Doctors of Madness

Band members               Related acts

- Urban Blitz -- violin, violelectra (1976-)

- Peter Di Lemma -- drums, percussion (1976-)

- Kid Strange (aka Richard Strange) -- vocals, guitar, sax,

  harmonica (1976-)

- Stoner -- bass (1976-)




- The Damned (Dave Vanian)

- KId Strange (solo efforts)





Genre: punk

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Doctors of Madness

Company: United Artists

Catalog: UA-LA871-J2

Year: 1976

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve; cut top right corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5

Price: $20.00


Every time I hear the Doctors of Madness (which isn't very often), I find myself laughing at the marketing concept behind the band.  The idea appears to have been to take a bunch of Bowie-inspired glam wannabes and somehow make them palitable to an audience that was suddenly ravous for punk.  To call the results entertaining is somewhat of an understatement.


With a lineup consisting of violin player Urban Blitz, drummer Peter Di Lemma, singer/multi-instrumentalist Richard 'Kid' Stranger, and bassist Stoner (guess he forgot or sold his surname), the quartet somehow attracted the attention of United Artists who signed the band releasing their 1976 debut "Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms".  Produced by John Leckie, exemplified by tracks like 'Brothers' and 'Marie & Joe' the album underscored the band's weird glam-cum-punk influences. Occasionally roughened up and overlain with Blitz's lead violin, Bowie influences ran rampant throughout the set giving it a weird and pseudo-comical feel. Ironically they were apparently a fairly good band, capable of some surprisingly commercial moves (check out the harmonies on 'Suicide').  Still, clearly meant to establish the band as serious social commentators and rightful members of the punk community, it came off sounding like a bunch of spoiled wannabes.  Blue hair, stage costumes and a penchant for hyper-sensitive lyrics (check out the clumsy ballad 'Afterglow') guaranteed they'd get pummeled by critics and the buying public (to say nothing of other punk bands).      


Exchanging producer John Leckie for John Punter, 1976's "Figments of Emancipation" kept the same lyrical cast of losers and societal underachievers, but lightened the sound up a little, letting the band's commercial potential occasional slip into the grooves (check out the 15 minutes plus 'Mainlines Prologue').  Strange remained an acquired taste and Blitz simply underscored the fact lead violin and rock band don't go together as a concept.


Recognizing their commercial potential was limited in the States, United Artists didn't even bother releasing the two albums domestically, instead packaging them together as "Doctors of Madness".  


"Doctors of Madness" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Brothers   (Kid Strange) - 6:59

2.) Suicide   (Kid Strange) - 4:41

3.) Perfect Past   (Kid Strange) - 6:12 


(side 2)
1.) Marie & Joe   (Kid Strange) - 6:41

2.) In Camera (Huis Clos)   (Kid Strange) - 4:47

3.) Doctors of Madness   (Kid Strange) - 2:45

4.) Outs   (Kid Strange) - 4:05


(side 3)
1.) Waiting / Please Don't Shoot the Pianist   (Kid Strange) - 4:06

2.) Afterglow   (Kid Strange) - 3:50

3.) MiItzi's Cure   (Kid Strange) - 4:51

4.) I Think We're Alone   (Kid Strange) - 3:44

5.) The Noises of Evening   (Kid Strange) - 8:37


(side 2)
1.) B-Movie Bedtimes   (Kid Strange) - 

2.) Mainlines Prologue   (Kid Strange) - 

3.) Billy Watch Out   (Kid Strange) -