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"Who Let the Dogs Out" a film by Brent Hodge

After seeing a presentation on the song "Who Let the Dogs Out," filmmaker Brent Hodge knew that there was a movie to be made. Brent Hodge (producer/director) and Aly Kelly (producer) take us with them on the journey of a lifetime as we discuss what it was like in the making of this documentary, meeting Ben Sisto, and the long line of ownership for one of the most popular songs of the late 90’s. This podcast will leave you wondering, who did let the dogs out?

Cast of Characters:

Brent Hodge……....................…Director (show guest)

Aly Kelly………...........................Producer (show guest)

Ben Sisto…….................….…...Narrator and the world’s leading expert on Who Let the Dogs Out

Isaiah Taylor…………................Leader of the Baha Men

Steve Greenberg…....................Founder, S-Curve Records

Anslem Douglas….....................Singer of Doggie; the original version of Who Let the Dogs Out

Patrick Stephenson…...............Music Producer, wrote original hook of Who Let the Dogs Out

Leroy Williams……....................Music Producer, wrote original hook of Who Let the Dogs Out

Gregg Greene…................….….Marketing, Seattle Mariners

Manny Mohr…………..................Producer, 20 Fingers, associated with Gillette

Joe Gonzalez aka Miami J….....Miami Boom Productions, wrote original hook of Who Let the Dogs Out

Brett Hammock aka B-Nastie…Miami Boom Productions, wrote original hook of Who Let the Dogs Out

John Michael Davis…................Dowagiac, MI Alum & Impassioned Sports Fan



Who Let the Dogs Out is produced by Hodgee Films (hodgeefilms.com) and distributed by Gravitas Ventures (gravitasventures.com).

The film premiered at SXSW in 2019, and was an official selection of Hot Docs 2019 and SIFF 2019.

Watch the movie here:

Amazon Prime https://amzn.to/34ckQ4m

and ITunes https://apple.co/2Pxeed5

B.C. Wehman:

This is the story of one man's pursuit to correct a post on Wikipedia. What Ben Sisto thought would be a simple fix, took him on the journey of a lifetime. For the past 10 years, Ben has been trying to figure out the question worth a million dollars.

AUDIO CLIP :

(singing)

B.C. Wehman:

The year was 2008 and it was the 10 year anniversary of the song, Who Let the Dogs Out. In a quest for knowledge, Ben Sisto looked up the song's Wikipedia page and found an incomplete citation. It read that the song was originally heard by a man named Keith, but Keith had no last name and Ben knew he had to fix this.

Heather Grayson:

What Ben discovered was that the song had a long line of ownership. An origin that could be traced back to 1986 and a surprising anthem of female empowerment. He traveled from the United States to The Bahamas and everywhere in between. He met with record executives, producers, singers, songwriters, and two dudes from Florida to bring this story to you.

Heather Grayson:

Hi, I'm Heather Grayson, writer, producer, and director who craves passion in filmmaking. And documentarians are just that. I write fiction, but I love to watch the truth.

B.C. Wehman:

My name is B.C. Wehman. I'm an actor, a writer, an entertainer, all sorts of creative endeavors. But what I love most, being a storyteller. It's why I love documentaries. They're extraordinary stories from every day extraordinary people. This is Behind the Doc and today we're behind the scenes with the documentary, Who Let the Dogs Out.

Movie Clip:

What is Who Let the Dogs Out? It's made up of just a few short monosyllabic words, who let the dogs out. And this is followed by a series of barks. People of all ages love to bark. We call each other dog as a term of endearment. They're our best friends and members of our families. All of this adds up to a pop hook recipe that's hard to beat. There's no question mark. So it's not even a question.

Movie Clip:

So if it's not a question, then what does it all mean? Who are these dogs? How did they get out? Where are they going and why should we even care? What is this question? It's like what Meatloaf won't do for love. It's one of the great unanswered questions of our time. It's an open question. If the hook is even a question to begin with. If it is, let's remember that in a lot of these tracks, the dogs are men behaving badly. And these men, they've always been out.

B.C. Wehman:

We're joined today by Aly Kelly and Brent Hodge of Hodgee Films. And Brent, Aly, how are you all doing today?

