The Damned

Fuck you!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Damned Damned Damned
*Music For Pleasure
*Machine Gun Etiquette
*The Black Album
*Mindless, Directionless, Energy: Live At The Lyceum 1981
*Friday 13th EP
*Strawberries
*Damned But Not Forgotten
*Phantasmagoria
*Anything
*Not Of This Earth
*Grave Disorder
*So, Who's Paranoid?

The Damned were one of the first British punk bands, right alongside the Sex Pistols and Blur. Then, as they lost and gained new members, they slowly turned into first a colorful pop/punk band, then a colorless goth band, then back to one of the first British punk bands. But always, no matter WHAT happened, they always had Dave Vanian singing for them, dressed in vampire gear and wearing white makeup. And thank God for that, because they wouldn't have been any good at all with Lefty McGarnigle singing for them. Good old Lefty McGarnigle. He was a good man, that Lefty McGarnigle. Remember that time he fucked your wife? That was awesome!


Damned Damned Damned - Stiff 1977.
Rating = 8

It seems like every rock record guide I read claims that this was the "first punk rock album ever." I know you can easily trace the punk aesthetic back to Iggy Storch and even the Standells and crap, but even sticking to modern-day punk rock, the first Ramones album came out in '76, and that one is a hell of a lot punkier than this one, if you ask me. Not to say that this is classic rock or anything. It's too messy and in-your-face!

(There was originally a sperm joke here, but I decided that was too easy even for ME)

Original guitarist Brian James wrote most of the songs on this one, and he seems to have a fondness for Johnny Thunders-type leads mixed with simplistic chord sequences, backed by a rough-and-tumble rhythm section making the band sound a lot tougher and "street" than slicked-up NOFX/Bad Religion-type bands. Lots of "thumpa-thumpa" drumbeats, as opposed to the "boompa-chicka boompa-chicka" type you'd find on most punk records. Blame that on Rat Scabies, who apparently had no interest in being a generic 4/4 backbeat drummer, preferring to pound pound pound away on his instrument like Lefty McGarnigle fucking your wife. It's not one of my favorite albums ever, due to a few too many not-quite-there tunes (like "So Messed Up" -- songs that just seem to be a collection of 2 or 3 chords with no real reason to exist), but it DOES have a ton of classics ("Neat Neat Neat," "New Rose," "See Her Tonite," to name just a few) and should be recognized as one of the first records in this particular genre (country fusion). Gets a low 8 from me - startlingly close to a 7 for a record that is so universally loved by all others besides me. Do you give it a 10? Tell me why!

And I'll tell you why you're wrong, and then call you a stupid asshole!

WBinder007@aol.com
Are "Neat, Neat, Neat," "New Rose," "See Her Tonite" and "Born to Kill" some of the best British punk songs ever?
Yes.
Are "Fan Club," "I Fall," "Stab Your Back" and the cover of the Stooges' "1970" all good songs?
Yes.
Are "So Messed Up," "1 of the 2" and "Fish" pretty crappy?
Yes.
Is "Feel the Pain" fucking God-awful?
Yes.
Does that cover all 12 songs?
Yes.
Should you buy it?
Yes.
Does it get a 10?
No.
But it gets an 8?
Yes.
Fair enough.
Good.

antnego@earthlink.net (Anthony Negron)
8ís a fair ratingÖ

Not exactly the best Damned album, but still fucking great. And maybe itís not that powerful compared to the intricate production of metal bands today, but the Damned played with more rawness and energy than any of those bands ever had. Brian James is a guitar hero in his own right, but Vanian hadnít yet developed the distinctive croon that graced ďMachine Gun Etiquitte.Ē Rat Scabies is one of the best drummers to come out of the British punk era (or any era). Brian James may have not had the melodic sensibilities that the other band members had, but he made up for it with finesse. ďNew RoseĒ and ďNeat Neat NeatĒ are two of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. The cover of the Stoogesí ď1970Ē makes my car thump even without a subwoofer. The only song that doesnít work is the sludgy ďFeel the Pain,Ē but even thatís better than what most goth bands could pull out of their ass. The chorus on ďStab Your BackĒ is ridiculous, but the power of the music makes up for it. This is a must have for any punk collection.

dead-beat@socal.rr.com
Ok it should go down in the books as the first UK punk album ever. But an incredible album indeed. I give this one a 9 at worst. Although in contest with having the Clash and the Sex Pistols getting 10 reviews this should be at an 11. New Rose. Fish. See Her Tonite. I Feel Alright (1970) are all classics along with Neat Neat Neat. Machine Gun Etiquette is an even better powerhouse album. But Brian James soloing is somewhat better than Captain Sensible's. His playing is alot more concise and that's the key to soloing. Knowing when to stop.

