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The Dr Feelgood Story

Finally a book about Dr Feelgood was released on May 5, 1997...

Leaflet by Northdown Publishing Ltd.:

Remember when Dr Feelgood, that four-piece R&B machine from Canvey Island, claimed Number 1 spot in the UK album chart in 1976? There, amid Rod Stewart, the Stylistics and Abba, stood the unlikely duo of gravel-voiced Lee Brilleaux and manic, staring Wilko Johnson. The album was 'Stupidity', the definite record of their over-the-top live act - and though they never did it again, the Feelgoods not only survived but thrived to produce nearly 20 LPs and play 200 gigs a year, reinforcing their reputation as the hardest-working rhythm and bluesers around.

Down By The Jetty  Northdown Publishing proudly celebrate the band's 25th anniversary with
DOWN BY THE JETTY, the definite story of Dr Feelgood's career.

Including interviews with all the key figures including Wilko, Sparko, Figure, Gypie Mayo, Will Birch, Nick Lowe and the late, great Lee Brilleaux, it's exclusively illustrated with over 100 pictures (most previously unseen) from the band's own archives. A full discography and a specially commissioned family tree by legendary artist Pete Frame rounds out a unique package.

PO Box 49, Bordon, Hants GU35 0AF, UK

From the advertising page for the book at Northdown Publishing website:

The focus of Dr Feelgood's act was a contrasting pair of frontmen: gravel-voiced vocalist Lee Brilleaux and manic, staring guitarist Wilko Johnson. When Johnson quit in 1977 the critics claimed the Feelgood story was over, but they not only survived but thrived to produce nearly 20 LPs and play 200 gigs a year to reinforce their reputation as the hardest-working outfit around.

In April 1994, the Feelgoods took a body blow with Lee Brilleaux's death from cancer at the age of 40. It seemed the party was over - but two years down the line manager Chris Fenwick, in harness since 1972, decided to pick up the pieces and to preserve the Feelgood trademark as had been Brilleaux's wish. It's a trademark which, like all the classics - Aston Martin, Dr Martens, Purdey and Norton - cannot be simply bought off the shelf, and Dr Feelgood remains today the definitive face of British rhythm and blues.

Authorised by the band and exclusively illustrated from their archives, Down By The Jetty (named after their first album) is the definitive story of Dr Feelgood's 25-year history. It informs and entertains through a lively mixture of fact and (often barely believable) anecdote and includes interviews with all key figures. A full discography and a specially commissioned family tree by legendary artist Pete Frame rounds out a unique package that will appeal to the CD-buying audience as the ideal complement to the music.

The Feelgoods - Kevin Morris, Phil Mitchell, Steve Walwyn and new singer Pete Gage - continue to fly the Feelgood flag as they play worldwide, adding another chapter to an already proud story.

The Dr Feelgood Story - 2002 Edition  


After paying hommage to the Feelgoods' Lee Brilleaux (actually Lee Collinson and deftly renamed Brilleaux after his hair looking like a Brillo pad) with features by Tony Moon and Nigel Cross in issue no.19, 'Down By The Jetty' (Northdown Publishing, UK 1997, £9.95) came as a natural successor. And after thumbing through the first pages of this 128-page A4 book, it is pretty obvious: author Tony Moon is suffering severely from the Doctors Disease.
That Canvey Island gang called Dr Feelgood has made a lasting impression on many of my friends and myself too, like it did, almost inevitably, on anybody with his microchip switched to Rock'n'Roll. Tony Moon caught the disease, almost inevitably, and, l'm loathe to say, somewhat later than myself. Anyway, he made up by doubling his devotion - a devotion that shows throughout this book. It is exactly this deep-rooted adoration that leads to understanding the phenomenon of Dr Feelgood who - though not single-handedly - turned British Rock music upside down with their hard-boiled RnB of sheer limitless proportions. It is the aura of worship that makes this book enlightening, that makes it so entertaining to read and so minute in its description of what was the true history of a great Rock'n'Roll band, a band that had it is roots in the 1967 Razzmatazz Washboard Band who eventually led up to the current line-up of Dr Feelgood, which is mark 11.
The Feelgoods have always been a self-contained unit with a deep-rooted patriotism to their home base - Canvey Island. As the lads-band par excellence they set out to conquer the world, yet they never forgot where their hearts, roots, families were. They kept Feelgood House as their base, invested their money in local ventures and even went as far as opening their own pub in a place they had once played (with the hat passed around) in their youthful days as the Southside Jug Band. Chris Fenwick, their later manager, protector, guide, and wise counseller was a member of the musical outfit then - later he would take care of the business and public relations side of the firm called Dr Feelgood, and he'd do it with never failing enthusiasm, intelligence and stamina, and as loyal as the members were to each other, the same amount of loyalty Fenwick developed towards the band.
Tony Moon describes Dr Feelgood as the perfect example of a gang of lads that went out and did their thing without compromise, and the pink dust he blows over certain episodes in their lives (ask Wilko how he sees his departure from the band) smoothens the rough edges of their history. He frequently stresses the importance of drink for the entire band as a source of energy and motivation, but he never contemplates on the fact that demon alcohol more than ofter becomes a tyrant. Portraying the band as a gang devoted to one cause only - the live gig - and as a unit tackling the ups and downs in their careers with locked arms, it almost becomes a melodram, Hollywood style, as in the end, after everything seems to have ground to a terrible halt with Brilleaux dying from cancer a partly new band emerges from the ashes to fulfil its governor's legacy. And it is just this touch of irrealism that makes 'Down By The Jetty' the great book that it is. On the one hand it gives tons of carefully collected details from the band's career, on the other hand it is brimful with an idealism that could serve many bands of today as a blueprint for how to survive.

'Down By The Jetty' is graced with hundreds of photos, many of them rare and private, it details the history of the band from its members humble beginnings in the 60s to the current band fronted by Peter Gage as the successor to Lee, it has got a detailed family tree by Pete Frame and a complete UK discography. Additionally it is extremely well-written.

Hans 'Feels-Good' Klitsch
(Copyright by Hans-Juergen Klitsch, Germany. Many Thanks for friendly permission to publish.)



© COPYRIGHT 1996-2006 BY GABI SCHWANKE & DR FEELGOOD (Design, Photos, Texts, etc. - as far as noone else is named.)