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TV Smith wrote three of the most iconic songs of the punk era - One Chord Wonders, Bored Teenagers and the hit single Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. He has released 14 albums to date. His live shows are legendary for the fervour and the almost religious zeal of his fans.
Writer, musician, composer, nightclub host, curator, actor and adventurer, Richard Strange was born in London in 1951. Since his proto-punk rock band The Doctors of Madness (“The missing link between David Bowie and The Sex Pistols…” wrote The Guardian in May 2017) was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975 (the band was supported by the Sex Pistols, The Jam and Joy Division) he has been a Zelig-like figure whose presence has been felt in every corner of London's cultural life.
He 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. Strange 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, including a number of episodes of Men Behaving Badly, and as a stage actor he has worked alongside household names such as James Nesbitt, Peter Capaldi and Marianne Faithfull.
As a writer he is a regular contributor to publications as diverse as The Guardian, Tatler, Culture and Travel and Vogue. In 1989/90 he toured the world in a Russian Hamlet directed by Yuri Lyubimov.
In 2003 he toured the UK with the award-winning Dance Theatre Company Protein Dance, contributing as an actor, narrator, musician and writer.
Throughout 2004-7 Richard worked with Marianne Faithfull on the Tom Waits/William Burroughs/Robert Wilson collaboration “The Black Rider”, performing in theatres in London (The Barbican), San Francisco (ACT), Sydney and Los Angeles (The Ahmanson).
In 2007 he was part of Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown Festival, at the RFH, in an evening of songs from Walt Disney movies, and this year performed with the producer/arranger Hal Willner in Brooklyn and at The Barbican, alongside such luminaries as David Byrne, Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi, Shane McGowan and Suzanne Vega.
He has composed music and written a number of songs for the Contemporary Dance Company Protein Dance. In 2010 he re-opened his groundbreaking mixed-media Cabaret Futura after a 30- year hiatus, and curated the 2011 New Territories International Festival Of Live Art in Glasgow.
In 2011 he curated Cabaret Apocalyptica for the Tate Gallery, London, an event which drew 3000 people to Late at The Tate on a single evening. Cabaret Apocalyptica was Strange’s response to the exhibition “John Martin and The Apocalypse”.
Between 2010 and 2016 his two monthly events, Cabaret Futura and A Mighty Big If were critically-acclaimed fixtures of the London art and cultural calendar, and his guests on the latter, an informal live chat show held in Soho’s Church of St Barnabas, included such giants of their genres as film-maker Mike Figgis, composer Michael Nyman, theatrical maestro Robert Wilson, musician, producer and composer Nile Rodgers, Gary Kemp, Marc Almond, Peter Capaldi, Brian Cox, and the artists Cornelia Parker, Richard Wilson, and Gavin Turk.
In 2012 he was also commissioned to write the song for the closing credits of the Hollywood film Dark Hearts. The resulting song was called BloodBrother and Dark Hearts was screened at The Cannes International Film Festival in 2012.
His collaborative artwork, A Sleek Dry Yell, created with the award-winning artist Haroon Mirza, was bought for the nation by the Contemporary Art Society in 2012, and is currently touring the UK Art gallery circuit.
Increasingly involved in the worlds of education and academia, he teaches Creative Musicianship to BA students at Tileyard Educcation in London, and is also a mentor on the National Music Education charity, Music For Youth. Overseas, he was elevated last year to Visiting Fellow by The Hong Kong Design Institute, where he also lectures and co-ordinates collaborative creative projects. He is also a Principal Fellow at the Higher Education Academy, one of only 350 in the country. This year he was invited to be a judge on the Music, Theatre and Film panel of the Global Undergraduates Awards, an international body encouraging academeic excellence in undergraduates worldwide.
In 2013 he was Narrator and sang baritone in the UK premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, which played to a rapturous full house at The Royal Festival Hall and was praised by critics from every area of the media, and he also featured in Hal Willner’s concert Amarcord…Nino Rota, the Barbican tribute to Fellini’s composer, with Marc Almond, Nitin Sawnhey and Kate St John.
“Language Is A Virus From Outer Space”, Richard’s collaborative project with the composer Gavin Bryars, a cantata based around the life and work of William Burroughs, received its World Premiere at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on October 11th 2014, Burroughs’ centenary year. It was greeted with a standing ovation from the sold-out house. Conceived, curated, co-written and directed by Richard, the show featured contributions from Gavin Turk, Sarah Jane Morris, Rupert Thomson, Jeremy Reed, Haroon Mirza, Anni Hogan, David Coulter, Seb Rochford and The Doctors of Madness. A feature-length film of the event is current in the editing stage.
Perfect Past - The Complete Doctors of Madness, released to unanimous critical acclaim (‘The missing link between David Bowie and the Sex Pistols’ -The Guardian) in May 2017 by Cherry Red Records, is a 3 x CD set of the complete recorded works of the band, with bonus tracks, live cuts and demos.
His political-fantasy concept album The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange was performed in its entirety on a UK tour in 2018, with shows alongside Nick Cave, Patti Smith and The Psychedelic Furs. He was also commissioned to perform a new collaborative work, Unknown Remembered, as part of the recent Spitalfields Music Festival in London. The Doctors of Madness have just returned from a hugely successful tour of Japan.
The Doctors of Madness released a new album, Dark Times, in September 2019 to overwhelming critical acclaim, and Richard toured the UK with his show “Richard Strange Performs the Songs of Lou Reed” to critical acclaim last autumn.
His memoir, Strange- Punks and Drunks and Flicks and Kicks was published by Andre Deutsch in 2005, and was recently serialized as an audio book. He has recently branched out into broadcasting, with his own Dark Times Radio weekly broadcast and syndications to various radio stations around the world.