Machine Gun Etiquette is my favorite album. Well top three anyway. It's up there with Wire's Pink Flag. Uh. Alot more variety and maturity in song writing. Although Sensible was NOT a better guitarist in my opinion he certainly made it up for brilliant style. Along with Rat Scabies and the new bass player Algy. It's a delightful experience to listen to.

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
I really like most of the Damned music but I hate this one.Must be because in fact I hate punk music with the only exception of MACHINE GUN ETIQUETTE.

Ben
The reasons I found out about The Damned was their mentioning in "Punky Reggae Party" and Captain Sensible's review of "Abbey Road" in some Beatles magazine I used to have. Can't believe it took me a while to really appreciate this, as it's just as good as (what seem to be) the big punk albums of 1977, "Never Mind the Bullocks" and The Clash's first album.

Though I like every song here, "Neat Neat Neat" is my favorite, which really caught me by surprise. I first heard Elvis Costello's bluesy and heavier rendition of it on a reissue of his "This Years Model" album. Not only does his band not play it right, but his voice doesn't suit it either. But thankfully Elvis never got around to ruining other great ones like "New Rose" (which has the best riff on the album), "Fan Club" or "I Feel Alright" (I like this version better than the The Stooges). Sure, this isn't my "go to" album for The Damned, because it kind of gets overshadowed by what came after it (at least until "Strawberries" anyway). Although never again did The Damned do an album as fun or carefree as this. Even the filler here ("Stab Your Back", "Fish") is still good. Can't say that about later Damned albums though.

Add your thoughts?

Music For Pleasure - Stiff 1977.
Rating = 8

This one gets reamed by critics and fans left and right, but for my money, it's more consistently catchy than the first one! Same style and energy level, along with new guitarist Lu creating a cute little double guitar attack (see "One Way Love," with its delightful country slide guitar atop punk thrashin'!). Great tunes too! Not just punky thumpa ones, but some mesmerizing slower tunes too, like the five-minute stomper "You Know," which darn near out-Stooges Larry, Curly and ooo

Same old Brian James Thundersisms, but for the last time. He was gone after this album and The Damned could move on to Phase B! The crucial one!

Did I mention that Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason produced this record? You would think that would be a hilarious joke because I'm a hilarious man who makes everybody laugh with my hilarious laughter jokes of funniness but I'm deathly serious.

Because after all -- who was more attuned to the feelings of anger and bitterness driving the British punk rock movement than the man responsible for "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party"?

Reader Comments

Itchload@aol.com
If you think the guy from Pink Floyd producing this is weird, did you know the main guy from the Kingsmen (Louie Louie) produced the Stooges Funhouse??

Flynn Brian
Music for pleasure is a good example of how some music critic's review can steer potential listeners away from an otherwise good album. I've avoided this album for decades based on its supposedly horrid reputation. But jumpin' jesus on a pogo stick, those fuckers were wrong! All wrong. The review on allmusic guide only mentions how the album was poorly received at the time of its release without explaining what makes it so bad. Nothin but lazy journalism right there. Its not necessarily a "classic" album & the artwork is hideous, but the music within are raw & catchy as anything on their first album. Perhaps at the time, the choice of nick mason as the producer seemed "un-punk" to the narrow minded, punker-than-thou assholes. I wonder if this album would've been hailed as a classic if it was produced by someone more "punk". Like say....iggy pop or lou reed. A lot of pink floyd songs in the early 70's dealt with topics that punk rockers can identify with...alienation, despair, corrupt aspect of human nature & society etc. so I don't know what the problem is. The bias againts this album & the producer probably has more to do with the oft told tale of johnny rotten sporting his home made "I hate pink floyd" t-shirt than the actual music itself. If you love the first album, then don't make the same mistake I did. Fuck the critics (except prindle; he's alright) & trust your own ears.

dpadrutt
The story here was that the band wanted Syd Barrett to produce, but he was too busy being crazy and reclusive at the time, so Mason was brought in. Not being a musician and never having recorded an album, I may be speaking a bit over my own head here, but this record does have less of a "produced" feel than Damned Damned Damned and Machine Gun Etiquette, and certainly the ones that came after that. Almost like Nick Mason didn't really know what to do with all the energy happening in the studio right in front of him.

