A long long time ago (by that I mean the 80’s) I was browsing through the records at The Turntable in Eastgate when an ou came in who worked in the shop. He was chatting to the guy behind the counter and I overheard him mention that he had just started up a band called Diamond Dogs and then went on to explain that they had named themselves after the David Bowie album. At the time I was into Depeche Mode and the whole New Romantic scene so wasn’t that interested, but it was my first close encounter with a real live rock musician and somehow that memory stuck with me.
A couple of weeks before writing this review a video popped up on my Facebook page via Marq Vas’ excellent Southern African Music Collectibles page and this video was ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Mind’ by the Diamond Dogs. This naturally piqued my curiosity as I had not heard anything about the band since that encounter. So of course I played the track as my music tastes have widened extensively since those days of my youth when anything that wasn’t Depeche Mode or such like, wasn’t worth listening to.
Well I was surprised at how good the Dogs’ track sounded. There is a kind of Bon Jovi on their slower days thing going on (something like ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’) with a great, gravelly vocal set against a big rock sound while electric guitars do exactly what is expected of them on such tracks. But, interestingly on this track, there is a prominent piano which is not always something you find on a big rock ballad, but it brings poignancy to the love song lyrics.
Reading up a bit on the Dogs (again go to Marq Vas’ pages as there is a great interview with Greg Pentopolous, one of the band members), it seems that they were a popular act at Roxy’s Rhythm Bar in Melville with many have great memories of their gigs. I was too nerdy back then (and am still somewhat nerdy these days) to go out gigging and clubbing which was why I never heard more about the Diamond Dogs other then the encounter with that guy in The Turntable, which, as it turns out was Nick Slade, the lead singer. But listening to them now, one can only wonder why they didn’t make it big as they were an accomplished act and tunes like ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Mind’ and ‘How Do You Sleep Tonight’ (which I have just found on Youtube and included in the links below) were great rockers. These Diamonds were a hidden treasure that only those few who hung at to Roxy’s knew about. They are worth checking out.
One final note is that a track of theirs called ‘Going Home’ appears on the ‘SA Gold Rock’ compilation.
How Do You Sleep Tonight video: