Poi Dog Pondering (PdP) is the celebrated musical ensemble renowned for their joyous live performances, large-scale productions featuring a host of musical/visual collaborators, and lush recordings. PdP is a self-sustained band, record label, and recording studio. In an era when many bands are downsizing to survive and narrowing their sound to find a commercial niche in an increasingly formatted music marketplace, PdPs sound is expansive -- combining elements of pop, rock, funk, house. acoustronic atmospheres, and soul into a blend that is distinctly their own.
PdP is the brainchild of singer-songwriter-bandleader Frank Orrall, who started the band in his native Hawaii in 1986. The group's first incarnation spent a year traveling through North America as street musicians, sleeping on grass fields and carpeted floors, playing on street corners for spare change. PdP settled in Austin, Texas in 1987 where they signed to Texas Hotel Records and recorded their first two EPs. Signing to Columbia Records in 1988, Poi Dog released three albums for the imprint including PdP (1988), Wishing Like A Mountain, Thinking Like The Sea (1989), and Volo Volo (1991).
PdP relocated to Chicago in 1992 where the band expanded to an 11 member lineup. In 1995, they formed their own record label Plate-tec-tonic which allowed the group complete creative and professional control of their music. Also in 1995, PdP released their fourth full-Iength album, Pomegranate (Bar None), to critical and popular acclaim. Electrique Plummagram, an EP of remixes and additional songs, was released in 1996. Li White Light, a double live CD set featuring 23 songs recorded during a sold-out five-night run at Chicago's historic Vic Theater, was released in early 1997. An EP of remixes of the Ten City classic, That's The Way Love ls, followed in June 1998.
Natural Thing, released on Tommy Boy in 1999, saw the PdP collective continuing their tradition of creative growth and exploration. At that time, PdP grew into its fifth and current lineup. Soul Sonic Orchestra, a live album recorded over three nights in December at Chicago's Metro as PdP ushered in the new century, was released in 2000. A collection of outtakes and previously unreleased material titled Sweeping Up The Cutting Room Floor was released in January 2002. Later that year, the band released the Special Edition CD. The 2003 release In Seed Come Fruit is PdP's ninth recording project.
PdP has toured the United States extensively, earning the band a legion of devoted fans. The band has also toured Japan, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Austria, England, Scotland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Denmark and Canada. PdP has played the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Roskilde Festival. During the summer of 1998, PdP appeared on the highly successful Dave Matthews Band tour. PdP has also performed with Lou Reed, King Sunny Ade, The Neville Brothers, Los Lobos, Robyn Hitchcock, Camper Van Beethoven and most recently, David Byrne.
Since setting up home base in Chicago, PdP has been embraced by their hometown like no other band. In 1997, PdP was named Best Band by Chicago Magazine, featured in a Chicago Tribune Magazine cover story, and voted Top Ten in the categories of Best Album and Best Concert in the WXRT-FM listeners poll, a feat the band has repeated four out of the past live years. In the summer of 1997, PdP's appearance at the prestigious Ravinia Festival drew more than 30,000 people, the first sell in the park's 65-year history. That same year a series of three Park West shows sold out in a record-breaking nine minutes and New Years Eve performances at the Aragon Ballroom drew 9000, amounting to two sell-outs and one of the top ten grossing concerts in the nation for that week.
In March 2003, in a special and acclaimed collaboration with the Chicago Sinfonietta and their Founder/Conductor Paul Freeman, PdP presented their original interpretation of Antonin Dvorkak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
In May 2005, in collaboration with Sony Music, PdP released its 10th record, The Best of Poi dog Pondering-The Austin Years; the first-ever compilation featuring songs handpicked by the band.