Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dog and Trumpet - Coventry Music Venue

Pete Clemons with yet another article in the Coventry Telegraph, this time looking at the former Coventry Bier Keller turned New Wave cellar bar pub / music venue The Dog and Trumpet.

Hot Snacks (Previously known as Machine) were a Coventry ska band with Ex Specials drummer Silverton / replaced by ex Wandering John drummer Jim Pryal / bassis Ollie Oliver aka Doc Mustard / Mike Collins / Julian Bell / Jackie / Simon Finch / Tony Clarke. 
This Coventry ska band c 1978 - 81 is not to be confused with the later Tyneside band with a similar name but with a different spelling of Snacks ie Snax!

EMF were another Coventry ska band who played the Dog and Trumpet c 1979, led by Tony (Mojo) Morgan. Anti Bellum and the B side One Way Girl.

21 Guns Coventry ska band c 1980 / 81 could also be heard at the Dog and Trumpet along with so many more. Tracks 21 Guns b/w Ambition Rock Neville Staples Shack Label 1981 Line up Gus Gary 'Judge' Chambers (Vocals)Trevor Evans (Keyboards) Johnny Rex (Drums) Kevin Turner (Bass) Stuart Maclean (Guitar) - Single on Neville Staples Shack label.

This is a promo for the Leeds Bier Keller to give a flavour of the former Coventry one before the venue changed.

Memories of the Dog and Trumpet c1978 / 81 from Trev Teasdel

EMF and The Dog and Trumpet
" I never went to this venue while it was the Bier Keller but by 1979 ish it had become the Dog and Trumpet (otherwise known by its colloquial and un-politically correct name, The Dog and Strumpet!). On my first visit, I was walking with friends through Broadgate, towards the Dog when we bumped into Tony Morgan (now known as Mojo Morgan). Tony was an old friend, and I'd worked with him 9 years earlier when he was bass player with The Mick Green Blues Band. I'd written some lyrics for the band and Tony had set to music at least one of the lyrics - The Elusive Metallic Idol. However the band split up before it was tried out. Our conversation was mostly about Mick Green who sadly was suffering  a stress related illness and was no longer playing music. Tony was excited about a new band he was forming EMF (Electro-Motive Force) which would be a Ska band but with blues bass lines. He invited me to write some songs for the new band and I went up to his flat a few days later to discuss it. I wrote two songs Saturday Night (inspired by a fight outside the Dog and Trumpet) and With Someone Nice Like You (inspired by a female friend I met at the Dog and Trumpet). As time went by Tony got two girl singers for the band who wrote their own material and the band took off. I went to quite a few of their gigs and got the job of getting everyone dancing. Later they had a track on the Battle of the Bands album which also was a single (see the youtube above). I remember the band eventually playing the Dog and Trumpet and I helped them take the amps out to the van, parked at the rear of the Dog and Trumpet. John Bradbury was helping too we had to laugh when he addressed Tony as 'Two Tony'!

Sniff n the Tears and the Dog and Trumpet

Around the same time Ron Lawrence came over to me one night to tell me about his new band Sniff n the Tears. I'd also met Ron about 8 or 9 years earlier when he was bass player for a folk rock band called April who practiced at the Umbrella Arts Club. I used to let them in to the building to practice and watch the band doing great covers of  James Taylor and Fairport Convention songs along with their own. Ron and Loz Netto (lead guitar) had both joined the band and made the single Drivers Seat above). It seemed at the time that many of the musicians in Coventry were beginning to get the breaks they'd been waiting for, for a long time. Ron went on to be a session musician and has since toured and recorded with the Kinks, playing bass on Come Dancing. I think Ron and Loz they had been down in London for a while playing in a band called Moon.

Hot Snacks at Dog and Trumpet
Another band enjoying a great following was Hot Snacks (who began as Machine and had a ska track on the Sent From Coventry album 1970 called Character Change) (the youtube is above). I was at the Butts Tech with the bass players girlfriend Gill, both of us doing an A level in Economic History. Gill told me about Ollie's band and urged me to come to some of the gigs. I'd met Ollie (aka Doc Mustard) in 1974 while running Hobo Magazine. I used to type the magazine at the Sunshine Music Agency in Gulson Road and Ollie was always popping in. At the time he was in a band called Pug-Ma-Ho (later changing the name to Smack). As with EMF I went to a lot of their gigs. Silverton (former drummer with the Specials) was the drummer later replaced by Jim Pryal whose first gig with them was at the Dog and Trumpet. The gigs at the Dog were always exciting, packed out and lively. The Dog was one of the best music venues in Cov in the late 70's and 80's. It seemed that anybody who was anybody was there.

The Selecter
Another memory from 1979 was of Neol Davies. Once again I'd known Neol since 1969, at the Umbrella Club. Back then he had the longest hair in town and played or guested with a range of bands, from Asgard, Cat's Grave, Mead, Chapter Five, Transported Men over the last 10 years. In 1977 I worked with Neol for a Temping agency, Neol would pick me up in his band van at some unearthly hour and we'd go off to Daventry to do some warehousing work at Greenshield Stamps. In the front of the van was a photograph of  Chapter Five, a band started by Charley Anderson, with whom Neol was guesting with at the time. It was the same year that he recorded the Selecter track recorded by Roger Lomas (the selecter / Bad manners producer) on  a 4 track Teac Tascam in 1977 that later appeared on the B side of Gangsters. Fast forward - I'd just seen Selecter live at the Lanch Poly in 1979, prior to the release of On My Radio. Not long after I met Neol in the Dog and Trumpet. On My Radio had been released and I mentioned to Neol that the staff agency had got him a good job this time! He wasn't amused and his reply was priceless but unrepeatable! 

The Selecter - B side of Gangsters written by Neol Davies featuring John Bradbury and recorded in 1977 by Roger Lomas.

By now, with Two Tone assailing the charts and other bands gearing up for success, it was getting hard to talk to long standing musician friends without appearing to be sycophantic. I tended to shy away from the crowds after they became well known. The Dog and Trumpet however truly reflected the new Coventry music scene of thriving new bands, many of whom got to make records and toured outside of Coventry. It was an exciting period.

Bad Manners Roger Lomas tells us " Bad Manners played at the Dog & Trumpet to absolutely jam packed audiences on two occasions in 1980. Both times, they were 'warm up' gigs for their first two album promotional tours. Both of Bad Manners first two albums were recorded at Horizon Studios in Coventry.  I produced all four of Bad Manners 'hit' albums. The first two ('Ska'n'B' & 'Loonee Tunes') at Horizon Studios in Coventry, and the second two ('Gosh It's....' and 'Forging Ahead') at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth" 

Folk Band
About that time, I was also in a band. I'd been jamming with Andy Cairns since 1975 when i was running the Hobo Workshop gigs at the Holyhead Youth Centre and the Golden Cross. Andy began playing lead guitar in rock bands and developed in to jazz funk, playing for a brief moment in 1975 with Horace Panter in a jazz rock outfit that  I knew as Ricky's Band. (Can't recall if they had an official name). They played for us at the Hobo Workshop when it moved to the Golden Cross. I was developing my calw picking techniques and writing new songs around them. Andy began experimenting with some of these folk forms, combining it with jazz rock developments and lead. In 1979 we formed a new band which focused on my songs but with Pentangle and other covers. It was an acoustic band although Andy did plug his acoustic guitar in! Although acoustic our one sop to the venue came when Andy skanked up my song Mrs Stress and Strain. Andy's former bass player Martin Smallwood swopped his bass guitar for an upright string bass. Martin roadied for selecter at that time, using his father's long wheelbase van and Selecter's equipment was stored in his father's unit underneath the railway bridge at Holbrooks, where we practiced. Desmond Brown would sometimes pop in the while we were practicing to collect a bit of equipment. What a nice guy he was, always polite and friendly. We'd often end up in the Dog and Trumpet at the weekend. Our music was a far cry from what was going down but we enjoyed being different even though we loved all the ska stuff. The band never got to the gigging stage though. Andy went off to Aberystwyth to do his phd and i went to teesside to do my BA. Before we both left Coventry in 1980, Nick Davies popped round to Andy's, while we were jamming. Nick had been commissioned to produce the graphics for the Specials Illustrated Song book (seen in the video below). Nick showed us drafts of some of the cartoon pages for the book. They were very impressive and he obviously had been working night and day on them. Nick offered to draw us into one of the cartoons but as a skin head but we it wouldn't been too flattering! Although it has nothing to do with Dog and Trumpet, the book was a masterpiece of  design and we got to see the rough drafts - in fact Nick was making alterations as he talked to us.

Although I left Coventry in october 1980, in the midst of Coventry's finest moment musically, I often frequented the Dog and Trumpet on visits back home. By 1983, as I was completing my degree, the atmosphere had changed in Coventry. The bubble had began to burst. I stood with Ollie at the Dog and Trumpet bar. Hot Snacks had split up and later i went on with friends to the Oak and Roddy Radiation sat at our table. the Specials had split up and Roddy was back working as a painter and decorator. The split in the Specials had obviously got to him but he was already forming his own band.

The Dog and Trumpet (along with other important music venues) had played host some of Coventry's finest band and provided an atmosphere place to listen to music and socialise, make contacts and drink beer."

1 comment:

  1. Great read ! Loved the DT back in early 80s. Makes me emotional thinking about it now.