Dog Trumpet

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River Of Flowers (hac141) is Dog Trumpet's new album, the result of three years writing and recording by the brothers Reg Mombassa and Peter O'Doherty at their Big Brain Studio. It is their fifth release, the follow up to 2007's Antisocial Tendencies and contains some of their most personal and autobiographical songwriting to date.

There are ten new original songs plus a cover of Irishman Bap Kennedy's marvellously poignant song 'On the Mighty Ocean Alcohol'. The album begins with Reg's similarly titled 'Mr Alcohol and Mrs Marijuana', least alcohol shares a mention, but these are universal themes touched upon in a suite of songs that trawl through family history, memory, sex, separation, health and mortality, and traverse the globe from Ireland, England, New Zealand and back to Australia.

Peppered with slide guitar, dobro and mandolin, a bit of Irish whistle and trumpet and congas thrown in for good measure, the music on River of Flowers ranges from a big full band to lilting acoustic sounds, evoking jug bands, Irish folk and rock and roll.


River Of Flowers will be launched in Sydney on Saturday 29th May with special guests David Lane (featuring Amanda Brown and Dean Manning) at the Vanguard, 42 King Street, Newtown. And remember Dog Trumpet includes Bernie Hayes on bass and Jess Ciampa on the drums and Peter Mitchell on harmonica.

Antisocial Tendencies (hac126)

Dog Trumpet's fourth album Antisocial Tendencies was released in March 2007. With patient attention to detail over five years of songwriting and recording, the brothers (with different surnames) Peter O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa have crafted an indelible follow-up to 2002's eponymous Dog Trumpet release. There are twelve songs, six each from Reg and Pete plus a cover of the World War Two hit 'Lili Marlene' made famous by Marlene Dietrich. Recorded by Peter at his Big Brain Studio in Sydney on a vintage 16 track reel-to-reel tape recorder the brothers sing and play all guitars, bass, harp and keyboards with embellishment from stellar guest musicians on cello, drums and percussion, flute, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, tuba, double bass and harmonica.

The live line up has Reg and Pete on guitars, Bernie Hayes on bass and backing vocals, Jess Ciampa (sometimes Hamish Stuart) on drums and backing vocals plus guest harmonica from Peter Mitchell. Bernie Hayes is a respected singer/songwriter in his own right with his third album due for imminent simultaneous release with the Trumpet. Bernie also sings lead vocal and plays 12-string acoustic guitar on the Antisocial Tendencies track 'Bloomsbury Birds', Peter's homage to the literary and artistic world of English writer Virginia Woolf, a major contributor to the pre-war Bloomsbury group. The title track itself, Reg’s distinctive call to arms 'Antisocial Tendencies' has anti-establishment lyrics and hypnotic guitar figures striking a chord for fellow fringe dwellers, iconoclasts and artists of all stripes.

Most of the songs had their basic arrangements ironed out with acoustic guitars around Pete and Reg’s respective kitchen tables. The recording process would then begin with drums first or merely acoustics and vocals. Drums and percussion were sometimes added later as were the other instruments in a casual sort of ad hoc assembly of sounds. Some of the tunes found their way to final mixes rapidly. Others were tinkered with over months, sometimes years as the layering process proceeded. With late additions of cello and flute the album has been mixed and mastered and is now released on Half a Cow Records.

Dog Trumpet (hac101)

In 2002, Peter and Reg released Dog Trumpet. This is a home-made record with a factory finish, located on a quiet suburban street halfway between the beach and the bush.

Dog Trumpet recorded their third album at an unhurried pace over four years. At the time they said it was "their best work to date", and in honour of what they see as a new benchmark for their band, they simply called it Dog Trumpet. The album was engineered and produced by Peter O'Doherty on an old sixteen track reel to reel in 'Big Brain Studio', which is located in the spare room of his flat in Coogee.

The songs often began as bare acoustic guitar and vocal tracks, with brothers Reg and Peter adding their distinctive electric guitar, dobro, harmonica, bass guitar and organ. As the sound grew they invited some highly regarded local musicians with jazz, pop and classical backgrounds to make guest appearances. The addition of drums, double bass, flute and violins took their eccentric pop songs on circuitous but fruitful detours into percussive psychedelic folk, country, bubblegum and semi-abstract hillbilly blues.

The string parts were arranged by Amanda Brown, Jonathon Zwartz and Peter O'Doherty. Notable guest artists include Amanda Brown (Go Betweens, Cleopatra Wong) on violin: Andy Travers (Happening Thang, Andy 500) on drums; Jess Ciampa from the Bernie Hayes Quartet on drums; Lara Goodridge, Tim Hollo and Peter Hollo from Fourplay on violin, viola and cello respectively; Rick Robertson from dig on flute; Terepai Richmond (the Whitlams, dig) on percussion and local jazz legends Jonathon Zwartz and Hamish Stuart on double bass and drums.

The Dog Trumpet Story

Dog Trumpet has been the musical vehicle for the brothers with different surnames Peter O’Doherty and Reg Mombassa since the 1991 release on Regular Records of their first album Two Heads One Brain. It featured the eccentric pop singles 'Made of Wood', 'I'm So Handsome' and 'Jean' and so began their new incarnation as eclectic purveyors of percussive psychedelic folk, country, and semi-abstract blues.

The brothers were of course original members of art school band Mental As Anything, both having contributed to Mentals albums songs such as 'Berserk Warriors', 'Egypt', 'Brain Brain', 'Apocalypso', 'Surf and Mull and Sex and Fun' and 'Psychedelic Peace Lamp'. By the end of the 1990s they left the Mentals to concentrate on Dog Trumpet and to continue their respective parallel careers as visual artists. Reg is well known for his iconic and humorous work for Mambo Graphics and as a painter and drawer. He has been represented by Watters gallery in East Sydney for several decades. Peter shows his paintings with the nearby King Street Gallery on William. Between them they have exhibited all over Australia, in New Zealand, England and Italy.

With their feet planted in the music and art worlds they persuaded their artist friend Martin Sharp to do the cover art work for the release of their 1993 version of Cream's 'Strange Brew'. Martin had designed album covers and posters for Cream back in England in the 60s.

In 1996 Dog Trumpet's second album Suitcase was released on TWA Records. The band's live line up was a revolving door in these years and included John Bliss (Reels), Andy Travis (Happening Thang) and Amanda Brown (Go Betweens). Then in 2002 the band released their third album (and the first) on Nic Dalton's label Half A Cow Records. This was the self titled Dog Trumpet with a cover painting by Reg of him and his brother Peter when they were small children. By this time they were recording everything themselves at Peter's Big Brain Studio and had found a stable live line up of Bernie Hayes (a well respected singer songwriter in his own right) on bass and Jess Ciampa on drums and percussion.

The follow up on Half A Cow was 2007's Antisocial Tendencies, arguably their strongest and most cohesive album to date with its witty title song gaining attention from both critics and music fans.

Contact Dog Trumpet:


Half A Cow
Half A Cow Records
PO Box 1100 STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012 Australia
Email: haclabel(at)
Phone: +61-2-8097 5857
ABN 93 300 971 980