Jungle Dogs Reunion 2015: Still Kicking the School Year off With a Real Party

Jungle Dogs Reunion 2015:  Still Kicking the School Year off With a Real Party
Bands
Jungle Dogs

MP3's
Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.


Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.


Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.


Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.


Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.


Jungle Dogs

It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.



Venues & Businesses
Copper Dragon, The
Pinch Penny Pub

More Articles
Jungle Dogs Reunion 2013: A Quarter Century of Music, Memories, and Fun
Jungle Dogs Reunion 2014: A Wild Carbondale Party Tradition Continues
Jungle Dogs Reunion Concert 2012: Together Again for a Party, Nostalgia, and Cold Beer
Jungle Dogs: Returning to Reopen Their Own Back Yard
Jungle Dogs: SIU’s Party-school Image Incarnate


Who: Jungle Dogs reunion show
What: party rock, funk, ska, reggae
Where:
When: 2015-09-05
In Carbondale, few traditions are as anticipated or as celebrated as the annual Jungle Dogs reunion
Jeff Hale

In Carbondale, few traditions are as anticipated or as celebrated as the annual Jungle Dogs reunion concert on Labor Day weekend. Carbondale’s favorite party band will once again come together Saturday, September 5 in Pinch Penny Pub’s beer garden. The rain location is the Copper Dragon Brewing Company.

“We’re really looking forward to this,” Jungle Dogs trumpeter and legendary frontman and party master D. Ward tells Nightlife. “This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve done it. It’s so great to have the people down at Pinch Penny that let us do this every year. It’s gotten to the point where everybody just knows it’s going to happen, and sets this weekend aside and looks forward to it.”

Fans are looking forward to the appearance of a legend and legacy on the Carbondale music and party scene.

In 1987, this group came together to create an infectious and unforgettable blend of ska, pop, reggae, and jazz that soon became as much of a weekend staple on the Carbondale bar scene as cold beer and pizza by the slice. Almost every Friday or Saturday, huge audiences would seek out the club where the Dogs were playing, and the party that ensued would make Mardi Gras look like a quilting class.

The legend and legacy that is the Jungle Dogs continued throughout the 1990s, with new legions of fans flocking to concerts every year. The Carbondale experience was not complete without at least one Jungle Dogs concert, and countless graduates celebrated educational milestones to the band’s music.

The Jungle Dogs party train surged down the tracks until 2004, when growing families and diverse career paths prompted the group— saxophone player Klaus “Rock the House” Bank, bass player Eddie Chapa, trombone player Larry Daly, trumpet and keyboard player Keith Huffman, drummer John Hunter, percussionist Matt Linsin, trombone and keyboard player Jim Owens, guitarist Dan Schingel, and D. Ward— to cease live performing.

Fast forward six years to Labor Day weekend 2010 at Pinch Penny, and the band that rocked Carbondale for seventeen years came back better than ever. The Jungle Dogs reunited, not only with each other, but with the fans that had made them a household name in Southern Illinois— not to mention some of their fans’ children, and in some cases their grandchildren. After that night, there could be little question that the Jungle Dogs Labor Day reunion show had to become a yearly event.

Although the band now only plays together once a year, for Ward and the rest of the guys in the band, their love for the music and the idea of seeing generations of fans keeps them coming back to Pinch Penny year after year.

“Time goes by so fast,” Ward says. “It seems like we’ve slowed down a little bit. Obviously, we don’t play as much as we used to. I wish we could get to play a little bit more, but obviously circumstances don’t allow for that. Like they say, time flies when you’re having fun. But the show at Pinch is always a great time for us.”

Ward likens the infrequency of the Jungle Dogs’ reunions to the time before video, when The Wizard of Oz could only be seen on television once a year.

“I know that I always look forward to it,” he laughs. “I still get a little bit nervous before we go up there to play, but that always seems to go away. Back in the day, we were playing just about every weekend, or at least once or twice a month. Now, with the once-a-year thing, I think everybody does probably look a little more forward to it. But I always looked forward to playing no matter how often it was. I always appreciated being able to get up there with the boys and do our thing. It was always a great time.”

A great time is the name of the game for the Jungle Dogs and what they have delivered to their fans for almost thirty years. Ward says that although the city that was the group’s creative birthplace has undergone many metamorphoses, the band’s original mission has remained the same. This continues to keep their legions of original fans, and their flocks of new ones, coming to Pinch every Labor Day weekend.

“Carbondale has changed a lot since we started, as far as the number of clubs that have live music,” Ward says. “I don’t think there are nearly as many as there used to be. I would love to be able to come back and play a little bit more, or even be back on the road a little bit. The main thing we had, and the original idea from the very beginning, was the idea of having fun— to break down that wall between the band and the crowd. We just wanted to be creative and do our thing, and it is always about having a good time, us and the audience. We have tried to keep that tradition going for the past five years at Pinch. I guess if you’ve got a good thing like that going, you just try to keep it going. Even if it is only once a year.”

One cannot help but marvel at how almost three decades have elapsed since the Jungle Dogs first took to a Carbondale stage. Ward finds it hard to believe that the years have passed so quickly, but says that their music has remained ageless, and that for the Dogs, the fans remain the driving force behind their love for performing.

“It seems like a long time ago, and yet it doesn’t,” he muses. “But that’s the way with everything. It’s like life— it just goes by so fast. What a great run we’ve had.”

It may be impossible for anyone who came of age or went to college in Carbondale between 1987 and 2004 to believe that people in town today have not heard of the Jungle Dogs, but no doubt they exist and are looking fun. Ward says they should definitely consider making a stop at Pinch Penny, because what they will find is not just a concert, but a party that draws in generations with music that will just plain make people feel great.

“Every year,” Ward says, “we always start out with the older crowd, the ones that have followed us over the years. Some of them stay for the entire night, and that’s great. But as the night goes on, you start to see younger and younger faces. Last year I noticed there were a lot of young people that were seeing us for the first time. They really seemed to get into the spirit of it, and that’s just the way it happened with us when we were all that age thirty years ago. If a bunch of old guys like us can win over a young crowd like that, you know there’s got to be something fun that’s happening; something that everybody can enjoy.

“I would just like to say that they should come out and see something different,” Ward concludes. “It’s not going to be your every-night evening at Pinch. If you really want to kick the school year off with a real party, there’s no better band to do it with, still to this day, than the Jungle Dogs.”

Find out more at <http//www.JungleDogs.com>.

who: Jungle Dogs reunion show

what: party rock, funk, ska, reggae

where: Pinch Penny Pub Beer Garden / Copper Dragon Brewing Company

 

when: Saturday, September 5