Houston Music

The Rocks Off 100: Cliff Dotterer of Black Dog Records

Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too.

Who? Cliff Dotterer is the co-owner and operating manager of Black Dog Records, which just moved to its new Bellaire location last week. The shop's inventory of records and collectibles includes a who's who of rock legends and current artists, as well as rarities, imports, T-shirts, record player needles, buttons, 45s, CDs, box sets and more.

Upon entering Black Dog, you will hear the best of the store's vast inventory including the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, and more.

Dotterer has his own rock mega-fan credentials. He has attended nearly every Rolling Stones and Beatles/Paul McCartney tour since the '60s. However, he'll be sitting out McCartney's current tour which stops at Minute Maid Park in November.

Home Base: Dotterer, a Baltimore native, has lived in many places, but considers Houston home and supports local business and music. "The people make this city great," he says.

War Story: While living in Baltimore, at age 16, Dotterer discovered he loved going to rock concerts. At one of those concerts, he recalls, he saw a pretty blonde lady named Judy. Her dad worked as a security guard near the stage door at the Baltimore Civic Center, where the big-name acts played.

Judy invited him backstage, and told him there were 3 rules to obey: 1) Never ask a musician for an autograph; 2) Do not ask a musician to have their photo taken with you; 3) If she disappeared, which was frequently, do not ask questions. He never broke those rules.

"I got to meet the Steve Miller Band, The Jeff Beck Group, Frank Zappa and the Mothers [of Invention], Iron Butterfly, Todd Rundgren and Nazz, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, Led Zeppelin -- the list is quite extensive," Dotterer says.

"My most treasured evening was spending an hour and a half with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Plant and Page were friendly and very nice," Dodderer adds.

In 1969, Led Zeppelin was the opening act for Vanilla Fudge. "I was invited to sit side stage and experience Led Zeppelin's entire first album live," he says. "What a treat!"

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "I hold the local music scene near and dear to my heart," says Dodderer. "There is so much great talent in the Houston area."

Dotterer would love to see more people come out and support the local music scene, and one way to do that would be to have a music festival in the cooler months that shows off the best local talents.

"I think more people should support the local live music scene," he says. "I think they would be glad they did."

Why He Stays In Houston: "Houston although hot and steamy, has some of the best people I have had the honor of getting to know," he admits.

Top 5 Desert Island Discs: White Album,The Beatles; Animals, Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin; Let It Bleed, Rolling Stones; Ravi Shankar and/or any album from the '60s or '70s.

Black Dog Records is now located at 4900 Bissonnet in Bellaire.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christina Lynn
Contact: Christina Lynn