Music For Pleasure is still full of great, fun songs though, with some amazing standouts. I've never understood why this one has always gotten such a bad rap (the band even hates it) and in my mind, it's one of the most underrated rock albums, ever. I bought it a hundred years ago when I was first listening to the Damned and punk rock, so I was completely unaware of its bad reputation, and I immediately thought it was great.

Add your thoughts?

* Machine Gun Etiquette - Chiswick 1979. *
Rating = 10

This is the Damned album you want. Brian James is gone and former bassist Captain Sensible has taken over lead guitarist duties to happy effect. No longer are they a one-dimensional slop punk act. Now they're a tight melodic uptempo pop rock group! I've tried really hard to hate this album because they look so ugly in their band photos, but it's just impossible. The melodies are too wonderful, from beginning to finish. If you love pop music at all, you CAN'T hate this Damned record!!!!!! Great energy and tough playing, just like before, but now all of a sudden, you're hearing Beatle-quality vocal melodies and out-of-character (completely NON-punk) guitar tunes like "Smash It Up (Part I)," which could just as easily be by Jimmy Page or something. It's not that they've left their style of punk completely behind (that would come later) - they've just added to it. Made it better, you might say! Classics aplenty on this one too - "Love Song," "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," "Melody Lee," "Noise Noise Noise" and "Smash It Up (Part II)." Gotta love this album. You gotta! Come on, what would you rather listen to, that new Geddy Lee solo album?

Yes?

Then mister, come on over and bring the ass dildos!

It's hard to say why I make so many references to ass dildos. Most likely, I'm trying to be witty but I'm just not smart enough.

Oh well.

You know what might make me wittier?

Some ASS DILDOS!!!!

Reader Comments

WBinder007@aol.com
Hell yeah. This is one of only a handful of albums I can throw on and know that each song is a masterpiece. (The others being From The Cradle To The Grave, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, Sweatin' To The Oldies: The Vandals Live, regardless of what Prindle says on that one, and, well, the others escape me at the moment.) Why is it, then, that I absolutely hate the other three bands the other guy listed? (i.e. Samhain, Misfits & T.S.O.L.) Oh well, the only way this album could have been a better damned release would have been to add New Rose and Neat, Neat, Neat as bonus tracks.

antnego@earthlink.net (Anthony Negron)
Perfect 10.

This is the Damned at their absolute creative and sonic peak. With the controlling Brian James gone, the rest of the gang is free to explore beatle-esque melodies and incorporate goth sensibilities and synths into the mix. Each song is irresistibly catchy and spunky, and has a dose of melody not seen on previous Damned efforts. Dave Vanian is actually singing instead of shouting tuneless lines. Moving Captain Sensible to guitar was a wise decision, as he clearly had more chops and melodic sensibilities than Brian James. It must have been a great relief for Sensible when he no longer had to be confined to the drab, simple bass lines heard on their self-titled debut and Music For Pleasure. Speaking of bass, Algy Ward is one of the best bass guitarists ever, although he left too soon after the recording was finished. This album is one punk gem after another and displays a consistency that their previous two attempts lacked.

But sadly this was the last truly great album they ever made. The Black Album is spotty at best, alternating between great punk rock and bloated quasi-prog rock. Everything else after that is a complete pile of shit. Enough said.

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
You forgot "Plan 9" among the classics on this one.

elhefe@optusnet.com.au
I just picked this CD up after reading the review here, WOW! what a fuckin incredible record this is. The only track I'd previously heard was Smash It Up which I'd always loved I just never got around to checking the band out the only other Damned track I'd ever heard was the version of Video nasty they played on the British comedy show The Young Ones back in the early 80's, I can only say that I've been missing out on some great music. .

The CD I bought has 8 bonus tracks and the music video for Plan 9, Channel 7 which was nice to see.

Buy this record if you like good melodic punk, great band The Damned, can't say enough good things about this record.

