Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doug and the Slugs: Cognac and Bologna (1980)

[It's] your basic rock and roll but with a certain Kafka-esque, grass roots, Pavlovian, existential, Calvanistic, Zen, New York liberal Jewish intellectual kind of slant to it.
Doug Bennett
Doug and the Slugs were a Vancouver bar band gone New Wave that got a big push in Canada in the very early eighties. The band (Doug Bennett on vocals, John Burton on guitar, John "Wally" Watson on drums, Richard Baker on guitar, Simon Kendall on keyboards and Steve Bosley on bass) survived in some form till Doug Bennett passed on in 2004.

(This song kinda crosses Elvis Costello with SCTV's Five Neat Guys.)

The band debuted with Cognac and Bologna in198o, and it's clearly aimed at being a radio-friendly take on the work of those wordy, angry young white men like Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson (as well as his fellow Canuck Phillip Rambow). While not of those artists' caliber as singer, song-writer or band-leader, this album proves that in 1980 the "new music" bandwagon had room for a man and his backing band who were just out for a good time and a good song. As someone reviewing the Superman musical of the sixties said, "It's a merry adventure into the ridiculous".

MRML Readers: leave us a comment with your views on Doug and the Slugs and whether you want to hear more!

Cognac and Bologna is now available at iTunes!

Canadian Norm McDonald (warning 4:30 of 90's sit-com-ness first) used "Too Bad" as the theme of his short-lived show.

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  1. Jeffen

    More Doug and the Slugs would be greatly appreciated.Great live band.Of course, they had some very silly and now kinda 1980s dated videos.

    Doug Bennett RIP

    Wap Wap Wap Away!



  2. there you go past blasting again. i grew up in vancouver, and i owned that little slice of cognac & bologna on vinyl when i was like ten years old. loved it. i haven't actually heard it for - 20 years? so i'm not sure if i want to hear more or not. i do remember that i was really into April Wine at around the same time... 1980 - Harder... Faster... and Loverboy, oh yeah, the kid is hot tonite. 1980 wasn't so bad.

  3. Doug and the Slugs were a great band. I was lucky enough to see them live twice and they knew how to get a party going!
    More Doug+Slugs would be awesome - especially some Tomcat Prowl.

  4. gosh... i remember this song! i haven't heard this in close to 30 years and it came back to me like i heard it yesterday!

  5. Doug
    Thanks for all your comments - this series was definitely for you. That said, I've enjoyed doing it and it's getting a good reaction.

    Yeah, if you're a Canadian of a certain age these songs, along those April Wine, Loverboy and Powder Blues Band are embedded in your consciousness.

    As mentioned above they are indelible, but I'm amazed a New Yorker ever heard them (of course I'm half expecting a mad Nazz story about how you came to hear them.)

  6. s.
    Hm, I've never found Tomcat Prowl but now I'll keep my eye out. Glad you got to see them, I now wish I'd gone to see them on one of the undoubtedly thousand times they played Winnipeg.

  7. I actually owned Cognac and Bologna back in the day. I bought it after seeing their "Too Bad" video on a Toronto TV show called the "All Night Show" hosted by Chuck the Security Guard. It featured Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes with music vids thrown in between. Great stuff. This was before cable. Regarding the album: I don't remember it being as good as the hit, but I'm looking forward to hearing it again. Thanks for the post.

  8. That "All Night Show" sounds like the best programming EVER.

    Hope you enjoy the album more the second time around (I know I did).

  9. Nice Jeffen! Anyone else remember those early '80s Slugfests the band held up on Denman Island? Hippies, punks, and fratfolk all coexisting peacefully through the miracle combo of good music and bad drugs. Awesome times.

  10. Roy
    "the miracle combo of good music and bad drugs" we have a quote of the day!
    I'd totally forgotten about those Slugfests, they were well-known at the time.

  11. The first time I heard 'Too Bad' was a cover on a King Apparatus (The Kings of Toronto ska in the early 1990s)album. would be cool to revisit the Canadian ska revival of the 1990's.

  12. driftwork
    That would be great though all the King Apparatus stuff (which I thought about posting)is still in print of course that still leaves The Hopping Penguins, Me Mom and Morgentaller...

  13. Thought you'd be interested to know we have re-launched the official Doug And The Slugs website.
    Find it here:

  14. Stickboy
    I will add the site to each post - if more music becomes available and you need anything taken down let me know.

  15. thanks for posting all these Doug And The Slugs albums! My dad was a huge fan and had them all on tape and I went to so many used record stores looking for the vinyl so i could rip them to CD for him. He passed away almost two years ago now, but I always think of him when I hear this band, thanks again


  16. James

    Glad to bring back the good memories.

    P.S. My son is named James!


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