Aly Kelly:

Great. Thank you.

Brent Hodge:

Good. How are you guys?

B.C. Wehman:

Good, good. So why don't we to get started, get everyone going. Tell us who you are and a little bit about the film we're going to be talking about today.

Brent Hodge:

Okay, sure. Aly, you want to go first?

Aly Kelly:

Sure. My name is Aly Kelly and I am the producer of the film.

Brent Hodge:

My name is Brent Hodge and I'm the director of the film. And as you can see, we spanned across the entire continent to find out who let the dogs out.

B.C. Wehman:

It's an important question, right? You had to figure it all out. You traveled actually in the making of this film, Brent, you traveled everywhere, way more than you think you would go. What was that process like?

Brent Hodge:

That's true. I thought I was just going to The Bahamas and we're going to answer it pretty quick with the Baha Men and I was going to have a tan and come home, but from London to everywhere in the U.S., this song just traveled across the world. It was number one in Japan in 1999 as well. It goes as far as you want it to go. Honestly, who let the dogs out is a question that the world has to answer.

Heather Grayson:

What made you want to do this film? Did you see Ben in a presentation and you're just like, I've got to know more about this?

Brent Hodge:

Yeah, we'd been doing films like this and a friend of ours said, "You have to go see this guy. He does a live talk about Who Let the Dogs Out." And I thought this is like three minutes long. There's no way this is true. And I told Aly and she said, "He's actually playing in Boston, he's doing a show in Boston like next week when you're there," and so I went and saw it.

Movie Clip:

Who let the dogs out, like who did let the dogs out? It's one of the great unanswered questions of our time.

Brent Hodge:

Immediately we knew there was a movie. The way he had his slides, it was like a Ted Talk and he walks through the origin of this song. While we were filming, a lot happened. There was more people that let the dogs out while we were filming this, but he'd sort of set it all up. I just thought, we're going to take all of the research he did and we're going to make this into a movie.

Aly Kelly:

Ben's research puts mine to shame. Honestly, I pride myself on, Hodgee will come, Brent will come with these ideas and we'll go, yes, I'll deep dive on them. And that's how we have had so much success with our films. But Ben came to us with an encyclopedia on this one song and he's just that personality type where we go, you ask another question and he knows the answer to it. He's got that sort of mind where he loves research, very detail oriented. So, it's a pleasure working with him, really.

Brent Hodge:

When he finished the presentation in Boston, I went up and talked to him about wanting to do a movie and it was just as you said, it's like a turning point in his life. He said, "I think I'm putting this research to rest," and I said, "This is the perfect time to film with you. It's right when you're want to drop this off, you're done. And we can just sort of do one last hurrah, put it on tape and if anybody ever wants to see the presentation, they can just buy a DVD." And so, that's why he was really into it. He's like, "Good. I get to wrap this up." And we always say, "We're like the Baha Men." We just took everything he worked on and we just remixed it and made our own song and and made all the money.

B.C. Wehman:

If you watch the film, that's what it kinds of end up being, right? This mishmash tale of all these different people that came together and because the song became so popular, all wanted that piece of it. So you went down there, you met Isaiah Taylor. What was it like down in The Bahamas and meeting the people themselves who sang this version of the song?

Brent Hodge:

It was phenomenal. He picked me up at the airport and he gave me a tour around The Bahamas.

Movie Clip:

My name Isaiah Taylor, leader of the Baha Men.

Brent Hodge:

There is absolutely no negative to this story for them. They all made great money, tour the song and are so appreciative and love the fact that this got them trips around the world and made their career and he had a really good point. I don't think we ever put it on camera, but Isaiah said, "You can't top the dogs. Once you do a song that big, you can't go bigger, you really truly can't. And so for us to say, what's our follow up or where do we go? We still play music. We've played music every day because of this song." And he said they're just super thankful for everything.

Heather Grayson:

That's amazing. When you went and you talked to these songwriters, were they all okay with talking to you? Were there any issues that you had to really get in front of? With Leroy and Patrick, there was kind of this intense bickering between the two of them.

Movie Clip:

So this gentleman, Patrick Stephenson and his partner Leroy Williams, one day they here Who Let the Dogs Out and they're like, what's going on? We wrote that.

