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Doctors Of Madness
Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms

Review: 112
Date: 27 Jan 03

 


Rating: 4 Stars

Musicians:
Richard “Kid” Strange – Speak, & Buzz Guitar
Urban Blitz – Violin, Stunt Guitar & all Keyboards
Stoner – Horror Bass
Peter De Lemmer – Slap Dash Drums

Tracks Listing:
1. Afterglow
2. Mitzi’s Cure
3.I Think We’re Alone
4. Waiting
5. The Noises Of The Evening
6. Billy Watch Out
7. B Movie Bedtime
8. Mainlines

 


When this collection of startling songs was released in 1976, “The Doctors’” record company took out a full page advert in the hugely popular British music paper “Sounds”, which had a picture of “The Doctors” lead singer and only songwriter at the microphone, with bright blue hair and eyes like reflector laser’s staring straight back at you. Underneath were the words “Already a lot of people think the “Doctors of Madness” are the most tasteless band ever”. What a good start, but pretty extreme even for the mid seventies!

The Doctors of Madness were the musical vehicle for the aforementioned Richard “Kid” Strange (who later turned up as Neville parodying himself in the British sit-com comedy “Men Behaving Badly”), joining him in “The Doctors” were blonde bombshell of a drummer Peter de Lemmer (who made no secret of his admiration for the Who’s Keith Moon), the Bassist known only as Stoner (who used to come on stage in full Frankenstein make up), and the wonderfully monikered Urban Blitz (who switched between lead guitar and electric violin).

Starting out about a year before Punk Rock really took off, they really got lost between two stools, certainly not part of the so called old wave, but too musical to be part of the new wave. Nevertheless, the music was nothing if not original and interesting.

Cutting a swathe through the daze of the mid seventies and virtually stumbling onto the welcoming red carpet of Punk Rock, “The Doctors” pursued an unremitting musical path to the front door of Richard Strange’s tortured musical soul.

Heavy on period mellotron, and fired by some delicious violin and electric guitar - courtesy of the ubiquitous Urban Blitz, “The Doctors” album opens with a trio of introspective Strange ramblings, of which the doomy “After Glow” sets a standard for some unrelenting soul searching.

The opener segues almost unnoticed into “Mitzis Cure”, which is basically more of same, only deeper and darker.

Interestingly, in between Kid’s rants there are moments when the band's collective instrumental virtuosity is allowed to breath.

During final song “Mainlines”, clocking in at over 12 minutes, all features of “The Doctors” music is spotlighted. Strange’s hard hitting lyrics, the brutal rhythm work of the drummer and bassist respectively, and Urban’s demonic violin comes close to the same controlled aggressive frisson that fired much of Daryl Way’s work with Curved Air in the early seventies. A wonderful slab of mid seventies mayhem.

That said, the good Mr. Strange doesn’t make things easy. At times “The Doctors” resemble an early Marc Almond dabbling in angst ridden songs from the bed sit. And just as you think you’re getting your head round this, a piece such as “Noises Of The Evening” leads us back into a musical cul-de-sac. “Noises” is a perplexing piece, archetypical of the band’s inverted sense of dynamics. Where a song would normally build up and open into a booming chorus or expansive solo with a big outro, Kid, as normal, does things the opposite way round.

A flighty, funky bass line and some spacey, almost psychedelic violin lines eventually implode into Richard’s claustrophobic dark paranoia. What started as a period piece light rocker, quickly descends into the realms of B. movies vampiredom.

“The Doctors” were always too diverse to make it big time, but they left behind a great legacy.

And to think they were originally managed by Twiggy.... Now that is strange.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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