Urban Dogs Biography
Started in 1982 by CHARLIE HARPER of the UK SUBS to play the 100 CLUB because the UK SUBS wouldn't (they felt they shouldn't play there more than once a year because of their "pop star status"). The first main line-up of the band comprised of CHARLIE HARPER (UK SUBS - vocals/harmonica), KNOX (VIBRATORS -guitar) whom Charlie had met at a party, ALVIN GIBBS (UK SUBS - bass), and MATTHEW BEST (drums). The band had a pretty amateur approach to playing, taking the drums around in a car, and lugging the gear in to the 100 CLUB (where the band played regularly enough to almost be the house band) in front of often quite good crowds. The band did various gigs and under the management of Richard Bishop the band made an album for Fallout Records in 1983 called "URBAN DOGS", recorded at Silo Studios, west London. The album reached number 7 in the Indie charts in April 1983. The band released two singles form the album, "NEW BARBARIANS" and "LIMO LIFE" with the UK SUBS classic "WARHEAD" on the B-side). Other tracks on the album included the New York Dolls' "HUMAN BEING", Iggy Pop's "I WANNA BE YOUR DOG", plus Vibrators' covers "SEX KICK" and "DRAGNET". Various tours and gigs followed, all in England.
Pictured right: From PUNK LIVES magazine
Issue 5 page 3. Click to enlarge
In 1985 the band recorded its second album "NO PEDIGREE" at Electrorhythm Studios in north London for Flicknife Records. Tracks on this album were "WANNA WORLD", "THE WORD", plus covers of such songs as John Lennon's "COLD TURKEY", Marc Bolan's "CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION", and Bobby Boris Pickett's "MONSTER MASH". While the first album had been a full-on punk rock guitar album, this was more of a studio album and even featured the RHUBARB TARTS (REBECCA AND MELISSA) doing lead vocals on "COLD TURKEY", and the sax playing of ANTHONY THISTLETHWAITE (WATERBOYS).
The band's final appearance was in 1986 at the 100 CLUB where they started out with MATT BELGRANO (punk model) on drums (no good!), MAX SPLODGE tried to help out but collapsed after a few songs! WATTIE from the EXPLOITED took over the drumstool and the band encored with "TROOPS OF TOMORROW" and "WARHEAD". The crowd went wild and it looked like the band was just beginning, but MATTHEW had already left to join PSYCHIC TV, and ALVIN was off to join IGGY POP.
Twelve years later, in April 1998, the original band reformed to make its third album "WIPEOUT BEACH" for RAW POWER UK RECORDS. Recorded and produced by DAVE GOODMAN (he did the early SEX PISTOL demos) at his Mandala Studios in south London, the album featured all new material with the exception of two covers, the title track "Wipeout Beach", and "Hey Joe". The band did a record launch gig at Camden's DUBLIN CASTLE in November 1998.
The third album "Wipeout Beach" was released on CD by Polish label Noise Annoys, around the end of March 2007.
Subsequent to this, Charlie and Knox have been doing the odd acoustic gig together which have been mainly featuring Urban Dogs' songs.
On 24 April 2009, Knox posted the following update on his website:
"Charlie Harper and Knox are just over halfway through making an Urban Dogs acoustic album. This album has both old (Urban Dogs standards like Warhead, Dragnet, etc.) plus quite a few new songs. It's being recorded at Stan's, guitarist with Demented Are Go. It's been in the making for maybe a year so might take a little while yet to complete due to Charlie's touring. Knox is currently off the road through heart problems but is available most of the time."
Above: News Article, Noise magazine, 2nd September 1982.
Click to enlarge.