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Saturday 03 March 2018

Doctors Of Madness: Richard Strange Re-Ignites Original Punks For Brighton Show

Described as "the missing link between David Bowie and The Sex Pistols" Doctors of Madness exploded onto the music scene in 1975 with their theatrical, William Burroughs-inspired Sci-fi nightmare, they were misunderstood by many, but those who knew understood the importance of the band's dangerous, uncompromising approach to lyrics, to music and to performance.

Among the many fans of the band were acts as diverse as The Damned, Vic Reeves, Joy Division, Spiritualized and Julian Cope.  The Sex Pistols supported them, so did The Jam, Penetration and Cabaret Voltaire. 

They were the first to combine the avant-garde approach of The Velvet Underground with a distinctly European aesthetic. 

Vic Reeves said of the band:

"If you have never heard the Doctors of Madness, you should. Musically they are the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls with shades of glam, hippie, prog and punk all rolled into one, yet are still totally original. Vastly underrated, they should have been huge. Pure genius"

The blue hair, exotic stage-names, the lyrical themes of urban decay, political propaganda, mind control and madness were all taken up by the punk bands who followed in their wake.  

The Doctors of Madness were trailblazers, pioneers, adventurers…pushing the boundaries of rock music and theatre to see how far it would go before it bust. 

What happened after them was due, in no small part, to what they achieved in three short years. They may not have been Jesus Christ, but they were, arguably, John The Baptist!

Frontman, singer and songwriter Richard "Kid" Strange went on to make solo albums, open clubs, write a memoir, curate art events and act in dozens of films and TV programmes including Batman, Robin Hood, Gangs of New York, Harry Potter, Mona Lisa and Men Behaving Badly. 

He also worked on projects with artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Gavin Bryars, Marianne Faithfull, Damon Albarn and Jarvis Cocker.
 
Forty years after the band broke up, in 1978, they are back with an incendiary energy and a passionate fury that would be the envy of many bands just starting out.  

Their songs are political, tender, and genuinely edgy, complex but forthright, melodic and epic.

Their three albums have recently been remastered, repackaged and re-released in a handsome boxed set, Perfect Past- The Complete Doctors of Madness, and have been discovered by a whole new generation of music lovers. 

The Doctors of Madness at The Haunt, Brighton, on Thursday 22nd March 2018. CLICK HERE for tickets.

by: Mike Cobley




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