The BBC CDR direct from the master tapes of the Peel session, now meticulously remastered. For you.
As a Brighton schoolboy in the 1950's Gary Turner
was head chorister and soloist at St Peters, Brighton
Parish church, also attending The Royal School of Church Music at Addington Palace
(near Croydon) before the first
of three musical seductions – skiffle – claimed him for its
own and in his mid-teens he played a tea-chest bass with
other like-minded mates around town.

By the time art school beckoned, (early 1960s) he moved
on to jazz, performing at local events playing his own hand-made instrument
vaguely based on a euphonium.
This bizarre musical sculpture was the first
of a series of such inventions.

As the decade glided into the era of crushed velvet,
mind-expanding substances and all things flower,
Gary attended a seminal gig on Brighton pier by the
Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd (1967) - the second of
those crucial musical seductions.

Chatting to the band after the gig, Syd handed a
sugar lump to Gary who began tripping for the first time.
This inspired him to join a group himself, which
after a few years and line-up changes resulted in
High Time
, with Dave Owen on guitar.

Favouring the West Coast sound from the States,
High Time were the vehicle for Gary’s next
innovative idea, an electric violin created by
grafting the neck of a guitar onto the body of a violin.

Meanwhile in London, Doug Potter had also toyed with
skiffle, finding his way on rudimentary guitar in various
line-ups, invariably led by his twin brother.

In the early sixties Doug was a big fan of bands such as
The High Numbers, Georgie Fame And The
Blue Flames and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
He began concentrating properly on the guitar when
moving to Sussex University in Brighton during
Autumn 1965 before eventually returning to the capitol
in the late sixties, when, inspired by the music of
Roland Kirk, he invested in a saxophone.

In 1972 Doug moved back to Brighton, got a
daytime job and continued to play music at
parties and other social functions until 1976,
when following a chat with friends at work one
day he was introduced to Gary Turner through
their mutual pal Dave Owen, who worked
alongside Doug.

High Time had split up around this period,
aided and abetted by Gary’s third and most
incendiary of those musical seductions
mentioned earlier: seeing the Sex Pistols.

In the glum aftermath of a divorce, Doug Potter
felt it was time to get something going, musically,
and stamp an indelible impression on the world.

He and Gary got on well immediately, and although
Doug had tentatively written a few songs at this stage,
they played covers (mostly Lou Reed songs).

They were joined on drums by Gary’s pal from art
school Charlie Zuber, a talented artist who worked
at Sussex University, and gigged locally as Jetslag,
rehearsing in Gary’s sculpture studio in Brighton.

Charlie Zuber had always wanted to be in a band
but apart from mucking about with school friends,
was his first gigging group.
His influences musically were such gifted sticksmen
as Charlie Watts and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’
Charlie Charles.

With Charlie as his first name, Mr Zuber could
surely do no wrong!

Gary with one of his inventions, mid-sixties

Jetslag on stage at the Buccaneer, Brighton, pre-new wave
The band’s name was briefly changed to
just The Slags, under which a handful of live dates
went ahead – but something was amiss: Dave hated
punk and wanted to contribute his own material,
which was still heavily West Coast-inspired and
unsuitable for 1977.
The other three were forced to give him
the heave-ho, after which Doug suggested the
name The Dodgems, because:
‘it was a self-deprecating thing really,
we weren’t very good to begin with,
so I thought of the opposite thing to
groups who were named after flashy,
vast motors, The Cadillacs,
The Fabulous Thunderbirds and so on.
Also we lived in Brighton so of

course the fun fair, end-of-the-pier
type thing was relevant too.’

The newly-christened Dodgems were
now a three-piece, rehearsing in the Vault
under the Resource Centre in Brighton
alongside other seminal local punk outfits such
as Smeggy And The Cheesy Bits,
Nicky And The Dots and The Piranhas,
who they became friendly with.

Gary and Doug ditched the cover versions
and began writing more direct material.

When in conversation with Rick Blair who
worked at the Resource Centre they heard of
his plans to put together a self-funded
compilation album of the best Brighton
punk bands based in the Vault on his own label,
Attrix Records.

Rick invited the Dodgems to take part
and in late 1978 they recorded four tracks
at the Paul Milo Studios in Brighton –
basically a front room with mattresses on
the walls for sound proofing.

Two songs were featured on the
Vaultage 78’ LP, Charlie Zuber’s hilarious
‘I Don’t Care’ and Doug’s creepy classic,
Lord Lucan Is Missing.’

When John Peel played this track to death on
his globally-popular radio show, the group knew
they had to get a keyboard player to flesh out
the sound and duly advertised in the local paper
and following a good deal of auditioning they
acquired Paul Birchall in the process.

The group recorded five tracks in
Archipelago Studios in London during
April 1979 from which Attrix released
‘Science Fiction’ and ‘Hard Shoulder’
as a single towards the end of the year.
The Dodgems made many memorable
live appearances, some supporting
the Piranhas.

Peel asked them for a session, and on
November 6th 1979 they recorded four
tracks at the BBC’s Maida Vale studio
with eminent Eighties new wave
producer Bob Sargeant in charge
of the sound.

The results were fantastic; with Peel so
impressed he included a repeat of the
session amongst his favourite of that year.

Gary Turner

Doug Potter and Gary Turner

Charlie Zuber on drums, Gary Turner looking mean and nasty!

Gary, giving it some.

Doug Potter

Paul, Doug and Gary. Apologies about the bizarre contrast problem.

Gary, in mid-flow.

Gary's bizarre violin guitar

A rare photo of The Dodgems in their rehearsal arch in the vault, Brighton
Then came an offer for a one-off single for
Criminal Records in London.
They wanted the band to re-record ‘Lucan,’
which they duly did, the session produced by
the infamous Jonathan King, no less.

This was a considerable success, hitting
number two in the NME independent
charts in July 1980.

The Dodgems continued with a series of
recording sessions between May and November
1980 at studios in Luton, Sussex and London.

At this point Charlie Zuber had a golden
opportunity to emigrate to Fiji and a job
with excellent prospects and he decided this
was a better choice than the insecurities of life
with a punk band in the UK.

But before anything further could be done with
any of the recordings they had amassed towards
the end of 1980, Criminal Records, true to
their name, went bankrupt and the group were
left high and dry, splitting up (during 1981) and
going their separate ways as punk became
post-punk and then transformed into
the bland pap of New Romanticism.

27 years later, whilst looking through a
pile of master tapes at the Brighton home of
Attrix Records co-founder Julie Blair
in order to root out unissued tracks for
downloadable mp3s on Phil Byford’s
superb punkbrighton website,
I stumbled across the original tape of
the Archipelago session and realised
there were a number of outtakes that
had never been heard by anyone
apart from the group.

Via email I contacted Doug Potter who
gave me access to all their material.

On listening I discovered the tracks to be
sublime new-wave pop liberally sprinkled
with fantastic melodies, glistening guitars and
witty lyrics.

Discussions with the group (again via email)
resulted in the agreement that I would
remaster everything, which was a long process
but a labour of love.

You are now looking at a webpage
containing the result of this work.

In retrospect, the music on this page proves
beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Dodgems,
as a studio band, could more than hold their
own with the Piranhas and the Chefs as one
of the major Brighton new wave acts.

- mr. obscure,

February 2012

If you want to get in touch, please email
mr. obscure
pal stuart jones at stuart.jones40@ntlworld.com

Doug Potter onstage

Doug and Gary lay down some vocals

Doug and Paul in conference. The bearded bloke might well be Dave Dade, engineer on the session.

Gary Turner sings!

Charlie Zuber, pounding the shit out of his drumkit

Paul and Doug get in tune

Charlie and Gary grab a quick paper cup of tea inbetween takes

Doug Potter and Gary Turner

Paul Birchall

Charles Zuber, esquire, overdubbing the beat

Doug and Gary putting down vocals. This shot was taken from inside the mixing-room.

From an interview in the American magazine Rolling Stone, 1980. Macca is a fan.

At Quest studios, Luton, with Charlie Charles (far right)

At Quest Studio, Luton, 1980

L - R: Doug, Paul and Gary putting down a backing-track. Quest studio, Luton, 1980

Charlie Zuber in more recent times

Doug Potter and Charlie Zuber, these days
mr. obscure would like to
thank Phil Byford for his
support, advice and invaluable
source material.

A tip of the cap also goes to the
four Dodgems for the audio tracks,
their permission to do all this and
for additional source material.

If you would prefer a proper
CD release
of these Dodgems
recordings, a small fee is required.

A beautifully-packaged official best of
compilation CD is available for purchase
at http://www.punkbrighton.co.uk/
which is the home of Phil's awesome
punkbrighton website, where you'll
also find more stuff about The Dodgems
and all the other Brighton punk groups
(not to mention shitloads of mp3s
for free download).

This sleeve, as well as those of the two Dodgems singles, was designed by Charlie Zuber

poker online

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