Doctor and the Medics had huge 1986 hit Spirit in the Sky, writes Andrew Warshaw
From Top of the Pops and a number one smash hit in more than 20 countries, to Forty Hall Farm.
Doctor and the Medics are best known for their 1986 version of Spirit in the Sky, which sold several million copies worldwide. Now they are coming to Enfield to help celebrate the fourth anniversary of the popular monthly gig series, Music from the Black Barn.
The intimate and atmospheric venue has become the borough’s number one live music location and has built up a loyal following since being set up as a spin-off of the annual Livestock summer festival.
Doctor and the Medics were formed in 1982 by Clive Jackson, a former DJ, and their musical style has been variously described as neo-psychedelia, glam rock, new wave, punk, and pop-rock. The band has had a colourful career as both recording artists and performers and remain one of the most iconic acts of the 1980s, playing a mix of covers and original material, and are famed as much for their flamboyant appearance as their music.
While the Medics have undergone various changes to their line-up over the years, several current members have been with Clive for the best part of a generation. In fact, just to add spice to the occasion, the Black Barn appearance of Medics’ bass player Jon Randle represents his 20th anniversary gig with the band.
“We try to put on a real show,” Clive told the Dispatch. “Some bands just turn up in T-shirt and jeans and that’s absolutely fine unless you are associated with a particular style, era, or look, which of course we are.”
A former school governor and scout leader, Clive retains an infectious modesty as well as a passion for gigging.
“Since we started, we’ve performed in the United States, Japan, the Middle East and Europe, in fact probably every continent except Australia. Yet last year was our busiest for 25 years!”
Clive, a 57-year-old father of four, has not allowed fame to go to his head, despite several appearances on Top of The Pops and hundreds of gigs, including supporting Rod Stewart in the mid-1980s in front of 80,000 fans, and playing on the same bill as other famous names including Motörhead, Simple Minds, and The Damned.
Refreshingly, Clive retains a special affection for smaller live music venues such as the Black Barn. “Over the years I’ve seen so many disappear but these are the kinds of places we learned our craft and cut our teeth.
“Before the internet, this is how bands got their name. The YouTube of yesteryear was 200-capacity clubs. In these very divisive times, live music is a way of bringing communities together, which I’m told is exactly what the Black Barn is all about. That’s why we are so looking forwarding to coming.”
For the Doctor and the Medics show on Saturday 13th April, the support act band are the ebullient covers band White Light, making a welcome return to the Black Barn.
Music from the Black Barn tickets can be bought in advance or on the night: