Friday, January 25, 2008

THE DUGITES - Aussie New Wave Gem #2

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)

Track listing:
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)

- 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

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


stranded said...

The first song that was released in Australia was "Gay Guys".Because of the name of the song and it's content, it was banned from commercial radio. That's why It wasn't a success here in Australia.It was only played on a couple of alternative radio stations.

How times of changed.

Frank K said...

I did not know "Gay Guys" was released to radio. It is amazing to think how something so tame could get banned from the radio.

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

cool blog, keep it up!

Overhere said...

Thanks Frank - great blog

Anonymous said...

The Dugites had two other guitarists: Boris "Bob" Falovic and Andrew Pendlebury. Pendlebury recorded some (perhaps all) of the tracks on "Cut the Talking". AFAIK Falovic only played with them live. Tenor sax player Paul Williamson also did a stint with them live.

Anonymous said...

I guess its a bit late, but i can assure whoever may be concerned that I, Boris Falovic did actually record with the Dugites and appear on the cut the talking vinyl LP on three tracks," Is this what you need", "it aint like that" and " Michael and Rodney" as well as backing vocals and a writing credit on Juno and me which was credited on the single and the album. Thank you Cameron

Boris Falovic said...

Cameron if you bothered to look at the album info on the record you would realise that boris played on three tracks ,vocals on others and has a writing credit on j& me . boris falovic

Boris Falovic said...

Who is Cameron? the official dugites historian ? and what does AFAIC stand for? the only Cameron that i remember was our ranga side fill roadie . The guitars on cut talking LP were handled by boris, andrew p, and j crosbie. My days were numbered at the dugites at this point but as i had played the previous year and workshopped the album i was encouraged to record at least some of the songs . Jcrosbie played my parts in "like you do" Things were becoming rather heated in the dugites camp by then, record deals etc

Unknown said...

The Dugites were good but hey The Stockings were great. Boris I have really fond memories of your time in Perth, driving in the old Humber etc.