Indie band's hit song and video helping boost pet adoption

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From a dog's perspective, "every day is the best day of my life." And when a dog is adopted, that really may be the best day of the pet's life. Therefore, it's perfectly fitting that the music video for the hit song "The Best Day of My Life," by American Authors, stars an English bulldog.

The video shows a dog named Meaty, adopted from Georgia English Bulldog Rescue.

"We wanted to promote dog adoption," says Zac Barnett, lead vocalist for American Authors, a fledging indie pop/rock band. "Also, we thought it would be cool for that image of a dog licking up our lyrics."

Meaty, who played himself in the video, really was seeking a home and was adopted shortly after the shoot. Georgia English Bulldog Rescue has adopted out many other dogs since then due to the increased awareness generated by the video. You can watch it on YouTube or the American Authors website: http://www.weareamericanauthors.com. It's available for purchase on iTunes, as is the group's EP.

Perhaps due to the popularity of the video and song, the band may now be associated with animal adoption.

"That wouldn't be the worst thing," says Barnett. When asked about the idea of adopting out animals at concert venues while the band is on tour, Barnett said, "Yeah, man, maybe. We like doing these sorts of things."

Why did the band feature a Bulldog and not a Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, or other breed?

"I don't know, it just seemed right," says Barnett. "And, hey, who doesn't love English Bulldogs? They're freakin' adorable." Barnett says he likes the breed's "smashed-in face look," perhaps because he grew up with a Pug. It's the look of a dog who ran into a drum set head first.

"Exactly," Barnett says with a laugh.

While the video helped launch "The Best Day of My Life," the song is clearly a hit on its own, which took the band by surprise.

"It was put together (using) pieces of five other songs," says Barnett. "At first, we said, 'This isn't ever going to work.' But then we figured out we might have something special. Still, I can't say we could have predicted it."

"The Best Day of My Life" was among the top-selling songs on iTunes in December. It was also featured on TV, performed by the final contestants on NBC's "The Voice" and as background music for a part of a year-in-review package on the "Today Show."

The members of American Authors met in 2007 at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. The group of classically-trained musicians eventually all moved to Brooklyn, New York, and formed the band in 2011.

Barnett explains the group's name: "You don't have to write books or newspaper stories to be authors; writing music counts, too." The name also reflects the group's geographic diversity. Barnett was raised in California and Minnesota; James Adam Shelley, on guitar and banjo, is from Florida; drummer Matt Sanchez hails from Texas; and Dave Rublin, bass, is a Jersey boy.

American Authors' press materials describe the members as "laid-back-dudes."

"I suppose, man, that's cool," says Barnett. "But I'd say, aside from our unique sound, what makes us different is how we interact with our fans. We personally reply to them in social media, and at shows all over the country. We love people."

Those same press materials describe the group's unique 4-part harmonies and the contagious optimism of their music.

"Is there anything wrong with a positive outlook?" Barnett says, but is quick to add that "we write based on how we feel, and based on the stories we tell. We can't always be in a good mood, you know."

You'd think the band -- which could make a run for the Best New Artists for 2014 awards show -- might travel with a dog, but it turns out the only member with a pet is Rublin, who has a cat named Froggy.

"But don't quote me on the spelling," says Barnett. "No one has ever asked to spell the cat's name."

Barnett concludes, "When I heard our video helped get dogs adopted, it was a great day."

(Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is http://www.stevedalepetworld.com; he also hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.)

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