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Music / Dog Fashion Disco

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Dog Fashion Disco is an Alternative Metal band from Rockville, Maryland. Under their original name, 'Hug the Retard', they formed in 1996 by vocalist Todd Smith, keyboardist Jeff Siegel and drummer John Ensminger. According to Word of God, they changed their name because they thought it was too offensive and could cost them fans. Between then and their final show in 2007, they released seven albums (not including the EPs or live albums). Their subject matter included witches, lepers, serial killers, evil cults... You get the idea.

After they broke up in 2007, Todd Smith announced a new project, Polkadot Cadaver, which has a similar style to Dog Fashion Disco. They have released two albums; Purgatory Dance Party and Sex Offender.

They reunited in 2013 and released a new album, Sweet Nothings, in July 2014.



  • Erotic Massage (1997)
  • Experiments in Alchemy (1998)
  • The Embryo's in Bloom (1998)
  • Anarchists of Good Taste (2001)
  • Committed to a Bright Future (2003)
  • Adultery (2006)
  • Sweet Nothings (2014)
  • Ad Nauseam (2015)

Current band members:

  • Todd Smith - Vocals
  • Jasan Stepp - Guitar
  • Brian "Wendy" White - Bass
  • Tim Swanson - Keyboards
  • John Ensminger - Drums
  • Matt Rippetoe - Saxophone, woodwinds

Former band members:

  • Greg Combs — guitars (1995–2003); Reunion 2013
  • Stephen Mears aka "Grand Master Super Eagle Sultan" — bass guitar (1996–1998; 1998–2003); Reunion 2008
  • Jeff Siegel — keyboards (1998–2006; 2006–2007); Reunions 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013
  • Mike "Ollie" Oliver — drums (2003–2005), (2014-2015) (Live)
  • Sennen Quigley — guitars, keyboards (1997–1998)
  • Mark Ammen — bass guitar (1998)
  • Rob Queen — drums (2015 (Live))
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  • Jason Stevens — guitar (2003)
  • Geoff Stewart — alto/tenor/bari saxophone (1997–1998)
  • Kristen Ensminger — trumpet (1997–1998)
  • Josh Gifford — trumpet (1996–1997)
  • Dave Sislen — saxophone (1996–1997)
  • Ken Willard — bass guitar (1995)

Dog Fashion Disco provides examples of:

