Jimmy Law—Dogs In A Pile
I grew up in New Jersey, and I live here now, I still live with my parents. We are from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, which is like the shore, Asbury Park. The band is based out of Asbury Park.
My first musical memory, I guess it would be…my dad toured with the Grateful Dead since 1984. So my parents are both real big Dead Heads. So it’s basically in the blood. And, yeah, it’s crazy because when I was really young, I was probably like four years old, I remember my dad had a couple guitars lying around the house. He could only play a few chords. He just loves music. So he taught me the chords to “Wharf Rat” when I was probably about three or four years old, and, yeah, that’s probably the beginning.
My playing kind of reconnects to my first musical memory. You know when my dad showed me “Wharf Rat” and my mom showed me all the videos of Jerry, and until this day I always think, that’s all I ever knew. I never knew of any other thing I wanted to do. I just knew music when I was born. And since I started playing my dad would inspire me and keep showing me music and always record me playing, playing around the house and stuff. And then he was like, I guess he noticed a little a spark of the passion and young playing chords and feeling Jerry at that age. And then I started playing with some local musicians that my dad knew. And probably by the time I was 10 or 11—when I was 10, I actually did an open mic at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, where we play all the time, kind of where it all began. I was about 10 or 11 years old, just playing Dead tunes on an acoustic.
But I grew up listening to a lot of other music, too. I guess a lot of classic rock, you know. When I listen to classic rock now, that’s probably why I get a lot, I get so much nostalgia from being a kid, going around to like my aunts and uncles’ houses and my mom and dad’s friends, because not all of them were Dead Heads, a lot of them were, but the rest of them would listen you know old school rock and roll Zeppelin, AC/DC, you know, all those bands.
I went to high school, and then to college in Philly at the University of the Arts. I first saw the Dead with Warren. I think it was Warren and Herring were playing. It was the rest everybody else. It was at Saratoga. I was like 10.
Anyway, listening to all that music and playing, I wanted to be in a. band. I started meeting guys, and when we met each other, Dead music was like our common thread, you know. So we started with playing a bunch of Dead tunes and Dead covers locally. And we knew we wanted to make original music. And the Dead was like our stepping stone to getting into that world, because we all love jam music.
But, yeah, it started with my dad, who has a really, good, close family friend for a long time named Joe Babick, and his son, Joey. Joey is the drummer of Dogs in a Pile. So I grew up with big Joe, his father and Joey, our drummer. We’ve known each other since—he is 19 now, and I am 23, so he must have been 8 years old, and I was like 12. And we met each other and we just jammed—we jammed for a long time as friends when we were young and his father plays bass too, also a long time Dead Head. So we would play, just the three of us playing Dead tunes, and over time we kept, you know, I was doing my own projects and whatnot and playing at a lot of different capacities.
Then I met a friend Erick, who lived in a neighboring town and we started jamming together, me, Erick and Joey the drummer. And Erick introduced us to a couple other friends. We met Sam who lived in Sea Girt, which is close to where we live, and we kept jamming together. We started playing gigs, like this little bar in Lake Como (NJ), Paul’s Tavern. We didn’t even have a name, we kind of just were playing around, playing Dead tunes and a couple originals that we made, and then Sam, Sam the bass player, went to Berklee and he was introduced to Brian and Jeremy who live in New York. And when they started playing together, Sam was like, hey, you guys want to come down to Jersey and jam? And it kind of just all came together. That was end of 2018, beginning of 2019.
We started playing at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, which of course was the launching point of our famous neighbor, The Boss. The reason I played the Stone Pony when I was young was because my closest neighbor, Laurie, next door, right next door, she’s a huge Bruce fan, obviously, and she knew the guys at the Stone Pony, where Bruce started, and she was the one who actually helped me play at the Pony for the first time. And, you know, and Bruce is a native.
Some of our early gigs were…interesting. The Saint, that’s another place that’s close by the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. We played there a bunch of times and that’s the definition of shoe box. But it is a shoe box full of a lot of history and a lot of good memories. You know, it feels good in there. That and, you know, we played to empty seats you know a couple times, that’s for sure.
When I was when I was about 12, my dad noticed my passion and how much I was playing. He introduced me to this guy Waynard Scheller (who has a GD-oriented band called Rainbow Full of Sound), who, he still plays around a lot. Waynard was probably the first person to really help me get started and we started in a band called Little Jimmy and the Midnight Son. And he really helped me get started playing with older musicians and good musicians. And we actually recorded an album and Donna Jean sang a couple tunes on it with us which is really cool.
