|Dave Scott - Guitar, Vocals & Trumpet||Duart MacLean - Keyboards & Vocals|
|Richard Dudanski - Drums||Jane Crockford - Bass & Vocals|
A hard-gigging London band formed in 1979, Bank Of Dresden featured a clutch of punk notables, but their sole single disappeared without trace and they have therefore seen their place in history pass largely unrecorded. Regulars in their audience included Jackie Leven of Doll By Doll and various Clash members. “Bank Of Dresden were great,” Mike Clarke of They Must Be Russians recalls. “They existed around the Notting Hill/Ladbroke Grove area of West London. One of the times I saw Bank Of Dresden was at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden with the Tesco Bombers and Psychedelic Furs in 1979. They were a good live band.”
Dudanski was formerly a colleague of Joe Strummer’s in the 101ers, and tried out for the Clash but turned it down due to worries about Bernie Rhodes’ machinations. Richard Dudanski: “I was playing with Tymon Dogg and the Fools, an old mate of ours who later played with Joe in the Mescaleroes and was on Sandinista! After the 101ers, I worked with him for about a year. After that I joined the Raincoats. They’d lost their drummer so I did a few gigs with them. We’re talking spring of ’78. I was just filling in for them and wanted to get a band together.” His friend Neal Brown of the Vincent Units and Tesco Bombers introduced him to Duart. “Neil used to live in my street, Monmouth Road, off Westbourne Grove. He knew Duart and we set up a meeting. Duart wanted to get a band together. He played keyboards. I met Dave Scott through another mutual friend. Dave was a painter, quite famous – relatively – he had this exhibition in Hornsea Town Hall. He had this picture of the Queen on the toilet and someone masturbating. He was quite a character, Dave. And he played guitar and had never been a front man before, but I persuaded him to do that.” All they needed was a bass player. “We met Jane Crockford. Jane hadn’t played bass before but she was pretty damn quick.”
After a month’s rehearsal they had a set together, and made their debut upstairs at the British Oak on Westbourne Park Road. Dudanski: “Another friend recommended John Glynn [who’d replaced Lora Logic in X-Ray Spex] to play saxophone. He did a few gigs with us including the one at the Africa Centre, which I organised.” As for the repertoire, the tunes came mainly from original ideas that Dave or Duart would suggest. “Then we’d knock them about and put a structure to them. We used to do a cover of ‘Mack The Knife’, the Brecht thing, a heavy, dub reggae version which was pretty good. I used to sing a Bo Diddley song too, ‘I’m Going Home’.” Among their originals was ‘I Want To Play Your Drums Tonight’. “It was a homage to Palmolive of the Slits, my wife’s sister. But I didn’t write it!” As Scott recalls, “Other stuff featured in the set was Duart’s and a few covers. I thought Duart had a good ear for melody, but was a little, er, highbrow when it came to lyrics. One particular line I recall vividly went: ‘A Dante is leading a Beatrice through to a Petrarch Park.’ Now, I think that’s pretty good, very literate, if you’ve ever been to Arezzo. But where did it fit?”
There was one recording session at an eight-track studio in Hornsea where four songs were cut in an afternoon. Dudanski still has a copy, but thinks the quality is too poor, and the tape too badly deteriorated, to make it serviceable. Scott has no memory of these sessions at all. The intention was to use it to get gigs and secure an album deal, for which they now had enough material. . Sadly, the band didn’t hang round long enough to sustain any interest there might have been. Dudanski: “It was very short-lived. We started in the summer of 1978. By April I was in PiL. That was three weeks after we’d decided to knock Bank Of Dresden on the head. We had the normal type of problems. We got a manager in who was someone I know. The normal kind of stuff, things started going wrong, he wanted to take more of a role in deciding on the songs, etc. It split the band really.” Shades of Bernie Rhodes again? “Well, I’m not stupid. Maybe I don’t get on with managers who start coming in and telling you what should be done. That’s what happened there.”
Any particularly memorable shows? Dudanski: “It’s one of those periods where there were so many different gigs. The Africa Centre was one of the better gigs. I remember talking to Topper and Joe after the gig. The Psychedelic Furs were there. I’d got to know them through a mutual friend, he told me about this group just starting out in Acton. So that was one of their first gigs.” Scott: “I do remember a gig in Guildford which was set up by the ‘manager’, John Parker. A small pub in the middle of fucking nowhere, frequented by a fairly hostile crowd, it should be said. I was having a hose down in the cubicles at half time, and a very large bloke with strange tattoos, who looked to weigh about 25 stone, threatened me with severe violence if we didn’t leave immediately.” Scott also recalls playing “a few times in a really sleazy basement with the Furs. It was run by a Swiss bloke called Mr Sweety.”
After the band broke up, Jane Crockford joined the Modettes and Dave Scott worked with Spizz Energi. As Scott recalls, “I really liked Jane, and we played some good stuff together, but she was a bit bonkers at the time. We later toured Germany together when she joined the Modettes and I joined Spizz Energi in 1980. All of us in a 12-seater minibus for two weeks. Not the sort of trip you’d enter a competition for.” Scott recorded four singles with Spizz Energi and appeared on their A&M album Do A Runner, before leaving in October 1980. “I buggered off to Corsica for three months with a lovely German girl till the money ran out.” Various musical endeavours followed upon his re-entry to the UK, including Baby Lotion, which featured Darryl Hunt of the Pogues, and later Pride of the Cross, also with Hunt, and Cait O’Riordan, later also of the Pogues.
Dudanski teamed up with Jim (aka Amos) of the Homosexuals in a project entitled the Noname Band in 1980. That evolved into the Decomposers by 1986, at which point he was reunited with John Glyn. In between, Dudanski played on PiL’s groundbreaking Metal Box before joining Basement Five in 1980, touring the UK as support to Ian Dury and the Blockheads. He also rejoined the Raincoats for their Moving LP and US tour before reacquainting himself with Tymon Dogg.
In 1988 he moved to Granada, Spain, with his Spanish wife, recording an album with Por Si Las that was mixed by Strummer. His current project is The Dog House, with features singer/guitarist Tom Lardner and his son, Maki. Check out their garage punk take on Dylan’s ‘It’s Alright Ma’, aptly titled ‘Ridiculous’, available via their website. Their new record should be out now, released on the Andalucia label Dudanski and Joe Strummer first set up in 1981 to bring out the first version of the 101ers Elgin Avenue Breakdown. Is the music in the same spirit as his punk roots? “Have a listen to the MP3s. It’s difficult for me to say. You don’t purposely make any relations.”
Dudanski was a key mover behind the tribute concerts when Joe Strummer passed away, helping organise both the London event, which saw the 101ers reform for the first time in 30 years at the Tabernacle, an old haunt, and the companion show in Granada. “Mick Jones came over, Jem Finer from the Pogues. We tried to get someone from the main bands Joe had been with, and get a set together and jammed it.” He’s currently putting the finishing touches to his own diary/travelogue of the late 70s and early 80s.
Dave Scott, meanwhile, started a chain of bicycle shops called Yellow Jersey. “It started, survived, grew, lurched prosperously through the ‘80s and plunged into the recession of 1992, emerging much smaller later on. I eventually sold it in 1998, and spent some of the money scratching my arse and funding my way through an MBA at Imperial College. Don’t ever do this, especially if you’re moving house and expecting your first child all at the same time.” After various “strange business ideas”, and a year spent “attempting to teach Business Studies to the recalcitrant students of Edmonton in North London”, he is now running a business that installs garden offices, soho2go.co.uk, “for people who should know better”.
The above text was taken from the excellent "No More Heroes" book by 'Alex Ogg'
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