People from the era tell their stories.
» Tony Dodd
I thought a brief resume might be in order, to give you my background. I'm now 68, so when punk arrived I was almost middle-aged, aged 36 in 1977!
My first involvement with the Bristol music scene was joining a rock'n'roll group in 1958. ‘The Magnettes' were just moving from skiffle to rock'n'roll and they were looking for an electric guitarist. I played them the intro to Cliff's ‘Move it' and I was in! The group eventually became ‘Mike Tobin and the Magnettes', and we played the local venues until disbanding at the end of 1964.
I joined a group called ‘Johnny Slade and the Vikings' with whom I played in Germany for a few months and then joined the ‘Franklin Big Six' for a short time before moving to London to work. Through my job in London, I managed to find work in Seattle, USA, where I always fancied living. I stayed there for 3 years during which time I played in a band called ‘Burson Enterprise'.
I returned to England in April 1970 and immediately formed a trio playing at the ‘Dug Out' in Park Row, four nights a week (with Johnny Fisher ex Magnettes, and Tony Bird, now reunited with ‘The Fans'. I played in a country band based in Bath for a few years, until in 1976, we formed a trio called ‘Huggett' (with Pete Evans ex Magnette and Paul Huggett, now with ‘The Worried Men'). We were heavily influenced by ‘The Pirates' which family complimented punk music which was beginning to happen.
I started in the record business selling some of my own collection on Cannons Marsh Market, then Eastville Market. Meantime, I co-opened Revolver Records on the Triangle which was eventually sold to Mike Chadwick who started wholesaling as well as retailing. Meantime, I started a record stall in ‘Focus', Princess Victoria Street, Clifton under the name ‘Tony's Records', (not very original). After a year or so, I moved downstairs into a self-contained shop. It was at this time that we had a lot of boys and girls from local schools (Clifton College and La Retraite) come and shop and meet up. Although I was virtually a generation older than these kids, I befriended a lot of them who looked upon me as an older brother (or even a dad!). Basically, we spoke the same language.
I was never into the heavy punk music, but I used to sell it by the bucket load (mostly singles). However, the two bands that came into the shop mostly were ‘The Cortinas' and ‘Social Security', and I really liked their music because it was slightly more melodic and inventive. ‘The Cortinas' were formed at Clifton College, a very civilised bunch of lads, and achieved so much local success that they were signed up by CBS Records who released one album.
Another great band of lads were ‘Social Security', and we got along so well that when Simon Edwards came along, I said I'd be quite happy to invest some money into them making their first 4 track E.P. Simon came into the shop regularly, so that's how I became involved with the first ‘Heartbeat' release, but I never intended to be part of a record label as I was more interested in record retail.
In 1984, I moved the shop into a premises in Park Street together with two other businesses. The shop always had close connections to the local music scene, and at different times employed such luminaries as Gerard and John Langley (Blue Aeroplanes), Simon John of various bands and John Stapleton (well known DJ who's just opened his own shop). After extremely good times around '88 -92', I closed the shop in 1996 due to falling interest, and falling trade.
After the demise of 'Huggett', in the early 80's, I formed another trio called ‘Dodd's Army', which lasted a few years playing mostly pubs and social clubs. Then I joined another country band called ‘Western Union' before returning to my rock'n'roll roots. After a brief spell with ‘The Good Old Buffers, / an offshoot of ‘The Lozenges' and now ‘Los Yonquis', I joined an original rock'n'roll band, the ‘Bristol Comets', who reformed back in the 80's. Also, concurrently, I started a duo called ‘Bula Bula' with Andy Perrott (another Bristol Comet), and we are still playing to this day.
My best memories of Bristol Music are unfortunately nothing to do with punk or New Wave, but go back to the early 60's. In 1960 ‘The Comets' and Brian K Jones organised a concert at the Colston Hall ‘Groups Galore' featuring only Bristol groups, and it was a sell-out. Subsequently, these shows ran each year up to 1966 and it gave a chance to all the best groups to play on a big stage.
In the year 2000, I was involved in promoting the 40th anniversary of the original ‘Groups Galore' show featuring many of the original performers (a mixture of grey and bald heads). It was an unqualified success, and we ran similar shows in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Tony Dodd - May 2010