Stickdog/ Gib Curry: interview by eric cope


Stickdog/ Gib Curry: interview by eric cope

The music coming from Stickdog was a real different sound from other punk/post punk bands. Even some of the other bands from Iowa City like Stiff legged sheep and many others had a different sound.

Yes, I agree. I think Iowa City during that time (late 70’s to mid 80’s) had something really special going on. A kind of lightning in a bottle moment musically. There was a handful of really great bands, very unique, very distinct sound. There was a ton of great local bands like Stiff Legged Sheep, Iowa Beef Experience, Soviet Dissonance, The Less Than Adequate Band, Suburban Death Trip, Horney Genius, The Huns, Human Error, Pestilents, Burlap Elevated, The Preachers, Red Throb, House of Large Sizes (the later was from Cedar Falls Iowa).


it seems sees that around early 80’s there was a lot of music going on in Iowa City.

There was a really vibrant underground music scene there. I think it was a product of place and time. Because Iowa City is a college town we had people from all over. And of course regarding time, it was the 80’s, a lot of political tumult And from that came a really vibrant punk, then post punk music scene. A lot of really creative people that felt free to experiment with all kinds of music. Back then, it was hard to get underground music. In the early years we would drive to Chicago to see shows and go to Wax Trax to buy albums. Later, Kirk who owned a local record store named Record Collector started stocking all kinds of great stuff. He became friends with, and an active participant in the music scene. He helped promote local shows and sold local bands products.


I think Iowa City during that time (late 70’s to mid 80’s) had something really special going on. A kind of lightning in a bottle moment musically. There was a handful of really great bands, very unique, very distinct sound. There was a ton of great local bands like Stiff Legged Sheep, Iowa Beef Experience, Soviet Dissonance, The Less Than Adequate Band, Suburban Death Trip, Horney Genius, The Huns, Human Error, Pestilents, Burlap Elevated, The Preachers, Red Throb, House of Large Sizes (the later was from Cedar Falls Iowa).

As part of the whole punk and underground scene, and the whole hard core punk scene. A bit part of that was the “do it yourself” mentality. We put on our own shows, we played our own music and we released and promoted our own music. And as you know Eric, part of that was all the bands during that time booked their own tours and traveled around the country. We had a network of people and places where we could play when on tour (and of course crash on their floors). Iowa City was right on interstate 80 and we were known as a great place to go to when on tour. I80 was pretty much on the way to everywhere when you were touring in a van. So we had ALL kinds of great band come through, we put on shows for them and had a great time. I think that this had a big influence on all of us in the bands in Iowa City. We were exposed to so much great music. Stickdog played some great shows in Iowa City with bands like Sonic Youth, Savage Republic, Scratch Acid, Killdozer, Live Skull and Soul Asylum. I'm sure there are more that I’m forgetting. Later, in our San Francisco days we played with the Melvin's No Means No, Victim’s Family, Thinking Fellers, Screaming Trees, Beatnigs and Mudhoney. The Thinking Fellers were GREAT, we were good friends with them, they were one of my favorite SF bands. They were Iowa transplants as well.

Were Stickdog after stiff legged and all the other bands who was so me of thrall punk band in Iowa City what about other parts of Iowa? There were other good bands and music scenes in Iowa during that time period. Des Moines (Pent up Aggression), and Cedar Falls (House of large sizes, The Drednex) Iowa both had great bands. There was a lot of traveling back and forth to those cities, playing shows and going to shows.

A bit part of that was the “do it yourself” mentality. We put on our own shows, we played our own music and we released and promoted our own music. And as you know Eric, part of that was all the bands during that time booked their own tours and traveled around the country. We had a network of people and places where we could play when on tour (and of course crash on their floors). Iowa City was right on interstate 80 and we were known as a great place to go to when on tour. I80 was pretty much on the way to everywhere when you were touring in a van. So we had ALL kinds of great band come through, we put on shows for them and had a great time. I think that this had a big influence on all of us in the bands in Iowa City.

When did Stickdog coming to gather as a group.

