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The Damned

As a Bromley Punk, the Damned are not perhaps the natural choice, you may expect the usual Banshees, Pistols et al to appear, but as I said, I run my own course not only in my life, but on the indie bands blog. With their incessant drum and energy, the Damned remain essential listening for any aspiring indie band. Blasting through as the first Punk single came New Rose an impressive 2 minutes of high octane music.

The Damned

The Damned

While the Pistols stole most of the Media spotlight, it was when the Damned played, that the true spirit of Punk shone through. The Pistols headed off on their path of commercialisation, the Damned remained apparently independent of the big marketing hype, though still breaking new ground.

In 1977, they headed off to the US to play a few gigs, long before the ill fated Pistols tour hit the country. The very fact that the Damned avoided the headlines, was in many respects one of their great achievements. Scabies, the drummer, rarely managed to finish a gig without destroying his drum kit while Sensible would appear onstage dressed in women’s clothes or possibly nothing at all.

When the Damned did receive press attention it was concerned with Gig violence, or gobbing between the audience and the band, but they managed, in the main, to keep below the firing line, though probably not by choice. Continuing to play gigs and develop their music, unlike the Pistols who were banned almost everywhere and became known more for their celebrity than their music. Though when the Pistols were able to play or release a single, or their one off album, did demonstrate they could have done so much better had they not become the target for Britain’s petty mind set.

By the end of 1977 it was all over for the Damned and they broke up in February 1978, so would have ended the story, but after a few revisions and much internal division, by the end of 1978 a revamped version of the Damned took to the stage again, with the original energy and sound restored.

During the period of their breakup, while playing in France, Scabies got himself arrested for setting a hotel room on fire and when the band reformed they found some of the UK Local Authorities had put them on the Punk blacklist. Rather than sit and mope as some of their contemporaries continued to do, they went on tour in the US once again. Just a year later by the end of 1979, once again the band hit internal divisions and they changed bass player.

Another series of riotous gigs, this time across Europe saw the band becoming more creative and although the live elements of the Damned were becoming ever more chaotic, the music was becoming stronger. A testament to their strength is that the band continues to gig even now.

While not seen from an historical perspective as one of the core punk bands, without doubt at the time, the band were essential to generating momentum for Punk Rock and their legacy has been as important as the better known Pistols, Clash etc, and they have been fundamental in changing the face of the music industry in subsequent decades.

Essential listening

New Rose/Help (Stiff  1976)

Damned Damned Damned (Stiff 1977)

The Radio One Sessions (Night tracks 1996)

The video capture may not be sharp, but it is from a gig over 30 years ago….

More modern and more from the perspective in upcoming indie bands blog entries

Related posts:

The See See
DeLasAguas
The Prettiest Meltdown

Comments

3 Responses to “The Damned”
  1. This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read.. <a href="http://wiki.hudson-ci.org/display/~bill-bartmann&quot;

    -Bill-Bartmann

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  1. [...] For play, again my play list changes constantly and I would be happy to listen to any of the tracks by the bands featured on the blog….. But if I was forced to make a choice – New Rose by The Damned. [...]

  2. [...] Bens Brother The Damned Desmond and the Tutus Divorce The Drums The Five One Gary War Grinderswitch Jon and Lynn Joyside [...]



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