Press Clippings and testimonials

Sleevenotes for the Polydor 'Revisionism' retrospective

(Chris Bohn, 1981)

As in politics, the history of pop music is constantly open to revision according to the dictates of fashion and popularity, and the motivation's invariably the same: protection of status and position. The phenomenon currently throwing the pop historians into a state of panic and confusion is thre rise of Richard (ne Kid) Strange, a figure they closed the book on with the passing of the Doctors of Madness.

Lord knows nobody likes to be proved wrong, least of all historians. So small wonder that the Doctors of Madness are suddenly everybody's favourite cult band. Predictably few of their recently uncovered admirers were prepared to make a cause celebre out of the group back then, when their ideas were ahead of time and, more importantly, always placed ahead of their musicianly abilities to fulfil them. This all seemed to matter terribly when their first two LPs, 'Late Night Movies All Night Brainstorms' and 'Figments of Emancipation' were issued at the beginning and end of '76 before their attitudes had been propertly legitimised by the flowering of punk. Barring inarticulacy, all the preoccupations of the blank generation could be found in those two records - the hopelessness, the nihilistic pure noise, speed pop and even the horror-comic rechristening of the characters involved. Additionally, grotesque humour and pained introspection disinguished the Doctors from their earlier and later contemporaries, evidently making them too difficult a group to grasp for those too busy being fashionable.

The third and final LP, 'Sons of Survival' was their clearest, most concise statement, yet by that time they'd been around too long for the fad conscious to halt their blind rushed search for the new long enough to notice. The rewards weren't coming, violinist Urban Blitz walked out, but Kid Strange lashed out awhile, before deciding to withdraw from the Doctors' more aggressive strategies to plot a more insidious route for his rise, the efficacy of which would prompt the reappraisals currently going on that would eventually judge the Doctors of Madness 'correct'.

More bemused by than bitter about the critical swing in his favour, Strange is not one to gloat over the Doctors posthumous popularity, proving though it does just how relative the supposedly relevant arbiters of taste and opinion are.

'Revisionism,' then, is the Doctors of Madness history rewritten. The Doctors of Madness made easy. Their themes and preoccupations plainly arranged to leave as little room as possible for error or misinterpretation. There is nothing sentimental about 'Revisionism;' unless the two happen to coincide selections have been made primarily for their utility value than on the basis of personal favourites.

Above all, 'Revisionism' is a vindication of the Doctors of Madness.


return to cuttings index



Track Tracklisting:

Side one: Mainlines (prologue), Waiting, B Movie Bedtime, In Camera, Triple Vision, Network

Side Two: Sons of Survival, Marie and Joe, Afterglow, Mitzi's Cure, Bulletin, Mainlines (outro).