Richard Strange and old mate TV Smith team up in Shoreham

Writer, musician, composer, nightclub host, curator, actor and adventurer Richard Strange teams up with his old mate TV Smith for a special night at Shoreham’s Duke of Wellington on October 22.

Richard Strange by Mark Cairns
Richard Strange by Mark Cairns

The dates on tour are their first on stage together since the late 70s when TV Smith stage-bombed Richard’s Doctors of Madness and sang a couple of songs with them.

As Richard says, he and Tim Smith go back a long way.

“Tim used to come to watch Doctors of Madness when we played down in the West Country which was where he was based. We were one of the few bands that went that far away from London. We used to go and play Plymouth and Penzance and Bristol and Bath. And Tim would come along and he just got what we were doing. We just got to know each other.

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    “He had put together a band called The Adverts and he telephoned me and said that they were playing up in London, and I just think he was a great, great songwriter and a wonderful, charismatic performer. He was also great fun.

    “When our bands both started to detonate or imploded in early 1978, both The Adverts and Doctors Of Madness were hitting the buffers, we started writing songs together not really having any record company support or any management behind us. He used to come across to my house, and I think it really worked because we both respected each other’s work. We both love lyrics. We both got into music through the lyrics rather than melody, and we just started writing together. Nothing came of it, but then this year someone said ‘I have heard about those tracks that you wrote with TV Smith in 1978. Would you be interested in releasing them?’”

    And that’s precisely what has now happened, with the album now out under the title 1978.

    “They are not punk rock and they are not glam rock. They were just songs that we were writing together, and they are good. And on the back of that, they started saying to us ‘How do you fancy doing some live gigs?’

    “Tim is the hardest-working man in showbusiness. He has just come back from a 25-date tour of Germany and then we will do these dates together and then he will be off again. But we did a try-out show of this show together and it worked well. Before that, 1978 was the last we were on stage together when he stage-bombed us at the last gig that Doctors of Madness did in the 1970s and we did a couple of songs together.”

    Now just seems the right time to pick up again: “We are both older and wiser. Wiser is good. It means that you make fewer bad decisions!

    “For the gig we will both do solo shows of our huge back catalogues and then we will join forces to do these songs from the album called 1978 together and a few mutual favourites as well.”

    And then afterwards, if you are in the audience, make sure you come and say hello, Richard insists: “We don’t have security. We won’t be creeping out the back entrance into a long, sleek limousine. We want to stop and chat!”

    Richard’s proto-punk rock band The Doctors of Madness was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975. The band was supported by the Sex Pistols, The Jam and Joy Division.

    He later founded the hugely influential mixed-media Cabaret Futura in 1980 and has subsequently worked as an actor, appearing extensively on stage, in films and on television. Richard has been seen in films as diverse as Batman, Mona Lisa, Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves, Gangs of New York and Harry Potter. He has made numerous TV appearances and as a stage actor he has worked alongside household names such as Peter Capaldi and Marianne Faithfull.

    In 2003 he toured the UK with the award-winning Dance Theatre Company Protein Dance, contributing as an actor, narrator, musician and writer.