formed in 1980 and the original line up consisted of Alison
Gordon (guitar, backing vocals) Brendan Monaghan (vocals) Davy
Lynas (drums) and Graham Stannage (bass guitar).
Alison Gordon “We
used to practice in the basement of a loyalist pub in Newtownards
on Saturday afternoons and in a Chapel hall on Sunday afternoons!”
The band made their live debut at the 'Project Bangor' gig in
July 1981, playing to a full house in their own hometown. From
there they went on to build themselves a reputation second to
none in the N. Ireland music scene of the early 1980's, both
for their energetic live performances and power of their music.
Colin Bateman (the novelist) managed the band for a time. It
was he who set up the 'Cattle Company' Record label and subsequently
released both the band's 7" singles. After the label folded
Brendan the vocalist used the name for his next band. Alison
Gordon again “My mum only found out I'd joined the band
(aged 16) when she saw a photograph and write up by Colin Bateman
in the County Down Spectator. One quote of the week in the Spectator,
courtesy of Master Bateman, recorded me at a gig saying: "The
next song is for all the boys from Glengormley, and especially
Flem, only he's from Bangor. I can also remember doing a radio
interview in my school uniform”.
gigged extensively on the local circuit in venues such as the
Abercorn and Winkers in Belfast; the Sportsman, Furey's, the
Helmsman and BJs in Bangor. As well as their own headlining
gigs there were several support slots of note with - Rudi at
the Pound, The Outcasts at the Free Rock Carnival, Whiteabbey
on 6th August 1983 and Poison Girls at the @ Centre, Belfast.
Dogmatic Element released 2 singles in their relatively short
career, both on their own Cattle Company record label, as well
as several cassette ep's. Alison Gordon “we recorded our
first couple of demo tapes in Bangor Drama Club - the guys from
Ampec recorded them for us. I made a backdrop for the band in
school - I was doing art A level so the teachers thought it
was part of my portfolio. It was painted with black gloss paint
on an old bed sheet. It was an androgynous figure kneeling down,
known affectionately as 'the man with no dong'. It became the
image used on the front cover of our first single - Just
Friends. The band photo on the back was taken up at Scrabo Tower
with a gale blowing”. The band also recorded a couple
of Downtown Radio sessions and also appeared on television when
they performed the songs 'Getting There' and 'White Sin' live
on BBC N. Ireland's youth programme Channel One in 1984.
Alison Gordon “We
made it to the final of the NI Battle of the Bands in September
1982, but I had been offered a place at Canterbury University.
I missed freshers week to stay and do the gig and promised the
band that if we won the competition I'd stay with the band.
We didn't win - I left for Canterbury the next day. The biggest
thrill while in the band was hearing John Peel play our single
on his show. Other memorable moments include playing at the
Baggot Inn in Dublin. It seemed like a long way in those days
and being asked for my autograph - once - in Woolworths”
There were several lineup changes after Alison left and by the
time of their second single in 1984, Dogmatic Element had been
reduced to a trio, consisting of Monaghan, Stannage and Brendan
O'Mahony. However, the band did draft in a brass section and
various session musicians when the need arose.
The band finally
split in 1985 after a long residency at The Kiln in Larne. Brendan
Monaghan was moving in a different musical direction and the
band felt that they had gone as far as they could. Monaghan played with successful alternative country band the Cattle Company and since their split enjoys a successful solo career.