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Ralph Alexander, left, and Indio Downey are The Dose.
Ralph Alexander, left, and Indio Downey are The Dose.
Allie Snow

A Heavy Dose of Grunge

While the full, grunge-ish sound is reminiscent of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, as well as San Diego's Stone Temple Pilots, it's kinda surprising to learn that there are only two people in The Dose. The sheer level of noise and density of the hard-rock tunes on Saline, their debut album, is frankly shocking, yet Indio Downey and Ralph Alexander have created a beast of a record. The former is the son of Robert Downey Jr., by the way, though admirably he doesn't dwell on that too much. He and Alexander are doing this band thing by themselves. We spoke to them prior to their gig in L.A. with pop-punk band Good Charlotte.

L.A. WEEKLY: When did the band form, and what was the mission? What were you looking to do?

RALPH ALEXANDER: The band formed in 2015. I think we always knew we wanted to make the biggest-sounding two-piece band. All organic, real and raw. Drums, guitars, vocals and bass all played live from two dudes. A sound that, when an audience closed their eyes, they could imagine a four- or five-piece band.

INDIO DOWNEY: We had nothing but the intention to jam out and then hopefully leave an impact on the L.A. music scene.

Describe the sound — who are the major influences?

RA: I would describe our sound as modern grunge with some heavier influences. I personally grew up on a lot of Pantera, Slayer and early Metallica, and it definitely comes through in my approach to the music and show.

ID: Supersonic! Sex Pistols, The Cure and Slayer.

How has the band evolved since forming?

RA: I would say our songwriting has evolved the most. (Our first EP had an 8-minute instrumental!) Now we’re much more focused on telling an efficient story with good melodies while also showing that we can still rock out when called for. Much more “serving the song” now.

ID: I think the difference is that now the experience that we’ve had is what’s fueling the sound.

What have been your best and worst gigs to date so far, and why?

RA: Syracuse [New York] and San Antonio on this run with Good Charlotte definitely come to mind for me. Great crowds and energy. It’s hard to know when you’re going to have a great gig. Sometimes there’s just a vibe that can’t be explained. I also can’t think of a bad one yet. Anytime you’re on a stage you’re lucky to be there. I remember being a kid dying for a stage, just to play for anyone who would listen. There’s always something positive in every show, and as musicians, it’s what we need for the well-being of our soul.

ID: I think the best show we’ve ever had was at Zebulon in Los Angeles, because the crowd asked for an encore. The worst show we’ve ever played was at Velvet Jones because it never happened.

How has the tour with Good Charlotte been going so far? Has their crowd taken to you?

RA: The Generation Rx tour with Good Charlotte has been an amazing experience for us! I actually prefer playing for crowds that might not normally discover us because it makes us play harder and earn each new fan. Converting an unsuspecting fan outside of your band’s “normal demographic” is an accomplishment in itself, and I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job so far on this run. We’re very fortunate to have this opportunity and couldn’t be more grateful to the entire GC family!

Are you Good Charlotte fans?

RA: I remember watching Good Charlotte videos on MTV and VH1 when I was in middle school. The nostalgia I feel hearing them on this tour is a lot of fun. It’s been great to rediscover them again as (hopefully!) peers and as a fan.

ID: Indeed, it’s a privilege to share the stage with them.

What recorded output have you released so far? Anything coming soon?

RA: We currently have four singles released, along with videos for each. All are off our upcoming debut LP, Saline. We have a fifth single release coming soon in the new year!

What can we expect from the Wiltern show?

RA: Two knuckleheads onstage having fun playing music we wrote together for the love of it!

ID: A shoutout to L.A. Weekly and a free EP with four songs from the upcoming album.

Indio, your dad is clearly fiercely proud of you — has he offered any advice?

ID: When going through hell, keep going!

What's next for the band, after this tour?

RA: We’re releasing a few more singles leading up to the release of our debut LP early next year.

ID: And playing as many shows as humanly possible.

The Dose play with Good Charlotte, Sleeping With Sirens and Knuckle Puck at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the Wiltern.

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