Saying farewell to The Dags
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado You heard it right, The Dags are about to take to the stage one last time. But these popular valley rockers dont want your tears.There will be no crying on Sunday, no crying for The Dags, said lead singer and guitarist Dave Hill. Theres no crying in rock n roll.Well just see about that.Dave and bassist Bruce Imig were sitting in Daves home and laughing and drinking beer. Along with Daves wife (and the bands manager), Jeanette, they were talking about this whole Dags phenomenon nearly 20 years in the making.For a while there, we were like Glenwoods favorite band, said Dave.He thinks of their heyday as 1995-2000. They were everywhere then, visible at everything from weddings to chili cook-offs, to Sunlights Ski Spree. For several years running, their take on sweaty rock n roll won them Locals Choice Awards, to boot. Not only were they made popular by their covers, he went on, but their original tunes struck a chord with people. Their song Meet You in Colorado became a valley wedding staple.It was great, but, in Jeanettes words, now theyre all moving, moving on.Its time, said Bruce.It feels right, added Dave, seamlessly.The guys were nearly finishing each others sentences, talking almost like some old married couple. And why not? Theyve been making music together for 35 years.Its basically our religion, said Dave. Wed do it whether we made money or not. But we prefer to make money.And he gave out a laugh.The roots of the Dags began in Boulder, back when Dave was 19 and Bruce was 17 (the guys are now 54 and 52, respectively). They joked about some fuzzy details and described how Daves band was looking for a bassist then. Bruce tried out, and soon a true rocking partnership was born. The guys then hit the road for years before settling in this valley in the late 1970s. With Jeanette by their side since 1984, theyve played all kinds of music, from acoustic bluegrass to funk and on and on. Theyve been a part of other bands, like Nobodys Business, The Bizness and Three Legged Dog. But when it came to The Dags, started in 1990, theyve been nothing but rock n roll, pure and simple.We kept it going and showed them (locals) what was possible, even in this little town, said Dave.To him, it felt like every time they played, theyd tear the house down. Though they might not have known it then, they were laying the groundwork for the musically rich valley culture of today. But that doesnt mean their success wasnt limiting, too. While they kept trying to steer The Dags into something more varied, they could never break it from its hard rock core. New band members would come in; old ones would leave. Yet The Dags sound remained on a similar wavelength. In the end, Bruce and Dave gave up trying to fight it and decided it was simply time to try something new. But they wanted to give the group a proper send off.In Daves words, Lets have it mean something.Enter Tom Regan and the local Elks Club. Three years ago, Regan, the clubs manager, helped The Dags host a fundraiser for colon cancer research. In the end, they netted about $50,000. This year, the dudes wanted to do something similarly important, but even more personal. At $15 a pop, attendees to this final concert will be helping raise money for Laradon Hall in Denver, a nonprofit that helps the families of mentally challenged children. Half the proceeds will also benefit breast cancer research, which means quite a lot to the group.Jeanette was stricken with breast cancer back in 1999, and it recurred in 2006. Though shes cancer-free right now, they all know it can come back without warning. So this fight against cancer is still hers, really. And for her, theres no better way to celebrate it than with her favorite tunes. Actually, thats part of whats kept her going.
Music has always been part of my healing and life, she said. I think this benefit is about healing, and its about what else? Its about eating!She laughed, but she actually seemed the most bummed by the groups end. While the guys are moving on to other projects (Dave is playing with the bluesy Big Daddy Lee and the Kingbees, while Bruce is with Snaggle Muse), shes losing one of her favorite titles: boss. For years, she handled the business end of The Dags. She tried to sound casual about the transition, though.It feels, you know, like anything in life. Happy, sad, trying to let it go, she said.Dave and Bruce sounded decidedly less broken up. They explained theyve always imagined themselves being old guys, sitting on the porch and still making music together. In short, just because The Dags are over, doesnt mean these their careers are not by a long shot. Dave and I will always play, said Bruce, with an air of total seriousness until we die.Now, doesnt that deserve a celebration?
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