The Damned

The Damned

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Damned

Img_capt = Dave Vanian performing live with The Damned at Cleethorpes in August 2006
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = London, England
Genre = Punk rock, gothic rock [ [ The Damned at Allmusic] ] [ [ The Damned @ Nostalgia Central ] ] [ [ A Study of Gothic Subculture - What Is Gothic? - Origins of Gothic ] ]
Years_active = 1976 - 1988
1993 - present
Label = English Channel []
Associated_acts =
URL = []
Current_members = Dave Vanian
Captain Sensible
Monty Oxy Moron
Stu West
Past_members = See: Former members section

The Damned are an English band formed in London in 1976, [ [ The Damned at Allmusic] ] [ [ The Damned @ Nostalgia Central ] ] notable for being the first punk rock band from England to release a single ("New Rose") an album ("Damned Damned Damned"), and to tour the United States. The Damned later evolved into one of the forerunners of the gothic rock genre. [ [ A Study of Gothic Subculture - What Is Gothic? - Origins of Gothic ] ]

They have incorporated numerous styles into their music and image, including: garage rock, psychedelic rock, cabaret, and the theatrical rock of Screaming Lord Sutch and Alex Harvey. Lead singer Dave Vanian's vocal style has been described as similar to a crooner. [ [ Sensible - Crooner Vanian] ] The Damned have dissolved and reformed many times, with Vanian as the sole constant member, however, the lineups have always included either guitarist Captain Sensible and/or drummer Rat Scabies, who are both founding members. The current line-up includes Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxy Moron, Pinch and Stu West.



Dave Vanian (David Lett), Captain Sensible (Raymond Burns) and Rat Scabies (Chris Millar) had been members of the band Masters of the Backside, which also included future Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde. Brian James (Brian Robertson) had been a member of the punk band London SS, who never played live but included musicians who later found fame in The Clash and Generation X. Scabies knew James through a failed audition as drummer for London SS. When the two decided to start their own band, James and Scabies had invited Sid Vicious and Dave Vanian to audition to be the singer of The Damned. Only Vanian showed up, and so he became the frontman of the band. [ [ The Damned ] ]

1970s early punk phase

The Damned played their first gig on 6 July 1976, supporting the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club. They were the first of the London punk bands to release a single on the independent record label Stiff Records. That single, "New Rose", was described by critic Ned Raggett as a "deathless anthem of nuclear-strength romantic angst". [ [ AllMusic] ] Vanian's deadpan intro — "Is she really going out with him?" — was borrowed from The Shangri-Las' 1964 "Leader of the Pack". The B-side of "New Rose" was a faster version of The Beatles' "Help!". Their first album, "Damned Damned Damned", was the first album released by a British punk band, and it included several minor hits.

In 1977, The Damned became the first British punk band to tour the United States. According to Brendan Mullen, founder of the Los Angeles club The Masque, the Damned's first tour of the U.S. found them favouring very fast tempos, helping to inspire the first wave of U.S. west coast hardcore punk. [see Mullen's comments in the Don Letts directed documentary "Punk: Attitude".]

In March 1977, The Damned opened for T.Rex on their final tour. The Damned then recruited a second guitarist, Lu Edmunds; a move inspired in part by the dual guitar sound of MC5, and possibly engineered by Brian James in order to keep Captain Sensible on bass where he wouldn't overshadow This expanded line-up unsuccessfully tried to recruit the reclusive Syd Barrett to produce their second album "Music For Pleasure". They settled for Barrett's Pink Floyd bandmate, Nick Mason, who they reported was generally uninterested in the task. "Music for Pleasure" flopped critically and commercially and the band broke up, ending their relationship with Stiff Records.

The former members of the band worked on a series of brief side projects and solo recordings, all making little commercial impact. The Damned soon tentatively reformed, but without Brian James, who had been the groups main songwriter. Originally they performed as The Dimmed and The Doomed to avoid potential trademark problems. Captain Sensible switched to guitar and keyboards, and after a brief period with Lemmy of Hawkwind and Motörhead on bass for studio demos and a handful of live appearances [see the notes for "Smash It Up - The Anthology 1976 - 1987"] , the bassist position was filled by Algy Ward, formerly of The Saints. The band signed a deal with Chiswick Records, and went back to the studio to record another album.