Brent Hodge:

I think time has helped all of this. So we're talking 20 years ago now that this song came out. I think if we tried to do this documentary in 1999, 2000 but there's no way they would've spoke. But because Anslem Douglas who created the song with those two, I think the fact that there's been a 20 year gap and legal battles are over, they're good to talk. I think the Baha Men are just happy with the success of all this. There is, yes, absolutely, there's egos. Everyone has their own story for this, but time has let things settle.

Aly Kelly:

I did notice that with the Florida guys, they were very chill about things to see these guys kind of laugh about it.

Movie Clip:

These two guys down there, Brett and Joe are Miami Boom Productions, Be Nasty and Miami Jay.

Brent Hodge:

Ben's presentation used to end with those guys and say, looks like this thing ends in Florida. That's kind of the conclusion, record labels made this popular. Thanks everyone. But after Florida, Aly and I got a call that there was a bit more to the story and so, as we were making this film, we found out it's more about a chant than it is about a song.

Movie Clip:

(singing)

Brent Hodge:

And then we found out that, no, this song was a chant way before, all the way back to the eighties. Led us to Michigan and Austin and you start looking up, basically every dog related sports team in the U.S. had this song at some point within their club. And so we traced it even further back.

Heather Grayson:

Wow. And how did Ben react to this new information?

Brent Hodge:

He kind of couldn't believe it. He said he's been doing 10 years or eight years of research on Who Let the Dogs Out and in no way has this come across. So, he thought that maybe there was a bit of a lie going on. But then when we found the footage, we actually found it in the coach's garage, that video of the sports team from 1989 doing it. Ben said he fell back on his chair, and then he went really deep. He's the guy that did it. He went and said, "Okay, I think it goes even further. And it looks like a man. There's someone in New Jersey and there's here in California, had a few teams." And so that's when he continued and found 1986, found the footage in Austin, Texas.

Aly Kelly:

Just back to the guys from Florida. You can see by their evidence, their physical evidence that they kept holding on to everything, how much this meant to them. And I think that really shines through the story as well. They've been very invested in this piece of their history from the beginning. And we loved bringing that part to it. And that evidence was so much of the story as well.

Heather Grayson:

It really was. It was a turning point for me.

Brent Hodge:

Oh, them finding those disks in that [inaudible 00:10:11]. it was like a child. I was like, "Oh my gosh." And I was so excited to hear that and they broke out the old recording equipment. That was like a really exciting moment.

Aly Kelly:

Right? The floppy disk.

Brent Hodge:

Yeah. I was so excited to see what was on it. And he was really, Ben painted a great job of saying, "Look, this thing could fall apart at any moment." Really built in, like if I put it in it could explode and we would lose all the physical proof we've ever wanted to find. And so, that was this dramatic moment that no one saw coming as you're watching the film.

Aly Kelly:

Like I said, Ben's research is so meticulous, but the minute you get a camera crew out in a small town, then things start coming out of the woodwork. And that's how someone said they saw us with the cameras. "Hey, what are you talking about?" "Oh, we've got this coach, he's got the footage." And then that kind of led into finding these VHS that we could then see the chant. So, there's a little bit of an element that happened that is chance with a C-E, not a T-S, where there's more of a chance that people bring more research to the table that is beyond what Ben can find just through a computer or phone calls.

Brent Hodge:

Aly, didn't the janitor at the library come up to you? We did an interview at the library.

Aly Kelly:

It's a crazy story.

B.C. Wehman:

Sounds like you're making it up.

Aly Kelly:

We're there doing this interview with John Michael Davis who gave us this cold call and this janitor, I'm there on the side and he goes, "What are you guys talking about?" And I go, "Well, you'll never believe it. We think we've traced Who Let the Dogs Out back to Dowagiac, Michigan." He goes, "Oh yeah, I think I've got a tape of that." And then he started, it was just, it then unraveled. I took his number, then he got us in touch with the coach. It was such a small town sort of thing. He was just pushing a broom going, "What you guys talking about?" And then unleashed the whole other side of it, like that physical evidence that based everything in truth.

