DR FEELGOODS OIL CITY

Dr Feelgood go down to the jetty …again


FOOTAGE of legendary south Essex band Dr Feelgood playing at the Kursaal in Southend is being projected on the side of giant oil storage tanks as the backdrop for a new documentary.

Oil City: The True Story of Dr Feelgood is the working title of a film about the background to the band and their rise to fame in the mid-Seventies.

The film is being directed by filmmaker Julien Temple – best known for his work on punk band the Sex Pistols’ The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle movie.

"We’re trying to capture the essence of what Dr Feelgood was all about and what it was like coming off Canvey at that time," said Richard England, one of the film’s executive producers.

"We’re talking to local people and filming on Canvey.

As part of it, we projected the live footage from 1975 on the Oikos tanks.

"It looked amazing as we interviewed the three remaining members in front of it."

The film examines the history of the band in their Seventies heyday, when their massive-selling live album, Stupidity, spent six weeks at number one over Christmas, 1976.

Original members Wilko Johnson, John B Sparks and John "Big Figure" Martin were interviewed in front of the oil tanks for the film, which ends with the story of the intimely death from cancer of lead singer Lee Brilleaux in 1994.

Mr England said: "About a year ago I was having a conversation with their manager, Chris Fenwick and we were looking at some old footage of Dr Feelgood performing at the Kursaal.

"It then evolved that we should make a film about their classic period in the early Seventies and Eighties.

"At the height of their powers, they were breaking out all over the place.

"They influenced the Boomtown Rats and the punk era. The next step is to talk to people like Bob Geldof, Clem Burke of Blondie, and John Lydon."

The film will also look at the history of the island, including the 1953 floods.

The filmmakers are following in the footsteps of Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe, who interviewed Geldof, Burke and others and met the surviving original Feelgoods on Canvey for a tribute documentary, broadcast last year.

The filmmakers are also travelling to Leigh, Southend and continental Europe to talk to people influenced by the band. The aim is to release the film on DVD, either at the end of this year or in early 2009.

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