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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Singing from the same hymn sheet

BRITPOP band Dodgy are best remembered for their string of chart-friendly singles in the mid-90s. Drummer Matthew Priest tells KARL STEEL why he feels they have a point to prove.

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SOME might say that Britpop died with Blur’s demise early in the new millennium.

Throughout the 90s the charts were littered with indie pop bands; some of them had fleeting success (anyone remember The Boo Radleys or Menswear?), while others went on to become the biggest bands of the decade.

Somewhere in the middle were Dodgy.

Absolutely everyone remembers the songs Good Enough and Staying Out For The Summer when you hum them, but ask them to name the band and more than a few people will struggle.

But all of a sudden Britpop is back – Blur have reformed, Noel and Liam Gallagher’s new projects have more than a hint of Oasis about them, and even genre pioneers Suede look set to tour again. And Dodgy are back too.

The band’s drummer, Matthew Priest, however, argues that Britpop has always been with us.

“I don’t think it ever really went away as you had The Thrills, then Kaiser Chiefs, who just sounded very Britpop,” he says.

“But, then again, Britpop was just a regurgitation of sounds from an earlier age anyway, so you can’t really say what came first. Sam Cooke, he came first.”

When the genre started to become stale and repetitive, the record sales dried up and Dodgy effectively imploded, with fall-outs and line-up changes aplenty before they called it a day in 2001.

With the original line-up – completed by singer-bassist Nigel Clark and guitarist Andy Miller – no longer on speaking terms, nobody would have expected the Lazarus-like comeback of one of Britpop’s most under-appreciated talents.

The trio returned stronger than ever, and with the critically-acclaimed album Stand Upright in a Cool Place landing in February, Dodgy are hoping to prove a point to those who had written them off for good.

On Monday they arrive at Bootleggers in Kendal as part of their UK tour, and Matthew is looking forward to showing everyone what they have been missing.

“We weren’t talking for a few years, so getting back together wasn’t ever really on the cards,” he says.

“We’ve had to really make sure we were all singing from the same hymn sheet before we made this new record. There is no point being together unless we make each other laugh and inspire each other.

“We had everything to prove and nothing to lose.

“We never thought that we’d be as successful as before as so much has changed in the industry, but we knew we could make the best record of our career and we’ve proved we could do that.

“We always said that the hardest part in all this would be to convince the cynics.

“On our tour last year we went out and played the whole of the unreleased new album in full.

“It wasn’t easy but we reckoned that unless we shouted from the rooftops how good this record was then we couldn’t expect anyone else to do the same.

“It worked as well, our fans really took to it. But for this date in Kendal we will be mixing it up, old and new.

“Most of the more established bands seem to be milking their back catalogue, but it is a Bank Holiday, after all, and folk are going to want to sing and dance to tunes they know.”

Now you can put a name to those tunes – and if anyone’s not quite sure, point them in the direction of Bootleggers, in Finkle Street, Kendal, on Monday.

The show starts at 8pm and tickets are available on the door.

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