THE DODOS/THE URGE
The Urge - formed in 1978 by four Olchfa School dropouts - consisted of Dicky Evans on Bass Guitar & Vocals, Phil Roberts on Lead Guitar & Vocals, Anthony Reed on Rhythm Guitar & Vocals, and Steve “Gagsy” Garland on Drums. The band played their first ramshackle show at the Langrove Motel out on Fairwood Common, followed shortly thereafter by a more organized affair at the SSA Bar on Union Street. It was this second gig that launched the band onto the Swansea scene in earnest. A third gig at Hendrefoilan Student Village ended abruptly as riot police arrived to quell a punch-up that erupted between various locals and the resident student population – an unfortunate trend of petty violence that permeated the Swansea punk scene for years.
Further gigs at The Coach House on Wind Street, Circles (aka Dirty Dora’s) near what is now Swansea Marina, The Gower Inn, Old Nicks, The Dynevor Arms, and The Hafod Inn followed and provided a number of memorable Urge performances. The band’s set usually consisted of 12 -15 songs, and included regular favourites such as Swansea Mafia, I Hate Man, Anybody’s Girl, Letters In A Glamour Magazine, Home Sweet Home and Catch 22.
With the band’s live reputation growing, they were invited to record a number of tracks at Swansea Sound radio station. Some recordings from these early studio sessions have survived. Reports of a 1978 recording session in a long-forgotten studio in Port Talbot also exist, but no one seems to remember the details or dates with any certainty.
1979 found the band taking advantage of the current mod revival and delivering their own form of punk-mod, introducing new material such as The World’s Gone Mod and This Is What They Want to their repertoire. Following a summer gig at Drones Club in Bridgend (where main act Flash Harry’s lead singer ignited the club’s ceiling tiles with an ill-considered fire-eating act) the band decided it was time for a change.
The Dodos MK I
The band changed their name to the The Dodos in late 1979 (after the asthma tablets containing ephedrine). The line-up retained the same members as The Urge, but with Anthony switching to Bass and Dickie taking on Lead Vocals as his sole duty. This period has generally been agreed as their heyday, with the band regularly packing both the Coach House and the Langland Bay Hotel.
Phil and Dickie’s writing skills showed considerable growth during this period, producing such songs as Distant Dream, In Paradise and Lazing In The Shade. Not long afterwards, Anthony left for college and the search for another bass player began.
The Dodos MK II
Another local band The Standards folded at this time. The remaining Dodos joined ex-Standards bassist Trefor Roberts (who also happened to be Phil’s elder brother) and began writing new material under the existing Dodos name. The combined efforts of the band resulted in a number of new songs including Army Surplus, All Our Yesterdays, Blind To Fiction, Say You Don’t Mean It and a revised version of Distant Dream. The new line-up continued to perform at the usual Swansea venues and recorded a number of tracks at Pete King's Sycamore Studios. One track from these sessions, Blind to Fiction, was released on Sonic International’s 1981 compilation e.p. Sex, Violence and The Eternal Truth alongside tracks by The Lost Boys, What To Wear and Venom.
The Dodos played their final gig at Rolle College, Exmouth in early 1981.
One track from the Dodos' Punkhouse E.P. is also available on the "Millions Like Us" compilation from Cherry Red Records, which also contains a track from fellow Jacks DC10s.