Friday, February 15, 2013

Dr. Feelgood "You Shouldn't Call The Doctor" (if you can't afford the bills) - Bonus Video Friday

Sometime in 2012 I got away from the idea of Bonus Video Friday: A treat-for-the-readers'-weekend posting of obscure or not-so-obscure YouTube videos I particularly liked and thought the rockers amongst you out there might like to or might NEED to see.  Today we're relaunching Bonus Video Friday with Dr. Feelgood, one of England's preeminent pub-rock bands.

Pub-rock was the immediate forerunner of punk-rock in mid-1970's England.  Scruffy, scrappy little bands with beat-to-crap guitars & amps and cobbled-together drum kits; no special-effects, no pyro, no make-up, psyching themselves up against the Dinosaur Rock Acts of the British Isles - your over-the-hill hippie bands, your prog-rockers, your arena-rock glam acts; your Jethro Tull's, your Emerson, Lake & Palmer's, your Queen's.

Dr. Feelgood was powered by the buzzsaw guitar-playing & songwriting of Wilko Johnson and the gargling-with-razorblades vocals of Lee Brilleaux, underpinned with the tighter-than-tight rhythm section of John B. Sparks and The Big Figure on bass & drums, respectively.  I saw Dr. Feelgood live in 1976 opening for - of all people - The Tubes of "White Punks On Dope" fame (or infame) at Vet's Memorial in Columbus.  (The 1970's were primetime for terribly mismatched double-bills - Aerosmith with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, The New Riders of the Purple Sage with Mott The Hoople, The Patti Smith Group with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, etc.)

Our seats that night were right behind the soundboard (plopped down halfway back in Vet's, on sheets of plywood set right on top of eight or ten of the seats in two or three rows).  Running sound for the Feelgood's that tour was Nick Lowe - post-Brinsley Schwarz and pre-Stiff Records.  I leaned over the seats, tapped Lowe on the shoulder and asked, "Are you Nick Lowe?"  "Yeah, mate, who're you?" he replied, an unlit joint sticking out of the side of his mouth.  "I'm Ric.  I have your Brinsley Schwarz records.  They're great."  Lowe brightened immediately and shook my outstretched hand, mumbling, "How wouldja possibly know about that band in this town?" around the joint.  He couldn't have been cooler.  I couldn't have been prouder.

I've been reading lately that Wilko Johnson (who apparently had an acting part in that HBO show Game Of Thrones, I don't get HBO) is dying of pancreatic cancer.  He has six months to a year to live, has refused chemotherapy and other treatments, preferring to leave this planet on his own terms and is currently on a farewell tour of England while he still feels good enough to go out playing.  That's a rocker.  Raise a glass, ladies & gentlemen, raise a glass.....

Dr. Feelgood, in full flight, 1975

Johnson and Sparks did that walking up & back stage-move - sometimes in unison, sometimes not -
for the entire duration of their 40 minute opening set with The Tubes.  It confused the fuck out
of the completely qualluded-out Columbus audience.  (Ask your parents.  Or your grandparents.)

prime extra-musical moment; Brilleaux humping the bass drum at the 2:33 mark. classic

inspirational verse; "If this doesn't cure you, it'll kill / But I know it's gonna give you a thrill /
And now I've come across, you can't complain about the cost /
You shouldn't call the doctor if you can't afford the bills." - Wilko Johnson, 1975 

© 2013 Ricki C.

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