Jungle Dogs reunite with old-school flavor

By Chase Myers

Not every band can stand the test of time.

Endless hours on the road, frustration in the studio and being around each other constantly begins to take its toll. Band members lose touch with one another and eventually fade away.

Carbondale’s own Jungle Dogs never fell into that category, even after the band officially retired in 2003.

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Jungle Dogs will play a reunion show Saturday at Pinch Penny Pub.

The band – a blend of classical rock with influences of reggae, funk and ska – entered the Carbondale music scene in 1987 with its first show at Hangar 9. The Jungle Dogs played countless shows in the Carbondale area, and the rest of the Midwest.

In 2007, four years after retirement, Jungle Dogs started playing annual reunion shows at Pinch.

Bassist and band manager Eddie Chapa said lots of bands that are around for a long time start to change or evolve. Jungle Dogs has been fine-tuning its sound rather than changing it.

The band has a nine-piece line-up, including a horn section and a rhythm section.

“It’s all very upbeat, danceable, fun, party music,” Chapa said.

Each member of Jungle Dogs has a different musical background, whether it be ska, funk, reggae or jazz. The band is influenced by this combination of backgrounds rather than specific artists, he said.

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“We really kind of found our own style,” he said. “We’re not the kind of band that has one lead singer that sings all of the songs. There are four or five different lead singers and we all sing different songs. The style varies from song to song.”

Chapa said they like playing the outdoor beer garden at Pinch and have been lucky to consistently have good weather.

“We like playing outside,” he said. “It’s just nice. Jungle Dogs have always been more of a festival-crowd type of band.”

The band has acquired a distinct crowd over the years consisting of older, familiar faces as well as current college students who have never heard the band before, Chapa said.

“I’ve had kids come up and say, ‘My parents went to school here and saw you guys,’” he said. “It’s always great to see new faces, especially when we can turn on some new college kids to our music.”

Attendees can expect a very uplifting vibe and plenty of crowd participation from the band, he said.

“We try and engage the crowd. Sometimes it’s directly or indirectly,” Chapa said. “It’s not unusual to even have somebody in the crowd come on stage.”

Chapa said there have been instances where too many people get on stage and it can get out of hand.

Jungle Dogs are familiar with the Carbondale music community. There are times when one musician plays in several bands, while others stick with one, he said.

The music scene has always been present in Carbondale, despite its ups and downs, he said.

“Even at its lowest points, there’s always something going on,” Chapa said

The show will start at 9 p.m. and have a $5 cover. The band will have a merchandise table set up with t-shirts and CD’s.

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