**** 4 Stars Rating
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”. Which is a good start and 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 was blonde bombshell of a drummer Peter de Lemma 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 monickered Urban Blitz who switched between lead guitar and electric
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
open 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 the 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 & 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 bands
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.
Richard “Kid” Strange - Speak, & Buzz Guitar
Urban Blitz - Violin, Stunt Guitar & all Keyboards
Stoner - Horror Bass
Peter De Lemmer - Slap Dash Drums
2. Mitzi’s Cure
3. I Think We’re Alone
5. The Noises Of The Evening
6. Billy Watch Out
7. B Movie Bedtime
9. Doctors Of Madness
10. Mitzi’s Cure
11. I Think We’re Alone
12. B Movie Bedtime
13. Marie And Joe
14. Who Cries For Me