Student Spotlight: Dog Dave far from the dog days

Duo Adelina Reels and John Quijas, also known as Dog Dave, are honing their musical skills in the Iowa City scene.

Adelina+Reels+practices+with+bandmate+John+Quijas+in+their+home+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+13%2C+2019.+Reels+and+Quijas+are+in+the+band+Dog+Dave+and+recently+won+The+of+Battle+of+the+Bands+at+the+University+of+Iowa.+
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Student Spotlight: Dog Dave far from the dog days

Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa.

Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa.

Katie Goodale

Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa.

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa.

Naomi Hofferber, Arts Reporter

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What began as a dream of a four-piece psychedelic rock garage band has since evolved into the folky grunge power duo Dog Dave, consisting of University of Iowa sophomore Adelina Reels and Iowa City local John Quijas.

Reels and Quijas said they met around a year ago at a Hex Girls concert at Yacht Club. 

“That whole weekend after that, my friends, John, and I all spent the whole weekend together,” Reels said. “It was really nice, and we both decided, ‘OK, now we have to start a band.’ We went out at one in the morning to the Dey House and sat on that bench and we just played a bunch of songs and it was raining … it was a nice moment.”

Both had gotten into music at a young age, encouraged by their families to pursue it.

“For me, it was right off the bat,” Quijas said. “A bunch of my cousins played the guitar, and we’d go camping, and they’d teach me things. I started actually playing when I was 9. Since then, it’s all I really do.”

Reels said she and Quijas began playing music around the same time. 

“I started singing when I was 9 or 10, and then playing guitar and writing songs around 12 or 13,” she said. “I’ve kind of been doing that intermittently ever since.”

Katie Goodale
Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa. 

Reels does most of the songwriting for Dog Dave.

“I think sometimes I have a solid idea, or I’ll piece together things I wrote years ago, and be like, ‘Oh, now this fits into a whole new song I made,’” she said. “Usually, I kind of get it out within an hour and work on it.”

Both are mostly self-taught; Reels was homeschooled and said she had free time to dive into music-making.

“My dad was really insistent that I play music,” Reels said. “We recorded a song when I was 13, he signed me up for shows and stuff. He made me audition for “America’s Got Talent,” but I was just timid the whole time. I was 13. That was a weird time in my life.”

Quijas said his mom was the one who encouraged his music for him.

“The second I showed interest, she went out and got me a guitar, and she showed me all the music that I was super into when I was younger,” he said. “She’s a big Beatles fan, and that would probably be one of my favorite staple bands of all time.”

Growing up, Quijas got a healthy dose of classic rock and ‘70s psychedelic influences, while Reels comes from a more bluegrass and pop background. While both are busy with school and work, they’ve solidified their set, and have been busy performing this fall, coming fresh from a house show. 

The band has upcoming shows each week in November, with a show at Trumpet Blossom Café on Nov. 7 and a show with Basketball Divorce Court at Yacht Club on Nov. 14.

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