In 1977 the Damned were shunned by the London punk elite, being way too uncool for Malcolm McLaren's latter-day Dickensian orphanage. The lead singer did an excellent Bela Lugosi, while the bass player (later turned guitarist) insisted on wearing a tutu. They were also disadvantaged by their ability to play their instruments. But they did not let this get in the way of an erratic career that continues in sporadic manner to this day. The original band, with Brian James on guitar and Captain Sensible on bass, signed to Stiff and debuted with the coruscating New Rose 45.
Thus Punk Rock was born. However by the second Stiff album things had gone slightly pear-shaped and the band left the label as even the label owners turned against them. Now estranged from the Punk and Power Pop establishments, they temporarily disintegrated. Ex Stiff press officer Rick Rogers resurrected them with an amended line-up that moved Captain to guitar and for about 15 minutes had Lemmy on bass, Dave Vanian on vocals and Rat Scabies still banging the drums, when they went out as the Doomed. The old moniker soon returned, Lemmy went back to his day job at Motorhead and The Damned continued with a new bass player (initially Algy Ward, then ex-Hot Rod Paul Gray).
After the official bootleg version of Love Song, they signed up with Chiswick and became even more uncool by having hit records and appearing on Top of the Pops. Two studio albums and one live one later they moved off to MCA and scored their biggest chart success with a cover of Barry Ryan's Eloise. There is still a Damned out there somewhere with Dave, Captain and Paul in conjunction with 'A' drummer. And they are still one of the most thrilling live bands you could hope to see.
By Roger Armstrong