It was weird because almost up until now, that whole time I have a kid’s mindset. And I’m just liking watching everything happen around me like, wow, this is crazy. But I’m just a kid playing guitar. And I’m just like just thinking about playing whiffle ball with my friends at night, you know. But for the longest time, I am almost just blind to it, just going through the motions and not even realizing 12 years old. And after that I kind of realized that I should play with some guys my age maybe and get something going. Because I am a 12 year old kid playing with 40 year old dudes, you know.
So by the time I was like 15, I started playing with a rock band called Mad Kings. The music didn’t get to my core, but there was so much about that band that taught me what I love now and it really helped me grow up. Steen Schidt there was my first “right thand man” and brother….I look up to him a lot. I worked with a manager from New York City, Alicia Gelernt was her name, Noble Media, and we met her through some other friends. And I basically started a rock band, and I played with them for a while. And still through this, I’m like I am just kind of playing, just kind of doing my thing. Nothing feels like to my core, like what I know. And it really took me till Dogs in a Pile, when I started playing with those guys, in a rehearsal space on stage, it took me till then to realize, wow, there is something here. This something I feel like I can actually I can, with longevity, I can do something with this rather than just like kinds of picking around. And Dogs in a Pile was where it really, really kicked in.
The drummer’s dad actually chose the name. Joe’s dad. You know, it sucks that we have to say that, but we were scrambling for so long and he just gave us a list. And we were like, you know, what, well, that one feels right.
So Dogs in a Pile got started, and we met these people Rich and Denise, who are just really good friends, really big music lovers. And they book bands on a lower scale. And they saw us one time locally, and they were like, wow, we love you guys. They are like our best friends now. And they helped book us for a little while. And they started bringing us to these little, like family jam festivals around, up and down the east coast, you know, PA and upstate New York. And those were probably the first gigs that we started spreading out and building somewhat of a family, you know.
Even with Covid, we were really lucky and played pretty consistently throughout. We did a lot of studio—we have a studio in Point Pleasant, where we live, and we rehearse. And we did a lot of live streams from there through COVID. But there were a lot of festivals that we still played. We probably didn’t go longer than a month from being on stage, maybe two. Yeah, we were lucky.
And we just kept meeting people. In 2019, we played Snipes Farm in New Jersey. It’s right near Philly on the border of Jersey and PA. And we kind of just put together this event at Snipes Farm, and it’s a big field with a nice big stage on it. We helped put together production. But it would be like our event, we did our own event, on a Saturday, around this time of year actually, where we would just do a full show. And Ron Adelberg (publisher of GratefulMusicLLC) would always come take pictures for that. And I believe that’s where we met him. He was a part of lot of different festivals that we were booked on.
We’re an improvisational band. All of us write the songs together, and we’ve got one CD out, Not Your Average Beagle, and we’re in the middle of releasing singles from it. So it will all be out by the probably beginning of next year. It’s going to be called Bloom. I play lead and sing vocals, although we all switch for sure. The other guitar player is Brian Murray. He actually sings and plays guitar. Does a lot of rhythm guitar and lot of writing. Jeremy Kaplan is on keys, sings as well. You know, does a lot of production end of things. Joey Babik is on drums. And Sam Lucid is on bass and he sings as well and writes a lot.
Our best gig so far was at the Cap, the Capitol Theater. Man, that place is so special. It really is—like, it’s so obvious why Jerry said it was his favorite place to play. I have been waiting for so long, because I have been seeing shows there since I was, you know, 14 years old. Took my first dose in that place pretty much, actually. So I had a cool moment at the end of that gig, where we actually played “Let It Grow” that night too. We covered “Let It Grow,” which just felt insane, you know, but at the end I was playing Jerry’s solo at the end of it, and I just remember looking up at the end of it and just saying, What’s up, Jer? Just so cool, because you know he’s in there. Right, you know.
We haven’t had too many bad gigs, and even at the worst one we wound up meeting one of our best friends to this day, Kieffer. We played this gig up in I think it was in upstate New York, it was on a farm, and there was a little pig running around, right. And I swear, man, it was like the epitome of this music festival is not about the music. The word music should not be in it, it’s a festival, if that.
So it’s weird because we actually wound up playing probably our longest gig that night because the people that were there were really into it. There was probably a hand full, five, ten people. But I swear every other person was in their tent. And it was just the grungiest, just most disgusting site. They didn’t care at all. And the sound system was like your friends’ sound system in his basement, you know, what I mean, it was probably the worst.
See Dogs In A Pile at Skull & Roses Festival—Buy Passes here!