RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Doghöuse, a popular Ridgewood rock cover band , is sending a message with its name.   For one thing, it fits.

“I have a wife and two daughters. There’s no way I’m not in trouble all the time,” said Jim Marussich of Ridgewood, the one remaining founding member.  

But why the umlaut over the second "o"?  Marussich says his wife’s favorite band is Mötley Crüe. “Plus, we thought the umlaut would add a little rock ’n’ roll edge,” he said. “We are edgy.”

Doghöuse didn’t start its life as the high-energy bar band it is now. Today the group plays once a month , rotating its gigs among five Bergen restaurants and pulling in 50 to 70 people for some of its shows. Five years ago, though, the three original members were Ridgewood dads who met through their daughters, who all attended Willard Elementary School in the village. They formed “Willard Dads Live” and performed fundraising shows. Marussich, who works in cyber security and always loved music, stretched the truth a bit when he told the school he had a band. What he had was three guys jamming in the basement. And no vocals. He taught himself to sing.

The following year, Doghöuse landed its first gig at Smith Brothers restaurant on North Broad Street. It caught on.

Today the band features Marussich on lead vocals and guitar, John Santuoso of Ridgefield Park on bass guitar, and Vic Gratta of Warwick, N.Y. on percussion. Doghöuse consistently draws friends and family members to its shows as well as a general audience. “Every show is like a mini high school reunion for me,” said Marussich, who graduated from Ridgewood High School.

He attributes the band’s success – measured in good times, not good money – in part to its surprise factor. Because the musicians are in their late 40s and early 50s, people expect them to only play the 1970s music of their youth. “We play stuff that’s brand new to the stuff of the 2000s, ’90s, ’80s, and ’70s,” Marussich said. “We do a lot of Green Day, Blink-182, Matchbox Twenty, newer bands. We hold the young people.”

Doghöuse also stays true to its roots by playing local free gigs, including Ridgewood Unplugged and Music in the Night, a summertime series of The Ridgewood Guild.

The band plays The Office and Steel Wheel Tavern in Ridgewood, Blue Moon Mexican Café in Wyckoff, The Doghouse Saloon and Grill in Washington Township, and The Orange Lantern in Paramus.

 Lorraine Ash, Daily Voice (Dec 08, 2016)

“BEING IN THE DOGHOUSE IS NOT something most men would be proud to admit. But for James Marussich and his buddies Mark Ellis and John Santuoso, it’s definitely something worth bragging about. By day, they’re mild-mannered guys with “real” jobs. By night, they become Doghouse, the Ridgewood-based rock ‘n’ roll band that’s been entertaining the village since last summer. MAIN STREET: How’d you put this band together? JAMES: My daughter and Mark’s daughter attend Willard School together. Back in 2010 they went trick-or-treating, and when Mark dropped my daughter off, I showed him a photo of myself dressed up as Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. I told him I played, and he mentioned he was a drummer. The next thing you know, we’re forming a band! Where’d the name come from? It’s simple. Guys are always “in the doghouse” with their wives! [Laughs]”
-- SABRINA STEYLING - Main Street Magazine

“N.J. rocker-dads are in the 'Doghouse' MYFOXNY.COM - Some New Jersey dads met because their daughters go to school together. Then on a whim, they decided to form a band. They're becoming quite popular. By day these guys are just regular suburban dads with corporate jobs. By night, Jim Marussich, Brian Marra, and Mark Ellis are Doghouse, a popular rock band based out of Ridgewood, New Jersey. The band formed about a year ago. Their first gig ever was on Father's Day, which was fitting considering that they all met through their young daughters. Since then they've performed in front of several live audiences. While these dads are clearly having a blast fulfilling their lifelong dreams they now hope, that by their example, their daughters will do the same. The dads aren't quitting their day jobs just yet. But they do have several gigs lined up, so you just never know.
LIDIA UJKAJ, Fox 5 News Reporter, Fox 5 News

“For Jim Marussich, Mark Ellis and Brian Marra, the doghouse isn't necessarily where husbands are banished because they forgot a wedding anniversary. While that place might very well exist in their private lives, the Ridgewood trio usually associates the term with something they're proud of. Their "doghouse" is actually Doghöuse, the moniker given to their suddenly-successful cover band that has recently made waves with the local coffeehouse crowd as well as Ridgewood's younger music lovers. Boasting a set list that caters to Led Zeppelin loyalists and to today's Green Day fanatics, the group has something for just about everyone.”
DARIUS AMOS, Ridgewood News
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