Brent Hodge:

Oh, could we take a second to talk about John Michael? He is my favorite person, I think, in the entire movie.

Movie Clip:

My name is John Michael Davis. Dowagiac, Michigan. Let the dogs out.

Brent Hodge:

I've never met someone or never met him, but heard someone talk so introspectively, he touched my soul talking about this song. He got really, really deep, more than anyone who wrote it.

Movie Clip:

I'm not the one that turned it into a record. I'm not the one that made it a beat and put a rap over it. That's not really the point. The only sting is that it doesn't feel like they know what they have. They have this powerful catalyst, one little moment that was pretty cool and has shaped some part of our culture and can be a medium for much more.

Brent Hodge:

He's a kooky character, for sure.

Aly Kelly:

You were both like, who wants to jump in because he's awesome. Yeah.

Brent Hodge:

He is. But I think you nailed it. The question I asked everyone is, "Do you guys all feel cheated that you didn't get any money out of this?" And everyone that answered said, "Yeah, of course, we let the dogs out. We should have been paid. And this is the music industry and this sucks." And then you get to him and he's like, "I think everyone has it wrong. I think we all have it wrong. I don't think this is what it's about. I think what it's about is this interconnection of everybody adding to something incredible." And he kind of described what I think is art and I was like, "Wow, John Michael Davis from Dowagiac, Michigan just blew my mind.

Aly Kelly:

He grounded this in a truth that we look for in our films all the time. Yes, this is a documentary about copyright law, but it's also about who owns art. And he really brought that together and we felt it in the room when we were interviewing him. I remember Brent and I looked at each other going like, oh my God. I think it was after his so, so impassioned speech. And we were like, oh whoa, this is way more.

Heather Grayson:

So, I grew up as an Olmsted Falls Bulldog in the nineties, in the early nineties, and we were always saying, who let the dogs out? We let the dogs out. So when I was watching this and whenever I heard the song to begin with, I was like, oh, this is about football. And then I would hear things like what the song was actually about and all of these references and I was like, oh, maybe it's not about football. I always kind of thought it was, but then when we came back to the chants and just John talking about what it is all about. That whole nostalgia of feeling like we were all on the field again came back to me and I was like, yeah, that is what it's about. Did you kind of feel the same thing with him?

Brent Hodge:

Absolutely. I mean, going to the school and they have all their championship trophies up and it sort of brought you back to high school and that's it. I think it's about the feeling of being a part of something more than it is just an actual catchy tune. They believe that they're a part of it. They're believe they're part of the origin story because that's their story. That's their life and I totally agree. I also really love how Ben breaks it down. Like it's not even a question. There's no question mark at the end. And so, it sort of breaks down the essence of a pop tune and how it's asked more than the Macarena and you're like, wow, you don't think about these things, but you've probably heard Who Let the Dogs Out 10,000 times in your ears throughout your life in the last 20 years and you've never asked the question of who actually let them out even though the question's been posed to you so many times.

Brent Hodge:

So, it gets pretty meta and gets pretty fun. It gets deeper, you have to giggle about it. And that's a comedy to us. The deeper you research this, the funnier it gets.

B.C. Wehman:

Speaking of sports, it was nice to see that sports connection brought into it because it is something that's this anthem. Gregg Greene's story and how he feels he added to it and probably did to be honest with you, him and Alex Rodriguez and that whole process. What was that like? That whole process going to Seattle and learning about that?

Movie Clip:

Gregg Greene is an emerging talent within the Seattle Mariners organization and he programs a lot of in-game music and sound effects.

Movie Clip:

I didn't have a song for one of our backup catchers, Joe Oliver and I threw it out there for him. Alex Rodriguez now wants this song that I thought we're just having fun with and he's like, "Oh yeah, I like the sound of it, sounds like Miami." I'm like, "Okay, dude. You got it."

Brent Hodge:

I mean, that was huge for me because I'm from the West Coast and grew up in Vancouver and so the Mariners are my team, so I actually truly think that we let the dogs out because of his story. It's phenomenal to hear what can happen to a pop song when it hits stadium level. I think there's a part of this story that... well, I'm going to spin it on you guys for one second and ask you something.

