Dodgy headline Priory Park Festival

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Dodgy are looking forward to a date at this year’s Priory Park Festival, part of the 2017 Festival of Chichester.

As Mathew Priest says: “Festivals are where you are playing to a bunch of strangers that you want to make your friends!

“The big difference is that when you play an inside gig with people that have just come to see you, you have a bit more freedom with the set list because the audience knows you. They know what to expect and that they can sometimes expect the unexpected! But with a festival, you might be playing to a lot of people that have never seen you before. You are tailoring yourself to a festival set, and you will be going through a lot more of the hits if you are lucky enough to have had hits. You are not playing to your own crowd. You have got to win them over!”

But Dodgy have got plenty of experience in that respect: “Nigel and I moved down from Birmingham in 87-88, and we met Andy in 90. As soon as we got Andy, things started happening.

“I quite liked the 80s. There was a lot that was good going on, and I suppose indie started at the turn of the 80s. But the 90s was special because there was quite a lot of money around. There was a lot in the music industry, and labels were spending money on bands. There was a lot of optimism in the country.

“There were a lot of factors in Britpop, and one of them that gets overlooked was that Radio 1 was changing. They were clearing out the old guard. Matthew Bannister wanted to rebrand the station and as well as having the new DJs, the bands they had on the doorstep were Oasis and Blur and Dodgy. It was the fact that we got played so extensively. A lot of the 80s bands felt embarrassed about being big. You didn’t want to be successful. You just wanted to be indie, but then the Stone Roses came along and changed all that. Bands were suddenly wanting to be successful.

“It was fantastic. It was ridiculous. It was great fun. It is that old cliché about the whole whirlwind thing. You just went from studio to tour, and you didn’t really have a chance to take it in. It just happened.

“But the thing about us is that we didn’t just happen overnight. We released our first album in 93, pre-empting Britpop. It had a lot of radio play but didn’t really sell a lot, but the record companies invested in us for the second album which started to produce hits, but still not massive. We were still just under the radar, and then things went ballistic with the third album.

“We had built it up. We were expecting it. We were not arrogant, but we were very confident. We knew we were good. It was all a very natural progression, and in a way that was what killed us. It was just weird. We enjoyed the fight to get there. We enjoyed climbing up the ladder and then as soon as we got to the top, it was ‘Oh god, I am not sure I like this!’ And there were added pressures. People started hanging around you, and Nigel had two kids in quite quick succession, and his priorities changed a bit. He was not the guy going out.”

The result was a ten-year break, with the band getting back together again around nine years ago.

“It is different now. We are wiser. We can talk things through. We are doing it all ourselves. We are in charge of everything. We don’t have management, and it has been good…”

The Priory Park Festival runs on July 7, 8 and 9 in Priory Park, with Dodgy playing on the Saturday. Booking is open online: www.prioryparkfestival.co.uk.

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