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Active Dog

Active Dog - Rat Race / Good Filthy Fun - 7

Rat Race / Good Filthy Fun - 7"
Active Dog - 1979

Michael Panontin
Like a fiery comet, Active Dog was a short-lived affair, setting ablaze the nascent Vancouver punk scene for less than two years in 1978 and 1979. Formed out of the embers of psychedelic jam band Steel Breeze when bassist Ross Carpenter met up with John Armstrong (later to be "Buck Cherry" of the Modernettes), Active Dog debuted at the legendary Windmill Club on Granville Street, playing the first of many gigs with mates the Pointed Sticks. After a pair of tepid tracks on the Vancouver Complication LP, the lads went into Sabre Sound studio to flesh out this seven-incher, though by then the band was whittled down to a five-piece, with keyboardist Gord Nicholls having already defected to the Pointed Sticks (to be followed by drummer Robert Bruce shortly thereafter).

The two songs here are perfunctory power pop/punk, with the requisite (or cliched, take your pick) menacing guitar and tough-guy vocals. 'Rat Race' has shades of Detroit grit, while 'Good Filthy Fun' is precisely that, pogo-friendly and potent. Unfortunately, Active Dog's days were already numbered. As Carpenter recalls, "band members' dreams, the cocaine-addled music business, and fast life all conspired against us", and not long after the release of Rat Race, the band's flame had flickered out, thus transforming Active Dog from fire to a footnote almost overnight.


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