The website contacted Urban Dogs' drummer Matthew Best in October 2009 in the hope of conducting an interview and maybe obtaining some pictures from the early days of the Urban Dogs. Matthew, however, provided so much more, by searching out his diaries from those years and agreeing for them to be exclusively published on the Urban Dogs Time & Matter sub-website.
Included on this section are all the Urban Dogs related information as researched by Matthew from his diaries, and this has also been incorporated into our Time & Matter U.K. Subs chronological archive.
The admins of the website would like to thank Matthew for opening up these fascinating Urban Dogs historical artifacts for our site. Matthew has also provided some additional information as background colour to the diaries, and these observations appear in blue italics amongst the diary information listed. Cheers Matthew - you really are a true star.
- CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
There is some additional information about Matthew at the bottom of this page
Matthew Best Urban Dogs Diary Archive
"As far as I can tell I don’t have a diary for 1982 which is annoying. But I think I can figure out how I joined the band from my notes from 1980/81. I was a friend of Captain Sensible’s – he lived quite near me in South Norwood – and I ended up playing drums for him when he was recording demos for the Damned. Then in 1980 his girlfriend at the time Kursty got a funny little band together called “Short Commercial Break” which only played music from adverts (so all the songs were about 30 seconds long). We played our first gig on 22 August 1980 at the Electric Ballroom supporting Splodgenessabounds – the line-up was Kursty, Eric from the Whizz Kids on guitar, Alvin Gibbs on bass and me on drums. That was a bit of a one-off and probably only lasted a few minutes! The next interesting thing I did was play in a band called Chaos Factory (Captain Sensible, Nik Turner plus “Bob” and “Trevor” – can’t remember who these guys were!) at Cecil Sharpe House supporting Inner City Unit on June 5th 1981.
Three days later Short Commercial Break played another gig – this time with Kursty, Captain Sensible on bass, and me at Gossips – supporting Charlie Harper! So I’m guessing that must be about the time I met Charlie… Obviously he was friends with Captain Sensible and Kursty so I would probably have bumped into him anyway…
By 29th December 1981 I was playing in “Charlie Harper & Friends” at the 100 Club – that band was Charlie, Dave Dudley on guitar, Pete Davies on drums, Captain Sensible on guitar, Steve Slack on bass, Nik Turner on sax, and me on backing vocals (I probably just jumped on stage and joined in, but that’s what my diary says…)
It’s a shame I have no idea what happened in 1982..."
- 1983 Diary info...
March 15th - Urban Dogs at 100 Club
April 7th - rehearse Alaska Studios
April 8th - rehearse Alasak Studios
April 8th - Urban Dogs play The Venue supporting Hanoi Rocks
April 19th - Urban Dogs play 100 Club
April 20th - Urban Dogs play Leeds Fan Club Brannigans
April 21st - Urban Dogs play Bradford
May 5th - Urban Dogs play Cambridge
May 17th - Urban Dogs + Vortex @ Tribe (?)
- 1984 Diary info...
Jan 19th - Urban Dogs at the Clarendon
May 17th - Urban Dogs at Clarendon with new bass player (Steve?)
Tues June 19th - Urban Dogs gig somewhere in London
"At this gig Charlie asked me if I was busy over the weekend cause the UK Subs drummer had just left and they had some gigs in Spain. I said I'd love to do them so ended up leaving London at 4am the next morning to drive to Plymouth where we caught a ferry - along with the two other bands
who were playing, The Anti-Nowhere League, and Chelsea - to Santander in Northern Spain.
That took 24 hours during which time I had to try to learn the UK Subs set. Once we got to Spain, the Anti-Nowhere League's drummer was refused entry to the country. We drove for hours and hours to Madrid and played the first gig with just the UK Subs and Chelsea on Thursday night."
Thu June 21st - play with UK Subs (Anti Nowhere League don't play)
"I must have played OK because the Anti Nowhere League then asked me to play for them for the next two nights so I had to learn their set the next day before playing for both bands on Friday & Saturday."
Fri June 22nd - play with UK Subs and Anti Nowhere League
Sat June 23rd - play with UK Subs and Anti Nowhere League
"We then had a day off before the horrible journey back to London which started on Monday evening and didn't finish until Wednesday at which point. I was phoned by John Curd (the League's manager) and asked to play with them for two weeks in Germany as their drummer had been refused entry to that country as well! So I left the next morning and spent two weeks touring round Germany & Switzerland with the ANL. But that's another story...."
Fri July 27th - Urban Dogs Chesham Elgiva Hall with Peter & the Test Tube Babies
(see image above)
Thur August 9th - Urban Dogs 100 Club (see image below)
Mon Sep 17th - Urban Dogs Greyhound with Andy McCoy on guitar
Thur Sep 20th - Urban Dogs 100 Club with Andy McCoy again (see image below)
Fri Sep 21st - Urban Dogs Ad Lib Club with Alvin on guitar (Andy didn't turn up!)
Mon Sep 24th - Urban Dogs Metropolitan with Jimbo on guitar (Alvin couldn't make it)
Tue Oct 30th - Urban Dogs 100 Club
- 1985 Diary info...
Fri Jan 11th - Urban Dogs at Tunnel Club with Deptford John on bass (see below image)
Tues Jan 29th - Urban Dogs 100 Club with Cult Maniax
Sat Feb 23rd - Urban Dogs Greyhound with Dave Dudley on Guitar and the Rhubarb Tarts on backing vocals.
Thur Apr 4th - Urban Dogs 100 Club supporting One Way System
Mon July 15th - Urban Dogs rehearse at The Basement with Ricky McGuire from the Fits on bass, Anthony Thistlethwaite on sax
Tues July 16th - Urban Dogs 100 Club - I played drums and grand piano!
Tues July 30th - Urban Dogs at Gossips?
Mon Aug 12th to Saturday Aug 17th - Urban Dogs recording 2nd album - total recording budget £1000
Mon Sep 23rd - Urban Dogs Greyhound with Ronny Rocker on guitar
Thu Oct 17th - Urban Dogs 100 Club
Sun Nov 10th - Urban Dogs Hope & Anchor
Mon Dec 2nd - Urban Dogs Reading Paradise Club
- 1986 Diary info...
Wed Jan 1st - Urban Dogs Cricketers
Mon Jan 27th - Urban Dogs Sir George Robey
"My 1986 diary is mostly empty on the Urban Dogs front – I was playing in Psychic TV by this point."
Tue July 29th - Urban Dogs play the Greyhound
"This gig was recorded by a 24-track mobile according to my diary. I did say “we are so dreadful we’ll be lucky to get a 12” out of it”. I know I have never heard this recording."
Wed December 10th - Urban Dogs play Gossips
We played at Gossips with a keyboard player called Mark. Knox was still on guitar so the keyboard apparently filled out the sound under Knox’s guitar solos."
- 1987 Diary info...
Wed 22 April - Urban Dogs play Gossips
"We played Gossips again on this date in 1987 with the UK Subs – “we only did about 6 or 7 songs”
As far as I can tell that’s the last gig I did with the Urban Dogs (until our reunion show in 1998)."
From the Time & Matter U.K. Subs collection: