Show love and affection for The Damned on February 14 when these amazing survivors of the original punk era play live at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
The Damned are touring the country with new album Evil Spirits which was recorded in New York with famed producer Tony Visconti. The band is set to stun the world once again with high-energy punk rock, creative psychedelic pop and classic songwriting.
There’s been plenty of distance covered since The Damned first played on Hastings Pier in 1977, supported by The Adverts, as Captain Sensible remembers.
“Damned shows back then, in what we affectionately call the ‘chaos years,’ could certainly be a bit variable. I wonder what today’s young bands would make of all that wanton destruction? They probably prefer to get paid at the end of a tour; we never did of course - too many damages to pay for.”
He described the feeling of playing live with the band still as “exhilarating, fun, a bit mad” and said: “We find the audience pretty entertaining too. It’s a two way thing - some of the between-song-banter can run through a whole show. The hour and a half onstage just flies by, I always say we’d play the gigs for free... it’s just all the travelling, hanging around and music biz garbage that it’d be nice to get paid for. The current line-up play the classic material beautifully; you see bits on YouTube where, despite the ropey sound mobile phones record, I think - blimey, that’s better than the record.”
The Damned famously became the first punk band to release a single when New Rose hit the shops and airwaves in October 1976, as Captain said: “When I met Brian James he already had the sensational collection of adrenalin fuelled songs that would get us get us signed to Stiff Records. So one minute I was working for Croydon Council as a toilet cleaner, the next we were doing gigs and TV appearances. New Rose caused quite a splash; not only because as a short sharp shock of a tune it’s difficult to beat, but also because the musical landscape of ‘76 was just so drab. I remember all the laidback country artists and stadium rock bands, long boring drums solos, and the lyrics about pixies and wizards...well, it wasn’t speaking to kids on council estates. So we had to put our own bands together to play the kinda music we wanted to hear.”
“The way we did it back then... it was 100% rock n roll, one big non-stop party. In fact, it’s amazing how good the records sound when you think about all that. I’d change nothing. I mean, if you absolutely have to have rock stars in the world, then at least you want them to live the lifestyle. Who needs rockers that come offstage, hang up their suit and go for dinner with their accountant? That’s just plain wrong.”
He is thrilled with the latest album and looking forward to playing live in Bexhill.
“We decided to record it old school style, all together in a room on top of each other with the amps cranked up, so there is a grungy garage vibe to it, but being a Tony Visconti production there was a lot of attention taken on the vocals. He’s worked with the best, and dug Dave’s voice, while putting him through it a bit at the same time. It was interesting hearing him go through the lyrics and getting the performance to reflect the subject matter.
“I live along the coast in Brighton, so I know the DLWP well. It’s always been an ambition to play there, along with the Albert Hall and Brighton Dome (both of which we visited recently). I’m ticking them off one by one. I’ve seen the DLWP’s glorious exterior many times - but never inside. Very much looking forward to Feb 14th.” Tickets £26 from www.dlwp.com or 01424 229111.