BRITPOP survivors Dodgy are back on the road and Out in the Open for an acoustic tour from this month - and they’re looking for local musicians to support them at Arlington Arts Centre on June 11. Drummer MATHEW PRIEST tells CATRIONA REEVES why people should come to see them on a Wednesday.
CATRIONA REEVES: What's the idea behind your current Out in the Open tour?
MATHEW PRIEST: Nige [frontman Nigel Clark] has been running a regular open-mic night in his hometown in Worcestershire for the last few years and it's great fun. Packed every time, unpredictable with some seriously good talent - what's not to love?
We wanted to see if we could take the idea on the road, so we tested it out at our Borderline show in March in London and it worked really well so we're doing it on the road.
Obviously it can't work exactly like a standard open-mic where folk just turn up with a guitar and hope to play as we actually need to sell tickets, so we're auditioning potential acts beforehand. If you're successful then you get two songs; we're hoping for about five acts per show.
CR: Nigel left the band in 1997, but you reformed with the original line-up [Nigel, Mathew and guitarist Andy Miller] in 2008. More recently you gained a new band member [bassist Stu Thoy], and are recording a new album. Now you’ve been back together a few years, does it feel like you’ve ever been apart?
MP: Well the problem is that our memories are fading so it's more a case of not remembering that we were ever apart!
We're about three quarters of the way through recording the album, but we've had to take a break for this tour. We're really happy so far, it seems to be a bit heavier and more upbeat - that might be Stu's rock influence.
Writing and recording this new album has been particularly satisfying, I can't wait for folk to hear it. The boys have done good.
CR: Were you particularly keen to play Arlington Arts again after your 2012 date there? I was quite surprised - and chuffed, of course - as you are also coming to Reading on June 6!
MP: We had a great time in Newbury last time, so we thought we'd chance our arm again. We love playing gigs: we have such a laugh. It's not right, what we get up to, it really isn't!
CR: Apart from the forthcoming album release, have you got any exciting future plans coming up?
MP: Well it's the 20th anniversary of our Homegrown album this year and there's talk of some shows where we play it in full towards the end of the year [the band did similar shows for the anniversary of their debut, The Dodgy Album, last year]. But that's all it is at the moment - just talk. We're up for it: take a full band on the road; keyboards, horns, girls. And goats.
CR: Your Newbury show is on a Wednesday, which may mean that some potential audience members may take a bit of extra persuading to come along. Can you convince them to make the effort on a school night?
MP: The reason why we have some very suspect political parties and a climate of fear and blame is because we spend too much time at home on the computer and watching rubbish TV, and not enough time in each others’ company.
The good folk of Newbury need to come to the Dodgy show and feel the love you can only feel when you're in a room watching an awe inspiring, hilarious, spontaneous live show.
CR: Lastly, as you know, I have lyrics from one of your songs tattooed onto my shoulder [“We can be immortalised”, from Raggedstone Hill, a song on their 2012 album Stand Upright in a Cool Place]. It may be time for me to get another Dodgy tattoo... what should I have done, and where?
MP: My face on your face.
CR: Consider it done.
* Dodgy will be visiting Arlington Arts Centre on Wednesday, June 11 at 8pm. Tickets cost £16 from www.arlingtonarts.co.uk or telephone the box office on 01635 244246.
- First published in The Advertiser in May 2014