Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Memoirs of Damage & Vom (Misadventures in Doctor and The Medics)

Dicky Damage (Richard Searle) and Mr Vom (Stephen Ritchie) were aboard the fastmoving punk-psych juggernaut that was Doctor and The Medics; a heady roller-coaster ride that famously peaked, when music industry moguls deemed fit to hype the band to Number One in the charts with a version of Norman Greenbaum's classic Spirit In The Sky, in the summer of 1986. 
      This memoir is a re-telling of their story, the rhythm section (Damage on bass, Vom on drums), that started from humble in-crowd nightclub origin, to television saturation, massive shows, and industry infamy.

The two friends parted company at the tale end of the Eighties, Searle went to to join proto Brit- Pop-clothes horses Boys Wonder, later to morph into Acid Jazz funksters Corduroy. Ritchie, having played with punk originators The Boys, eventually settled behind the kit of Germany's stadium rockers, Die Toten Hosen. Circumstance contrived to re-unit the duo some twenty years later, an eclectic low-fi indie rock album was the result, Perfect Crime, released under the moniker Wet Dog, on Ritchie's own Drumming Monkey Records. This collaboration inevitably served to re-stoke the flames of former glories, memories faded from the forgiving mists of alcohol and denial; two years in it's conception, a hundred beer soaked 'memory sessions' later, The Memoirs of Damage & Vom is the result set to ink.

The usual rock n' roll antidotes are present, groupies, substance abuse, lives put in danger etc, plus others that frankly are not for the squeamish, but the overall impression of this collection of funny stories is that of being a 'how to – and how not to succeed - in the music business' manual. The Medics achieved great things during the decade, the book details a route from garage-punk oiks to Top Of The Pops darlings. But their inevitable fall from grace was the result, apparently, of poor decision making and ego.

The humour is dry, and on occasion hilarious. The pace is fast and often bewildering, but if you only read one rock memoir this century, read this one...you might learn something.

Richard Searle – The Memoirs of Damage & Vom (Misadventures in Doctor and The Medics) with Forward by Stephen Ritchie, is out now on ebook and paperback.

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