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October 2011

AFTER rising to fame with Britpop anthems Good Enough, In A Room and Staying Out For The Summer, Dodgy slowly drifted off the radar. After a decade apart they’re back together and free of squabbles, says drummer Mathew Priest.
“If anyone is having a problem with their husband, just ditch him for ten years,” he laughs.
“It was a lack of communication. Nigel (Clark, singer and bassist) had two kids in quick succession during the mid-90s when it was all going crazy. And we didn’t understand what that was like. Andy (Miller, guitarist) was off with Denise Van Outen and Lisa Faulkner and I was off partying and what-not. We were enjoying the trappings of fame in London. And Nigel didn’t understand it. He didn’t like the fame part of it.”
After the split Priest played with Lightning Seeds, Electric Soft Parade and Ian McNabb before moving into band management.
Two years ago they got back together.
“It’s great now,” says Priest. “We’re wiser and we’re better at what we do. And after we’d done the nostalgia thing we started writing songs and thought ‘this is as good as it ever was’. And we think this new album is the best we’ve ever done.”
They’ll be playing tracks from Stand Upright In A Cool Place (out in January) and the hits at the Palace in Newark next week.
“In the early 90s I had a mate who lived in Newark and he ingratiated himself in the Nottingham music scene. I used to go up and visit him. A mate’s sister was at the university in Nottingham as well so I’d use the opportunity to see how far I could get with her,” he laughs. “I got as far as the pub. We used to go to the Arboretum, which was great.”

He adds: “There was a period of about a month while I was in between flats in London that I lived with my mate in Newark, so I got to know the place really well. He used to put bands on at places like the Narrowboat,” he says of the iconic pub demolished for the redevelopment of Castle Wharf. “It was a beautiful old pub, although the top floor where the bands played was an absolute bombsite. The only band I remember seeing there were the Screaming Marionettes. But I remember the lock-ins. It was the first time I’d ever witnessed one. So I’d go back down to London and say ‘Nottingham’s ace, you can drink until two in the morning!’”
He adds: “I remember we went to see Chubby Brown at the Palace Theatre and I thought at the time what a grand old theatre it was and how one day we could play there. At the time we’d just got the band together. And here we are. We played Rock City a few times but never Newark.”
Priest lives in a village west of Salisbury, so remote that his heating is oil fuelled. He’s just taken a delivery when I call.
“I took me a while getting used to it, moving here from London about eight years ago. I wasn’t fed up of the big city at all. We had a small boy and the missus made her mind up. Her mum and dad live out this way. So it was a case of arguing with her and staying in Stoke Newington with her in a mood or giving in.”
The first time he saw the house she’d chosen was the day he moved in.
“It took me two years to get used to it. It’s like a tanker. You can put the brakes on but it takes 50 miles to stop.”

Dodgy play the Palace Theatre in Newark on Thursday November 3. Tickets are £12 on 01636 655755.

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