Team Dokus

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-72)  

- Phil Bridle -- keyboards

- Fred Fry -- lead guitar

- Stephen Hall -- rhythm guitar

- Roger "Dokus" Hope -- vocals

- Terry Lowe -- bass

- Royston "Roy" Stockley -- drums





- Crimson Earth (Fred Fry)

Room (Roger Hope)





Genre: psych

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Tales from the Underground

Company: Tenth Planet

Catalog:  TP 007

Country/State: Dorset, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: pressing # 65 of 500 pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $95.00

There's not a great deal of information out there on this band and what is there is incomplete and frequently conflicting.  So take my biographical comments with a grain of salt.  Prior to forming Team Dokus, the six band members had played in a number of local Dorset bands.   Vocalist Roger Hope had been in an early version of the Dorset-based group Room.  He was replaced by Jane Kevern prior to the release of their 1970 album "Pre-Flight.".  Keyboard player Phil Bridle, lead guitarist Fred Fry, rhythm guitarist Stephen Hall, and bass player Terry Lowe had all been in The Push.  By 1969 The Push was history and with the addition of Hope and drummer Royston Stockley, the group had morphed into Team Dokus.


The band's repertoire of blues-rock and metal covers and occasional originals saw them finding steady work in clubs throughout Southern England.  They picked up a manager in the form of Graham Cole.and spent the next two years grinding it out on the club circuit, slowly expanding their audiences to include dates on the college circuit, opening for the likes of Genesis and Nazareth.  They also recorded several demos, ultimately leading to an opportunity to record an album for the small CBS affiliated Sphere label.  Brought into the studio having opened for Nazareth the previous evening and scheduled to open for Genesis the following night, the band managed to record ten tracks over a single day, but as chance would have it, singer Hope and bassist Lowe were both fighting the flu. The result was an album marred by minimal production values, and performances that were extremely raw.  Promised an opportunity to return and smooth out the results, the opportunity never appeared.


Sphere subsequently released a single, but in spite of some airplay from DJ John Peel, it vanished without a trace:





- 1971's 'Tomorrow May Not Come' b/w 'Sixty Million Megaton Sunset' (Sphere catalog number SPH 1000)






Sphere quickly lost interest in the band, their acetate was shelved.  The band got one more shot at the limelight when the entered a "best band" contest in the form of the "Melody Maker National Rock and Folk Contest."   With the final prize being a shot at a recording contract the band made it to the top four, but ultimately lost out to jazz-rock artist Lloyd Watson.  Part of the reason for their loss may have stemmed from the fact they already had a recording contract with Sphere.  As a consolation prize Terry Lowe scored a new bass.  By late 1972 the band had called it quits.  


In 1990 a couple of the band's demos appeared on unauthorized compilation albums featuring obscure psychedelic material.  'Tomorrow' appeared on 1990's "The Psychedelic Salvage Company, Volume 1" and '50 Million Megaton Sunrise' appeared on The Psychedelic Salvage Company, Volume 2".  That led to renewed interest in the band.  




Some 23 years after it was recorded, in 1994 the original acetate fell into the hands David Wells' Tenth Planet label which subsequently released the collection under the title "Tales from the Underground."  Seemingly released without permission from CBS, or any involvement from the band members, 500 hand-numbered vinyl copies were pressed.  


Here's what the liner notes have to say about the album:


"From the shadowy recesses of the English underground come Team Dokus, masked by an ill-fitting cloak of anonymity as the claw a bloodstained path through the dense, suffocating undergrowth to want of unnatural acts, dastardly deeds and ominous portents.  Tale of slithering decent into a nether world of post-nuclear radiation, were mutant creatures violate innocent you maidens and the undead conduct their grim nocturnal march; a world in which sweet deliverance rests upon the fervent hope that tomorrow may not come."


Sounds like a peppy, top-40 collection of pop ditties ...  NOT.



