Some People...
Fans and friends' recollections

Many people submitted, on invitation, contributions to the CD booklet. Unfortunately it was possible to include only a tiny proportion of what was sent. Here are those contributions in full. Please email your own contribution for inclusion here.

1985. The year I turned 18, sat my A-levels and discovered jangly guitar music Dentists-style.  I stumbled upon them by chance at the Good Companions Club in Rochester – I was there to see a friend’s band supporting – and so began a journey that shaped my music taste forever and saw me spending weekends crammed in the back of a Transit van travelling to gigs near and far.  Medway’s music scene was thriving and, together with other 60s-influenced bands like The Prisoners and The Claim, The Dentists soon developed a loyal following prepared to trek up to London most weekends for a gig.  Many a night was spent at The Clarendon in Hammermith – a sea of paisley shirts, frantic dancing, Mick forgetting the words and Bob breaking endless strings.  I can vividly recall a support slot with Tenpole Tudor and another with Del Amitri at the old 100 Club when Lloyd Cole was in the crowd.  Even the then little-known Steve Lamacq showed an interest, travelling down to Rochester for a gig.  Then there was John the band manager, whose onstage pre-band announcements were unforgettable, and Carol from Chrysalis, who hung around for a while and promised great things.  It never quite happened… but now, 20 years on, the re-issuing of ‘Some People Are On The Pitch…’ on CD promises to bring the band’s music to a whole new audience. So what of the songs?  My strongest memories are of the break-neck speed many of them were played – hence Bob’s broken strings – and the incomprehensible lyrics. Medway’s bands were protagonists of their own distinctive sound and The Dentists were at the fore, churning out catchy tunes with crazy titles and words to match.  No wonder Mick got confused with lyrics like “crazy paving, Lionel Blair, are you going to Scarborough Fair”.   I’m not sure I actually bought my copy of the album.  I was a reporter on the local newspaper so I probably acquired a review copy that was brought into the office.  The Dentists constantly featured in our weekly ‘Spotlight’ music column and I was often – quite fairly – accused of favouritism, but I honestly believed The Dentists were the best Medway had to offer.  They had the edge when it came to originality and clever songwriting and seeing them live was always a great adventure.  I’m still a vinyl addict and ‘Some People…’ often revisits my turntable with great affection.  Kenneth Wolstenholme’s World Cup commentary leading into ‘Flowers Around Me’ is a fantastic way to open a debut album and the understated production completely captures the Medway sound of the day.  I guess I should name my favourite track.  It’s a tough one but I think I’d go for ‘The Little Engineers Set’.  It was always my favourite live number and I must confess to thinking The Dentists were a band you HAD to see live.  On vinyl they were good, live they were fantastic.   Oh, to be 18 again

Claire Britcher (Gillingham)

"Thanks for your donation to the Dentists' beer fund!" began the second letter I received from Mark Matthews.  He had enclosed rare copies of the "Strawberries" single and "Bloody Oranges" ep but was unable to comply with my request for "Some People," which was already out of print.  Nevertheless, the third letter, which arrived several weeks later, was accompanied by a cassette containing the debut album plus a host of rare material and Dentalmania was officially born in the U.S.A.

Over the years I've accumulated the lyric sheet  and handwritten chord charts to "Some People" as well as boxes full of live tapes, setlists, articles and other ephemera (all of which I keep behind the door) but I've never managed to get my hands on the genuine article.  When all is said and done, I'd say it's been worth the wait.

Bob Wall (Connecticut)

There has always been something very special about the Dentists. For me it was, quite simply, love at first listen. I first heard "Some People Are on the Pitch" and the "Strawberries" single in 1985 when my friend and musical mentor, Mike Bennet, made me a cassette from his then (and still!) very hard-to-get records. I was immediately smitten with the Dentists’ unique sound–-the perfect blend of killer riffs, gorgeous melodies, appealing vocals, and the cleverest (and most decidedly English) of lyrics. The music pushed all of my pop buttons, but it also had, well, *teeth*. I was blown away. When I tracked down a copy of the original pressing of "Down and Out in Paris and Chatham" in 1986, the D.I.Y.-type insert encouraged fans to write. “We always write back,” it said. Shortly thereafter I picked up a pen and wrote the first and only fan letter I’ve ever written. I began corresponding with bassist Mark and ended up crossing the Atlantic in late ’86 (and again in ’88) just to see the Dentists play. After all these years I am proud to still call the Dentists my friends.

