Sunday, 23 January 2011
Dr. Zarkhov's Waiting Room
I have been in some really crapply named bands in the past 32 years, it all started off in 1979 with So Commercial and really it hasn't got much better (name wise that is). So Commercial was a name (we thought) like The Pop Group. They weren't "pop" and we certainly were not commercial. I think for the style of music they made The Pop Group is one of the best named groups ever. So Commercial lasted about a year before we decided we didn't like it. Along came a plethora of band names that lasted as long as one side on a C60 cassette: The Attempted Rape Of David Kirton, Anagram Of Clit, The Arrival Of A Train At La Ciotat Station. (With this one we chose the method of picking at random a name of a film from a book, Dennis Gifford book of Horror Movies was chosen. It didn't quite work out). Then we became E.S.P. Diskord, taking the name from the original title of The Fall song "Psychick Dancehall". I have always liked this name.
In 1981, after the collapse of E.S.P. Diskord comes a whole list of crappy names. Names that when in loose conversation I say that I am in "a band" and I am asked what they're called I often refuse to say or mumble something with an embarrassed smile.
Active E.G., Wallpaper Paris, Herman & The Helmets, Ideas Beyond Filth, Art Versus Filth all terrible terrible names and in the top 3 of crapply named bands I have been in comes Dr. Zarkhov's Waiting Room. Spring 1984, Hulme. Manchester. Charles Barry Crescent to be precise. At the time, home to Edward Barton, Karl Burns and the guitarist with a foreign name from The Passage ... and Doctor Zarkhov's Waiting Room.
It all began with myself on drums and flatmate Gary (Warmington) on guitar "jamming" old Velvet Underground songs. Enjoyment. Then Gary started to write songs and we borrowed an old Fostex 4-Track and recorded them. The cassette needed a name, so Gary came up with Doctor Zarkhov's Waiting Room. I remember (at the time) thinking "crap name", but Gary assured me that Dr. Zarkhov was Adolf Hitlers mother's gynaecologist and not a lot of people knew that! I certainly didn't and believed Gary 100%. We are back in 1984, before facts could be checked on the internet. A couple of months later and Andy Wright moves into the flat. Andy is a very accomplished drummer. All three of us were very unemployed at the time so I shifted to bass guitar and the Doctor began practising again. Why we stuck with the name? I have no idea. The sound was a mix of Velvet Underground, The Stooges (we did "I'm Waiting For My Man" and "Anne"), The Seeds mixed in with a bit of Dream Syndicate and Green On Red. It certainly was Gary's baby, and we'd rehearse every day of the week. The Crescents flats were great for rehearsing - no-one gave a shit.
By December 1984, we had recorded an album, called "Hoping For The Holocaust". I have a copy on tape. Not an actual release copy with sleeve etc (colour in yourself, if I remember correctly) but all on one side of a C90. It is awful. Hilarious in parts. Out of tune, out of time. Mass drug use is obvious but we were oblivious. We even did a gig in the flat on Christmas Eve 1984, and nobody came. Two folk did, they were on a Christmas drug hunt and we made them sit and listen to our 40 minute set before letting them go! (Sorry Brendan & Dominic if you are reading this). Our recording finale came in January 1985 with a track called "In Dub". Drums, bass and organ. It is an epic piece sounding like The Wake if they were on ON-U Sound and not Factory Records. Shortly afterwards I quit the Crescents for health and safety reasons!
Doctor Zarkhov's Waiting Room made a one-off public appearance in Lincoln. May 1985. Gary & Andy (with Irish Mickey on Bass) played as Furious Fish at The Cornhill Vaults in Lincoln and I joined in for one song, an old Dr. Zarkhov's Waiting Room song "This Pleasant Land".
Christmas Day 1985 and the three of us play an impromptu gig at the Hulme Labour Club that was being squatted at the time. This was our last performance. Six months later and I had moved back to the Crescents and the three of us began Rise - the story of which may be told later.
So. Doctor Zarkhov's Waiting Room. What a crap name! Still not as bad as: "Bob, We're Talking Penis".
1: Andy Wright and Myself outside our flat, Charles Barry Crescent. 1984
2: "Experiments In Doctor Zarkhov's Waiting Room" Cassette EP Sleeve. (1984)
3: Myself and Gary Warmington live in The Cornhill Vaults, Lincoln. May 1985.