Ben Burch
I full on agree (even if I'd give it a 9 instead of a 10). Very unhateable album. When I read that they became something of a goth band after Music from Pleasure I was afraid of them turning into another Joy Division or something (the only thing close to goth I knew at the time), so I was scared shitless this was going to suck. But man I was WRONG, I was shocked at how much of an improvement this one was over the other two. Not that they were bad or anything, but this wipes the floor with both of them, and basically every punk album released before this one. By process of elimination, "Plan 9 Channel 7" is my favorite song on here.

Add your thoughts?

The Black Album - IRS 1980.
Rating = 9

Time to make the doughnuts!

No, not really. This album is even more melodic and diverse than the last one! Some of it's dark goth type music, a lot is guitar/piano pop, there's a couple of punkers and even one really long high-speed punker. And I'm not talking about dipshit melody, like 'look at me I'm going "aaah!" and playing E-A-D.' I mean actual hit single-quality, well-composed, arpeggiated, building, complex professional rock music! With pinanners and funny instruments! In America, this was released as a single album - that's the version I am reviewing. In Britain, it was apparently a double album - that's not the version I am reviewing. In Ecuador, it was a 75-CD 8-track tape - that's the version I watch on the VCR. I'm tempted to give this one the 10, but I suspect that may be because I like the album cover better than Mapeen Buns Etitits. This is dark where that one is light. This one is moody where that one is jokey. This one has the words "The Damned" on it where that one has the words "Lother And The Hand People" on

WAIT! WHAT THE HELL??? I REVIEWED THE WRONG FUCKING ALBUM!!!

Nah, just pulling your cervix for a second there. This here Black Album is an excellent further extension of the poppy sound that won the hearts of America with the last record. If you like that album, you owe it to yourself, to The Damned and to all of England to run out, buy this album and fly it like a kite on your turntable. But don't blame me if it pops you too hard; I'm just a gentle American lad with a yen for Chinese money.

HA HA AHHAHH!!! DO YOU GET IT????? DO YOU GET IT?????

You do, don't you? See, therein lies the problem.

Reader Comments

thecomeons@yahoo.com
the black album was the first damned album i got. i got the rerelease, so i ended up with single album. they release the second disc as live at snetterton. it was bollocks. machine gun is tops best damned album. i love the first one. didnt like the second. black album was fab. the only album i got for a year. anything after black is shite. bits off strawberries was dead-on. they did an album as naz nomad. pure shite. didnt like it. saw the damned in belfast a few years ago. that bloke out of new model army was doing bass and one of the gipes from the godfathers was doing guitar. some other bloke was on guitar too. vanian and scabies were there and all!

themightygreegor@yahoo.com
Yen is Japanese money.
Chinese money is "yuan," pronounced "you ON".
Korean money is "won," and Mexican money is "pesos."
Indonesian money is "rupiah" and Indian money is "rupee."
American Indian money is "wampum," and we're back full circle to the yen/yuan/won/wampum thing.
Note about hispanic dinero - Meican money is "pesos," and Spanish money used to be "pesetas," but now it's "euros," which fucks everything up.
Guadamalan money is "real," but it ain't real; it's worth less than the "peso" (which is not much) (and which, in Spanish, means "weight," which is also a load of shit, unless you have, like, a thousand of them, in coins, in the front pocket of your shorts, in which case they are very "peso-y" indeed).

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
9 stars on this one ? You must be kidding ! It's a 6 stars one ! Everybody knows that !

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
I think you're essentially reviewing the first half of this album. it's all studio, right? the second half contained a 17-minute sidelong song called "Curtain Call," and the fourth side was all live tracks: at one point the live side had a couple of songs added and was released as Live Shepperton 1980.

I have never heard this album, but just thought you might want to know that. The only Damned album I have is "Damned Damned Damned."

Add your thoughts?

