As The Damned prepare for their 35th anniversary tour, during which theyll play the whole of both Damned, Damned, Damned and The Black Album, Captain Sensible has been talking about the iconic bands past, present and future.
Heres what he has to say:
Why have you chosen to perform both Damned, Damned, Damnedand The Black Album intheir entirety?
For 35 years in this band of oddballs and eccentrics you deserve a medaland there were times when we lived life close to the edge. We are celebrating survival here (as a band and as live human beings) as much as the, but when it came to a set list these two groundbreaking albums were the obvious choice.
Has there been any problem rehearsing the songs or getting the tour together?
Ha ha, funny you should say that, because as soon as we startedrehearsing The Black Albummaterial we realised what a job we had on our hands. In three years since New Rose kickstarted the UK punk scene wed come a long way as songwriters, and the likes ofCurtain Call andTwisted Nerve still present quite a challenge, especially if you want to stay faithful to the original.
As for the tour schedule, and being a bit more mature these days, we are never going to hit the road for months on end like the glory years so apologies if were not playing everywhere people want us to.
How does gigging them now differ from when you were originally promoting the albums?
On the 80sBlack Album tourm I seem to remember we dressed these three raunchy punkettes as dancing nuns for the original tour. Gyrating suggestively and occasionally flashing the audience it gave the performances a theatrical edge that none of our contemporaries could compete with they were VERY naughty ladies it was a VERY fun time for the band.
InCurtain Calls autobiographical lyric Dave (Vanian) sings abouta Reckless gambling pace , which is fair enough because wed bet on absolutely anything; from whether we could record a song in one take to the exact time the wheels of the plane would hit the ground. Some of the band made a few bob on this wheeze when we flew.
And we used to drink all day too back then, especially when travelling to gigsat that time could be quite variable depending on the state of the band when they turned up at the venue. These days its quality rather than quantity on the beverage front, so performances are consistently much improved overall. And I enjoy the shows more knowing Im playing the right chords. A couple of posh ales usually suffices.
With Damned, Damned, Damned youve got the first UK punk album thats full of guts andThe Black Albumrepresents the birth of goth. How did the punk fans take to the new sound? And do the goths like the punk classics?
Youll have to ask them. Seemed to work though, but sometimes its a challenge to balance the set list. Easy at Whitby Goth fest though. Just nix all the thrash and replace with dark matter.
You were the first UK punk band to hit America, what were those gigs like?
Rough and ready, sleeping on other bands floors after getting thrown off the Television gig and hastily arranging a gig, so we could try and earn the airfare home. Crossing Rod Stewart off the guest list (he could afford to pay). Getting thrown out of the Whisky A Go Go in LA for drinking too much whisky. I ask you!
For your second album, Music For Pleasure, you originally wanted ex-Floyd man Syd Barrett to produce the album. Did you manage to have any contact with him? In the end you used Nick Mason, what was that experience like?
For a punk band to have anything to do with Pink Floyd, who at the time were doing huge stadium gigs mustve seemed like insanity, but their genius ex leader Syd Barrett was the one we wanted to produce a punk / psych hybrid second album. He never showed of course, so that project was shelved untilEtiquette, which really has some epic moments that Syd wouldve liked Im sure. The improv sections inAntipope andLooking At You spring to mind.
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