Vanian's vocals had by now expanded from the high-baritone barks of the early records to a smooth, proto-Gothic crooning style. The Damned had established a dark, melodic style that was sometimes fast and loud, and at other times relaxed with dominant keyboards. The Damned released a series of singles leading up to 1979's "Machine Gun Etiquette", including a version of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", with a new Damned song, "Rabid", on the B-side.

Machine Gun Etiquette featured a strong 1960s garage rock influence, with Farfisa organ in several songs. Recording at Wessex Studios at the same time as The Clash were there to record "London Calling", Joe Strummer and Mick Jones made an uncredited vocal appearance on the title track. Fans and critics were pleasantly surprised, and "Machine Gun Etiquette" received largely positive reviews; Ira Robbins and Jay Pattyn described it as "A great record by a band many had already counted out". [] ]

=1980s goth

From the beginnings of the band, Vanian festured a vampire-like appearance onstage, with chalk-white makeup and formal dress. But with "The Black Album", the whole band adopted into a more gothic ensemble. The new album's centerpiece was Dave Vanian's 17+ minute goth rock Magnum Opus "Curtain Call". Before the album was recorded, Ward left the band, and was replaced by Paul Gray, formerly of Eddie and the Hot Rods. In 1982, The Damned released another goth rock album, "Strawberries", which featured new full-time keyboardist Roman Jugg). A series of non-LP singles were released without a record deal in 1983 and Sensible played a last concert with the band at Brockwell Park (from which a bootleg called "Captain's Last Stand" was issued), before he left to pursue a solo career. Jugg took over his spot as guitarist. Later that year The Damned made a live performance on the BBC Television show "The Young Ones", performing their song "Nasty".

The groups next album was a one-off side project: a soundtrack to an imaginary 1960s movie called "Give Daddy the Knife, Cindy". [ [ "Naz Nomad and the Nightmares"] , "Crawdaddy!", 27 February 2008.] This limited run album of 1960s cover songs had the band billed as "Naz Nomad and the Nightmares". As Ned Raggett writes, "Dave Vanian becomes Mr. Nomad, while Roman Jugg turns into Sphinx Svenson, and Rat Scabies into Nick Detroit." [ cite web
url =
title = Give Daddy the Knife Cindy
publisher = Allmusic
author = Raggett, Ned
accessdate = 2006-09-10
] With Sensible gone, Vanian's Gothic influence took over unimpeded, and Raggett insists that "Vanian's smart crooning and spooky theatricality ended up more or less founding goth rock inadvertently (with nearly all his clones forgetting what he always kept around -- an open sense of humor)". [ [ allmusic ((( The Damned > Biography ))) ] ]

The Damned signed a contract with MCA, and the "Phantasmagoria" album followed. "Phantasmagoria"'s official follow-up, "Anything" (1986) was a commercial failure, however, the non-album single "Eloise," a cover of a 1968 hit by Barry Ryan, was a success in the UK, and that same year in the U.S., MCA included a Damned track ("In Dulce Decorum") on the soundtrack release of "Miami Vice II" (1987).

Late in 1987 The Damned began to work on a new album for MCA but the result of these sessions remain unreleased as the record contract was dissolved. Two of the new songs ("Gunning For Love" and "The Loveless And The Damned") were later re-recorded by the Dave Vanian and the Phantom Chords side project. James rejoined the group temporarily for a few live appearances, some of which appear on 1988's "Final Damnation". Following this album the band disbanded again.

1990s reformation

During their hiatus,The Damned name was afforded homage, when two groups each covered a Damned song: Guns N' Roses recorded "New Rose" for their ""The Spaghetti Incident?"" (1993), while The Offspring covered "Smash It Up" for the "Batman Forever" soundtrack (1995). Both cover versions would enjoy major label distribution and create more exposure to the Damned sound, sometimes to a younger audience unfamiliar with the group.