  • Album Intro Track: "The Uninvited Guest" on Adultery.
  • All Just a Dream...Or Was It a Dream?: The lyrics in the 'elevator music' part of "The Hitchhiker". Subverted within the remainder of the song.
  • Black Comedy: The lyrical content. Todd Smith's later projects kept this aspect.
  • Bowdlerize: The band was originally called Hug the Retard, but they dropped that name very early on due to concerns over how it would be received.
  • Brown Note: Some people consider "Dead Virgins Don't Sing" to be a real one. With the strange discordant music and the chanting vocals, it can be unsettling. Some people consider it one of the high points of Adultery for that very reason.
  • Careful with That Axe: The bridge of "The Darkest Days". "You remind me of the flowers... on... your... GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE!"
  • Cold Ham: Todd Smith's Private Eye Monologue on "Private Eye" manages to be incredibly scenery chewing despite never raising his voice. His exaggerated Guttural Growl and Purple Prose has a lot to do with this.
  • Concept Album: Adultery, which is about a seemingly normal guy with a normal job and a normal family life...who's actually a serial killer with split personalities.
  • Corpsing: The band couldn't get through trying to sing "Hank Steel the Real Queer Cowboy" without bursting into laughter repeatedly.
  • Dark Messiah: The cult leader who appears in the spoken word part of "Dead Virgins Don't Sing".
  • Dark Reprise: "Deja Vu" off Committed to a Bright Future is a dark reprise of "En La Noche" off Experiments in Alchemy.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The title of their album Beating a Dead Horse to Death... Again.
  • Ennio Morricone Pastiche: "Desert Grave", complete with a trumpet solo that could have been ripped right from a Sergio Leone film.
  • Fanservice: The music video for "Tastes So Sweet" takes place at a strip club & casino, and for a fairly large part of the song Todd Smith is singing with a thong-clad stripper's ass next to him. At one point they decide to lampshade the whole thing, and ASS appears on the screen over the stripper's ass in huge letters.
  • Fan Disservice: Deliberately invoked in the music video for "Leper Friend," which featured a female dwarf in a miniskirt, a pregnant woman with a giant skull instead of a head writhing on a bed, and two women in a bathtub filled with milk and rose petals making out while Todd Smith stares with an insanely creepy look on his face and licks his lips.
  • Film Noir: Adultery has a deliberately over the top film noir/Exploitation Movie aesthetic, complete with a ridiculously hammy Private Eye Monologue on one track.
  • Hell Hotel: "Vertigo Motel".
  • Intercourse with You: The Title Track of Adultery, natch.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: They love this trope. For example, "Pogo the Clown" is mostly an upbeat jazzy song - about John Wayne Gacy killing people (the bridge is pretty metal, though).
    • "Vernal Equinox" manages to subvert this until the final verse.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Piranha in the song of the same name, who rose up from a toilet bearing gifts and went into orbit to search for a baboon's heart.
  • Masked Luchador: There was one credited as El Death in the music video for "Leper Friend"
  • Metal Scream: Usually used sparingly; often justified when you read the lyrics.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Dog Fashion Disco covers a wide range of hardnesses, frequently within the same song. At their softest, such as in "En La Noche" and parts of "Déjà Vu," they can go down as far as 2, and in a few songs, such as "Corpse is a Corpse" and "G. Eye Joe," up as high as 9 or even a low 10.
    • "Rapist Eyes" is to date their song with the widest range, as well as being all over the place - the first and second verses are in the grey area between 7 and 8, the third verse is... hard to place on the scale, there's a piano and acoustic guitar section that goes all the way down to 1, the chorus is about a 6, the bridge goes up to 9... it's easily the heaviest song on Committed to a Bright Future, even taking the soft sections into account.
  • Monster Clown: "Pogo the Clown", with lyrics about the Real Life example of John Wayne Gacy.
  • Mushroom Samba: "The Acid Memoirs".
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their 'sound' is based on a mix of metal, jazz, 1970s psychedelic and circus music. They just considered their music (specifically the album Adultery) 'Movie Metal'.
  • Private Eye Monologue: "Private Eye" appropriately features one.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: "Antiquity's Small Rewards" is about, and from the point of view of, a religious cult leader (probably the infamous Jim Jones, although the lyrics are open to interpretation) speaking to a female member of his cult who he has chosen as either a concubine or a 'companion of the moment'.
  • Revolving Door Band: See all those people up above? Todd Smith is the only constant member of the band, although horn player Matt Rippertoe has been a constant in the lineup since he became an official member of the band.
  • Satan: Appears in the music video for "Leper Friend." He hires a hooker and she runs away with his money, making this an example of The Devil Is a Loser.
  • Serial Killer: The main character of Adultery.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "Corpse Is A Corpse".
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The band often wears suits. Frequently Todd Smith will wear a flamboyant suit while the other band members wear matching more subdued suits. For example, in the music video for "Leper Friend", the band wears dark blue dress shirts with white ties, and Todd wears a tan plaid suit. In the music video for "Tastes So Sweet", Todd dresses up in a pink suit like an 80s televangelist while the rest of the band wear black suits.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Devil's Wife" is a surprisingly straightforward example.
  • Soprano and Gravel: A lot of the songs on Adultery involve Todd Smith alternating between falsetto and 'gravel', most notably in "Sweet Insanity".
  • Spoken Word in Music: Several examples of spoken dialogue on Adultery, including all of the vocals on "Mature Audiences Only".
  • Stop and Go: "Magical Band of Fools" subverts this. After four minutes of silence a completely different song plays: the remake of "Scores for Porn" off an earlier album. (And averted with the iTunes release, which removes the pause and separates the two tracks.)
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "En La Noche" off Experiments in Alchemy is a Latin jazz inspired straight up romantic love song.
  • Title Drop: They've done it a couple times.
    • "Cartoon Autopsy", which mentions the album title Anarchists of Good Taste.
    • In reverse order, "Pink Riots" contains a verse that goes 'The city is alive tonight'. This was then used in the title of their live album, The City Is Alive Tonight: Live in Baltimore.
  • Title Track: "Adultery".
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: "Plastic Surgeons" is a plastic surgeon's serenade to his White Dwarf Starlet clients.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: "100 Suicides" is about someone who wants to die but keeps being reincarnated.
  • Word Salad Title: Though it's subverted for those who think their music is actually disco.


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