Nancy Novotny, Houston, Texas

I first came across the Dentists somewhen back in late ’85 / early ’86 (I think it may well have been 4th March ’86 actually to be precise, so a tad late in Dentistory but there you go - I wasn’t living in Medway is my excuse!) when The Prisoners cancelled a 100 Club gig at the last minute & sent along our boys and a trio of (the original military-jacketed) Daggermen instead, and well - I fell in love.  Simple.  Unlike The Prisoners – exciting, fun and truly great though they were - here before me were 4 groovy, loveable, friendly guys playing music, hey – great music you simply could not sit still for and, more importantly, music I’d been searching part of my life for.  They grooved me up good and proper and I just couldn’t get enough of them.  Following said gig, I went straight back up Oxford Street the very next day to the Virgin Megastore a few yards down from the Club (probably just called Virgin then – I’m sure it only had 2 floors then but I digress…) and bought the last remaining copy in the shop of “Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It’s All Over It Is Now”, and never looked back. 

There followed a love affair that was to last many happy years, barrelling in and out of various dives in & around London (ah the wonderful downstairs Clarendon – many a joyous, frenetic bruise-inducing moshing was had there) and Medway (beer barrels from the Crown anyone?).  Sadly I didn’t get enough of original drummer Ian, who departed the band not long after I found them (no connection I hasten to add!) but indeed they were fun & happy days. 

They took me under their wing – this wandering soul from South East London - entertained me, (looked after me – thanks especially Mick & Mark) and gave me hours of listening pleasure, which I repaid by getting (usually) pretty trashed enough to venture forth on the dancefloor come what may even I (just about) recall at the MilkyWay in Amsterdam when the usual herb-induced Dutch ‘enthusiasm’ prevailed to keep bums glued on seats, appreciative though they were.  Still, as I recall there was a lot of getting trashed that night, Bob? Mark?

Anyway, I digress yet again…  But oh catastrophe – no remaining copies of the Strawberries single remained in any shops anywhere!  I was distraught, what could I do?  But all was not lost - thanks Mick, I still have yours and a prized possession it is.  Because you see, back then (and until now for all I know, bootlegs, live tapes etc. notwithstanding) it was a tad tricky to get hold of (although I presume it did finally get re-released at some point?).  Anyway, whatever, it really deserved to find its way here onto CD, and I mean really deserved it - at last here we are.

Because what you have here in your hands is a little gem, a little nugget of near perfect gorgeousness, a little piece of priceless pop magnificence, quite simply one of my favourite records of all time plus one of my favourite singles of all time, in one joyous package.  OK so it’s not exactly a timeless classic as such, and neither is it perfect, but it is completely groovy, original and fun!  And, as said, it’s about bally time it got onto CD (especially seeing’s my single is quite played in now and sounds pretty cack (um, you didn’t want it back did you Mick?).  Of course by the time I was on the scene Strawberries had been pretty much been shelved live, but oh the joy as, over the years, it gradually crept back in the set for the encores.
Obviously there were more gems to come (Pallino, Peppermint Dreams, Basil to arbitrarily name just 3, oh - and the very much later Tremendous Many which has a truly tremendous guitar riff) but “Strawberries” is class and it and “Pitch” remain one helluva debut offering.  (Now do Simon & I get our Daffodil Scare credit, Ed?!).
So, did I like the album?  Hell I loved it so much I had to marry the producer!

Viv Crockford, Rochester

Definitively Tangerine

It was on a barge. End of 1985 (or was it 1986 ?)… Snowing outdoor (or was it just raining ?)… And a bunch of young fans were shouting Tangerine ! Tangerine ! I was two decades younger, shouting and howling, like a drunken teenage kid, just like I used to be…

In fact, we were three, swaping each other one and only copy of Some People… Threadbare…

We probably were the only guys in Liège to hear about The Dentists until that night.

