Ever just start bawling your eyes out in front of a stranger?
We chatted with Sabrina Ellis, lead singer of A Giant Dog, the day after she did just this. “I was having this day that was apocalyptic in my emotional state that maybe to another type of person would’ve been a normal, not big deal kind of day,” she tells BTRtoday.
The interview was scheduled the day before, but Ellis canceled saying she was stuck in the wild in “crisis mode.” The following day, she explained she was in Cleveland, OH and started feeling emotionally sickened while doing her taxes. She dropped everything and headed for a restaurant that turned out to be closing in 10 minutes—that’s when she broke down and started crying in front of a stranger.
“The server started talking to me and I just burst into to tears and started suckling this water bottle I had as though it was a rubber nipple bottle,” she says. “The guy was just like, ‘are you okay?’”
He ordered food for her and treated her well—eventually she got back on her feet.
Days like these spring inspiration into bands like A Giant Dog.
The rock group from Texas makes music for people who get that random feeling of dread in their hearts and just have to try and shake it off—if even for only a moment. Ellis’ voice is smooth, with flowery tones transitioning to scratchy choruses. The music makes you want to shake your head until you’re blind and bouncing off of anything and everything like a rattling skeleton—or, as the dog Ellis describes the band is, “whatever beast comes of Satan having lust after a horse.”
The adrenaline pumping from the lyrics and the satisfaction from the mosh-inducing beats can be better than therapy.
“You live your life, you trudge through your young adulthood and start to realize you’re becoming that real thing, that real human and while it’s forming you start seeing it from the outside and inside—you wake up every morning and you might have a routine and you might have a lot of obligations and you might have jarring hurtful things happen,” Ellis says about where the inspiration for her extremely descriptive lyrics comes from. “Throughout, like a subplot, you might be writing an album.”
Ellis shared jotted down lyrics that she wrote on a random night at 1:11 a.m. “I won’t waste my time on parties, I won’t waste my money on Katie, I won’t waste sweet kisses on people who don’t need me.’” She admits she currently doesn’t know anyone named Katie, but she says maybe she’s the sequel to Becky with the good hair.
“I keep these running notes of ideas and when I need them I can look at these thoughts that didn’t make much sense at the time and will become lyrics,” she says. “Other times they’ll just make me laugh because they don’t make any sense.”
A Giant Dog released Toy, their fourth full-length album, in August and are currently touring it. The release kicked off with a race to beat Hurricane Harvey.
“It’s been an interesting tour; really packed rooms every night, really strange weather, the time has passed in a really quick, kind of vortex sort of way,” Ellis says.
The album was written kind of frantically—she’s only now starting to remember the new lyrics well enough to sing them. Luckily, audiences have been helping her out. “I would see their [the audience] little mouths moving, their little jagged teeth—most of our fans have jagged teeth—and just chomping away at our lyrics,” she says.
Experience this first hand and see if they’re headed to a town near you.
Also, listen to all of Toy on this week’s The Music Meetup and hear the story straight from the monster’s mouth in the entire interview with A Giant Dog’s Sabrina Ellis.