Album Review: ‘No Obedience for this Dog’ — A Benefit for Jeff Nehring

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There’s a classic axiom about judging a man by the company he keeps. Despite my years in this job, I am not IC-scene enough to have met Jeff Nehring (known for Los Marauders, the Rough Housers and the Day Glow Bomber Boys). But I feel like I know him, judging by the amazing array of people who have rallied around him. His support base is a who’s who of Iowa City music, past and present, and the love and respect they have for him is palpable in this benefit compilation and beyond.

When Nehring was diagnosed with stage-four cancer, his community rallied. First, there was an Oct. 4 benefit at Trumpet Blossom Cafe, featuring Shining Realm, Acoustic Guillotine and VanAllen. Now, there’s this album, No Obedience for this Dog, out Oct. 21 on the Bandcamp page for Paisley Bible.

It features 17 tracks, all but two recorded specifically for this — EAT’s “Gorilla Tits” and Holiday Innards’ “Eleanor” can be found on other releases, although Holiday Innards specifically held back its nearly concurrent release by a few weeks so as not to compete for sales.

“It came together in a matter of weeks,” Kylie Buddin (Paisley Bible) said in a chat. “Everyone jumped on board and got their work done quickly … It speaks to the love we all have for Jeff.”

All proceeds from the $7 record, as well as from the other music on Paisley Bible’s page (all of which Buddin self-released), go to Nehring’s family. Between the releases and the show, they’ve raised around $1,000 so far.

“When I was younger, I was in a band called HOTT with his brother Ed … Jeff came to watch practice and give us advice,” said Jeff Kyser, drummer for Starry Nights, whose “Remember” kicks off the compilation. “The one thing that really stuck with me was how he told me that I should just keep being myself, and I … brought energy that he hadn’t seen in a long time. That really helped me to believe in my abilities as a drummer … As many with tell you, he’s a great teacher, man, motivator and mentor … Starry Nights releasing a song on a compilation for his benefit is the least we can do.”

The album is a sideways slice of Iowa City’s musical offerings, past and present. Many of the bands are based elsewhere now, but all have deep IC roots linking them to Nehring (Chicago’s Saint Lepus is the only one that didn’t evolve from here). Although stylistically varied, every track is solid, and the whole is compellingly arranged. Standouts for me include Slugabed’s “Hellbilly,” CR Dicks’ “Black Laser” and Genesis Jane’s “Dysphoria Song” — but I’m not blowing smoke when I say it’s all damned good. If you can’t find something to love on here, you’re not listening.

“If this release makes life easier for Jeff and his family in any way I am just grateful to have been part of it,” said Buddin. “Jeff is one of the kindest and most ferocious supporters anyone could ever have. I am just trying to do for him what he would do for any of his friends.”

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