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Sweet Flashbacks

(Tom Ballew, Cal Everett, Jeff Severson, George Pittaway)

Visited the glorious past over the weekend as rock band, 4 Out of 5 Doctors, played an intimate venue in Vienna, Virginia to a collection of about 200 of us who grew up together back in the 80’s forming a piece of the fabric of the Washington DC area a quarter century ago.

An occasionally drunken and, uh, free-flowing fabric. Hey, we were young. I admit this because I have pretty much ruled out any future in public office. But I digress.

4 Out of 5 Doctors, if you don’t know them, had a record deal with Nemperor  back in the early 80’s (with singles on the CBS and Epic labels as well; all confusingly interrelated).   The guys were horribly mismanaged and screwed by the clueless wonders of the record industry at the time and Nemperor failed to pick up their option.

Anyway, these are all friends of mine and for the first time in the history of this blog, I am consciously shilling product. They have a new CD called Post-Op, culled from songs from the 3rd album-that-never-was, demos from the 1st-two-that-were and new material. There’s also a new CD set of their original albums. As the Washington Post noted in a review of one of their reunion concerts a couple of years ago, their music wears very well.

I was laughing as I was thinking how to describe what the Doctors sound like (for the sake of those not indoctrinated). It’s a rather varied list. For me they’re a mix of The Talking Heads, The Cars and Steely Dan with a hint of Beatles and if you do enough mushrooms, probably a little Electric Light Orchestra: the latter two due to their layered ooh-and-ah harmonies and catchy melodies. Add clever, pithy, occasionally twisted lyrics and- what’s not to love? I mean, really: “Had a fight with my car and my girlfriend broke down.” Has a certain perverse ring to it, no? The term “Power Pop” is thrown around to describe the Doctors but they’re deeper than that.

And Opus Ten should have gone down as one of the best rock songs ever. Well, it is; it’s just that a lot of people don’t know about it. There’s a very good article on the Doctors and their sordid history with the music industry here (despite universally rave reviews from critics).

Anyway, as for the tenor of the reunion-ish evening, it was rather amusing to see how old we’re all getting. Another decade and we’ll be showing up in wheelchairs and Depends.

But there remain signs of life. For both the Doctors and their minions. We are clearly not going down without a fight.

Go here to buy their stuff. Go here for the 4 Out of 5 Doctors website.

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