My first rock-n-roll memory is of my dad putting giant 80’s headphones on my big baby head when I was about three or four. The record was Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I remember the clocks, the heartbeats, the screaming and the sound of jingling change. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that’s where it started.
I was born and raised in the small rural town of Ellensburg, Washington. As a child, my parents would take me to the local rock/blues shows where I would dance and play until I fell asleep in the back of my moms 70’s VW bus, later to be tucked into my cozy little bed. At the age of 11, I started taking drum lessons mostly to relieve the anxieties of an AD/HD-ridden adolescence. I would spend hours, and my allowance, at Rodeo Records buying CDs: Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Bad Religion, The Doors, Radiohead and the Foo Fighters.
In high school, my friends Ryan, Liam, Martin and I formed a band called No Continuous Standing. With our mix of punk, rock, grunge and awesome suck, we played local venues and battles of the bands, almost always taking third place with pride.
After the band broke up, I picked up the guitar and taught myself some chords. I began writing songs, performing them at coffee houses, campfires and even busking on the sidewalk. Shifting and melding my punk and rock influences to folk, acoustic, and alt country, I developed my own style. But before I realized my calling, I hit a rough patch. I spent two hard years away from myself, under the influence of heavy drinking and poor judgment. Discovering that I needed to play music, that I can't not do it, saved me from the darkest depths of self pity and anger.
Soon after that I was joined by Frank Johnson on bass. We played a local show, where drummer Travis Yost saw us and afterwards asked if he could join. We found guitarist Corey Dosch in the same manner and the band, The Laughing Dogs, was formed. We began branching out of Ellensburg, playing shows in Yakima, Roslyn and Seattle, and opening for the likes of Vicci Martinez and Mark Pickerel.
We started to record our first CD in the winter of 2006. By the time the rough recording of the CD was finished, we had to say farewell to Corey, who was moving to New York to pursue a different calling. With the sad news of Corey’s departure came the good news of (the phenomenal) Justin Davis. Like Travis and Corey before him, Justin saw us playing a show, at the Brick in Roslyn, and asked if he could join the band. Of course, we said yes.
The biggest influence on me has been my musical hero, the one and only Tom Petty, with and without the Heartbreakers. Also Chris Isaak, Roy Orbison, Steve Earl, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, Nico, The Shins, Cat Power, Uncle Tupelo, Neko Case, Beck, Radiohead, Lucinda Williams, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Oh Susanna, Mark Dillingham, Otis Redding, Elliot Smith, Jesse Sykes, Indigo Girls, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Mark Pickerel, Nick Drake, Neutral Milk Hotel, Brandi Carlile, Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, and both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
-- Star Anna
Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs have played many shows throughout the Northwest and have just released their debut album, Crooked Path, out on Malamute Records. This collection of ten original songs, penned by Star Anna, has been inspired by the heartache, loneliness, longing, and hope of life, as well as the open, endless fields of the town she calls home.