B.C. Wehman:

Sure.

Brent Hodge:

After seeing this entire movie, who do you think let the dogs out?

Heather Grayson:

That's a great question.

B.C. Wehman:

It is a great question. Is it cheating to say we've all let the dogs out? We are our own person and the dog is you within, so be free as an individual. Is that a cheap cop-out, John Michael? That's my John Michael-ish answer.

Aly Kelly:

We'll accept, we'll accept.

Heather Grayson:

I'm going to say on my end, football let the dogs out. That's just where I'm from. That's how I interpreted it to begin with. I will say football still let the dogs out for me.

Brent Hodge:

Okay, nice. So, you're both wrong.

B.C. Wehman:

It happens.

Brent Hodge:

No, I'm kidding. Great. Great. I personally think when it got to Gregg Greene, he let the dogs out because without it being that popular, without it getting to Rodriguez level World Series level, them performing... He got the Baha Men over from The Bahamas to perform this in the U.S. at the stadium. I just feel that there's a story of marketing music that doesn't get as much gratitudes as it should because without that, none of us would be talking about it. There's hundreds of songs that have copyright issues, but until they're super popular, yeah, I just don't think that there's much of a story there. And so, I feel like that angle, the stadium angle, is the reason that this whole thing becomes a story.

Aly Kelly:

It is pretty amazing when you do hear that song in a stadium. It's kind of mind blowing.

Movie Clip:

(singing).

Heather Grayson:

So as it pertains to this song in general, are you absolutely tired of hearing it? Is it just a song you cannot listen to anymore? Is it just a song that has made you want to listen to it consistently?

Aly Kelly:

I don't know if I'll ever want to listen to it consistently, but I'm not sick of it at all. I actually kind of like, how many times have we listened to the song? How many times have we watched this film and the different edits around festivals, everything. I don't get sick of it whatsoever. And maybe that's the charm of it.

Brent Hodge:

There's a story to it now. We have listened to it a lot more now that we finished the edit. But I totally agree with you Aly. The annoying factor has gone away.

Aly Kelly:

I don't know. I think it also opened my eyes to the whole Miami bass scene, Gillette. When we were doing this film, I got into a real head space where I was listening to that stuff all the time and enjoyed it quite a bit and still do.

Heather Grayson:

I was going to ask about Gillette.

Movie Clip:

Because something happened two years prior in 1994 that makes this whole five-year court battle seem laughable.

Movie Clip:

All right now, this next song is going to be my next release. It's called You're a Dog.

Aly Kelly:

I do love the fact that Anslem, he made it into an empowering for women anthem.

Movie Clip:

We live in a woman's world. Used to be a man's world, that is no more. Kind of honest woman. Woman is boss, [inaudible 00:19:55].

Aly Kelly:

I kind of thought it was something very different. So, it was so great to hear. He was like, no, I really wanted women to have something going on and they had something to empower them. We had this anthem from Gillette. Yeah. Back to your earlier question about speaking to these people after 20 years, Gillette is the only one who we didn't get a sit down interview with and that wasn't without trying desperately for months. It's something she's put behind her and I respect that, but I desperately wanted to talk to her because I appreciate Who Let the Dogs Loose so much as an anthem and all of her other songs that are other female anthems.

Heather Grayson:

I really liked that a lot too. I liked her end of it.

Aly Kelly:

Yeah, she's cool. I mean, we were lucky enough to have Manny Mohr speak kind of on 20 Fingers' behalf.

Movie Clip:

We've got all these negative songs about women. I want to write something to where the women could just have so much fun.

Aly Kelly:

It's nice to have a female perspective about this song that is ultimately about putting these gross men back in their cages from the club and I can relate to that, right?

Heather Grayson:

We all can.

Aly Kelly:

That's timeless.

Heather Grayson:

It is.

B.C. Wehman:

So you made this film, Brent, Aly and everyone at Hodgee Films about, it's multiple arcs. So, you have the song, which also have this really, which is interesting, odd arc on copyright infringement and copyright laws and really a time before the internet, social media existed and we live in a time when copyright infringement on YouTube, on Tik Tok and these social media apps is very heavily monitored and a big deal. What was that journey like? Learning that and what type of advice would you or think about when you think about copyright infringement and how it moves forward into the future?

