MOST famously known and loved for their unforgettable and infectious hits like Good Enough, Indie band Dodgy were the fun-loving face of the 90s Britpop scene.

Featuring Redditch-born lead singer and bassist Nigel Clark, the band had a string of hits in the mid to late 90s, with their best-performing single Good Enough reaching number 4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1996.

Other well-loved hits included Staying Out For The Summer which reached number 19 and If You’re Thinking of Me, number 11.

They also enjoyed a gold-selling album with Homegrown, whilst Free Peace Sweet went platinum, reaching number 7 in the UK Album Charts.

Now more than 20 years on from their assault on the charts, the band are ready to perform at a brand new festival, Cool Britannia, in Knebworth, and have plans for a new album.

Sue Archer recently spoke to Nigel.

Are you looking forward to performing at the Cool Britannia Festival next month?

I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun. I know Ian Broudie and The Lightning Seeds really well because we went on tour with them in the 90s and also he produced a couple of our albums The Dodgy Album and half of Homegrown. We’re good mates. I’m seeing him in August - I’m going to his birthday party in Liverpool.

Most of the bands I know; Ocean Colour Scene, The Bluetones and I know Joe and the boys from Toploader.

In the 90s the media tried to create those rivalries, you know Damon Albarn and Liam Gallagher - the battle of the bands, that sort of thing – it was all a load of rubbish really.

I think everyone was trying to do that in the 90s but now we’re all a bit older and wiser and we’ve all been around the block a couple of times, so it doesn’t matter anymore. It’ll be really nice.

Dodgy enjoyed phenomenal success with three albums, one of which went Gold and one Platinum, as well as nine top 40 singles. When did you realise you’d hit the big time?

It was so gradual that I didn’t realise for a while. We had one of those careers; our first single came out and was number 75 and then we made it to number 4 with Good Enough – so we kind of achieved success but that was never what we really set out to do as a band.

You get caught up in the machinery of a record company saying, “We need another hit”, which they said this after Staying out for the Summer – “What’s your next hit?” and I thought, “Isn’t this one good enough?” It is a lot of pressure and my two children were born around 1996/1997, during our most successful period. I’d got a new family and it was hard to juggle I must admit.

How did you first get together?

I met Mathew in a band when I was about 18. I was working at Rover in the Longbridge factory and I decided, “You only get one life, you only get one chance”. A couple of years later when I was 21, I thought, “let’s go for it”, so we went down to London.

You originally called your new band Purple – why was this?

Yes it was probably Prince’s influence – I like Prince. We were only called Purple for a very short space of time. We did about two gigs as Purple.

Then we just came up with Dodgy and we started The Dodgy Club and it felt like we were going our own way.

Tell us about the early days.

We started the Dodgy Club in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1989 and that was for a year. We got signed on the back of that. We did a lot of partying then before we were even anybody really.

We were so fortunate because if you look at the industry now it’s such a different landscape – somebody was saying that the 90s were the last pop stars really. Now it’s the Kardashians - they’d probably go to number one if they released a song!

How did you get a record deal?

We had our own little story – the record people started coming down and trying to get on the guest list but I wouldn’t have a guest list, they had to pay £10. Even when it came to signing our publishing deal, two record companies were offering the same amount of money and we couldn’t decide, so I got them to play Italia Football 90 at a pub - £50,000 for winning a band! It was kind of us going, “Business is business and business is bulls**t!”

I never wanted it to become a business – as soon as it all became a business I got out really. I took 10 years off and sometimes I look back and think, “Did I do it at the right time?” I did it at the peak, which is kinda crazy but do you know what? I’m happy, I’m healthy and so is everyone else that’s around me. It couldn’t have been any other way – I don’t regret it at all.

What did you do during your time away from Dodgy?

Without a band I found it really difficult to go out and play on my own – I just didn’t feel confident; what I was hearing in my head was multi-track guitars and vocal harmonies and it was just me and my guitar.

I found it really limiting, I didn’t really enjoy it, so instead I ran a studio and produced a lot of bands and I wrote songs (I’ve always done that).

I also did teaching and I taught music at a school, even though I hated school. I’ve not got any qualifications but I love music so I’m a good teacher of music and I play a lot of instruments. That’s all I do know really.

Has much has changed as a band on the road since the 90s?

To be fair, one of the things that’s overlooked with being in a band back in the early 90s – late 80s even – is there’s probably about 14 million more cars now and the roads haven’t got that much better.

We spend a lot of time driving around to gigs and it’s a lot harder economically. The fees haven’t really gone up. It’s that whole thing of “Ooh you’re in music, you must be well loaded”. My kids had to grow up with that. They soon realise that you’re not loaded and that their dad works quite hard actually, doing a lot of gigs.

Who were your own musical influences?

I’m doing a gig this weekend with Steve Drewett from punk band The Newtown Neurotics who was around when Billy Bragg was starting out.

I was a bit of a punk when I was a kid so I’ve always had that bit of a “you can do it if you want to” punk attitude, you know, find your own way and lead a path.

We were into people like The Kinks and The Who – that to us was British culture – that was the one thing we believed was our cultural thing and our identity which we identified with. And The Clash as well.

You have always supported social causes such as homelessness through music. Can you tell us about this?

Last week I was getting involved with the homeless people in Stratford-Upon-Avon. People don’t think there are homeless people in Stratford Upon Avon but actually there are a lot.

We’ve been writing songs with them and we’ve just started recording them, so we’re doing an album of about 11 songs written by the homeless people and we perform them – that’s really exciting. It’s just me and another couple of musical mates; I do songwriting with them and they talk about anything, their problems or whatever.

Everyone that is homeless is still a person – it’s that stereotyping that I don’t like really.

You’ve written such great lyrics over the years – what inspires your songwriting?

The thing is Mathew and I who started the band have written a lot of songs together, so I’ve got to give credit to Mathew. We write a lot together. We are good at that and I think sometimes we forget and we let small things get in the way of actually sitting around the piano with a pen and paper.

We’re talking about a new album now. We had aspirations to be the Lennon and McCartney of the 90s and that’s what we did. We set the bar high for ourselves.

Any more plans in the pipeline?

We’re doing another album next year so we’ve just started to write that now.

We’re also doing a Homegrown 25th anniversary tour next year and that’s going to be a big nostalgic thing; I’ve got all my mum’s press cuttings she kept of the band and we’re going to ask fans to get some stuff together, so its going to be a big.

We’re going to Wales where we did the original Homegrown album sleeve – I’ve got a caravan there, so we’re going to be going there and we’re going to put my new van there and do the sleeve again – but 25 years later.

It’s going to be a really exciting year!

Dodgy play Cool Britannia Festival on Saturday, September 1.

For tickets and more information, go to