But, since these glorious times, the walls of my little town are still covered by Dentists graffiti’s…

And I remember them every wintertime, when strawberries are growing in my courtyard, because I ain’t no garden…

Jean Pierre Devresse, Liege, Belgium

I remember the lead-up to receiving my first copy of Some People for its tension, excitement, and expectation.
Bob and I had been working together at Medway Hospital and when he came in with some copies of the LP I can still remember the frenzy and the stunned look on Bob's face as the LP's were snapped up like hotcakes! Incredibly, someone we knew and worked with had released a record! People at work wanted the band to sign copies of the album - I'd grown up playing football with Bob and Mark at school and now they were pop stars! Weird!
There had been a long anticipated wait for its release and I couldn't wait to get home and play it and then to find out the next day what other people had thought of it. I loved it. Some people were enthused by it; some people were inspired by it; 'Some People' gave the the dull Medway music fresh impetus - and even the dowdy local journalists took a shine to it.
My favourite track? Too hard to choose! I guess Tangerine because it gave me the chance to get violent on the dancefloor and an ideal opportunity to knock Aidan Murphy's glasses off.
When I look back I can see how the LP had been just what we had all been waiting for - a refreshing tonic in the middle of a recession - bringing hope to a generation of downcasts. After its release it was odd seeing people at gigs who I'd never met before - overnight, The Dentists had a new set of friends and we were all part of trying to make it to the London scene........
My favourite gig was the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden - we took 2 coaches up to London and packed out the venue. 'We'd made it' I heard the newer groupees exclaim, and they were right; so many people were enjoying themselves on the dancefloor and on stage (even if Bob did break his strings, causing a hiatus!). It was clear that there were new interested eyes and ears in 'Laarndon'!
I do remember telling Mick that a snippet of his vocals sounded like 'Paki's Out' - which he refuted, naturally. Sorry Mick.
I really disliked the clarinet - Sorry Denise.
And so, twenty years hence, patient as I've been since those heady days, I've yet to receive my autographed football that these miscreants promised (as printed on the back of the album). And I've never forgiven them for spelling my name incorrectly!
Did they ever find OOOPB? Who knows?
Thanks guys.

Geoff Cook, Hertfordshire

I got to know the Dentists and see their live performances and hear their recorded work in the mid 80s, when I reported on them for the pop page of a local newspaper. They wore their Smiths' influences on their sleeves, but also hung around with some very dodgy 60s revivalist groups, and as a result, I was always enthusiastic about some of their work, but not all of it.
I looked through my record collection recently for ‘Some People Are On The Pitch....’, to play it again to see if I had any new thoughts about it, but found I had sold it during one of my periodic record clear outs, so I suppose that says something... but I do still have the 12" of ‘’You And Your Bloody Oranges’.
If there is anything that has struck me recently about The Dentists it is about how they ranged between extremes.... from the brilliance of ‘I Can See Your House From Up Here’ to the dullness of the stuff I can't remember, they had briefly and intermittently a promise and a potential that I would have love to have seen fulfilled, and for a time, they were the only Medway band that (in my opinion) had that promise and potential. At their best, they could teach the Stone Roses a thing or two about writing a perfect guitar pop song. At their worst, they should have been made to listen to 60s Status Quo on a loop because even they were better. (Honestly, and you have no idea how painful it is to admit that).

I still would have liked to see them make it big, though.

Dennis Pearce

Somewhat bizarrely I got drilled [sic] into the Dentists through voyeurism.  I remember Joanne, girlfriend of my friend Max, had a small crush on Mick Murphy (allegedly the best looking lad in the school year) and could see into a youthful Mick’s bedroom from her window.  Whether (I can see your house from up here) there are any other links these were never told.  Joanne and Max went to one of the early gigs at Medway Little Theatre and insisted I went to your next Nag’s Head gig.  At that time I had never heard anything like the Dentist sound, evocative of the 60’s with bits of new wave, psychedelia, power pop and dare I say, a smidgeon of the Smiths.  It takes a lot to drag me onto the floor but Live Dentistry always hit the mark at some point during the gig.  Oh, and the guitarist always finished with just four strings.

Yup, the Dentists have a lot to answer for in my life; marriage, my daughter and a slow spiral into debt. But that’s another story …

Tony Feheley, Gillingham

Do remember coming round to Bob's for a first listen, remember Acker slating Alan Crockford's production in the Chatham Standard, remember rumours of a Wogan appearance on the back of the England World Cup anniversary or somesuch related event, remember Neil Holmes including tracks (I'm not the devil and Flowers around me) on a compilation tape at his birthday party (21st?) and thinking how well the songs stood up against the rest. Stand out tracks for me - I had an excellent dream, You make me say it somehow and I'm not the devil - all deserving of global recognition. IMO - I had an excellent dream is as good a pop song as any ever written

Neil Riordan, Windsor

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