Alvin Snow (also known by his performance name "Dyin' Dog") was a Louisiana blues musician who briefly worked with The Residents' early collaborator Roland Sheehan in 1974, in the short-lived band Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels.
Sheehan rediscovered the Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels demo tapes around 2018, and showed them to his former collaborators The Residents. These tapes became the inspiration for their upcoming 2020 cover album, Metal, Meat & Bone.
Alvin Snow was born on Friday, January the 13th of an unknown year (possibly 1938 or 1939, according to Roland Sheehan), and raised in an orphanage. An albino with pale blue eyes, he may have had mixed race parents.
By 1974, Snow lived with a wealthy elderly woman known as Miss Lillian, and had a dog named Chester, which had crippled back legs and walked with the aid of a cart made by Snow.
Snow was discovered (and initially mistaken for Johnny Winter) by Roland Sheehan in Ruston, Louisiana. Sheehan, who had collaborated with the group who would later become The Residents in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was then playing keyboards for The Alliance, and first saw Snow walking down the street, singing a self-written song at the top of his voice. Sheehan stopped him and the two began talking about music.
Soon, the two decided to begin a group. Sheehan pulled together a band, Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels, and they recorded approximately thirteen tracks at little studios in Shreveport in 1975. At least one Jewel Records promo single, "Bury My Bone" b/w "Bone Runs Dry", resulted from these sessions.
In January 1976, Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels were due to perform a showcase (on the 13th - Snow's birthday), however in the weeks before Snow experienced a number of tragic events, beginning with the death of his beloved dog Chester, followed by Miss Lillian on the 10th of January, and then Howlin' Wolf on the same day. Snow promptly disappeared before the performance, never to be heard from again by Sheehan (or any other known source).
In 2018, a demo tape featuring unheard performances by Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels was rediscovered by Roland Sheehan, who showed them to his former collaborators The Residents shortly thereafter. The Residents had long considered making a "blues album", but had never been able to get a concept which felt right to support such an idea. The Dyin' Dog demo tapes ultimately inspired the group to record an album of covers, entitled Metal, Meat & Bone. This album is expected for release in early 2020 on Cherry Red/MVD.
In July 2019, a YouTube user named Charles Burnett posted a recording of the A-side of the Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels promo single, "Bury My Bone", on YouTube.
The original Dyin' Dog and the Mongrels demo recordings were finally released in September 2019 on Psychofon Records, as a limited edition set of five 7" records entitled The Residents Present Alvin Snow, aka Dyin' Dog.
- "Bury My Bone" b/w "Bone Runs Dry" (ca. 1974, promo single)
- The Residents Present Alvin Snow, aka Dyin' Dog 5x7" box set, September 28th 2019