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5 questions with working class Dog Johnny Compton

WANT TO GO?

Johnny Compton and the Scurvy Dogs

WHERE: Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd.

WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday

TICKETS: $5

INFO: 304-205-7951 or www.theboulevardtavernwv.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Johnny Compton is known locally as a member of the Diablo Blues Band, a Charleston music scene regular that evolved into the Mother Blues Band with Lola Spencer.

Recently, however, Compton has been stepping out as part of Johnny C and the Scurvy Dogs, an 80s tribute band and side project that embraces some of the cheesiest songs of (arguably) the cheesiest decade in American music and tries to make them fun again.

The band plays Saturday night at the Boulevard Tavern. The gazz caught up with Compton and asked what he was up to. 

Q: Who, what and why are the Scurvy Dogs?

A: "Travis Ranson, Tom Hymes and I got together. We're all huge, huge 80s fans. It seemed to us that there was a bunch of "hair band" tribute bands around, but everybody was ignoring the best music of the 80s--the pop.

"We're all from rock and metal backgrounds. Travis and I played in Gran Pappy's Lap. Tommy Hymes was a member of Breedlove and Big Guns and Chad Casto (bassist) is part of Hillbilly Deathride. So you're getting a rock and metal flavor, but we don't change things so you still recognize the song. We stay true to the song structure, but we add our own twisted little spin to it."

Q: What kind of songs are we talking about here?

A: "We do everything from Men at Work to Madonna. Our biggest right now is E.U.'s "Doing the Butt," and Madonna's "Like a Virgin." Morris Day and the Time's "Jungle Love" always gets people going, too, plus we do Billy Squire, J. Geils Band and we're working on some Donna Summers."

Q: No offense, but this sounds a bit tongue in cheek?

A: "There is a bit of that, but at the same time this is music we all grew up with and music we all love. We take a tongue-in-cheek approach, but it's all done with reverence. These songs are some of the best songwriting of the 1980s and we put a lot of effort into this. This is something we're serious about. We practice constantly."

Q:  Why so much effort in something that sounds like a side project?

A: "I'm a professional musician. It's how I make my living. It's not really a side project. It's another musical project and it's a fun one. With the economy, people don't go out as much, but when they go out, they really want to have a good time. They want to be entertained. They don't want to sit and listen to someone drone on about how horrible life is. When you come out to see us, you're going to have fun whether you want to or not."

Q: What were you doing in the 1980s?

A: "Well, I was playing music, but it wasn't this music. I was pretty much up to my knees in hair band music at that point."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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