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The Making of a ‘Big Dog’ — A Talk with Big Dog Frontman Graham Regan

(EDITOR'S NOTE — Big Dog frontman Graham Regan was kind enough recently to speak with 1120 Press Senior Writer Benjamin Joe. We thank him for his time. Please read our story below. — Photos by Benjamin Joe. Pictured: Graham Regan, left, with Alex Nunzio; and, a packed house at Amy's Place reacts to Big Dog taking the stage.)

Graham Regan, vocalist for Buffalo Oi! band ‘Big Dog,’ strode into a Buffalo coffee shop on St. Patrick’s Day where he had generously agreed to meet 1120 Press.


Accompanied by his girlfriend Alex Nunzio, and clad in rolled up jeans and boots, his shirt tucked underneath his hoodie, the giant skinhead and Violent Way protégé at 6-foot-5 is every bit as an intimidating as he is large. And though he acknowledged that it sometimes feels good “to be scary,” there’s something else that’s striking about Graham Regan: he’s pleasant.


“I just want to clarify,” Regan said at one point during our talk in which he spoke gentlemanly on a multitude of subjects, “the skinhead thing: It has nothing to do with being a Nazi.”




Though far-right political groups such as the U.K.’s National Front and the White Aryan Resistance here in this nation previously made inroads into certain segments of the skinhead populace — preying upon and exploiting feelings of alienation and economic hardship for their own political gain — the origin of skinhead culture is rooted firmly in the 1960s alliance struck between young English and Jamaican working-class communities.


“Real skinheads take a lot of influence from Jamaican culture. That’s how it started back-in-the-day,” Regan said. “Jamaican immigrant kids and working-class kids from England came together and created skinhead. That’s where it came from. Any real skinhead cannot be racist. There’s so much influence from Jamaican culture and reggae and ska.”


That influence, in fact, was not only on display, but it was enthusiastically embraced two

nights earlier when Big Dog played at Amy’s Place in Buffalo as part of a bill that included the San Francisco Oi! band, Ultra Sect.


“We started the first song and there was just a wall of people just singing along. It was crazy,” Regan said of the reception his band received. “It was our best show by far.”


Graham Regan’s “discovery,” as some may call it, is a fascinating story, as he was literally spotted and picked out of a crowd by members of the popular Buffalo Oi! band, Violent Way.


“I showed up at a show and they were like, ‘Oh shit! Damn that guy’s huge!’ So, they basically took me in,” Regan said. “They didn’t know me, so, first impressions...”


Regan then proceeded to become a roadie for Violent Way, traveling to New York City and New Jersey, as well as around the states. In fact, in a post on its Instagram page, Violent Way wrote of their first encounter with Regan:


“We found Graham a few years back, a 6’5, 18-year-old Skin at a gig in Buffalo where besides us, this shit doesn’t really exist. He was real easy to spot. Immediately, (we) told him he’s with us. Next thing you know, he’s a roadie at every VW gig and hanging every weekend with us. Promised him we’d do a proper Oi’ band with the VW lineup, thus Big Dog was born. Proud of this kid and the man he’s become.”


With Violent Way’s members — Nick Terlecky (guitar), Drew Stark (drums) Eric Ellman (bass) and Mason Hutchins (guitar) — providing Big Dog’s instrumentation, Regan serves as the band’s frontman, vocalist and lyricist.


“The first two Big Dog shows were in Casita, New Jersey and New York City and they were really good,” Regan said, recalling how that first gig happened just two days after the band released their demo, ‘In the Yard.’


“It was crazy,” he said. “People were singing along to songs that just came out.”


‘In the Yard’ includes “Shine Your Boots,” Regan’s favorite piece of songwriting. He said that his process is to “get angry about something.”


“I have a notebook that used to be my Spanish notebook from high school, and I write in there. Like, ‘White Collar’: I got really mad about something. I went upstairs, and wrote it down right there,” he said.


Regan also moved in with the band, living in South Buffalo with Hutchins, Terlecky and Stark. He also works for Hutchins’s father installing fences, noting that he likes the work, being outside, and the heavy lifting involved.


With Violent Way now preparing to embark on a European tour, Regan will remain in Buffalo. But a recent Instagram story has him pegged as a bassist in another band called ‘Sweet Talker,’ with a show coming up April 21 at Amy’s Place. Though saying the wording of his post was tongue-in-cheek, Regan confirmed he was involved.


“I’m in the band,” he said.


“Nick, I think last summer, lent me his bass and said, ‘fuck around with this and see what happens.’ That’s how I learned.”








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