Stranger's Weird Way to Success
(Anne Nightingale column, Daily Express, Aug 6 1981)
The 'phenomenal rise of Richard Strange' is not my description
of the man's progress, but it IS his.
immodest Mr Strange, a cadaverous 6ft 4in tall, is known to
dress up as a vicar, or a pre-war Russian spy - and looks like
becoming the rock world's latest stylish eccentric.
makes his own records, produces others, and launched the highly
fashionable Cabaret Futura in London's Soho - haunt of the dress-conscious
rise to fame has been deliberate but hardly rapid. Way before
punk, Strange stood out in any crowd by dyeing his hair blue.
remembers 'I bumped into Captain Beefheart (America's best-known
rock eccentric) in a motorway cafe on the M1. Beefheart stared
at me and said 'Man, you're WEIRD!' He was busy at the time
buying a whole consignment of plaster toy dogs from the shop
next door. And he called ME weird!
first group, the Doctors of Madness, became an important pre-punk
band and has been cited as an important influence by later groups
such as the Sex Pistols and Magazine.
when touring became an economic nightmare, Richard hit on a
novel idea. 'I realised all I needed to perform was a tape recorder,
pre recorded backing tapes, a screen and a movie projector.'
this one-man show, he took New York clubs by storm, and then
brought his new-style 'cabaret' idea back to London and opened
has played solo all over Europe, including a show recently at
a mental hospital in Vienna. 'The patients made a marvellous
audience' said Richard in a clipped accent which smacks of an
fact,' he said airily, 'I have a working-class background.
I don't go along with all that "sticking to one's working
class roots" business. I think one should try to better
oneself. I always saw myself as some kind of public figure.'
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