Joe Coyle was the Lead singer, Bass player and co-songwriter with Dodger, he has played all over the UK and appeared on several TV shows with Dodger, Joe currently playes with his own outfit The Joe Coyle Band and now lives and works in Bosnia.
We flew Joe over to the UK especially to do this interview…………OK, it was done via Email!!
Where were you brought up and when did you get involved in the band’s scene?
I was brought up in Cumbernauld after moving from Maryhill in Glasgow (272 Northwoodside road) now how did I remember that?
I was a late starter in the music scene, I was about 18, I couldn’t play guitar so I took up the bass guitar as it was the quickest way to get playing in a band, I kicked around with a local band doing pop covers learning my trade.
How did you meet Derek Park and Gerry Dickson and who were the songwriters in Dodger?
I lived across the way from Derek, at first I thought he was “way out” for me, I was playing “Country Roads” and he was doing Hendrix but as life would have it I needed a guitarist one night for a gig and he was free.
Derek and I knew Gerry from his days with a Glasgow rock band called “Stag” he moved to Cumbernauld and was playing with a band called “Silverbird” doing pop covers but they were good at it.
I don’t remember the exact who’s or how’s but Gerry joined Derek and I with a great singer called Danny Taggart, I didn’t even sing in the early days.
When Danny left we tried another singer but it didn’t work so I took up the singing playing bass and we worked from then on as a three piece.
As far as the song writing was concerned it was a joint effort, I did all the words, Derek did the guitar parts and Gerry did the arrangements.
Who were your musical influences at that time?
Dodger’s musical influences were The Police, Joe Jackson, Free, Bowie and any good pop/punk stuff; my personal favourites were Status Quo, Thin Lizzie and SAHB
On “Street Buzz” the video for “On the Radio” looked like a good laugh, was it fun to make and where was it shot?
Street Buzz was good especially the filming bit, two days to do a three minute song and the money was good for having a laugh, it was shot around Glasgow at Kelvingrove park, on top of a block of flats near a motorway and some filming was done inside the BBC building in Glasgow.
Dodger played live for the BBC’s “Back On The Streets” TV special, how did that gig come about?
I’m not quite sure but all the stuff we did for the BBC started by us playing in The BBC Club one night as there was only three of us we could fit in the area they called a stage, I think we were the only amplified band that has ever played in the club (Oh there’s a question for the quiz next time in your local).
The Band played some gigs in London, how did those gigs go and did you get any interest from any record companies?
Yes we played in London, fantastic experience but the deal never came, funnily enough after this the end for Dodger was only a matter of time, we played live everywhere sometimes eight times a week, we needed a deal to take us to the next level.
Dodger brought out a single, how did the record do?
This was very early, about 1978 and it was a self label thing. Billy Sloane slagged us off in the press big style (he’s a great musician is he not!!)
What did you do musically between Dodger and The Joe Coyle band?
I worked as a photographer for Celtic FC that was one of the jobs I did, in 1996 I went to Bosnia to work as an Environmental Technician, I never played a note for ten years basically.
You now live in Bosnia, I take it you like living there?
Yes, I came here to work and loved the place, I’m happy here, so I stay here now.
The Joe Coyle Band are about to release a new album” Champagne Lifestyle” tell us about that project?
This is the best work I’ve done with my axe man Brian Hilson, It’s a three piece rock band with local drummer Nebojsa Stupar. The band is under management which gave us the opportunity to arrange the gigs and publicity in a foreign country that would have been difficult for two English speaking guys to organise.
The recording of Champagne Lifestyle took two months as some songs still had to be written, arranged and learnt as we were going along. The recording and post production was done by a local guy with a small studio (it’s amazing what you can achieve with one computer these days) the album has got a publishing deal and currently we are waiting for sponsors, what happens with it after that is anyone’s guess!! There are plans in the process to do a couple of music videos to get us working on TV whilst we are away.
When were you last back in Scotland and do you have any plans to play there with The JCB?
I haven’t been back for a visit in four years, I would like to take the JCB for a drive in Glasgow, if you set it up we’ll come over, that would be good, perhaps get Gerry to play with us on drums.
Is there any gig that stands out in your mind so far with your current band?
It has to be the Neo Fest Concert in Banja Luka last year in the grounds of the old castle, the headline band were delayed and running quite late, so we started on the support band’s stage, pulled all of the crowd and blew them into oblivion. The moral of the story is, if you are on stage at 8 pm be there no matter whom you think you are!!! The “Are you ready” video from that concert is on our website
What was your favourite Glasgow venue when you played with Dodger?
Best gig for Dodger was definitely The Dial Inn.
What was the last CD you bought and are there any artists that you rate at the moment?
The latest CD that I bought was Steve Vai’s “Reflections and Illusions”, he is the number one and you can put all other guitarists in any order you like after him. Sadly the current music scene in the UK hasn’t interested me but there must be a market for it and good luck to them all, music isn’t a competition.
Joe Coyle interview February 2007
Guitarist with the JCB
Joe in the Video for the song “On The Radio” for Street Buzz 1982
The Joe Coyle Band in action,
Click on the Pic to go to The band’s website