There he was, this musically lucked child of a once-priest and a near-nun, 12 years old and piled high with a Radio Shack combo stereo, stacks of records, and pockets full of dubbed tapes. It was 1984 and Martin Dosh was orchestrating the soundtracks to his junior high school dances, playing only the choice cuts for the budding romantics and perspiring wallflowers: Run DMC, Prince, Devo, the Cars, New Order... At age 3, Marty had started harassing his folks to bone up for piano lessons (after three years of persistence, they gave in); that'd he'd developed considerable musical taste before hitting puberty should come as no real surprise.
Call him a one-man band, a virtuoso, a gifted collaborator or a family man, Martin, Marty, Dosh or Dad, our subject has gotten to now by what seems an uncanny path (perhaps call it fate). When they met, Dosh's father was a Catholic priest with pile of degrees, and his
mother was living in a convent in Minneapolis preparing herself for nunhood. They left the fold for marriage; subsequently the elder Dosh found himself blacklisted from local employment, and so they left Minnesota as well. Martin was born in the greater Los Angeles area, but at age 2, his health problems and the city's endless sprawl delivered the family back into the musically nurturing arms of the Twin Cities.
Returning to the Midwest, Martin was enrolled in a Montessori school (and piano lessons). By comparison high school was, "academically, horseshit" so Dosh seized his destiny at 16 and moved east to study jazz and drums at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Massachusettes. What followed was a flurry of summer jobs, road trips to see the Grateful Dead, van living around various college outposts in Mass and NY, Zappa-esque noodling in his band Como Zoo, further schooling, the requisite amount of pot, and a little too much partying. But Dosh wanted more for his music and less for his student debt, so he swallowed his pride and returned (at 25) to his parents' in Minneapolis. He figured the move would be temporary—he'd save up money and practice drums until he became a self-sustaining virtuoso—but Dosh was going to shows every night and meeting more and more people in the local music-rich scene (a collision of avant jazz, freewheeling rock and progressive hip-hop), quickly realizing that what he needed had been there all along. And throughout his dedicated solo drum-and-keyboard sessions in mom and dad's basement, he'd record, record, record, accumulating a massive library of sound. Soon he'd be a touring member of Andrew Broder's Fog, and full-time player in their instrumental counterpart Lateduster.
In 2003 Anticon proudly released Dosh's virtuoso debut, Dosh, a loop-building collage of shimmering Rhodes, atypical drumming grounded in groove, field recordings and spontaneous performance (much of the album was pieced together using the 100-plus hours of tape he'd recorded at his parents'). By then he'd developed his untouchable live oneman show (swiveling on his drum stool between a kit, his modified Rhodes piano, a few pots and pans, and a simple looping pedal with a 12-second recording limit), and took to the road. Back in Minneapolis, the city he'd finally recognized as home, Dosh had been teaching drum lessons to children and falling in love on the side. He formed a family with his wife Erin (who he'd wooed by handing her a copy a song called “I Think I'm Getting Married”) and her 6 year-old son Tadhg. Soon he'd be composing a track titled “Building a Strange Child,” and so they would. Dosh's second fulllength, Pure Trash was inspired by his life's most pleasant turns, and though the album was instrumental (minus cameos by Erin, Tadhg, the newborn Naoise, and his students), it emoted all the warmth and anticipation, fear and relief that comes with building a family. Dosh's third album, The Lost Take, showcases the man's unique approach to sound with an expanded musicality and growing guest-list including Andrew Bird and members of Tapes 'N Tapes.
His Fourth record, Wolves And Wishes, adds to the ever-impressing oeuvre with the explorative wonderment of a debut album. To date Dosh has recorded with Bonnie 'Prince' Billie, Fog, Jel, Odd Nosdam, Neotropic, Andrew Bird, Redstart, Vicious Vicious, Poor Line Condition, Lateduster, Why?, the Interferents, members of Tapes 'N Tapes, and just about any Twin Cities band with a collective ear for good taste and experimentation. He has shared the stage with Andrew Bird, Wilco, Why?, Damo Suzuki, Gary Wilson, Golden Smog, Sole, My Morning Jacket, Tapes 'n Tapes, cLOUDDEAD, Sage Francis, Devendra Banhart, Kid Dakota, Alias, Themselves, Peanut Butter Wolf, P.O.S., Happy Apple, Joseph Arthur, Pizza Boys, the Bad Plus, The Jayhawks, Atmosphere, DJ Vadim and many more.