Local band heads west with new music

2014-07-17T00:00:00Z Local band heads west with new musicBy Gerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Members of the Tucson rock band Best Dog Award have discovered how steep the learning curve is when it comes to tour planning.

The trio, made up of Nicholas Mazza, Joel Crocco and Andrew Ling, is about to embark on its first full-length trek outside of Arizona.

The journey kicks off with a show at Club Congress Wednesday, then makes its way through Southern California before reaching the San Francisco Bay Area and finally Flagstaff.

Crocco, 22, has been surprised at how challenging booking gigs could be.

“I was psyched at the beginning of April,” Crocco said. “We had a lot of friends in other bands suggesting cities and venues. After a couple of months of not hearing back from anyone, I was getting discouraged. Most of our shows were booked within the last couple of weeks.”

In addition to the late tour stop confirmations, the group also ran into transportation issues.

The original plan was to borrow another local band’s touring van, but that fell through.

Now, it looks like they’ll be renting.

“That is about half our funds,” Crocco said. “We’ll make it work either way.”

The group is determined to spread its music and promote its latest EP, “Faith-Based Space Place.”

Best Dog Award is a band born from years of friendship.

Mazza and Crocco grew up in town, across the street from one another.

They formed their first band in high school and over the years their music has run the gamut, from classic rock covers to hardcore punk.

By the time Ling got involved, the band’s reputation was already cemented in the quieter, lo-fi “Dad Rock” sound best associated with Best Dog Award.

The group’s music has earned them regular gigs at venues such as Club Congress and opening slots with the likes of Youth Lagoon, Lord Huron and Vampire Weekend.

Members performed two shows with Vampire Weekend, one in Tucson and a second in Albuquerque — the only show they’ve played outside of the state, thus far.

“Playing Albuquerque was a blast,” Crocco said. “That was where we decided that we needed to play outside of Tucson more often.”

The new EP continues to run with Best Dog Award’s signature sound.

Recorded in several studios around town, including WaveLab and Saint Cecilia studios, the release was meant to strike a healthy balance in direction.

“We wanted it to be chill, but also kind of spontaneous,” Crocco said. “It has a steady flow, but it will surprise you when it gets noisy and out-of-control.”

Crocco said Best Dog Award will most likely look to a booking agent for future tours. But meanwhile, they plan to enjoy the experience.

“We’re rolling with the punches,” he said.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@tucson.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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