Touring his biographical solo show ‘An Accent Waiting To Happen’, Richard Strange hosted an intimate evening of stories, live music and comedy illustrating, with slides and video clips, his long career, amongst many things, as a musician, nightclub owner and actor.

He related his early days at school where a teacher first introduced him to William Burroughs’ ‘The Naked Lunch’ and his early musical influences such as Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks and Love, then performing an acoustic cover of ‘Alone Again Or’ which he said inspired him to start a band.

Together with Urban Blitz (guitar, violin), Stoner (bass) and Peter DiLemma (drums), he formed proto-punk band Doctors of Madness. After promoting their own gigs, they grew in popularity and later made television appearances, until one day a support band, that happened to be The Sex Pistols, put them out of business.

With backing vocals sung by singer Lilybud, Strange performed some Doctors Of Madness songs on electric and acoustic guitar taken from the band’s 1976 debut studio album, ‘Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms’, with ‘Billy Watch Out’ and ‘Mitzi’s Cure’; the latter inspired by Burroughs’ cut-up technique.

He moved onto the next stage of his life founding the arts club Cabaret Futura, which hosted Richard Jobson’s poetry performances and put on Soft Cell’s first show. After then signing to Virgin records as a solo artist, he toured his second album, ‘The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange’, playing alongside the likes of Grace Jones and appearing on The Old Grey Whistle Test. With Lilybud, he then sang ‘By The Wall’, written after touring in Berlin at the time of the wall falling.

Strange also discussed film, theatre and musicals and his various acting roles including a part in the blockbuster ‘Batman’, a Tom Waits musical and first meeting a young actor named James Nesbitt. After performing some more solo material, he returned to Doctors of Madness with their 2019 protest album, ‘Dark Times’, playing both electric and acoustic guitar alongside Lilybud for ‘This Is How To Die’ and ‘This Kind of Failure’, and ending the evening on single ‘Make It Stop!’.

01/12/22: Richard Strange @ West Hampstead Arts Club, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.