Staying Out For The Summer?

Dodgy are back! A collective desire for that pesky and sometimes illusive festival vibe can be thanked for the band’s reunion. The desire is so strong, even original keyboard player Richard Payne (&guitarist) is flying over from his home in Australia to join fellow original members Nigel Clark (vocals/bass), Andy Miller (guitar) and Mathew Priest (drums) on the upcoming tour. It all kicks off this November with a new beginning bringing closure to a decade spent apart.

Mathew kindly took some time out to answer a Dodgy fans questions.

In order to reveal some of the true Dodgy spirit and attitude, I chose to reflect upon the good old days and to re-live a tale or two from back then, their hectic heyday!

AS: You’ve always played the music game your way haven’t you? Wasn’t there once a Playstation fight between record label bosses to sign you that eventually saw the loser actually win because of your cunningly hidden hatred of computer games?

MP: Wow! How things get warped! There’s a McDonalds in Haslow that used to be great pub and they had an Italia ’90 video game in there. We’d arranged for Virgin and BMG publishers to come along for a chat. It eventually lead to a bidding war that we wanted no part of. In comes the football!

Anyway, Virgin beat BMG 1-0 before speeding off in victory. Mr. BMG stuck around and after humbly admitting defeat, went on to reveal his love of the band and his heartfelt wish to get us on board. As he was so down to earth, we gave him the deal. That’s what happened there, though I do prefer the tale you tell! And, in ultimate irony, Virgin went on to buy out BMG and of course, any Dodgy dealings in the process, so Virgin lost the battle but won the war!

AS: I can still remember getting excited waiting for a free concert in Werneth Park, Oldham, where you surprisingly agreed to play around 1996. There’s an obvious love for playing live that’s always been behind the Dodgy work ethic that’s now it’s brought you guys back together again, so I guess the magic’s still there, is it?

MP: I guess we’ll have to wait and see! When Nigel left as we were just hitting our peak, we were all, understandably, a bit sore. But that’s all in the past and forgotten. We’ll just take it step by step and see where we end up, though the same old bond is there and it’s strengthened somehow too. There are good times ahead for sure!

As for the Werneth Park show, that I think Clint Boon helped arrange, that was great. We broadcast the chart show live to the audience as it announced our hitting the charts, straight in at #4. We then played the song live and it was magic.

AS: You had a pretty sweet show at Glastonbury ’95. I remember you abandoning your kit mid-song to encourage the crowd to clap and go crazy! Have you guys aged gracefully or gone a bit further off the deep end?

MP: Yeah I remember that too! And my bright yellow Hawaiian shirt! It was ‘Staying out for the summer’. Have we aged gracefully? Personally speaking I’d have to say disgracefully! We’re all better musicians given the work we’ve been doing (separately) with Icicle Works, Electric Soft Parade, Lightning Seeds and particularly Hey Gravity who toured places as distant as Croatia.

So that’s a taster of what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been going about it! What does their future hold?

AS: So, enough about the past! Your reunion performance was filmed and dare I say, perilously put on MySpace. Took quite a chance there didn’t you?

MP: We originally went for a photo shoot and an acoustic guitar was brought along. To our amazement, there were no high resolution photos from the old days. They must’ve vanished along with our fan base! Anyway, our photographer filmed us playing our ‘off the cuff’ jam and that’s what you can see on our site. Was it risky? No, not really, it’s not that much of a big deal, just a casual get together.

AS: Have you found any support acts for your upcoming tour yet? Can I report any exclusive news from the competition you’ve been running on MySpace?

MP: Actually you can! Birmingham & Manchester will see Misty’s Big Adventure. Liverpool & Sheffield will see Amsterdam. Bristol will see Electric Soft Parade and I’m unsure on Glasgow. Oh, Hey Gravity and The Lancashire Hotpots will be with us in Manchester too. The competition continues on our MySpace site to win a support slot for our London Shepherds Bush gig. Get on there and get nominating and voting amongst you.

AS: You’ve all been involved with other music projects since you last entertained the spotlights. What did you guys gain from working apart from each other?

MP: It’s great fun! I’ve worked with Ian McNabb who pulled stunts like playing not only unrehearsed songs but unknown songs, mid concert, in front of our eager crowd. He said we were gonna play Neil Young or Buffalo Springfield, assuring me that it was easy and not to worry! Scary stuff, but fun! Electric Soft Parade are total opposites though. They could hear a note dropped three miles away. It’s all fantastic experience.

AS: Dodgy have never been shy about their substance (ab) use. Many influences are listed on you’re MySpace site as well as in your music. With Class ‘A’s lowering in availability and quality, what do you guys do for a buzz these days? Is this gonna be a ‘Green’ project?

MP: Ha! I think tolerance takes away from the quality but yeah, you’re right, you don’t get the good stuff you used to get. I tend to favour the fresh country air these days, though I suspect that when we get at it again, the ‘chemistry’ will be flowing once more! There will always be good times!

AS: The music scene’s changed a lot too! Have you any particular favourite acts or acts you like to aim at with your sniper rifle?

MP: Bands I like of late include Misty’s Big Adventure and all of the previously mentioned bands. I saw a great band at the Green Man Festival called Connon & The Mockasins. They were real good. As for bands I dislike, well, there are so many! So many bands that have got that fame hungry, X-factor glint in their eye. It’s just empty conveyor belt music.

AS: What’s been your career high or low?

MP: Being in a band offers up so many highs and I wouldn’t like to take away any magic from any of them by rating them behind one another. A particular low sticks in my mind though. We (Electric Soft Parade)agreed to play a Motocross gig on the Isle of Wight. We got there to find it was a long weekend of unsigned bands with no food or drink, playing through a crappy P.A to a crowd of bike fanatics who really didn’t care who or what was playing! We lasted two of the three days before we escaped.

AS: Octobers forthcoming ‘How Dodgy were the BBC 1991 – 1997’ LP, any comments?

MP: Yeah. It’s a 2CD set for a tenner! Absolute bargain! There’s some great stuff on there even for unsure listeners. Disc 1 is session stuff and disc 2 is live stuff. I honestly can’t remember doing some of it! Highlights for me are Elephant from1997 and Sylvia’s bedroom. It’s gathered from an amazing amount of recordings saved from our glory days.

Thanks for your time Mathew; it’s good to have you back!

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