The Damned formed in 1976, and played their first gig supporting The Sex
Pistols at the 100 Club. They were the first of the London punk bands to
release a single, ‘New Rose’, on the independent record label Stiff Records.
Brian James, left in 1978. The band splintered, but after a series of brief
side projects and solo recordings, they reformed. Sensible had switched to
guitar and keyboards. and the bassist position was filled by Algy Ward,
formerly of The Saints. The band gained a deal with Chiswick Records, and
went back to the studio to record another album.
The Damned released a series of singles leading up to 1979’s Machine Gun
Etiquette, which featured a strong 1960s garage rock influence. They had
established a dark, melodic style that was sometimes fast and loud, and
other times relaxed with dominant keyboards.
From the beginning, Vanian affected a vampire-like appearance onstage, with
chalk-white makeup and formal dress. With The Black Album, the band turned
into a proto-goth ensemble. Ward had left at this point, and was replaced by
Paul Gray. The band released the album Strawberries featuring new full-time
keyboardist Roman Jugg in 1982. Sensible played a last concert with the band
at Brockwell Park (from which a bootleg was issued, called Captain’s Last
Stand), before he left to pursue a solo career, and Jugg took over the
With Sensible gone, Vanian’s Gothic influence took over unimpeded, and his
smart crooning and spooky theatricality ended up more or less founding goth
The Phantasmagoria album followed. Phantasmagoria’s official follow-up,
Anything (1986), was another critical and commercial flop, which ended the
band’s record deal and original run. However, the non-album single “Eloise,”
a cover of a 1968 hit by Barry Ryan, was a success.
The Damned received exposure to a new audience 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).
In 1993, a new line-up of The Damned appeared featuring Scabies, Vanian,
guitarists Kris Dollimore (formerly of The Godfathers), and Alan Lee Shaw,
and bassist Moose Harris in 1995. They toured regularly following the
release of a new full-length album, Not of This Earth. The Damned split,
yest again, partly as the result of legal battles.
Sensible re-joined Vanian in 1996 and yet another incarnation of The Damned
appeared. This featured bassist Patricia Morrison, previously of The Sisters
of Mercy. In 2001, the band released Grave Disorder and this has been
followed by continual touring. Morrison and Vanian were eventually married
and they have a daughter, Emily, born on February 9, 2004. While she has
been replaced by ex-English Dog Stu West, her return to the band’s line-up
in the future has not been ruled out. .
In 2006, The Damned released the new single “Little Miss Disaster”, and the
live DVD MGE25 documenting the 25th anniversary of Machine Gun Etiquette.
For further information on THE DAMNED, check out the following websites /
social media links:
Website – http://www.officialdamned.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDamned/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/damnedtwits?lang=en
Tickets for The Damned – Warrington Parr Hall show are available from:
Friday 24th August 2018
WARRINGTON – Parr Hall
Box Office No: 0844 478 0898
Ticket price – £24.50 (advance)
Doors – 7.00pm