As you can tell probably tell from song titles such as 'Fifty Million Megaton Sunset,' 'Night of the Living Dead' and the ever hopeful 'Tomorrow May Not Come', this was a concept piece with a plotline seemingly focused on World War III and the joys of post apocalyptic life.  With the Cold War continuing to simmer away throughout the early-'70s, it's easy to see why the topic my be on peoples' minds.  The concept was interesting in a manga comic book fashion, but the combination of poor, barebones production, and the unrelentingly dark and depressing material just didn't do a great deal for me.  There were certainly flashes of potential throughout the set.  In spite of being down with the flu, Hope clearly had a strong voice. Check out his performances on the title track and 'Feel Your Fire.'  Years of playing together left the band tight and  technically impressive (if poorly miked).  Drummer Stockley was a standout - check out his  gangbusters performance on the opener 'Fifty Million Megaton Sunset.'  Elsewhere 'Visions' and 'the blue-eyed soul-tinged 'Feel Your Fire' were both intriguing compositions, though neither tune was going to make you get up and do the shag.  So, in spite of all the flaws, this made for an interesting timepiece.  Shame they never got the chance to go back and truly finish their recordings.


"Tales from the Underground" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fifty Million Megaton Sunset - 6:56  rating: **** stars

Opening up with some calming Phil Bridle keyboards, 'Fifty Million Megaton Sunset' abruptly exploded to reveal Roger Hope's forlorn vocals over Roy Stockley's amazing drums.  A true "scene setter", I never thought I'd hear a post-apocalyptic song that could be scarier than CSN's Wooden Ships', but here it is.

2.) Night of the Living Dead - 5:46  rating: *** stars

'Night of the Living Dead' found the band shifting to a more experimental sound.  This time out guitarist Fred Fry and Stephen Hall were given some time in the spotlight, turning in an enjoyable, if slightly ragged performance.  And about halfway through the tune Bridle's organ work stepped forward with the song diving into space jam territory.

3.) Here's Hoping - 4:39   rating: ** stars

Built on a typical '60s jam structure, 'Here's Hoping' could easily have been mistaken for dozens of better known hard-rock contemporaries.  Nice country-tinged guitar solo, but really nothing special here.

4.) On the Way Down - 4:13  rating: *** stars

Opening up with a pastoral melody, 'On the Way Down' was the album's prettiest composition, though it would have been stronger without the needless flute arrangement.  Hope also sounded a little tentative without the rest of the band blasting away.


(side 2)

1.) Visions - 3:33   rating: **** stars

My favorite track, 'Visions' featured the album's best melody and Hope's strongest performance.  In spite of suffering from the flu, he managed to power through a strong blue-eyed soul performance.

2. Tomorrow May Not Come - 4:07  rating: *** stars

'Tomorrow May Not Come' added an interesting mix of Eastern influences and jazzy moves to the mix.  Unfortunately it was one of the poorest sounding performances with the mike sounding like it had been shoved down Hope's throat.  Shortly after the album was released the band went into Regent Sound Studios to record a shorter version of the song which was released as a single by the small CBS related Sphere label.  In spite of exposure from John Peel, the single quickly vanished and today is a sought-after rarity. And boy is it rare.  As far as I can tell a copy has never sold on Discogs, or eBay.  Also curious was the "B" side title change.  The album cut was titled 'Fifty Million Megaton Sunset', but the single upgraded the title ten million megatons to 'Sixty Million Megaton Sunset.'    That was quite an increase in payload.





- 1971's 'Tomorrow May Not Come' b/w 'Sixty Million Megaton Sunset' (Sphere catalog number SPH 100A/B)








3.) Big Red Beast - 4:27  rating: ** stars

'Big Red Beast' caught by attention given the twangy opening guitars gave the song  a surf instrumental vibe.  It didn't last long with Hope's yelping vocals kicking in, reminding me of the late Marty Balin suffering from a sinus infection.   The song at least managed to make post war life sound rather unpleasant.

4.) I Can't Wait - 2:46  rating: *** stars

One of the album's most conventional tracks, with a more polished production sound the bouncy 'I Can't Wait' would have had considerable commercial potential.  This one offered up a nice example of how good Hope's voice was.   Shame it sounded like the band had recorded it in a swimming pool locker room. 

5.) Feel Your Fire - 2:33   rating: **** stars

'Feel Your Fire' sported a quasi-blue eyed soul feel.  Totally unexpected and quite enjoyable.  Boosted along by a tasty little fuzz guitar solo, this was the track I would have picked as a single.  

6.) Fifty Million Megaton Sunset (reprise) - 1:57  rating: *** stars

And back to the ominous title track ...  



As of 2020 Hope was alive and living in Australia.  No idea about the other members.