SUAREZ ULEASHES MADRID’S USELESS DOGS
BASED out of Madrid, USELESS DOGS are a hard-working, honest, rock and roll band, a band full of surprises; three professional musicians, and fulltime Ohio born sculptor and band founder, Rafa Suarez.
Useless Dogs were formed in 2015 having worked together to release debut album, ‘Play or Fall,’ twelve original tracks performed by Javier Rojas (lead guitar), Miquel Ferrer (drums), Javier Santana (bass) and Suarez, (guitar/vocals), who one day simply decided he had songs to sing.
“I was born in Bowling Green, Ohio,” he said. “My mother is from Detroit and my father is Spanish, from the Canary Islands. They met there, but at the age of three we moved to Spain.
“I started playing guitar along with friends as a teenager, busking sometimes, playing blues. Some of my friends went for music, but for some reason I ended in a sculpture crafts school, which I didn’t finish. Worked as a courier and others for some time until I bumped into prop making, sculpture, SPFX and stagecraft. And more than twenty-five years later I’m still making a living on that with my own studio, along with my wife.
“But something was not right, it didn’t fulfil my creative hole as the work is mostly all commission based, and other peoples designs. Also, it’s a long process, but music means instant satisfaction to me, and I badly needed that.”
With his Spanish guitar at his side, Suarez wrote his lyrics, and the songs began to pile up. A quick call to long-time friend Javier Rojas eventually led to the recording of ‘Play or Fall,’ in Madrid’s, Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range.
‘Play or Fall’ was followed up by the ten-track, ‘Dog Bless You,’ a tighter, more accomplished album than its predecessor, a mix of the fast, slow, tender and the hard, and featuring the magnificent, Ramones-esque, ‘Black Cat.’
“We released ‘Dog Bless You’ right before the pandemic, and the good news now is that we are recording our third album to be released in 2024,” added Suarez.
“Here it was more like a band recording. Only the four of us and occasional keyboardist Rafa Rubio. I’m very proud of this album. Our beloved drummer and friend Miquel Ferrer had to leave as he signed for the well-known Spanish band ‘Burning,’ to go on tour. It was sad, but then came Javier Gomez, it’s a pleasure and an honour to be able to play with him, and it’s incredible how a drummer can change the band’s sound.
“I’m a prolific composer, lots of songs in the drawer, but time is always tight as Useless Dogs is a peculiar setup, three professionals and me, Mr Dogman. This means agendas are hard to manage sometimes. But I’m very lucky to be able to play with the others. They are stage animals, this gives me a chance to learn from them and I am safe with them playing live.”
But with three members of the band called ‘Javier,’ things must get somewhat confusing when they assemble in the studio.
“Yes, it does,” adds Suarez, “And we manage the subject using the surnames instead, so it’s me and ‘The Three J’s!’
“Javier Rojas is actually a professional bassist who also produces the albums, he is one of those musicians that has an all-around understanding of music. Played, and plays bass with, artists such as Bebe, Chenoa, Mama Ladilla, Josele Santiago and many others.
“Drummer Javier Gomez Pacheco is another experienced guy, he’s has played with DePedro, and Anaut, and Javier Santana, bass, is the youngest dog, he’s in his forties – the rest of us are in our fifties now. Another experienced guy with incredible fingers and clockwork playing. Even played with Gloria Gaynor on her Spanish tour some years ago.
“And for me? Sculpture is a passion, but music is a need. I think I sing in English because it connects me to some of my hidden roots I guess. My first words were spoken and heard in English so it must be something like that.”
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