Mindless, Directionless, Energy: Live At The Lyceum 1981 - Bronze 1987
Rating = 7

Welcome to my blog! I was blogging before blogs existed! I'm a blog pioneer! I'm the kinf of Blog! Sorry, 'KING,' not 'kinf.' though I swear to God if that becomes a word meaning "kickass guy who rules," I'm gonna be pissed as shit that I denied my kinferism. The Damned recorded this bootleg in 1981, a year made famous by historical geographician John Lydon on his This Is What You Want...This Is A Pair Of Pants LP. It features three tracks from Damned Damned Damned Damned Damned, nothing from Pink Floyd's Nick Mason-produced Music For Pleasure (BEEP BEEP BEEP MISTAKE DETECTOR BEEP BEEP BEEP), (BEEP), 5 from (BEEP STILL BEEPING BEEP BEEPBV) MGE (Machine Gun Etiquette), 8000000 from Metallica's Black Album, and 1 Sweet cover. And if you think by "Sweet," I'm referring to a strawberry, One life Iím gonna live it up Iím takiní flight I said Iíll never get enough Stand tall Iím young and kinda proud Iím on top as long as the musicís loud If you think Iíll sit around as the world goes by Youíre thinkiní like a fool cause itís a case of do or die Out there is a fortune waitiní to be had You think Iíll let it go youíre mad Youíve got another thing cominí Thatís right hereís where the talkiní ends Well listen this night thereíll be some action spent Drive hard Iím calliní all the shots I got an ace card cominí down on the rocks If you think Iíll sit around while you chip away my brain Listen I ainít fooliní and youíd better think again Out there is a fortune waitiní to be had You think Iíll let it go youíre mad You got another thing comin In this world weíre liviní in we have our share of sorrow Answer now is donít give in aim for a new tomorrow Oh so hot no time to take a rest yeah Act tough ainít room for second best Real strong got me some security Hey Iím a big smash and I'm also gay and my drummer fucks little kids If you think Iíll sit around as the world goes by Youíre thinkiní like a fool cause itís a case of do or die Out there is a fortune waitiní to be had You think Iíll let it go youíre mad Youíve got another thing comin. WHY DID THEY DO COVERS? THE COVerS sucK AND go on forever, and include the stooges, mc3 AND the weets.\ But they drag the songs on 4-eva.

They should've not done covers. Because their original songs are so great - that's what I want to hear. It has bootleg level quality - all the instruments are smoooooooooooooooooooooooshed together. There is no power in the sound. "This one's for Lady Di! This one's for Lady Di, who's a fucking slut!" Funny stuff, Captain Sensible. Stick to "He said 'Captain,' I said, 'Wot?'" "Oh fuck off, you bunch of fucking shitbums!" The Sweet cover is just him cussing. I bet if I'd been there, I'd have laughed. But it's on a CD, with "Great Big Tits" replacing the chorus "Ballroom Blitz." That's not funny in CD form. Live, it may have been hilarious. But also they have great enertgbggy. But the guitar has too much chorus and tinniness. It's not at all heavy. It's very high-pitched and wimpy. The keyboard on that song with the keyboard is really tinny too. That's the thing about guitar tone. It matters. It took me forever as a performer and failed rock and roll star to realize that, but it really does. You can't go up there with a high-pitched chorusy tone and expect to play kickass punk rock. It's impossible when your swirly shittyass orange tone sounds like a pussy piece of pink pussy shit pussy pussy. You need a heavy tone. And someone should have told Captain Sensitive because his tone sucks donkey dicks on this recording. You believe in lies, but it did. I have the rare video, and about 90 donkeys went up to the stage for Captain Sensation's guitar tone to give them mo0utwise poelseauseeere jeezus where are my fingers going? I paid my taxes tonight. Do you think they'll give me back the 50 jabillion dollars I claimed they owe me?

Reader Comments

mixxer@pandora.be (Milos Jovanovic)
Exactly how drunk were you while writing that ?

Hilarious stuff.

Add your thoughts?

Friday 13th EP - NEMS 1981
Rating = 6

A group of carefree counselors converge upon Camp Crystal Lake to prepare for the campers' arrival. Ignoring Crazy Bill's warning ("There's an EP out there that sounds like the 1960s! You're all Damned!"), they spend the day smoking grass, making love and playing Strip Monopoly. But then darkness descends.....

"Disco Man" is a delightfully poppy tune that sounds straight off an early Who record. Featuring one of Dave's most melodic vocal lines ever, this song is the reason to buy this record. And then KEVIN BACON HAS AN ARROW FORCED THROUGH HIS NECK!!!

