know much about Celtic music, are these instruments typical for this type of music or something unique to your sound?

RB: “Celtic Music” is as wide open and as varied as “American Music.” But mandolin, banjo, and bodhran are pretty typically found in a lot of Celtic music.

TFG: The band and its members have worked with artists such as U2, James Taylor, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Do you consider these to be influences as well?

RB: Musicians are like sponges in that we soak up every bit of style that we’re exposed to. These influences can’t help but manifest themselves to a certain extent, in the music that we create. The HOTD experience and influence will certainly play a part in the things that we all do after the band is gone.

TFG: You’ve toured Ireland eight times. How is that experience different than touring in America?

RB: We hear all the time from people who travel to Ireland that they didn’t hear anything over there that they liked as much as us. Truth is, there’s some incredible music and musicians in Ireland. Especially the stuff that you hear in pubs, played by locals that frequently jam together acoustically. That’s a whole other realm of music. The traditional weeknight or Sunday afternoon Irish session. Some of these players and singers are amazing. What we do is completely different from that and great in its own right. Very unique too. Nobody else does exactly what we do, in Ireland or the USA. Most of the Irish seem to like us.

TFG: And your upcoming album–will this be mostly new songs?

RB: We’ll begin recording our latest CD next month; it’s a mix of originals and covers. It’s hard to explain what influences writing new songs or rearranging older ones. I guess it’s that whole sponge thing.

Visit for their complete schedule of tour dates.

–Jessica Nicosia is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

Area Blogs to Visit:
Albany, Lake George Region (Warren & Washington Counties), Lake Placid, Saratoga, Schenectady, Troy

And Beyond:
Boston, Burlington, Catskills, Connecticut, Ithaca, New York City, Southern VT/Western MA, Syracuse

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