Stickdog was formed in Iowa City, it think it was in 1984 or 85. When the band first formed, it was just Paul Reller and Chris Clougherty and a drum machine named Fred. I think that Paul Neff from Stiff Legged Sheep played with Paul and Chris very briefly. I was asked to join the band about nine months after that. The band line up was: Paul Reller: bass, guitar, vocals, sax and metal percussion. Chris Clougherty: guitar, bass and vocals. Gib Curry: drums, vocals and metal percussion. Christine Schultz was in the band from 1986-87 (She was on the first self titled album): violin and vocals. Kevin Barnard was in that band for the last couple of years 1987-89: guitar, bass and percussion. This was during our San Francisco years. We actually recorded a full length album during that time… unfortunately we never released it. There were a couple of tracks released on compilations during those years..

Where did you get that name. What does Stickdog mean?

Stickdog… I wish I could tell you it meant something, but it doesn’t. Chris and Paul had already come up with the name when I joined the band. Early on I asked them the same thing. Paul said they picked it because it doesn’t mean anything. How is the music scene now.

I don’t know what it is like now. I do know that music is a different thing now. The worlds interconnectedness has somehow made us less connected. During that time, the fact that it was so much harder to find good bands, to know where to buy music, to see music. That somehow connected us in a way that is somehow now lost in this interconnected world… strange.

What were some of the bands Stickdog listen to.

We had a great record collection at the dog house. When we played with Sonic Youth in Iowa City, they stayed at our house that night. I remember Thurston digging through our collection and pulling out this album and that, saying “wow” all the while.

How did you meet Paul Reller and Chris Clougherty.

I met Chris and Paul at show. My band the Pestilents was playing a show in Cedar Falls, Chris came up to me after the show and asked me to play with them. I said “hell yeah”. They were a great band with just the two of them and the drum machine, really unique stuff. Did Paul play guitar and horns both and sang. You were the drummer right? Chris Clougherty was on guitar.

Yes, that was the basic lineup, but we all switched around a LOT.

What is the most important moment in Stickdog?

Boy, that’s a tough one. I can’t pick out just one. There were so many great shows, we met so many great people. I just couldn’t pick one. I think Mike from Killdozer introducing us to Butch Vig was an important one. Those albums, especially “Human” wouldn’t be what it was without working with Butch. About Paul Reller. What really happened ? Just not too long ago he took his own life. How did he die.

What a terrible loss… I still can’t believe he is gone. Paul was an amazing man. He was one charismatic and talented individual! Why did he do it? That’s not something you can ever really know when someone takes their own life. It’s always a mystery to those left behind. It’s too bad, I don’t think Paul realized exactly how many people it would have a profound effect on. I wish he could have known how much people cared about him. Were you in touch with him. did you know what was going on with him?

I had not been in touch with him for a few years unfortunately. How would you describe the sound that Stickdog created?

I will use the name of your old band to describe it, was a Glorious Din.

Who wrote all the songs?

We all did, it was a group effort for sure. Someone would come in with an idea, Paul was notorious for having only an idea, elaborately described and with no part… just the idea. He love to write that way, by feeling. But, more often than not, one of us would have a riff or part and we would build around that. Why did Stickdog break up. Was it because Paul moved to San Francisco? We broke up… probably because of internal conflict… we could fight like cats and dogs! I think the band had just run its course I think. Nothing to do with the move to SF. We moved in 1987. When we moved to San Francisco, Paul asked Kevin to join the band. Kevin played in a band with Chris and Paul a few years before. We were looking for a label as well. We got signed to AT shortly after moving to SF

Stickdog played some great shows in Iowa City with bands like Sonic Youth, Savage Republic, Scratch Acid, Killdozer, Live Skull and Soul Asylum. I'm sure there are more that I’m forgetting. Later, in our San Francisco days we played with the Melvin's No Means No, Victim’s Family, Thinking Fellers, Screaming Trees, Beatnigs and Mudhoney. The Thinking Fellers were GREAT, we were good friends with them, they were one of my favorite SF bands. They were Iowa transplants as well.


How many records did Stickdog have?

We had two full albums that were released. Our Self titled album and Human. We had tracks on several compilations as well. We did record that final album during our San Francisco years. Never released. Did you have a lot of song. Did you record them all. Are they available? Are there any videos of Stickdog shows. I do have one video from then, it was from when we played down in the studio in Stanford (https://youtu.be/B_0hXtcv4KI) at KZSU


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