Local band closes in on Grammy Award nomination
Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 5, 2016
RESERVE — One is a plant worker, one works on cars and another builds movie sets.
The fourth states emphatically, “I am a musician, even if it doesn’t always pay the bills.”
Sometimes it pays in other ways, though — like, perhaps in a Grammy Award nomination.
Johnnie LaGrange, Tommy Cox, Glenn Grady and John Walden are a group of St. John the Baptist Parish guys with day jobs. They also are the men who make up the band called The Bald Dog Project.
The name came out of a hat.
The sound is a blend of influences reflecting all their years of movement in and out of various local bands.
They get compared a lot to Credence Clearwater Revival, which is fine by them, with one caveat.
“If Credence and Slayer had a love child, we’d be it,” lead singer and lead guitarist LaGrange said. “The thing that really makes us unique is the fact that we’re doing it acoustically. People see us up there with our acoustic instruments and they think, ‘well these guys are going to come in and do some John Denver.’ Just about every show we played this year, somebody has come up to us and said, ‘we did not expect that. We did not see that coming.’”
It was LaGrange who came up with the name, “Bald Dog,” and he had a musical connection to guitarist/percussionist, Cox.
“I was like, ‘Dude. I’ve got this killer band name.’” LaGrange said.
All he needed was band mates to put under it.
“That’s how we came up with Bald Dog Project,” LaGrange said. “It was a project. I had the name, I needed people. And I knew exactly who to get.”
LaGrange picked up bass player Grady and drummer Walden, plus sound man Jack Cody, and the band was made.
They all grew up in St. John Parish and were brought together about two years ago by a love of music, a like for each other and dreams.
“Johnnie is our common link,” Walden said. “That’s the thing about growing up here. Everybody knows everybody or everybody’s related to everybody. We’ve all been in different bands, but we’ve never all played together until this.”
The circle of musicians in the area is tight, Grady said.
“Growing up in the 80s like we did, you were either into athletics or metal music,” he said. “We were the kids who were into metal music.”
While The Bald Dog Project may not be on everyone’s playlist or selling out huge arenas, they are making tracks and putting miles on their vehicles travelling around the region doing shows.
They have recorded one CD, “7 From Bedlam,” and have a strong local following.
They also could be nominated for a coveted Grammy award.
A few months ago, a music producer named Rian Macsuibhne of Rian Music in San Francisco stumbled onto the band’s website (thebalddogproject.com) and bought a CD. He heard the track “Thorn in My Side” and liked it — a lot.
He liked it so much, in fact, he got in touch with drummer John Walden (who also does the band’s PR) on Facebook and asked if he could submit the song for Grammy consideration.
“I said, ‘well, let me think about it,’” Walden joked. “Yes!”
Then he ran it past the rest of the band. Their initial reactions cannot be printed in a family newspaper, but it’s safe to say they all were for the idea.
Macsuibhne followed through. A few weeks ago, Walden received a letter informing him “Thorn in My Side” was being considered for nomination in three categories, including Best Metal Performance, Song of the Year and Best Music Video.
They still are trying to process this.
“It really is the culmination of all that we’ve done our whole life,” Grady said. “Finally, we get this.”
Said Walden: “I’ve been playing in bands since I was 17 years old and at 46, to finally have somebody go, ‘Hey. I’ve watched you guys all year. You guys are probably one of the hardest working bands I’ve seen in a while.’ It’s pretty overwhelming and gratifying at the same time, just to be part of the conversation.”
The 2017 Grammy nominations will be announced Dec. 6. The awards will be presented Feb. 12.
Until then, The Bald Dog Project will keep rocking. Their last local show will be 9 p.m. Nov. 12 at Rusty’s Tavern, 513 E. Airline Hwy. in LaPlace. They have another show Nov. 23 at Twist of Lime, 2820 Lime St. in Metairie.
After that, the band will hit the road for a good while before heading back into the studio to record another CD.
“It will be the last chance to see us for a while,” Walden said.