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Miss September 2014 - Mooky
Silent Studio Hound

T
hink recording studio and guitars, drums, microphones and mixing boards come to mind. But a dog? Meet Mooky, Chris and Kim Daniels’ 11 year old Boxer Mastiff mix.

When he’s not running The Silos restaurant, Chris is a musician with a home studio. He says Mooky is as important as any musical tool he works with. “She has a steadying influence in the studio. She puts people at ease. She’s part of the fabric.” She also knows when to keep her snout shut.

For her quiet background support – as in not providing uncalled for supporting vocals during recording sessions – TownDock.net names Mooky Miss September.

mooky chris daniels guitar
Mooky and Chris Daniels in their home studio
mooky chris daniels guitar
Guitar dreams: Mooky’s doggie bed. Above it hangs a 1965 Gibson SG electric guitar.

Mornings, Mooky wakes up under a 1965 electric guitar. It hangs on the wall over her doggie bed. She gets up. Chris puts on the coffee and, cup in hand, dog and man step in to the back yard. Mooky might chase a squirrel. Or Chris might cast a lure in to the pond out back.

Then Chris goes to work.

Chris owns the Silos Restaurant in Oriental. All day, he and his staff will cook burgers, pour tea and deal with vendors. Mooky waits patiently at home.

mooky chris daniels silos stage
Some days, Mooky accompanies Chris to work. Here, she’s helping Chris paint the stage for Silospalooza, one of the musical events he puts on at the Silos.

It’s when Chris comes home that Mooky comes to life. That’s when the music starts.

Chris will go in to his home studio. Pick up a guitar. He’ll flop down on the floor and to decompress, start strumming. Mooky will nestle in beside him and, as Chris picks out a tune, Mooky will slumber. Or roll on to her back for a belly rub. Or rear up, put her forelegs on his shoulders and give him a hug.

mooky chris daniels guitar
Awwww, come on. One more song, dad!

Chris says, “I talk to her. She knows how I feel. She knows if it’s been one of those days.” One of “those” days – when the beer ran out and the vendor ran late. “She’ll put her head in my lap and that’s all it takes to calm me.”

mooky chris daniels guitar
Chris picks a tune while Mooky naps. She prefers the softer sound of an acoustic guitar but if an electric guitar is accompanied by a pat…
mooky chris daniels gibson guitar tattoo
…she’s just as happy. Here, Chris plays her the same guitar that’s tattooed on his arm, a Gibson Les Paul. He received the instrument when he was 16 (a few years ago).

This way of putting people at ease, of helping them replace a hard day with good music, is a gift. It’s a skill that’s helped solo recording acts.

Chris says, “Mooky has a calming effect. Some solo artists, when they come in to record, they’re anxious. They know they have to do their best and the spotlight’s on them and everything they say and do will be heard. She lightens it up for them.” Mooky has a knack for settling these folks. Sidling in for a head scratch. Sending them a relaxed look that helps them let go and put forth their best tunes. Making them feel at ease so they can set their music free.

Mooky won’t, however, howl on tape.

mooky chris daniels dog nap guitar
Mooky demonstrates her Mute feature. Or is it Snooze? She’s equally unfazed by high noises, even the highest note Chris plays on his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar – the 22nd fret high D.

Chris – with Mooky at his side – has recorded hundreds of hours of live music in his studio. In addition to his own band Saltwater Gold, he’s recorded Levelland, Bent Metal and the Soul Shakers. Studio noises that would make many dogs bark or howl – snare drums, ear piercing feedback or extra high notes – don’t elicit a whimper from the solidly built brown dog. “She only talks when she wants something,” says Chris. That “something” would be a doggie treat.

She has, on occasion, crashed an intricate mic set up.

While recording the Soul Shakers, Chris put together an arrangement involving a kick drum, two microphones and a Persian rug. The carpet covered the mics to capture the drum sound in a particular way. Just when all was set up, Mooky walked in to the room. Chris says, “she came over, lay right down on the carpet and whole thing just fell apart!”

mooky chris daniels  studio sprawl
Mooky displaying her occasional bent for positional unawareness. Here, straddling a microphone stand and power cord, both at the same time.

There is no audio recording of Mooky’s destroying the Soul Shakers’ mic set up.
Chris put the pieces back together and the recording session went on.

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Mooky came in to Chris’s life unexpectedly. While having a drink at the Tiki Bar in Oriental, a dog came up to him. Chris petted the animal. It seemed friendly. Chris enjoyed the dog’s company and when he found the owner, another patron, he complimented the man on owning such a beautiful animal.

The man asked Chris if he wanted the dog. Chris said yes. That was eight years ago.

mooky chris daniels dock pier
Mooky at one of her favorite hangouts, the end of Chris’s dock.

Chris says Mooky, “goes everywhere I go. Outside, when I’m just hanging out, she likes to stay close to me.” Before he bought the Silos Restaurant, Chris owned a sailing school in Oriental. Mooky, though she loves to swim, only tolerated the sailing life. “She’d come out on the boats,” Chris says. But it was more out of a sense of obligation. “She’d only come out on a boat because I was on it.” She’d rather ride in Chris’s red Jeep.

When Chris purchased the Silos Restaurant, he integrated his love of music in to the business plan. Wednesday nights is open mic night when local musicians take to the stage. There are outdoor concerts, too. Silospalooza – featuring half a dozen local bands playing on an outdoor stage – takes place in May. Mooky enjoys the open air events best. While she’s not allowed to go in to the restaurant, she – and many other Oriental canines – loves patrolling the crowd for fallen morsels and Milk Bones.

When not attending concerts or hanging out in the recording studio, Mooky enjoys eating popcorn and fishing, especially for bass.

mooky chris daniels fishing on dock
Mooky and Chris preparing to wet a line

There’s a pond behind Chris’s home. Sometimes to unwind, he’ll fish off the pier. Not content with spectator status, Mooky enjoys swimming behind Chris’s lures, especially the surface baits like the gurgling Hula Poppers. Chris says her involvement “ruins the fishing.” Not that Chris cares. He fishes catch and release, not for the meat. For a special Mooky treat, he’ll tie a tennis ball to his line and cast that in to the lake.

mooky chris daniels bass fish
Mooky inspects a large mouth bass that….
mooky chris daniels bass fish
….is quickly returned to the pond. After that….
mooky chris daniels bass fish
…if Mooky’s gotten muddy playing in the pond, it’s time for a shower. Then, after she’s been dried with a towel, she can go back in the house.

Mooky also enjoys chasing squirrels, visiting the Tiki Bar and eating popcorn. She does not like foul weather. “When we get thunder and lightning,” Chris confesses, “is one of the few times she’s allowed to get on our bed.”

And so Mooky passes her days fishing and napping and listening to music. Lots and lots of music. “So far,” Chris says, “she hasn’t written any dog songs. But she has inspired me. That’s part of my soul. Part of my music.” Maybe one day she’ll have a puppy. If that happens, Chris plans to call it “Mooky Gibson Daniels”. Gibson. After the guitar. In the meantime, Mooky rolls, squirms and naps her way through jam and recording sessions. Quietly, quietly, of course.

Mooky’s Bio

Celebrity Pet Resembles Most: Bruce Springsteen
Nickname: Moo
Turn ons: buttered popcorn, cucumbers
Turn offs: carrots, the UPS truck, having her nails clipped.
Favorite TV show to eat crabs by: Deadliest Catch
Hopes to find under the Christmas tree: Original issue Gibson Super Jumbo 200 acoustic guitar
How she plans for Chris to pay for the $80,000 Gibson guitar: sell 10,000 twelve-inch Silos cheese pizzas


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