“You know, I go on tour and I hear about things that Bobby Jr. is doing back home while I'm away and in a lot of ways his life is more exciting than mine.” As if there weren’t enough quirks already to Californian rockers Eels, a band who dress in matching Adidas tracksuits and whose miserablist indie is underpinned by Machiavellian humour, frontman E has for the last few years been chronicling the exploits of his canine companion on the Eels website, making a legend of the basset hound/German Shepherd among fans.
Not that E would admit to any part in it: “Oh, that’s Bobby Jr.’s thing. He's got his own fans, his own line of merchandise. You can even buy official Bobby Jr. panties.” He’s not kidding.
This being the case, we asked the singer to share some of his other favourite dogs in popular culture.
“Ahh, Snoopy, that wise sage of advice we've all followed the teachings of in life. Charles Schaltz was a genius. He's underrated because Peanuts is so omnipresent but he was brilliant. Is there a comparison to be made between the dry wit and disparaging humour of Peanuts cartoons and Eels’ music? I guess so. I’ve always been drawn to those cartoons.”
“We might have had the dog from Frasier in one of our videos, Eddie. I think he was in the video for ‘Rags to Rags’. [Ed: We can’t spot him…] That's what his trainer told me anyways. He certainly looked and behaved like Eddie. Don't tell Bobby Jr. that. It was before his time and he's been in a lot of our videos since then but it'd upset him. We try and keep that video under wraps because we're afraid it's gonna upset Bobby Jr. But Eddie is everything a dog should be: loyal, loveable and kinda just a cool guy.”
"Lassie, of course! Lassie’s got to be up there. I love Lassie. That's before most people's time. That was before my time, even. I’m not so hot on my modern dogs… I still haven’t seen Turner and Hooch. Is Hooch the dog? I’m guessing Hooch is the dog. Beethoven is another one I haven’t seen. I'm more a fan of the composer than the dog.”
Interview by Al Horner