“Hot Rocks”: Doug & the Slugs’ “Making It Work” was a hilarious hymn to erectile dysfunction

By on July 20, 2017

This special NSFW presentation of the world premiere of the Playboy Channel’s “Hot Rocks” originally debuted on “Night Flight” on Friday, July 15, 1983.

It featured rarely-seen music uncensored videos which were notable for having a little partial or full-frontal NSFW nudity, including Canadian bar band Doug & the Slugs’ relatively tame video for “Making it Work.”

The video — which features the band members appearing as Helping Hands Sexual Therapists in a hilarious hymn to erectile dysfunction and male performance problems — and the rest of the sex-themed videos in this episode of “Hot Rocks” are in our Featured section, which you can find over on our Night Flight Plus channel!


Lead singer/guitarist Doug Bennett — born on Halloween Day in 1951 — moved from Toronto, Ontario, across the Canadian tundra to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1973, and soon began working as a graphic artist and editor for Vancouver’s The Georgia Straight, Canada’s largest lifestyle and entertainment urban alt-weekly for the past nearly 50 years.


Doug Bennett

Four years later, in 1977, he founded Doug & The Slugs, along with with Steve Bosley (bass), John Burton (guitar) and John “Wally” Watson (drums).

As they gained popularity on the British Columbian coast, they began to add additional members, including Simon Kendall (keyboards) and Richard Baker (guitar).


Bennett looked like your average Joe Shmoe-kinda dude, like the kind of guy who wouldn’t look too out of place working some kind of glum blue collar job during the day… the kind of guy who’d kicked around a bit and occasionally been knocked down by the hand he was dealt in life.

At night, though, he’d also be the same kind of guy who went from self-mocking to self-rockin’, belting out a few bluesy R&B songs while belting back a few bourbons, letting the good times roll for one more night on the town before headin’ home for to sleep it off before getting up the next to punch that fucking clock one more time.


Right from the start the Vancouver-based sextet were designed by Bennett to be a light-hearted R&B and rock ‘n’ roll revue combo, similar to Huey Lewis & the News (or maybe Joe “King” Carrasco or NRBQ), the kind of band you’d see with the frontman in the cool blazer sweating up a storm onstage, standing next to the keyboard player or sax man who was usually wearing the crazy dark sunglasses indoors.


Bennett once described his band as sounding like “Neil Diamond on acid,” but we’d venture to guess they were a lot more funny than a Diamond-on-LSD trip would probably be.

Let’s call it brainy party rock, with a little bit o’ attitude and a lot of rockin’ soul.


Their sound was also similar, in some ways, to British pub rock, which always had a kind of wise-guy sensibility. Pub rock had been around for quite a while, but it was made more popular in the U.S. with late 70s releases by Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Elvis Costello’s rockin’ bands.

Read more about Doug Bennett and his band the Slugs below.

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Throughout the rest of the ’70s and into the 1980s, Bennett and the band built a solid, loyal following by playing as often as they could, never taking themselves too seriously, always accentuating the fun side of rock ‘n’ roll in their perennial natural pursuit of good times and fun gigs.

The band initially had a lot of problems getting booked into regular rock ‘n’ roll clubs, however, because of their name, which is why singer Doug Bennett (who did the band’s booking at first) ended up getting them their first big gigs in places like Vancouver’s Japanese Hall or Oddfellows Hall.


A natural showman, Bennett never turned down a good opportunity to promote the band any way he could, which is one reason why they ended up doing corny local TV commercials for characters like Harry Hammer, a furniture salesman whose Vancouver store advertisements noted that nearly everything they sold was “Nine Ninety Nine!”

Bennett worked out a promotion to have Doug & the Slugs appear in his furniture commercials, and Harry Hammer appeared on the band’s posters for their gigs at the local Commodore Ballroom, which offered up special discount ticket prices of, you guessed it, “Nine Ninety Nine!” ($9.99, not a bad price to see the Slugs).

There were other similar promotions, like the time they played the Commodore on a double bill with a band called 6 Cylinder for a show they called “The Last Upper,” which featured a poster with concert promoter Peter McCullock posing as Jesus and the band as his disciples.


