How did Devon band Police Dog Hogan get its unusual name?
PUBLISHED: 13:39 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:59 25 October 2017
Founder member of Police Dog Hogan, James Studholme, tells Judy Spiers the story of how the country band got their most distinctive moniker
“I was born in Chittlehamholt, upstairs in the Willow Tree. Raised in a room in Ilfracombe, with a view of the surf and the sea.”
The lyrics of West Country Boy belted out by James Studholme founder member, main lyricist and frontman, of Police Dog Hogan from their 2014 album Westward Ho!
Actually James wasn’t raised in Ilfracombe but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good song.
He was born just outside Exeter, between Longdown and Ide, on the Perridge Estate in Perridge House, which has been in the family since 1907 and is now the home of his elder brother Sir Harry Studholme, chairman of the Forestry Commission.
We met a few years back when Police Dog Hogan played on my radio show and we have kept in touch. James dropped in for a coffee recently to chat about the band’s latest tour and album Wild Side of the Road. It includes the track Devon Brigade, a tribute to his great uncle Paul Francis William Studholme who, at just 19, died during the First World War and whose name appears on the Ide War Memorial.
Despite going into land management and becoming a qualified sheep shearer, James was convinced from an early age that mega stardom beckoned and he was going to be: “An enormous rock star.”
The first step was aged eight in Longdown Village Hall singing Once In Royal David’s City accompanying himself on a nylon-stringed guitar. In a sell-out gig at the village hall last year, which James proudly told me displaced the skittles, his former teacher Mrs Chalk told him: “You haven’t really changed very much at all!”
He is now the driving force behind Blink, the award-winning British production company and creative studio producing commercials, music videos, animations, art and fashion films.
Remember the drumming gorilla in the Cadbury’s advert? That was Blink.
Then of course there were the hugely successful John Lewis Christmas ads. Blink was also behind the brilliant Dougal Wilson’s We’re The Superhuman film for Channel 4 Paralympics.
James is tall and slender to the point of gangly with a shock of red hair, which led him to be known in the advertising world as The Ginger Supremo, and a style which must surely have defeated his wife, an eminent fashion stylist. But music called and after getting together with couple of friends he formed the band.
Now eight-strong, with an average age of 40 several, it includes Tim Dowling, writer and Guardian columnist, Tim Jepson, travel writer for the Telegraph, and Eddie Bishop QC.
I love the story of how they got their name. Apparently they were sitting in a pub waiting to catch a boat to Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, when Eddie told them of a complaint he had read against the police when he was a young lawyer.
I’ll let James take up the story, which varies each time I hear it but still makes me laugh.
“At 18.53 hours I was on duty at ***** police station when I received instructions to attend a situation at ****** Rd where a number of individuals were allegedly engaged in riotous and threatening behaviour. PC***, SPC**** and PD Hogan and myself, travelled to the scene in an a marked police van.
On arrival myself and other officers proceeded on foot to join the cordon under the direction of ACS ****, leaving PD Hogan in the van. It soon became clear that the crowd were ignoring ACS **** instructions to clear the area and were becoming more violent, shouting insults and throwing sticks, bricks and bottles. I therefore decided to return to the van to collect PD Hogan.
On our return PD Hogan began to vocalise. I warned the crowd that if they did not disperse PD Hogan would be deployed. At this point an IC1 male stepped forward from the crowd and attempted to kick P D Hogan, who then bit him on the leg. I ordered PD Hogan to desist (with the command ‘Dead Hogan, dead!’) at which point he appeared to calm down.”
By now it became obvious that PD Hogan was not a detective...but a dog. The band enjoyed the story so much PD Hogan it is!
Now nine years on, having played many of the big festivals last year, they made it to the Avalon tent at Glastonbury. Surely the pinnacle of their career so far?
Not so. James reminded me that came after our first radio interview when he had revealed: “My hero is Adge Cutler and Bristol City run on the pitch to Drink Up Thee Cider. My ambition is that Exeter City do the same to West Country Boy!”
Straight after the show he indeed got a call from Exeter City...and it happened!
Wild Side Of The Road is published by Major Tom Records.
10 THINGS JAMES LOVES ABOUT DEVON
- That I’m a long way from London and all my family are with me.
- ‘Dreckly’. aka directly –as in a plumber saying he’ll be there dreckly which could be today, next week or next year.
- Ivor Dewdney Pasties
- Village Pantomimes (Particularly Dunsford)
- Devon Folk Music. The Lakemans, Show of Hands, The Carrivicks, Bob Cann,
- Moss on the trees. The air is clean.
- The authentic Devon accent.I used to love the announcer at Exeter St David’s reading out all the stations to Penzance.
- The Dimpse. The magic time between day and night.
- The sound of Seagulls in Dartmouth
- The Alders in the Teign Valley. Used in days of yore by sword making smiths because it makes the hottest burning charcoal.