Article Contributed by Big Hassle Media | Published on Sunday, July 16, 2023

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – the visionary post-fusion rock trio comprising guitarist/songwriter/activist Marc Ribot, bassist Shahzad Ismaily, and drummer/percussionist Ches Smith – are proud to unveil their eagerly awaited fifth album, Connection, available today via Knockwurst Records.

Declared by Ribot to be “the best record we’ve ever done,” Connection sees Ceramic Dog furthering their long flirtation with various strains of rock ‘n’ roll while remaining fully entrenched in their signature approach to improvised music, augmented by contributions by such special guests as singer-songwriter Syd Straw, keyboardist Anthony Coleman, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, organist Greg Lewis, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, and cellist Peter Sachon. The album is highlighted by such bracing new songs as the ferocious title track, “Connection,” the anthemic manifesto, “Soldiers In the Army of Love,” and the beatific new single, “Ecstasy,” all available now for streaming and download.



“‘I don’t want you to give me nothin. Unless you give me...ecstasy.’ The song’s opening lyric functions as the personal statement of the lyric's partly deranged, partly revolutionary, but not entirely unreliable narrator,” says Marc Ribot of “Ecstasy.” “It’s also as close to a mission statement as Ceramic Dog has ever come: this band just has to ‘try for the kingdom’ every night and 99 and 1/2 won’t do.

“Musically, the song harkens back to the garage band Cuban Son of ‘Cubanos Postizos,’ with a little Farfisa help from Postizo keyboardist Anthony Coleman, the legendary Syd Straw on background vocals, and my electric tres channeling some of Arsenio Rodriquez’s ghosts…The Caribbean connoisseur might locate Ches Smith’s drums/percussion a bit closer to Haiti than Cuba (see his project, We All Break), and Shahzad Ismaily’s bass playing is a new invention entirely.

“So… ‘Ecstasy’ is a mix – but a mix that could have only happened in NYC… ‘I bought a pistol from a brother down on Hester Street, and now I think somebody’s bleeding, but it feels to me like...Ecstasy.’ The Downtown Hester Street gun store (rumored to be the location inspiring Tom Waits’ vow to ‘never kiss a Gun Street girl again’) is no longer there. But ‘Ecstasy’ (and ecstasy) has always been about ghosts, and vibes…not real estate.”



Ceramic Dog will celebrate Connection with a busy live schedule that includes a much anticipated West Coast co-headline tour alongside groundbreaking jazz quartet The Bad Plus. The dates begin October 13 at Mesa, AZ’s Mesa Art Center and continue through the month. For complete details and ticket information, please see


TOUR 2023-2024


19 – Marlboro, VT - Sonic Circus Festival (Ceramic Dog only)


13 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Arts Center

14 – Seattle, WA – Earshot Jazz Festival @ Town Hall

15 – Portland, OR – PDX Jazz @ Revolution Hall

16 – Vancouver, BC – Capitano University *

20 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

21 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater

22 – Ft. Collins, CO – Washington’s

All Dates w/ The Bad Plus Except *

With Connection, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog have pushed their long-brewing tension between traditional pop songcraft and avantgarde improvisational music to the breaking point, bridging their customary genre-agnostic approach with elements of glam boogie, minimalist disco, psychedelic boogaloo, garage-punk-against-the-machine agitprop, and so much more. Recorded at Figure 8 Recording in Brooklyn, NY, and mixed by Ben Greenberg (Danny Elfman, Depeche Mode, Show Me the Body) the album sees Ribot – whose prodigious, impossible-to-categorize body of work as bandleader and musician spans no wave and jazz, Brazilian and Cuban music, roots and avant-garde and protest songs (often at the same time) alongside legendary collaborations with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Caetano Veloso, and Laurie Anderson (to name but a few) – continuing to utilize Ceramic Dog as the vessel for his distinctive stream-of-consciousness songwriting, penning three out of the album’s four vocal tracks including the groove-infected “Ecstasy” (showcasing Anthony Coleman’s slinky Farfisa and longtime friend and associate Syd Straw behind the mic).

From the anthemic manifesto “Soldiers in the Army of Love” to the unhinged ranting of “Heart Attack” and indescribable “No Name,” Ceramic Dog unleash a fury of complex time signatures, blues abstraction, and free-blowing energy to create their most unapologetically audacious collection thus far, their one-of-a-kind daring evidenced by the unlikely cover of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz’s “That’s Entertainment,” written especially for the 1953 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical film The Band Wagon but here, in Ribot and Co’s hands, deconstructs Hollywood cliches while simultaneously winking at both the post-punk and post-Cultural Revolution iterations of the Gang of Four. Fueled by what Ribot calls “several bolts of creative lightning,” Connections stands as a vibrant, odd, and in many ways definitive milestone in what is truly a singular creative journey for Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog, its zeitgeist-busting sound and vision not only affirming their place in the musical universe but raising the stakes for whatever comes next.