Tuesday, March 08, 2005

kid strange or strange kid

When Ziggy shagged all of Amon Düül 2 at the Berlin premiere of 'A Clockwork Orange', their divine progeny was undoubtedly Richard "Kid" Strange - Julian Cope

Kid Strange aka Richard Harding. Musician, composer, nightclub host, actor, writer and adventurer, was born in January 1951. Since his proto-punk rock band the Doctors of Madness was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975, he has been a Zelig-like figure whose presence has been felt in every corner of London's cultural life. He founded the hugely influential mixed-media Cabaret Futura in 1980, and has made films with Tim Burton, Neil Jordan and Martin Scorsese. He wrote music for contemporary dance companies in the eighties and was European editor of the avant-garde Art Line magazine. He toured the world in a Russian Hamlet and appeared in several episodes of the highly successful Men Behaving Badly.

The Doctors released three albums on Polydor (and reissued on Ozit Records) in the latter half of the 70s that were inspired equally by the Velvet Underground and the writing of William S. Burroughs. In a time that pre-dated the rise of Sex Pistols, they were truly misunderstood. Bassist Stoner is quoted as saying "You get booed before you play a note. We are one of the few bands that can get that strength of reaction off people." However, in hindsight, perhaps they were the stepping stone between glam and punk. AMG even says, "the entire Futurist/electro movement of the age, that which thrust the likes of Ultravox, Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, and OMD to the fore, might never have occurred without the Doctors' existence." Not bad! Unfortunately, the Doctors were often flailed in the press and people couldn't quite comprehend the theatrics of the group. As the 70s came to a close the group disbanded and Kid became Richard and had releases on Cherry Red (the 1979 single mp3ed here), Ze, Virgin and Albion.

Maybe some time in the future I can do the Doctors of Madness justice, but this is about solo Strange. At a flea market I frequent, a middle-aged man was selling vinyl out of the back of his pick-up truck. One of the things I picked out, along with how-to breakdance compilations and electronic composers like Morton Subotnick, was a promo from PVC/Ze featuring Strange on one side and an Alan Vega (1/2 of Suicide) cut on the flip. The song is much like Julian Cope described Strange to be, and on top of all of that, I'd like to say that Pulp certainly owes him some royalties.

Richard Strange - International Language


At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, one of the DJs at WDAV in Davidson used to play this track, I had no idea who it was. Mind you, that was before they decided to get rid of most of their vinyl, at least the stuff that was A) remotely interesting to me, and 2) impossible to find anywhere else locally. Who knows, this could be the same copy!
Found Subotnick at the flea market, huh? I'm at the other end of the state from ya, in Burke county, gotta get out more... but prolly not at damn-early thirty on a Saturday, or whenever the flea market goes down.
Informative post, thanks.


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