Sisters Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles have played together for seven years as the punk-rock duo, Dog Party. Pretty impressive considering they are 18 and 16 years old respectively. When asked how they started a band at such tender ages, Lucy replies:
"I was nine and cool, that's how."
The fast, paired-down, punk-rock styling of a Dog Party set reminds you of being young and daring. You can almost smell the pink, Manic Panic hair dye as your feet begin to tap and your head begins to bob.
"Our parents listen to really awesome music and we were inspired by that," said Lucy, citing The White Stripes and The Ramones specifically. "Our parents raised us to believe we can do anything if we try."
Gwen takes a heavy-handed, driving approach to the guitar, while Lucy keeps the party going with fast solid drum beats. They both contribute harmonic vocals with emotional and relatable lyrics.
"We've changed a lot in our singing abilities and skills,” Gwen said about the progress of Dog Party's sound.
The merchandise table from a recent Dog Party show, part of Hot Italian's Hot Lunch concert series in Fremont Park. Melody Stone / CapRadio Music
One big boost for the band was meeting veteran Sacramento rocker Kepi Ghoulie at a show about five years ago. He gave them a few CDs and they soaked up the music like sponges.
Since then he helped them sign with Asian Man Records and took them on tours across the US and Europe. This will be the fourth summer the girls and Ghoulie tour together.
"It's a mutual admiration society," said Ghoulie.
"We have lots of adventures. It's pretty great,” Ghoulie said about touring together. "The girls just maintain this balance of kindness and rock'n roll."
This is Ghoulie's 30th year in music, and he looks at Gwen and Lucy as inspirations.
“I didn't even pick up a guitar until I was 16,” Ghoulie said. “Bands and/or kids should see them as an example.”
In addition to heavily touring with the band and recording albums, the girls keep their grades up and play sports.
"They have a well-balanced life," Ghoulie said.
While Ghoulie and fans gave the girls a great big welcome to the scene – finding places to play is still the biggest challenge for this underage pair. There are not many all-ages venues to choose from. For some shows they just have to stay outside the venue until it's time to play and then leave immediately after their set.
"In Europe they don't care at all - it was hecka cool," Lucy said about playing bars and clubs. "In the states they're kind of stricter about it."
In the fall Gwen leaves for college at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo to major in graphic communications. It’s going to be a big change for the sisters who have spent so much time together.
"Gwenny and I have a really good relationship,” Lucy said. “We understand each other on a really high level. Our brains have this little connecting thing. It just works out awesomely."
They plan to keep the band going regardless of distance.
"It's going to be an exciting new adventure for me,” Gwen said about leaving for college. “The band will play shows as much as we can and we're still planning to release new material."
In the mean time, they’re kicking off their next big tour across the states and Europe as well as celebrating Lucy’s 16th birthday at the Witch Room today. The show starts at 7 p.m. it’s $7, and all ages. Dog Party is playing with Kepi Ghoulie, Pets and Shoujo Kitten.
See the full tour schedule: visit Ghoulie's website.
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