Aly Kelly:

You can imagine after making a film about a song that eight people claim they wrote and it's all about the legal battles of who wrote it. You can imagine how hard it was for us then to actually license the song for the film. So we learned a lot, we learned a lot as filmmakers, but we also learned a lot just from the music industry. And there's a lot of lessons to be learned. And I think that, that's something that you can hear from all the people that we interviewed. Leroy has spoken about it. Definitely the guys down in Florida. There's definitely some people who got different ends of the deals and I think that it's a fun film about copyright law and I think that people, musicians especially, can learn a lot about that.

Movie Clip:

You don't own anything in life. Someone else is going to take it, then someone else is going to take it. You often get people, they're props, you can't just try to take the credit for yourself.

Heather Grayson:

Let's ask one final question. Who do you absolutely think let the dogs out?

Movie Clip:

That's a funny question. So, whoever came up with that hook was a genius in that moment.

Movie Clip:

Who do I think let the dogs out? I would say Anslem and [Ozzy inaudible 00:23:04] let the dogs out.

Movie Clip:

Well, I would say Anslem and myself and maybe Patrick and Leroy too, who knows? I don't know.

Movie Clip:

We did. We did.

Movie Clip:

I wrote Who Let the Dogs Out. I don't even have any of this stuff.

Movie Clip:

Jonathan.

Movie Clip:

Yes?

Movie Clip:

Who let the dogs out?

Movie Clip:

Woof woof.

Movie Clip:

So, Gregg?

Movie Clip:

Yes?

Movie Clip:

Who let the dogs out?

Movie Clip:

That's a great question. I let them out here. I let the dogs out.

Movie Clip:

I did. I let them out and when I want them back, they're coming to me.

Movie Clip:

We did it. We did. We let the dogs out and they took it and ran with it.

Movie Clip:

We let the dogs out. Yeah.

Aly Kelly:

I don't think anyone's lying. My genuine thought is everyone who we interviewed genuinely thinks that they let the dogs out and I respect that. I think that they all have their own truth and we're so lucky that we got to hear each of them and so in their own way they all let the dogs out. I'll leave it at that. No one's lying, I don't think.

Heather Grayson:

I like it.

Brent Hodge:

I'd go further too like, I think Steve Greenberg who got it to the Baha Men is a big part of this. He was Hansen's old manager. That guy's a hit machine. That guy can see and hear something and go, "Okay, this is going to be big." And I just think that, that's... those guys may have, everybody may have let the dogs out a little bit to their core group of people, either in Florida or part of the football team, but a guy like that took it to the masses and him and Gregg Greene, these people in the world, they made it global. So, I'd say those two guys.

Aly Kelly:

Oh yeah. As the dogs as we know it, Steve for sure had the biggest hand, I think. And the Gregg Greenes, yeah. It's awesome.

B.C. Wehman:

Absolutely.

Aly Kelly:

We thank them. We thank them for the ear worm.

B.C. Wehman:

Do we really though? Well, we thank them for you got a film but as the 20 years of hearing the woof woof response, do really thank them, right?

Heather Grayson:

And we definitely want to thank you for not only making this documentary. I never would've thought about Baha Men and Who Let the Dogs Out for longer than 12 seconds beyond three weeks ago. So, I just really appreciate the documentaries that you guys are putting out and I can't wait to hear about more.

Aly Kelly:

Oh, thank you.

Brent Hodge:

Thank you guys.

Aly Kelly:

It was fun, you guys.

B.C. Wehman:

Bye guys. Thank you very much.

Movie Clip:

All the good memories in your life have a song track and the soundtrack to our state championship football team was Who Let the Dogs Out.

Movie Clip:

(singing).

B.C. Wehman:

Behind the Doc is produced by Evergreen Podcast in association with Gravitas Ventures.

Heather Grayson:

Special thanks to executive producers, Nolan Gallagher and Michael DeAloia.

B.C. Wehman:

Produced by Sarah Willgrube.

Heather Grayson:

And audio engineer Eric Koltnow.

B.C. Wehman:

And you'll find us everywhere and anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast.

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