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Dogs of War

Dogs of War - Dogs of War

Dogs of War
Generation - 1977

Michael Panontin
Back in the seventies, Montreal's vibrant disco scene mirrored New York's in many ways, but particularly so in the sheer number of guys of Italian origin who hustled their way onto the scene, spinning and producing scores of records. That list included the likes of Gino Soccio, Unidisc founder George Cucuzzella, the production team of Joe La Greca and Joe Tortorici, writers and musicians like Gino D'Orazio and Tony Bentivegna and, of course, the ever-talented Pat Deserio.

Deserio was just a kid when he and his family immigrated to Canada from a tiny village in central Italy in 1957. The young vinyl obsessive had been spinning his records in various clubs around Montreal since the early seventies, and so by 1977, with disco in full swing in that city, it seemed the popular deejay was ready to make a few records of his own. He assembled a band that included the nucleus of Moonquake - guitarist John Hagopian, singer and bassist Jack August and drummer Derek Kendrick - plus Dwayne Ford on keyboards, and set out to record one of the most sought-after dance records to come out of Quebec.

The eclectic Dogs of War is a tough record to pin down, much more so than Deserio's other major release that year, the spacy proto-Italo Kebebelektrik. The opening track 'Spaciula' is pure cosmic disco, with Ford's undulant synth weaving in and out of a robotic rhythm track. But that is pretty much where the comparisons to Kebebelektrik end. Other songs like the dirty-ass 'Space Conqueror' and the rhythmic 'Future Jungle' are propped up by August and Kendrick's adroit funk beats, and by rights could just as equally be filed under Latin rock as dance. And though Deserio's legacy in the history books is more for his contributions to the burgeoning cosmic disco scene back in his native country, it is probably these grainier funk tracks that explain the record's $200 price point amongst the cratediggers these days.

Deserio himself would become a fixture on the Quebec scene with a roster of productions that included the aforementioned Kebekelektrik, as well as Bombers, Bob-a-Rela, Sea Cruise and Rational Youth to name but a few. He would later veer off into film after founding his award-winning Studio Du Havre production company before succumbing to heart failure at just 40 years of age.

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