the damned - The I-94 Bar
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
Brian James recorded this in 1990. That’s post-The Lords of the New Church, when his co-founding of The Damned was a shrinking image in his own career rear vision mirror. It was his debut solo album when it came out on French label New Rose, yet it barely rates a mention in summaries of his back catalogue.
Cue: UK label Easy Action to right that wrong and drop a big, fat vinyl re-issue.
If Brian James had only played on all (and written most) of “Damned Damned Damned” and then pulled a Jim Morrison by growing a beard and a beer gut and bunking off to live in obscurity in Africa, he’d still be remembered as one of British punk’s great progenitors. The guy was equally integral to The Damned's second album, “Music for Pleasure”, too but the band disowns that one for its lame production.
100 Club, London
Friday, August 23, 2019
While the Damned are busy touring Oz, Brian James, the band's co-founder and architect of their "Damned, Damned, Damned" album, is playing a solo band show at the 100 Club.
Now there’s too much academic analysis over who invented punk. Some people refer to The Sonics from mid ‘60s America as the first punks, or The Ramones; some (well from Australia. anyway) will plump for Birdman or The Saints. Who issued the first single is beyond debate. The Damned's “New Rose” was the first punk single.
What do you get when you mix two veterans of the SoCal punk rawk scene with a couple of its UK equivalent’s most storied names? This here disc, guv’nor, and a fine slice of rockin’ psych-tinged pop it is.
Sometimes worlds collide in the best way possible and here’s a prime I’ll-have-one-thin-and-crispy-with-the-lot-and-don’t-forget-the-anchovies example. Genres are less a restrictive tag than a challenge for these guys.
Alfie Agnew (a real-life maths professor) and Sean Elliott (he’d be the madman) are the US-based principals in Professor and The Madman. The pair played together in D.I., a long-running off-shoot of the Adolescents and Social Distortion, the former being from where Agnew came.
Rat Scabies, of the (stillborn but legendary) London SS, The Mutants and of course The Damned, was co-opted as a recording member after guest-playing “Smash It Up” with Agnew and Elliott at a US show. The hook-up with Paul Gray - surely the best bassist The Damned ever had (and he’s back with them now), whose prior form includes Eddie & The Hotrods and UFO - came via Facebook.
The podcasts are coming thick and fast now. Episode 32 of Drunk and Disorderly is live, with music from Donald Trump, The Damned, Flamin ‘ Groovies, Sator, The Hellacopters, The Godfathers, The Volcanics, Dion Lunadon, James McCann and The New Vindictives, Leadfinger, P76, X, The Hip Priests and The Dream Syndicate.
The Damned - arguably the greatest surviving British punk band, bar none - are back to inflict their brand of insanity on Australia in August for three shows only.
Still firing on all cylinders and breaking all the rules, this most spiritually chaotic of all punk groups have never been away, never surrendered their ideals, always forged onwards. When Lemmy of Motörhead famously referred to them as “the only real punk band” you know they are the real deal.
Their live show is still as riotous as ever. As The Independent said: “They have become, if possible, more eccentric and outrageous as they grow older, with many of their live traits coming across as delightfully raucous.” Tickets go on sale Thursday 18 April at 9am here.
Thursday 22 August – Factory Theatre, Sydney 18+
Friday 23 August – The Triffid, Brisbane 18+
Saturday 24 August – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne 18+
The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Thursday, August 20 2019
Photos: Monique Simmons
Culturally, Britain was so different to the USA in so many ways in the ‘70s, and that had much to do with distance. The US is a vast place with all sorts of cultures and entrainment influences. The south was different to the west coast and out was again different to the east. And that really showed in the disparate pockets of music that sprang up everywhere.
On the other hand, England was more centralised. Long before the ‘70s dawned, it had the ingrained tradtiion of music halls as its historical DNA.
Music halls were everywhere. At one time there were more than 200 theatres in London alone. They hosted events running for four hours and ranging from comedy, clowning, horror to serious drama. For more than a century, popular theatre was a staple for the working man and middle class alike.
Well, you may ask, what has this got to do with The Damned appearing live in Sydney on a Thursday night? I say, everything. A Dammed gig is like a trip through classic British pantomime and theatre, full of drama and packed with wit and slapstick.