Formed: Vancouver, Canada, 1978

"I'm up to here with the rat race
Don't start preachin' cause I...don't...BUY"

Active Dog, Vancouver, Canada, 1977Active Dog, Vancouver, Canada, 1977

Photos courtesy of Ross Carpenter

This short-lived but apparently popular Vancouver band was formed when Terry Bowes, Ross Carpenter and Robert Bruce decided to turn their "psychedelic heavy jam band" Steel Breeze into a punk band, which they named Active Dog. Steel Breeze had been going since 1975, and the change of style/name was precipitated by the departure of guitarist Jerome Wong.

The rest of the group was filled out by members of the recently defunct Monitors - Bill Shirt, Gord Nicholl and Buck Cherry - who had moved from White Rock to Vancouver (a distance of about 20 miles). This six-piece lineup recorded the two songs for Vancouver Complication, after which Gord left to join The Pointed Sticks. Bruce hung around long enough to record the two songs for the single Rat Race, but then he left too, to join Gord in the Sticks, and Active Dog split up.

When Active Dog became an in-active dog, Cherry formed The Modernettes, but by 1980 was re-united with Shirt and Nicholl in Los Radicos Popularos, along with Art Bergmann, Tony Bardach and Zippy Pinhead, with this group changing its name to Los Popularos in 1982 and lasting until 1983.

Here's what the liner notes of Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988 says:

A very fun-oriented live band, Active Dog's existence was short yet influential. Along with The Shmorgs (Art Bergmann's first band), Active Dog introduced the White Rock B.C. faction of musicians to the larger Vancouver audience. The band featured Bill Shirt (future Los Popularos frontman) on vocals, Gord Nicholl (future Pointed Sticks/Poisoned) on keyboards, Robert Bruce (future Pointed Sticks) on drums and Buck Cherry (future Modernettes frontman) on guitar. 'Nothing Holding You' was a highlight of the 1979 Vancouver Complication lp. Active Dog followed this with their only other released recording, the posthumous single 'Rat Race'.

Ross: Art Bergmann wasn't in the band but hung around a lot, and I recorded him for his 'Shmorgs' album, and ..after 'Antheads' I played drums with 'Melody Pimps' and 'Perky Pat' along with guitarist Tony Balony. Thanks for putting up the band info..Cheers

Bergmann also played with Braineater, K-Tels, Young Canadians, and Poisoned.


Lineup 1:

Vocals: Bill Shirt (real name Bill Scherk) (ex-Monitors / pre-Los Popularos)
Lead guitar: Buck Cherry (real name John Armstrong) (ex-Monitors / pre-Los Popularos/Modernettes)
Guitar: Terry Bowes (ex-Steel Breeze, pre-Antheads)
Bass: Ross Carpenter (AKA Mooch) (ex-Steel Breeze, pre-Modernettes/Antheads)
Drums: Robert Bruce (ex-Steel Breeze, pre-The Pointed Sticks)
Keyboards: Gord Nicholl (AKA Dash Hamhock) (ex-Monitors /pre-The Pointed Sticks/Los Popularos)

Lineup 2:

Vocals: Bill Shirt
Lead guitar: Buck Cherry
Guitar: Terry Bowes
Bass: Ross Carpenter
Drums: Robert Bruce



Singles & Albums

Active Dog - Rat RaceRat Race (7", 1979)

Various Artists

Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988 Canada 2xCD 1991 (Zulu): Nothing Holding You

Outlaws In My Eye, USA! Italy CD 1997 (Cardiac Arrest): Good Filthy Fun

Killed By Death #17 US CD (KBD) Good Filthy Fun



Citizen Freak

The Punk Movie

Revolution Rock


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