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Was the fate of the cute and quirky that dog doomed long before the release of the band's promising third album, Retreat From the Sun? With considerable airplay, opening slots on major tours and a healthy critical response, it came as a surprise when this LA-based quartet announced soon after the album's releas that it was history. During a recent conversation with Anna Waronker, the soft-spoken songwriter shed some light on why this pedigreed pup was so abruptly put to sleep.

"I really wanted the album to be a solo record", Waronker confessed to JamTV from her Hollywood apartment, "but Geffen wanted me to use the band. I only did it out of loyalty to the label."

Although it seems Waronker sabotaged her project before it was even conceived, Anna claims that's not the case. "I loved those songs," she said earnestly about the material on Retreat. "I just wanted to see them eveolce and i figured it didn't matter who played them. Bue in the end, that decisioin made us all very unhappy."

Anna is pragmatic about the unsettled feelings lingering between her former bandmates.

"I dont talk to the Hadens very much," Waronker said regarding former bandmates Petra and Rachel Haden (violin and bass). "I still keep in contact with one, but the other I don't speak to at all. She's the one i still have alot of dreams about. But sine my mind is working it out, i figure i don't need to talk to her."

To Anna, the experience with That Dog, and any band for that matter, is more like a marriage that a professional arrangement. "There were times during a rehearsal when one of the Hadens would say [sneering], 'Someone's singing out of tune.' Of course referring to me. Instead of letting it go, I'd end up crying hysterically and hate her for two weeks.

Since the band's split, Anna has been busy writing songs and recording at her home studio in hopes of landing a new recording contract. It shouldnt be too hard; the credits on this project alone would make any A&R rep drool. She's enlisted a few friends for this maiden flight: her boyfriend, Steve McDonald, bass player for LA cult faves Redd Kross; her close pal Pat Smear, formerly of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, who Anna's dubbed executive producer of the project; and her brother Joey, who not only plays drums for Beck's band, but just turned down a stint with the Smashing Pumpkins so he could pursue a career in production.

This time, things will be different for Anna. She says the new songs are "more serious" than some of the light and giddy early work. And, more importantly, this time she's going to follow --and trust-- her instincts.

"You better loct the music and feel really good about it,"she said. "Or else don't waste your time."
(Jennifer Schwartz)