Published on May 3rd, 2017


The Damned have the distinction of being the very first English punk band to have a recording. Sure, they followed the Ramones, New York Dolls, Stooges, MC5, The Monks, The Sonics, The Count 5 and a plethora of proto-punk, Nuggets-era, garage and rock and roll bands. However, the Damned were also (arguably) the first to wear sloppy as style with a mixed bag of vampire make-up, mohair suits, denim and leather, flailing all over the stage. Listen to their genre defining single, “New Rose’ and one would be hard pressed to see any contemporaries in the burgeoning English punk scene of the late 1970’s. They completely lit the fuse for hardcore, having stirred new passions in the Bad Brains, as well as, many other attracted to the break neck speed of the sounds. It’s no wonder they became friends with the late Lemmy Kilmeister of Motorhead fame; they have more in common with that band and Motorhead’s early output than they do contemporaries such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash.

This year marks the bands 40th Anniversary and they have embarked on a world tour to celebrate their four decades of fun and chaos. The band has gone through numerous line-up changes. At one point the Damned switched genres entirely, to the dismay of many longtime fans; not so much everyone else, though. Phantasmagoria, despite being a mostly goth album with singer Dave Vanian as the only original member, charted in the UK at #11; the Damned’s highest charting album. At some point during a “break” from the Damned the band had Lemmy on bass calling themselves, “the Doomed.” Given the strange menagerie of players, that name works, very well. The band have endured and Vanian and Sensible have been touring together since 2004. All this drama gives the Damned another dubious distinction: they are the first of the punk era to break up and get back together. Some people just can’t get right, but that would be supposing that they ever were right. However, the Damned are at one time an enigma; a puzzle that works because of their differences, and on the other hand; they’re exactly what they have always claimed to be: a chaotic good time.

The Damned 40th Anniversary Tour with the Bellrays stops at Revolution May 14, 2017. Doors are at 7pm and tickets start at $19.
~Tim Moffatt

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