Jon Clare & The Fabulous Dough Boys

Matt Venn

Matthew started to learn to play bass at the age of 14 and joined school bands with friends. Music soon became his favourite subject and you’d always find him in the music block – even when he shouldn’t have been there!

Along with his brother (Duncan), Matt was soon drafted in to play in his dad’s band – “Rob And The Boys”. This imaginative band name wasn’t actually the choice of any of them, just the chap that organised the charity events they played at.

After a couple of rehearsing bands, Matt was invited to join his first, real, gigging 3-piece band called “Hard Habit” in which He played bass, sung backing vocals and one or two lead vocals, with a lead vocalist (Lawrence) and keyboard player (Andy). A chap called “Alesis” played drums (he was a drum machine).

Unfortunately, Matt got involved with girls and his girlfriend at the time didn’t like him gigging so much so Matt left the band. What a loser. Should have ditched her instead.

After a short period of bedroom playing, Matt was asked by a very close friend to play bass and take lead vocals in a ten piece band called “The World Machine”. They performed jazz funk hits from across the 70s 80s and 90s at various venues across the south west and even went on to perform in the finals of the south west “Battle of the bands” at the playhouse. They took first place and lifted the trophy! Matt even had a telephone call and written correspondence form Matt Aitken of Stock Aitken and Waterman requesting original material after hearing a demo tape containing covers. However, at that time, the band didn’t have any original material and couldn’t be bothered to write any.

With a majority of the World Machine being in the RAF and them being posted elsewhere in the UK, the fate of the band was sealed.

Matt spent the next few years “sessioning” for various bands – one of which was “The Fabulous Dough Boys” way back in the year 2001.

Taking in gigs that included playing at the Glastonbury Festival on the Jazz World stage, being flown to Barbados and Las Vegas to play for Virgin Atlantic launch parties to name just a few, Matt was continually building experience and broadening his musical ability.

After a mysterious disappearance of the Dough Boys’ bass player (Matt insists there was no fowl play), Matt merged with Jon and Alan (drummer) to become a “Dough Boy” himself. For the next few years, he locked in with Alan on numerous gigs, far and wide which included playing at the London Moon Walk thing Infront of 20,000 half naked ladies. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!

There was one instrument that Matt had always longed to play – the drums. This was actually the first choice of instrument, but, Matt’s parents considered them to be too noisy and said he could have a kazoo. Eventually they negotiated to the bass.

Years later (like 2004) and after saving his pennies, Matt went out and bought his first drum kit and started to session for a few bands as well as being the drummer for a well known (at the time) blues band.

It was down to calanders and timings that Jon asked Matt if he could step in on Drums whilst Alan played for another band for a few gigs. Being the nice chap he is, Matt obliged, thus leaving a big space where the bass player should have been stood. However, the remarkably talented Rich Miller agreed to stand in and the current line-up was formed.

Matt feels most comfortable behind the kit as Rich Miller learned the proper bass parts that Matt spent years blagging and wouldn’t have got away with it for much longer!

Matt feels hugely privileged to be recognised as a “Fabulous Dough Boy” and to provide drumming duties to back up Jon’s supreme vocals and piano playing. Jon’s reputation certainly precedes him and when Matt got the call to be involved with the band, he jumped at the chance. Little did he know that 14 years later he’d still be in the band! Now THATS a good thing.

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