The other three songs continue in this Summer of Love/Dukes of Stratosphear psych-pop direction, but aren't nearly as memorable. "Limit Club" enjoys a meaty organ, but sounds too much like the Low-Maintenance Perennials' "Here, Have A Jigsaw Puzzle" to be taken seriously as an original composition.And then CRISPIN GLOVER GETS A CORKSCREW THROUGH HIS HAND AND A MACHETE IN THE FACE!!!!

Next up is the busy-bass-bound "Billy Bad Breaks" boner, which is far too cheery for those of us who hate the world, but hey, who doesn't like that '60s organ there again? Certainly not RON PALILLO AS HE GETS HIS HEART PUNCHED OUT OF HIS BODY!!!!

Finally, the EP reaches cessation with an unimpressive, 'ting!'-less cover of the Rolling Stones' "Citadel" dumbed up with idiotic PsYcHeDeLiC effects. And COREY FELDMAN IS STILL ALIVE!!!!

Add your thoughts?

Strawberries - Bronze 1982.
Rating = 8

More melody, Lee.

Hmm. Yes then. Okay how. This is another poppy, multicolored, fun, dark, handy-dandy, diverse, very well crafted, well-written collection of wonderful guitar-, bass-, piano-, keyboard- and vocal-driven songs by a band featuring Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies, Captain Sensible and two other gentlemen. It's not as perfect start-to-fin as the last couple, but it's still full of lovely riffs and raffs (one of which is even PUNKY! I did mention that The Damned aren't a punk band anymore, right?). One song is about President Reagan, the finest president that the United States has ever held to its heart. The others are filled with beans and smelly.

Look, I am really, really tired. Yesterday I went to see my psychologist and he kept remarking, "I've never seen you like this! You are so out of it!" That I am. I am out of it. But even an out of it tired nutjob can tell that The Damned are a great bunch of songwriters! Beatles? Pheh! Herman's Hermits? Yes! Herman's Hermits! Kinks? Pheh. Gary And The Playboys? Yes! Gary And The Playboys! My dog is asleep behind the toilet. Perhaps I'll take a nap in his crate, since he is in my normal nap spot. I really like this album and band, These Damned. But like it while you can. Because after 1982, this album won't be new anymore. Hurry!

The cool thing about The Damned is that their band name is a cuss word. Like "Lips."

Reader Comments

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
Oh, come on ... Strawberries, a 8 stars album ? if you give 9 of them to the Black one, then Strawberries is a 12 stars one ( along with Machine ...).

steve.robey@mindspring.com
My favorite Damned album (with Machine Gun a close 2nd). I always thought that the Damned were at their best when doing Brit-Pop, with the occasional punk song providing a change of pace (e.g. "Nasty", "Thanks for the Night"). Songs like "Generals," "Gun Fury", and "Life Goes On" are all elegant, sophisticated pieces of the sort that Madness might have tried around this time (and they completely rule, by the way). Of course, the cheesiness of 80s fashion caught up with them eventually, resulting in "Phantasmagoria" and "Anything", but for a short while there, the Damned were truly amazing, and not in a punk band way.

Add your thoughts?

Damned But Not Forgotten - Bronze 1985.
Rating = 9

Not sure where these rare tunes are from - singles? unreleased? dunno. But one thing is for shirtin' - The Damned were a great pop band. You wouldn't expect that what with a name like The Damned, but they really were. Probably because of Captain Sensible, who's also come up with some great solo tunes (try to find a copy of "Wot?" if you can - hilarious!). Fantastic bass lines abound too. They had a vision. The kind of sound you could rarely get in the 80s. Bubblegum pop, like The Monkees, but not SISSY bubblegum pop. And not exclusively HAPPY bubblegum pop either. Just great melodic sounds whether the songs be punk, goth or rock, like you might have found in the '60s by The Turtles or The Monkees or, yes, The Beatles. Best of all, you can never predict what the next song will sound like on any of these past few albums, because the band goes out of their way to incorporate so darn many types of rock and pop music into their sound! I mean, they never branch out into NON-pop or rock types of music, like The Clash or Os Mutantes or Zappa, but they do cover a wide range of good old solid pop moods, bringing in brass when necessary, or hand claps, or an old circusy organ, or that fucking godawful piece of shit Santana song that hit it big a few years ago. Holy CHRIST, is that a miserable piece of shit song. The one where the guy keeps saying, "Or else forget about it!" Oh my dear lord, that is without exception the worst song I've heard in the past five years.

