FINALLY… the story of England’s Dr. Feelgood – the seminal pub-rock band who were the crucial bridge to the beginnings of punk rock – is finally available in the United States. The last of a trilogy from film maker Julien Temple, it is a thoughtful, detailed and highly entertaining documentary, told in the surviving members’ own words (lead singer Lee Brilleaux died back in 1994; guitarist/songwriter/driving force Wilko Johnson is terminally ill and his replacement, guitarist Gypie Mayo passed away just a few weeks ago). The details are vivid; the laughs are many – a story that goes beyond just the formation and rise of a band, including film footage of political/social protests during Shell Oil’s move into Canvey Island in the early 1970’s and a brief speech of outrage by protester Wilko Johnson.
Dr. Feelgood’s rise was slow and steady and they were, for a brief time, the #1 band in England – exemplified by their Number One 1976 album, Stupidity. In the United States, they were little more than a cult band, having The Ramones as their opening act, during one tour. Most important, the music is plentiful. Footage from concerts, television appearances and the like give you the sense of excitement and energy the Wilko Johnson-led era carried.
Their albums are still available and now, thankfully, this film is as well. Do not miss an opportunity to see Oil City Confidential, let alone get a copy. You will find yourself swept up and under the spell of Dr. Feelgood for sure.