Pavlov’s Dog was a little known band from St. Louis, Missouri. Over the years, they have been compared to Rush, mainly because singer David Surkamp’s voice is eerily similar to Geddy Lee’s. With that said, this is a band that you will either love or hate, because Surkamp’s voice is even higher and has more vibrato than Geddy Lee’s voice. Even if you are not a fan of Lee’s voice, do not let that deter you from listening to Pavlov’s Dog because they have a very unique sound. The original band was made up of David Surkamp (Lead vocals and guitar), Rick Stockton (Bass guitar and vocals), Mike Safron (drums), Steve Scorfina (lead guitar), David Hamilton (keyboards), Doug Rayburn (mellotron and flute), and Siegfried Carver (violin). This band offers a little bit for everyone, with great guitar, bass, and the violin as a nice added touch.
Their first album was “Pampered Menial,” released in 1975. The soaring vocals on this album truly stand out above all else, but musically it is very good as well. From their use of flute to the use of the violin, they create a distinctive sound. While their lyrics are similar in style to that of Rush pre-Peart (Rush’s self-titled album), they create a more complex sound than early Rush did with their utilization of many different instruments. Their second album was “At the Sound of the Bell.” This album is remarkably quieter than their first, with Surkamp’s vocals blending in with music more. On “Pampered Menial,” the vocals sounded distinct from the rest of the music, but not so in their second album. His voice seems to be a little more refined and in sync with the rest of the music. All in all, Pavlov’s Dog was a very good American Prog band that never really caught on. Maybe if they had hit their stride in Rush’s wake they could have made it big, but it is what it is. Give this band a listen, and let the music speak for itself. For those of you that are early Rush fans, Pavlov’s Dog just might be right up your alley.
Listen to “Pampered Menial” here:
Listen to “At the Sound of the Bell” here: