Interview: Dodson and Fogg
Published on February 25th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Chris Wade’s first, eponymous album under his wrong-footing Dodson and Fogg alias landed itself in Rocksucker’s top 100 of 2012 – and he’s already back with an even better collection in Derring Do, a rockier and more psychedelic affair with contributions once again from Nik Turner of Hawkwind and Celia Humphris of Trees, as well as new recruit Alison O’Donnell of Mellow Candle.
Further to our exchange of last October, Rocksucker fired Chris over some questions and received back the following, illuminating set of replies…
Congratulations on another excellent album. What brought on the rockier numbers this time round?
Thank you squire. Well I just wanted to try different things out really. I’m not a folky person really, but I do like bits of folk. What interests me more is classic rock and pop, ’60s stuff where the boundaries were wider and you could try anything, like the later Beatles stuff. I wouldn’t want to limit myself to just acoustic stuff. I wanted to see what else I could do within my own songwriting. Plus, with the first album I was testing what I could do with my simple home set up, but with this album I realised I could expand the simplicity and be a bit more ambitious. I really enjoyed it and people so far see it as progression from the first album.
Was it easy to get Celia and Nik on board again? How did you go about getting Alison, and what was it like working with her?
I just asked Alison by email and she went in and did her backing vocals with some other stuff she was recording I think, in a studio near her. I haven’t met her though. Still, I’m glad she is on the record, even if it is briefly. Really love that Mellow Candle album. Nik had done one flute solo on “Flying High”, but with Celia we are in regular contact and she is, hopefully, on board for good now. She did some brilliant stuff on Derring Do, put loads of time and work into it so I am very grateful for that and proud to have her involved with the music, seeing as she has one of my favourite voices.
I think it’s a better album than the first one and a big part of that is Celia’s input. Amanda Votta who has a music project called The Floating World did some flute on one song too. And Colin Jones added some trumpet and he has given it a different edge at times.
Are you a fan of Kevin Ayers? News of his passing broke while I was cobbling these questions together, and if you’re not already a fan I’d urge you to check him out (starting with the Joy of a Toy album)…
I didn’t know he had died. That’s sad. I have some tracks on compilations, the old samplers from that era that my dad has given me. And obviously I like The Soft Machine, the first album which he is on. I’ll seek those other ones out then dear boy. Sad news though.
Do you intend to tour the album at all? If so, what will be your live set up? Will you play any festivals this summer?
I’ve been thinking about it, but I really am not 100 percent into the idea yet. I was going to do some solo acoustic stuff, but I really do love the recording process more than gigging. I’m busy enough with the promo end and writing new stuff and all that. You never know though, I might really get something good together for live work one day. Or I might just stay in like a hermit recording and eating malt loaf.
Have you given any thought yet to your next project?
My next project will be the third Dodson and Fogg album, I’m just really into the music these days and not remotely interested in writing at all now. I do have a third physical Hound Dawg Magazine to release, which I have interviewed Donovan for, but other than that it’s just the music. Writing some new tracks. I just get more satisfaction and feedback from the music and it feels better to be putting time into something I actually do enjoy and others seem to enjoy too.
Are you still writing a book about Frank Zappa an The Mothers of Invention?
The work I had done on the Zappa book ended up as articles and interviews in the first issue of the Hound Dawg Music Magazine I just mentioned. I did some of my fave pieces in that issue, interviewing Beefheart’s iconic drummer Drumbo, a piece on Wild Man Fischer with interviews with Bill Mumy who produced his work. Also interviewed in that issue were Zappa’s secretary Pauline Butcher, Dr Demento, and Syd Barrett’s nephew Ian was in there too giving a good slant on the Barrett story. So no Zappa book, but there is that issue which Zappa fans have really enjoyed.
Which were your favourite albums of 2012, and/or which are you most looking forward to in 2013?
I don’t think I bought or heard a new album from 2012, which is bad I suppose for a young bloke. Oh wait, I liked Ian Anderson’s Thick as a Brick 2 and Amy MacDonald’s album. 2013? Can’t say I’m looking forward to any really. Unless Sabbath’s new one is going to be anywhere near as good as Paranoid. I need to read the groovy pop papers! Do the young people still read the Melody Maker?
Chris Wade, thank you.
Derring Do is out now on Wisdom Twins Records. For more information, please visit wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com/dodson-and-fogg.html