Catch Dr. Dog TONIGHT at the 930 club, tomorrow’s show is sold out
photos and video by Dakota Fine
words by Jeff Jetton
If, a century ago, you asked Henry Ford how he’d imagine his automobile would develop and prosper over the next 100 years, it’s a safe bet that he would have a pretty hard time imagining an innovation pinnacle along the lines of Grave Digger, I don’t care how forward thinking the guy was.
Measured purely by the ability to launch skyward and descend upon (and crush) a vast array of smaller, less extravagant automobiles, Grave Digger reigns supreme. And yet, an armada of cleverly named Monster Trucks wait, quite loudly, in the wings, relishing a chance to outshine the master. If names like Crush Station, Thrasher and Full Boar don’t ring a bell, well, you’re not exactly alone, but rest assured, they exist.
…as well as a host of others.
After scoring a ton of tickets, we decided that we’d rather take a bunch of musicians to the show instead of giving them away to our readers who did nothing to deserve them. So that’s exactly what we did.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: ‘what on God’s green earth does Dr. Dog have to do with monster trucks, or any trucks for that matter?’
The answer, not surprisingly, is absolutely nothing. But that wasn’t going to stop us from calling the guys in the band and asking them to accompany us on a field trip of sorts.
In between two sold-out 930 club shows, the Dr. Dog boys took a morning off to drop by the Verizon Center for a few hours of mayhem.
To be honest, I’d never actually heard any of Dr. Dog’s music beyond their cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s Heart it Races, which happens to be an amazing song. But they were in town and we figured we’d try and make monster trucks even more exciting than they probably are.
The problem with this plan was that keeping six guys and their entourage in one place on the floor of a huge arena amongst ten giant monster trucks and six hundred screaming kids is literally like herding cats. It’s not even worth trying.
We finally gave up on trying to corral D.D. into one place for a group picture and focused in on the kids. If a Monster Jam can guarantee one thing, it’s that young boys will come out to watch in droves. Pretty much a Catholic Priest’s wet dream. Literally.
All of the sudden, the men of Dr. Dog suddenly manifested themselves into a group for a lovefest with the driver of Full Boar…
…which meant our work was done here. Time to sit down and relax.
…however, everyone else’s work was not. Keeping these trucks running is the full time job of several mechanics. You watch the show and realize that these trucks get pretty well destroyed every time they perform.
A monster truck is a pickup truck, typically styled after pickup trucks’ bodies, modified or purposely built with extremely large wheels and suspension. They are used for competition and popular sports entertainment and in some cases they are featured alongside motocross races, mud bogging, tractor pulls and car-eating robots. They are most popular in the United States.
A monster truck show sometimes involves the truck crushing smaller vehicles beneath its huge tires. These trucks can run up and over most man-made barriers, so they are equipped with remote shut-off switches, called the Remote Ignition Interruptor (RII), to help prevent an accident if the driver loses control at any time. At some events, only one truck is on the course at a time, while most feature two drivers racing each other on symmetrical tracks, with the losing driver eliminated in single-elimination tournament fashion.
In recent years, many monster truck competitions have ended with a “freestyle” event. Somewhat akin to figure skating with giant trucks, drivers are free to select their own course around the track and its obstacles. Drivers will often try “donuts”, wheelstands and jumps during this segment. Additional items for the drivers to crush, usually including a motor home, are frequently placed on the track specifically for the freestyle event. Other obstacles sometimes placed on the track include school buses and small airplanes.
You read that right: ‘akin to figure skating on wheels’. It was all starting to make sense now. The same company that runs Disney on Ice runs the Monster Truck Jam. We went to Disney on Ice last Valentine’s Day to discover how and why ice skating had a lock on the hearts of girls ages 3 to 85. And now we were getting a pretty good idea the formula behind Monster Trucks and kids. Take whatever works on young girls with figure skating, subtract figure skating, add trucks and motorcycles and fireworks and you’ve got the boys lining up.
We saw the Doctor Dog dudes off (they needed lunch before the show started) and went backstage to hang out with the drivers…
…although backstage is decidedly less Rock and Roll than, well, backstage in Rock and Roll. It’s pretty much a storage area for the cars that are going to be crushed.
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