Featured at the 6th annual LA Music awards – Special Achievement
Dogstar was an alternative rock group active from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. The band performed at the 1996 Zwemdokrock Festival (Lummen, Belgium) and at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom), and it released an EP and two albums. The band garnered media attention due to the non-musical activities of bassist Keanu Reeves, who starred in major Hollywood action films such as Point Break and The Matrix.
The genesis of Dogstar was a chance encounter between Reeves and Mailhouse in a supermarket in 1991. Rob Mailhouse was wearing a Detroit Red Wings hockey sweater, and Reeves (an avid hockey fan and a keen player of the sport) asked if Mailhouse needed a goalie. Like Reeves, Mailhouse is also an actor. Mailhouse is a television actor, and has appeared in the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives, as well as Seinfeld. As the two men formed a friendship, they began jamming together. Gregg Miller Joined the band in 1992 as the original Lead guitarist and singer. He toured extensively with the band in 1995 throughout the U.S. and Asia. Gregg left the band at the end of the ’95 tour one year after Bret Domrose joined as a vocalist/guitarist in 1994. Eventually they decided to play for a live audience, a decision Reeves would later describe as “a huge mistake”. The band originally called themselves Small Fecal Matter, and then BFS (Big Fucking Shit, or Big Fucking Sound), before settling on Dogstar, after Mailhouse found the name in the book Sexus, written by Henry Miller.
In 1995 they opened for Bon Jovi in Australia and New Zealand and appeared in concert billings with David Bowie. Dogstar also appeared in two movies: Ellie Parker and Me and Will. Dogstar had several opening acts that went on to become notable, such as Rancid and Weezer (the latter’s first gig was opening for Dogstar). Dogstar released a four-track EP in early 1996, Quattro Formaggi (distributed by Zoo Entertainment) and followed this up with their debut album, Our Little Visionary, which was only distributed in Japan, but their fanbase was worldwide, and they played to audiences in the U.S., England, Australia and India. Whilst in India, they performed at the equivalent of the Academy Awards in India, the Zee Cine Awards. They also performed at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival.
Although the band members had other work commitments, a second album, Happy Ending followed in 1999, produced by Michael Vail Blum and Richie Zito. Domrose called the music on this record more “pop-aggressive” than the band’s earlier work. Their last performance was in October 2002 in Japan, and the group folded afterwards. Domrose went on to perform as a solo artist, briefly played guitar with the band Berlin and is currently writing music for film and television. Reeves and Mailhouse later performed together in band Becky. Reeves left the band because of his working schedule. Dogstar is currently reviewing footage for a project that reflects their years touring. Drummer Rob Mailhouse’s basement studio still hosts secret jams with Bret and Keanu.