Any band that can stay together for a decade is doing a good job — but to stay viable and strong after two-and-a-half times that amount of time, well, that is praiseworthy. Such is the case with a quartet of musicians — Doug Huard, guitar and vocals; Matt Howe, bass guitar and vocals; Gerald Brann, keyboards and vocals; and Kevin Ostrowski, drums and vocals — known as Sundog, who will be celebrating that long run at the city of Augusta’s 2018 Waterfront Wednesday Concert series on July 11. And it seemed only right and proper to touch bases with a member of that venerable group to find out more, so a call was placed to drummer Kevin Ostrowski for an update.

Q: This is the anniversary year for you guys, right?

Ostrowski: Well, we’re beginning our 25th year; so, yeah, we’re starting year 25. Who would’ve known?

Q: Have you been with Sundog since the beginning?

Ostrowski: Yup, the very beginning, show number one.

Q: Where was that first performance, do you remember?

Ostrowski: It was at the Shiretown Inn in Houlton, right at the end of the interstate — it was a Friday-Saturday-night kind of thing. Back in those days it was pretty common for the clubs to book one band over multiple nights.

Q: And you haven’t looked back since.

Ostrowski: Nope, not really. We keep moving forward, but you kind of got to love it to keep something that long without giving up on it.

Q: Are you primarily a cover band?

Ostrowski: Yeah, almost exclusively a cover band.

Q: What do you guys cover, musicwise? Classic rock, Top 40?

Ostrowski: I’ve always considered ourselves to be fun, high-energy, classic rock ‘n’ roll. You know, things like AC/DC, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Billy Idol — things that classic rock radio stations have in their regular rotation. It’s called classic rock for a reason, just because it tends to last decades, if not longer. And we’ve learned over the years what works and what doesn’t work. Everybody in the band has many years, if not decades, of stage experience. It comes down to what the audience will enjoy, what will keep people on the dance floor or minimally singing along if they’re not dancing or participating. We’ve always tried to do some sort of a high-energy, visual show.

Q: How busy is Sundog?

Ostrowski: Well, believe it or not, we all play in other bands. We have other projects we’re committed to. Certainly Gerald and I, with Yellow Brick Road (an Elton John tribute band); Doug, who was the original guitarist and has been in the line-up right from gig one, he plays in an ’80s cover band called Boys Gone Wild, out of Sanford, that’s quite busy. So the rule of thumb has always been no more than twice a month. Back when we started, for the first few years, we played almost 100 dates most of those years.

Q: At least you’re doing something you love.

Ostrowski: It’s in my blood. It’s in my DNA. It’s what I do. I get asked all the time: “How much longer do you want to do this?” It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed: entertaining folks and the comradery of being in a band. It literally is a band of brothers. Luckily in all the years I’ve played in bands, I’ve always been surrounded by really good guys, both on a musical level and a personal level.

Q: And having worked with these guys as long as you have, it must almost be telepathy going through the songs.

Ostrowski: Absolutely. I mean, Doug I’ve been playing with for 25 years. I more often than not can tell you right where he’s going to go, or think similarly with Gerald, playing with him in both bands. It’s pretty easy to anticipate where they go, and they probably know where I’m going to go, as well. So, yeah, “telepathy” is a pretty good word for what happens.

Q: Now, have you done the Waterfront Concert Series in Augusta before, or is this your first time there?

Ostrowski: No, I think it’s probably our fourth or fifth. I think what they like to do is use a lot of local acts and cycle them through every second or third year. We really enjoy doing that series, too.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the readers of this article? I mean, 25 years is some accomplishment, for sure.

Ostrowski: Yeah, and we’re coming up on our 1,000th live show. I have actually kept track over the years; I don’t know why. I’ve been sort of the band logistics guy for many years. … I’ve kept track from Day One of every show.

Q: Well, congratulations, man. That’s also quite an accomplishment.

Ostrowski: Thank you. It’s been a haul. But to answer your question, not necessarily for the band, I think people should just support live music in general, no matter what their taste. It’s become a lost art and it’s a dying breed. It’s also a kind of cool and magical thing when four guys can get together and replicate your favorite song or your favorite band.

Lucky Clark has spent 49 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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