Poi Dog Pondering is a band currently based in Chicago, Illinois but was formed in the mid-1980s in Honolulu, Hawaii and membership has evolved around the creative vision of lead singer-songwriter Frank Orrall.
Orrall took the band’s pop folk direction into electronic & ambient house music in the later 1990’s ,but has since returned to explore the soft rock, folk, country & soul influences that gave the band it’s initial audience on the indie Texas Hotel imprint and eventual major label contract with Columbia/Sony in the late 1980’s.
Poi Dog Pondering "the little big band with the strong back and supple/stubborn heart" has been following its intuition for 20 years. From bohemian street buskers to impossible-to-market major label sacrificial lambs, PdP have ripened into staunchly independent musical voyagers. Every sound that has excited them flows through their music and floods it with ever changing colors – acoustic, folk, global music, big band disco, electronic textures, orchestral collaborations, ROCK and SOUL – threaded with lyrics that embrace both the beauty and pain that life can bring.
Poi dog Pondering formed in Hawaii in 1986. The first live performance was at the Honolulu Arts Academy. Filled with youthful exuberance and inspiration from ready about Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground’s "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" projected film and music happening, PdP projected films of lava eruptions, ocean and other natural environments over the band as they performed. The tradition of projected imagery along with PdP live performances has developed and matured over the years and continues.
There is a bolstered sense of history within the band now, a swagger that comes from having steadfastly carved their own path. It is quite apparent that PdP has always been, and ever will be in it for the love of it; creating and performing. Line up changes are par for the course. PdP is an organic entity, it changes like life does. But there is a core with strong roots, open to new eras and ready to experiment. That’s what keeps it vibrant.
Band leader, Frank Orrall’s interest in electronic music garnered him respect from the Chicago House/Electronic music community for his solo project 8fatfat8, and lead him to become a member of Thievery Corporation as percussionist and vocalist. All this influenced 2 of PDP’s Natural Thing and In Seed Comes Fruit albums which saw the band experimenting with electronic textures, beautiful lush arrangements and un-hurried, sometimes instrumental song structures, letting musicality determine the song structure, rather than traditional "verse / chorus / bridge" style song writing.
Poi dog Pondering delivered a Rock and Soul record with " 7 ",their 7th studio album, 14 cuts deep and layered in horns, strings, immediate guitars; sometimes shimmering and liquid, & sometimes "crunch and gristle". A painter’s pallete of unique instruments, vintage keyboards, "on the sleeve" lyrics, gripping bass & drums and beautiful harmonies. Known for following their heart, this record finds PdP playful, intimate, honest, cocky, boisterous and definitely ready to take it live.
“Poi is becoming one of the longest running and most spirited do-it-yourself musical institutions in the country, defying the odds of commerce and interpersonal relationships by keeping a 12 piece band viable…” – GREG KOT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“The Poi Dog sound happens because of the real and deep connection between the
players, which shows in how they listen to one another in performance. The fact that most of them have been doing just that for two decades only increases the power of community they bring to the stage.” – NO DEPRESSION (January 2008, Live Review)
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