Musician of varying nationality, first appeared Leeds, England, 1981; drummer for The Sisters of Mercy.
Doktor Avalanche is, beside Andrew Eldritch, the oldest member of the Sisters--probably because he doesn't talk back to Andrew. He is, arguably, the most famous member of his species. The Doktor was hired for the sole reason that Eldritch was, as he admitted himself, an even worse drummer than he was a singer and preferred being the latter. Declared by the band to be "...next President of the United States, and greatest drummer in the world apart from that bloke in Def Leppard."
In his first incarnation, Doktor Avalanche was a Boss DR-55 'Doctor Rhythm' drum machine. The DR55 was still pretty young back then and his four mono, 8-channel sounds were, to put it mildly, primitive and some sounds could have been produced by much cheaper equipment, though not as programmable. I think he sounded a bit like Joy Division's Stephen Morris with the difference that the Doktor could keep a beat on stage. The fact that a band has actually survived using a drum machine for 20 years is a testimony to more than just Andrew's bloody-mindedness and tenacity but it also gave the band a rather individual sound during its first decade... not that they were ever in dire need of something to make them stand out.
The Boss was replaced by a Roland TR-606, followed soon by a TR808 and briefly by a TR909. The incarnation on First and Last and Always was an Oberheim DMX. Listen to earlier tracks like Floorshow or Kiss the Carpet and the difference is enormous. The Doktor worked very well with Craig Adams. This was also the album that transformed him from electronic cult hero into digital/analog star.
After the healthy cash influx from the album, the Doktor was upgraded to a Yamaha RX5 and subsequently enhanced with Akai S900 and S1000
sampling. For recording purposes he morphs into an Akai S3200. Soon after the album release the Doktor went digital by means of a set of Compaq portable computers which had to be retired when they could no longer get spare parts for them. Last I heard he was a custom-built military-grade (and military-built) 486 running Sequencer Plus on DOS 3.3. Plans to give him an Apple brain may have become reality by now.
The good Doktor also runs the on-line advice column on the Sisters' web site. If you ignore the samples of advice on display and decide to email him anyway, he will, quite truthfully I'd say, tell you that you're beyond hope. This public service is only one of the many things that make the Doktor a role model for all aspiring drum machines, present and future.