The Dugites were, hands down, the best band ever named after a snake.
It never fails to amaze me how some bands with very little talent take off and others with loads of talent remain largely unnoticed. The Dugites, a highly melodic, Blondie-esque new wave pop act that came out of Perth, Australia in 1978, are a prime example of the latter.
I first learned about The Dugites when a friend of mine sent me their most famous song, In Your Car. The song was released as a single in 1980 and apparently did quite well on Australian pop radio. It is a fluffy little piece of pop that exudes an enthusiastic innocence completely missing in today's top 40. It is a great song, but as I quickly found out, The Dugites made better songs during their three LP existence. Lots of them.
In Your Car was culled from the band's eponymous debut album released on Deluxe Records in 1980. The entire album is filled with clever, fun, instantly catchy songs written by keyboardist Peter Crosbie and exuberantly sung by lead vocalist Lynda Nutter. On The Dugites, the band turns to 60s girl group for inspiration on noteworthy cuts such as Goodbye and Mamma Didn't Warn Me. Other highlights include the epic, eight-minute long Gay Guys, with its outrageous, humorous lyrics and chugging beat, and the sing-songy No One Would Listen.
The Dugites followed-up their debut with an equally strong release in 1981 titled West of the World. The most successful single was the slow, reflective Waiting, but as with In Your Car, there is better material on the LP. Follow-up single Part of Me is my personal favorite. Its strange and captivating lyrics, breezy melody and flawless vocals add up to make it one of the greatest lost singles of the era. Another highlight is Who Loves You More, the B-side of Waiting. This is an infectious number that really should have been the A-side. Malcom's Got a Problem is another energetic track that fuses punk and new wave quite effectively. Being Used is also a noteworthy cut that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an early Pat Benatar album.
By 1984 The Dugites were nearing their end, but fortunately managed to produce one final album, Cut the Talking. The release marks a shift from new wave pop to funk and soul-infused dance pop. Fortunately, a good pop song is a good pop song, and Cut the Talking is nearly as enjoyable as the band's first two albums. The best song is the charming, brassy Juno and Me, which was the second single. The first single, Cut the Talking, is an enjoyable piece of dance pop, but one that definitely shows its age. Other highlights include Michael and Rodney, a peppy song that's as strange as it is entertaining, and the fast-paced closer, Ain't Like That.
Currently, Nutter and some other original members of The Dugites are performing together again in a new band called Snakefish. While Nutter's sheening vocals remain in tact, the new songs have taken on a more relaxed, earthy feel. Check out an animated video clip of one Snakefish song, Kangaroo, here.
The Dugites released a "best of" compilation CD called Hisstorical: The Best of the Dugites in 2004. Unfortunately, the CD looks to be out of print already. In 2007 Blue Pie Productions made The Dugites and Cut the Talking available to purchase as digital downloads. You can find them on itunes and sites such as emusic.
Below I have posted a few of my vinyl rips, including my favorite Dugites single (Part of Me) and its B Side (Never Touch), Who Loves You More (the A-side-worthy B-side to Waiting) and Decide, the punchy, rare B-side of the No Money single from 1982.
- The Dugites - Part of Me (7" single, 1981)
1 - Part of Me
2 - Never Touch
- The Dugites - Who Loves You More (stellar album track from West of the World, 1981)
- The Dugites - Decide (B-side of No Money single, 1982)
THE DUGITES LINEUP:
- Lynda Nutter - vocals
- Peter Crosbie - keyboards and primary songwriter
- Clarence Bailey - drums
- Gunther Berghofer - guitar, 1978-1983
- John Crosbie - guitar, 1983-1984
- Paul Noonan - bass
FOR FANS OF:
Blondie, Flaming Hands, The Tribe, The Sinceros, The Crocodiles, The Photos, Martha and the Muffins, Josie Cotton, Altered Images, The Tourists
- The Dugites on Wikipedia
- The Dugites on RateYourMusic
- 2005 Interview with Lynda Nutter
- Snakefish Official Site
- The Dugites In Your Car Video on Youtube
- The Dugites Waiting Video on Youtube
- The Dugites Cut the Talking Video on Youtube
- The Dugites Juno & Me Video on Youtube