Doctor & the Medics are a British psychedelic rock band which enjoyed greatest success in the 1980s and are best known for their 1986 UK #1 version of "Spirit in the Sky". Based in London and formed in 1981, the band still perform, albeit with a different line-up and primarily as a tribute act to various artists.
The band was formed, in order to win a £5 bet, in 1982 by ex-scout leader The Doctor and Steve Mcguire (the name "The Doctor," was assumed after the man had failed to gain entry into Medical School). Years later the Doctor is still waiting for his fiver! At the time the Doctor was a top London DJ at his club "The Clinic," where he was single handedly responsible/ guilty for the "Psychedelic revival" of the period.
Both the club and the band where a direct reaction to the music/club scene at the time. The Doctor and McGuire had been bought up on a diet of the psychedelia of the 60's, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk and consequently found the early 80's rather dull! Hence the band evolved as an unholy and tasteless fusion of all that they loved in music (Hippy, Glam, Punk). This also reflected itself in the music with early songs such as "Love Peace and Bananas" (A song about hippies at a festival on a beach being blown to pieces by mercenaries. It began with the refrain from "Riders on the Storm" but built to a punk frenzy!)
By 1984 the band had built up a considerable live following and were referred to by the NME as "The Live band of the year."
Following the departure of original 'Anadin Brother' Sue Hopkins in 1986 (replaced by Colette Appleby) the line up of the band had settled and would remain the same through "Spirit in the Sky" until the end of 1989. This was
The Doctor (Vocals)
Steve McGuire (Guitar)
Richard Searle (Bass)
Wendi Anadin (Vocals)*
Colette Anadin (Vocals)*
*collectively known as The Anadin Brothers
From 1985-1987 the band were responsible, along with The Doctors new Club "Alice in Wonderland," (Voted night club of the year by City Limits magazine in 1987) for the legendary "Mystery trips". For these they would ferry up to 3,000 people to unknown destinations such as Chislehurst Caves (By coach from Hyde Park corner), The old Butlins at Clacton (By Special Train) and Lowestoft pear (Coach). At the venues, which would be decorated in a suitably off the wall manner, there would be all night music, live bands, light shows and performance artists. Many years later Rave magazine would credit these events as the forerunners of raves! This idea was also taken, by the band, to Japan where it made the national television news!
In many ways it is these Mystery trips that symbolised the bands attitude. People were gobsmacked at Lowestoft to see Doctor and the Medics at the door greeting people and handing them sticks of rock. This was just 2 weeks after the band had been at No.1 and as "Sounds" said "You wouldn't catch George Michael doing that!" The band never really worried about a "career". If a record wasn't a hit they would still have a party. The enjoyment of life was always more important to them than the business. As the Doctor says if you stop enjoying it the first people to notice are the audience. When they got to number 1 they did what, as children, they always dreamt they would do in that situation. They had one big party that took them around the world.
Inevitably, with all the above activity, resultant publicity and the fact that they now possessed nuclear weapons! the band could be ignored no longer. So it came to pass that a record deal was signed in Arthur Brown's blood, with IRS Records. The bands first release on this label was an E.P. called "Happy But Twisted," which shot to No.1 in the Indie charts. This was followed by possibly the bands finest record called "Miracle of the Age" which was produced by Andy Partridge of XTC. The bands next single was Spirit in the Sky which, as we all know, went to No.1 in 32 countries and sold over 1,000,000 copies world wide.
The follow ups to "Spirit in the Sky," were "Burn" and "Waterloo" which reached 23 and 45 respectively in this country. The band continued to have considerable success abroad in countries such as Japan, Germany and Italy.
At this time The Doctor co-wrote Grimly Fiendish, a No. 21 hit for his friends The Damned. The Doctor and the Anadin Brothers sang on the No.1 Ferry Aid version of "Let it be". However by 1989 constant touring (average of 200 shows a year) and Recording (2 Albums; "Laughing at the Pieces", "I Keep Thinking It's Tuesday" and the EP "Two Pieces of Cloth Carefully Stitched Together" along with resultant singles) had taken it's toll on certain members and Vom and Richard Searle Departed.
Vom moved to Germany and is currently playing with the German Stadium Punkrockers "Die Toten Hosen".
Richard Searle decided that everything "Was getting a bit silly," after the Doctor and Vom had attempted to throw him from his hotel room window. He moved on to a band Corduroy.
Wendi Anadin left the band and inadvertently gave birth to the Doctors 3 children. Since then she has retired from the band occasionally rejoining when she feels the need.
Colette Anadin went around the world to find herself returning to discover that she had never left Camden! She also began to work as an extra/actress once appearing as a "Stiff" in Poirot! She also works as a camera double for both Gwyneth Paltrow and Joely Richards (Most recently in Maybe Baby).
Steve Mcguire Spread out in many directions! He began producing dance and House music with a fair degree of success and now runs "Halcyon" production, a company with a fleet of vehicles used for transporting bands and equipment around the world. In this capacity he also works as a tour manager and sound man.
The Doctor decided that after almost 10 years of running night-clubs and gigging his nervous system needed time to recover. He moved to the middle of the Brecon Beacons, well out of harms way. It was here in 1989 that he started his infamous snail farm which sadly ended in 1991 when his entire stock of 50,000 snails died with a disease similar to Flu (I kid you not). Following this, for 2 years, he had a business selling ground up snail shells as an aphrodisiac. However following prosecution from the Trading Standards he was forced to stop.
But in 1991 grief bound and snail less the Doctor along with Steve Mcguire threw themselves back into the band. They depart from their long time relationship with their management and begin to manage themselves. In 1992, the bands 10th anniversary, they release a live album "The Adventures of Bodecea and the Beetle".
Although much of the 90s was spent largely under the radar, a 3rd album, Instant Heaven, was released in 1996 to little public reaction and things went rather quiet again for some years.
In 2003 the band was relaunched with a new lineup -
The Doctor (vocals)
Adrian Hill (drums)
Carl Axon (The Big Bopper) (lead guitar, backing vocals)
James Hartley (guitar)
Jon Randle (bass)
Melissa Weekes (backing vocals)
They enjoyed a successful stint on the TV show 'Baby One More Time' and began touring much more frequently, as well as releasing a number of singles that were each a collection of covers. During this period both Carl and James left the band and were replaced by Dan Angelow and a second backing vocalist Maria Verhelst-Hopkins.
The band continues to play the festival and revival circuits regularly showcasing a mix of covers and increasingly original material.
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