The Damned in conversation: 40 years of Damned Damned Damned

Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian at London's Hope & Anchor
Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian at London's Hope & Anchor
(Image: © John Ingham)

On February 18 1977, Stiff Records released the first British punk album. The Damned’s Damned Damned Damned combined the heads-down, no-nonsense approach of The Ramones with the demented, frantic aggression of The Stooges, and screeched to a fizzing climax in just under 30 minutes. Legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel celebrated the album’s arrival by playing five tracks on his show, and shortly after the band jetted off to New York to become the first punk band to embark on a US tour.

Four decades on, and The Damned’s legacy is obvious. They’ve influenced everyone from Bad Brains to Black Flag and Guns N’ Roses (who covered debut single New Rose on “The Spaghetti Incident?”), and BMG are re-releasing Damned Damned Damned as a special 40th anniversary edition. The new version features sleevenotes by punk journalist John Ingham, had written their first review as well as the first interview with The Sex Pistols (for Sounds magazine the previous year).

To mark the album’s release, The Damned’s vocalist Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible sat down with Classic Album Sunday’s Colleen Murphy to discuss the album’s impact.

“It captured the essential part of the band,” says Vanian. “The essence, the excitement. Everything was there, and that’s why it still sounds good.”

“You have tho remember that at the time, the pre-eminent sound was Emmy Lou Harris and Little Feat and the soft disco pop that was on Top Of The Pops all the time,” says Sensible. “This [Damned Damned Damned] really got up people’s noses, and I know there’s been faster and louder bands since, but that record was a seismic moment.”

Watch the full video below.

Damned Damned Damned is released on February 18. The Damned are on tour from later in the month (see dates below).

Damned Tour Dates

Feb 28: Music Zone Kowloon, Hong Kong
Mar 02: Umeda Akaso, Osaka, Japan
Mar 03: Shibuya Club Quattro, Tokyo, Japan
Mar 04: Yokohama Bay Hall, Yokohama, Japan
Mar 08: The Studio, Auckland, New Zealand
Mar 10: Metro Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Mar 11: Meredith Supernatural Ampitheatre, Meredith, Australia
Mar 12: 170 Russell, Melbourne, Australia
Mar 15: The Triffid, Newstead, Australia
Mar 17: Capitol, Perth, Australia
Apr 06: The Belasco Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Apr 07: House of Blues, San Diego, CA
Apr 08: House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
Apr 09: House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
Apr 11: The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
Apr 12: Ace of Spades, Sacramento, CA
Apr 14: Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
Apr 15: Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada
Apr 16: The Showbox, Seattle, WA
Apr 18: The Depot, Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 19: Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO
Apr 21: Delmar Hall Saint Louis, MO
Apr 22: Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
Apr 23: House of Blues Chicago, Chicago, IL
Apr 24: Mercury Ballroom Louisville, KY
Apr 26: Deluxe at Old National Centre
Apr 27: Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH
Apr 28: House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
Apr 29: Saint Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI
Apr 30: The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Canada
May 02: Club Soda, Montréal, Canada
May 04: Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
May 05: Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY
May 06: The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
May 07: Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
May 09: Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD
May 11: The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
May 12: House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL
May 13: State Theatre, St Petersburg, FL
May 14: Revolution Live Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 16: House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
May 17: House of Blues, Houston, TX
May 18: House of Blues Dallas Dallas, TX
May 19: Mohawk, Austin, TX
May 21: Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
May 31: Parc Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain
Jun 03: Camden Rocks Festival 2017, London, UK

The Story Behind The Song: New Rose by The Damned