by Mott the Dog
**** 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 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 open with a trio of introspective Strange ramblings, of
which the doomy “After Glow” sets a standard for some unrelenting soul
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
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
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
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]