As word of mouth about the wacky Doug & the Slugs started to spread, eventually club owners began to notice the band was attracting large crowds to their oddball shows. They relented and began booking the band into their own larger venues.


By the end of the 1970s, Doug & the Slugs were getting significant airplay in the Vancouver area, and soon they were charting nationally, on their way to becoming small-time superstars in their native country.

They began to drop down into the United States to play shows too, but found that there were issues with the band’s name there because a “slug” in America was a bullet, something you fired from your .45, in addition to being a gastropod mollusk with no outer shell.


Doug & the Slugs signed a worldwide recording deal with RCA Records in 1980, after having had considerable success in Western Canada with a hit single (“Too Bad”) on their own custom label, Ritdong, which RCA then released nationally, followed by a full-length album, Cognac And Bologna — that sounds like a lethal calorific combo to us — which arrived around mid-September of that year.

The debut album Doug & the Slugs with their first hit, “Too Bad,” and sold nearly 100,000 copies.

“Too Bad” was singled out for a 1981 Juno nomination for Single of the Year, and gained Doug Bennett a nomination for “Composer Of The Year.”

Cognac and Bologna would also receive a Juno nomination in 1981, for “Best Album Graphics” (Doug Bennett was the designer).


It wasn’t until percolatin’ yer-pecker’s-not-workin’ themed “Making It Work” single, however — a track from 1982’s Music For The Hard Of Thinking — that most of Canada and the U.S. began to take notice, which no doubt then led to their being nominated for a “Most Promising Group” Juno, even though they’d been playing together for six years by that point.

Eventually, the band began to put on their own annual outdoor dance event in Vancouver, called Slugfest, which was for many Canadians the party rock highlight event of the year.


Some of the Slugs came and went, but Doug continue to soldier on through it all, finding new Slugs to play with.

The band released a number of albums over the Eighties, including Wrap It! (1981),  Popaganda (1984), Tomcat Prowl (1988) (the title track was another solid Canadian hit for the band) and Tales from Terminal City (1992).


All total, of the band’s seven albums, six charted nationally in Canada.

A 1993 compilation, Slugcology 101: A Decade of Doug and The Slugs, features the band’s best loved hits.

Another of their more memorable videos was for one of those hits, “Who Knows How to Make Love Stay”:

In 1986, Bennett released his own solo album, Animato.

He also moonlighted as a professional actor, appearing most notably in John MacLachlan Gray’s stage play “Rock and Roll.”

He was also an accomplished filmmaker, too, writing and directing twenty-three music videos for Canadian bands such as Trooper, Headpins, Zappacosta and Images in Vogue, as well as videos for the Slugs themselves.


Doug & the Slugs officially disbanded in the late Eighties, but still managed to find reasons to get together to perform sporadically over the next fifteen years or so, until Bennett fell ill in 2004.

All that hard partyin’ caught up with Bennett and his liver, and a few weeks before turning 53, he fell into a cirrhosis-affected coma and died in a hospital in Calgary, Alberta, on October 16, 2004.


Weeks before his death, even though many of the original members of the group had gone their separate ways since the early ’90s, Doug Bennett continued touring with his most recent version of Doug & the Slugs.

Since 2009, some of the original Slugs (Richard Baker, Steve Bosley, John Burton, Simon Kendall, and Wally Watson) have continued on as Doug & the Slugs — even though now there is no one in the band named Doug — with a new lead frontman, Ted Okos.

You can still find them playing occasionally in Vancouver and in and around other Canadian towns, just keep an eye out for the guys onstage still having fun in their blazers and shades.

Be sure to check out our previous posts about some of the other sexy videos featured here — including Berlin‘s “Sex (I’m A…)” (the video that was considered “too hot for radio” at the time) and Wet Picnic‘s “He Believes” — and check out  the entire uncensored episode while you’re at it, where you’ll find Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film,” David Bowie‘s rarely seen “China Girl,” sexy videos by Queen, the Tubes, Marty Balin, Peter Godwin and more, more, more.

You’ll find the Playboy Channel’s “Hot Rocks” premiere over on Night Flight Plus!


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.