In 1993 the group reformed with a new line-up of appeared featuring Scabies, Vanian, guitarists Kris Dollimore (formerly of The Godfathers), and Alan Lee Shaw, and bassist Moose Harris in 1995. They toured regularly for about two years and released a new full-length album, "Not of This Earth". Promoted with a series of long tours prior to its release, by the time the album was released The Damned had yet again split, partly as the result of legal battles: Vanian and Sensible accused Scabies of releasing "Not of This Earth" without proper authorization. Sensible rejoined Vanian in 1996 and yet another formation of The Damned appeared. This initially featured bassist Paul Gray, who was later replaced by Patricia Morrison, previously of The Bags, The Gun Club and The Sisters of Mercy.

2000s current status

In 2001, the band released "Grave Disorder", followed by continual touring. Morrison and Vanian eventually married and had a daughter, Emily, born on 9 February 2004. During her pregnancy Morrison was been replaced by ex-English Dog Stu West, her return to the band's lineup in the future however has not been ruled out.

In 2006 The Damned released the new single "Little Miss Disaster", and a live DVD "MGE25" documenting a 2004 Manchester concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Machine Gun Etiquette". On 21 October 2006, BBC Radio 2 broadcast an hour-long documentary entitled "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" concerning the recording of the Damned's first single "New Rose" and the group's place in the 1976 London punk scene. Featuring interviews with James, Sensible, Scabies, Glen Matlock, Don Letts and Chrissie Hynde, the programme gave some new insights into the bands and personalities around the scene, particularly the ill-fated Anarchy in the U.K. tour.

In July 2008 The Damned were reported [ [] ] to be back in the studio recording a new album. The new album will be titled "So, Who's Paranoid?", and is to be released for download on 28 October, and available to buy in shops on 17 November (UK) and 12 December (US). [ [] ] . It will be published by record label The English Channel. [ [ ""] ]


*"Damned, Damned, Damned" (25 February 1977)
*"Music for Pleasure" (18 November 1977)
*"Machine Gun Etiquette" (2 November 1979)
*"The Black Album" (20 October 1980)
*"Strawberries" (1 October 1982)
*"Phantasmagoria" (15 July 1985)
*"Anything" (5 December 1986)
*"Not of This Earth" (11 November 1995)
*"Grave Disorder" (21 August 2001)
*"So, Who's Paranoid?" (28 October 2008)


Current members

*Dave Vanian − vocals, theremin (1976-1978, 1978-present)
*Captain Sensible − guitar (1978-1984, 1989, 1991, 1996-present); bass (1976-1978)
*Monty Oxy Moron − keyboards (1996-present)
*Stu West − bass (2005-present)
*Pinch − drums (1999-present)

Former members

*Gary Holton - vocals (1978)
*Henry Badowski - bass (1978)
*Brian James - guitar (1976-1978, 1989, 1991)
*Lu Edmunds - guitar (1977-1978)
*Jon Moss - drums (1978) [cite web|url=|title=JON MOSS - Early Biography|publisher=Official Culture Club Website|accessdate=2008-08-01]
*Kris Dollimore - guitar (1993-1996)
*Allan Lee Shaw - guitar (1993-1996)
*Rat Scabies − drums (1976-1977, 1978-1996)
*Dave Berk - drums (1977)
*Garrie Dreadful - drums (1996-1999)
*Spike Smith - drums (1999)
*Algy Ward - bass (1978-1980)
*Paul Gray - bass (1980-1983,1989)
*Bryn Merrick - bass (1983-1989)
*Paul Shepley - keyboards (1985-1989)
*Jason "Moose" Harris - bass (1993-1996)
*Patricia Morrison - bass (1996-2005)
*Roman Jugg - keyboards (1981-1989) guitar (1984-1989)


*Lemmy - bass (1978)
*Robert Fripp - guitar (1990)
*Lol Coxhill - saxophone (1977)


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Damned Discography]
*MusicBrainz artist|id=77d21c13-846f-4f48-9546-873949eff6ae|name=The Damned
* [ The Damned] article by Chris Hunt, published in Q magazine, 2003.
* [ Review of 2006 BBC radio prog "Is she really going out with him?"]

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