And I apologize for using the word "melodic" so many times in this review, but my thesaurus is in the attic behind the firewall.

Reader Comments

dleonrd@itsa.ucsf.edu
I had "forgotten" how much I dig the "I Think I'm Wonderful". What a nice slice that is. I am glad you had this album to review. It is fun stuff. I love the Damned.

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
No,no,no,no,no,no,no.No.This one is exactly an almost 7 stars one.Or maybe 6.5 stars. 8 ? No.No,no,no,no,no.

dpadrutt
'Some Girls Are Ugly' is a forgotten gem.

Add your thoughts?

Phantasmagoria - MCA 1985.
Rating = 8

Captain Sensible is gone and the band belongs to Dave Vanian now. You know, the singer who dresses up like a vampire. He may have begun as a just another bizarre character in the punk band The Damned, but conscientious observers will have noticed that over the past eight years, he has gone from monotone shout/sing to (gulp) pop sing to (big gulp)(from 7-11) CROON. And boy, does he croon on this one. It's a goth/synth pop album. The cover is a black and white photo of an overserious woman in a graveyard. The mix includes saxophones and tons and tons of corny eighties keyboards. And the song titles, from the band that once brought you "Born To Kill" and "Stab Your Back," now include such grimly fiendish titles as "Grimly Fiendish."

Oh hell, that sentence didn't work out at all. But yes, other titles include "Sanctum Sanctorum," "Shadow Of Love," "Street Of Dreams" and "Trojans," which is an instrumental about making sweet sweet love while wearing a howard on your johnson. Or so I hypothesize. Dammit, can't a man hypothesize in this country anymore? Or has Nixon taken away THOSE rights too?

Strangely, Rat Scabies is still in the band. I'm not sure why he would have let Dave get away with transforming the group into a Cure knockoff like this. Maybe he just figured a job's a job. Or maybe, like me, he heard the killer driving tune-itude of songs like "Shadow Of Love" and "There'll Come A Day" and decided that the rest of the goth trappings were worth it just to be involved with great songs like these. Seriously, once you get past the corny presentation, most of these songs are fantastic. As always, you can count on The Goddamned!

Reader Comments

seafoam@vfr.net (Shelley Chappell)
Hey man,
The Damned have always had flritations with goth( Dave being a good example). This is their best album in my opinion. Superb musicmanship and creepy atmospere make this a great album. Shadow Of Love & Sanctum Sanctorum are the group's best songs ever( Along with Eloise). A must have for goth fans.

themightygreegor@yahoo.com
I had a girlfriend once, when I lived in North Carolina. She was in the Air Force, and she was stationed at a base called Seymore Johnson! See More Johnson! I shit you not! I would ask her, "DO you??" and she wouldn't understand.

She broke up with me to marry a guy called Mike Hunt. Just go figure.

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
Hey ! Congratulations ! You're right on this one !

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Anything - MCA 1986.
Rating = 6

More goth. The songwriting is a bit weaker though, and the mix is so bright and tinny, you kinda want to put on earmuffs while you listen to it. If no women are available, you can always

Look, I'm no funnyman. But this is a very disappointing effort by The Damned. Even the best songs on here are really simplistic, and it doesn't hold a candle to the previous efforts. And the crappy songs are REALLY crappy. For example, the album is bookended by two overblown fake-horn-type shiny INXS nonsense crap pop songs that have no place in The Damned's canon of fine material. Then there's a Love cover, a Syd Barrett ripoff (homage?), an awesome instrumental... but really only one or two impressive original vocal tunes -- personally, I'm really fond of the spy-sounding "The Girl Goes Down" and the indescribably musical "In Dulce Decorum." Just not what the doctor ordered. Dave's run out of ideas, it appears. And thus, the band collapses.

Reader Comments

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
Oh no ... So, here we go again ? Man... Anything is a 8.5 album, nothing less.

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Not Of This Earth - Cleopatra 1996.
Rating = 3

Supposedly, this is a ripoff release. The rumor mill claims that old man Rat Scabies coaxed old man Dave Vanian into the studio with two nobodies just to record some stuff, then Scabies released the album under the name "The Damned" wihout asking Dave's permission. Is that the truth? You tell me! You're that guy on the X-Files that's always smoking cigarettes!

It doesn't matter though. It's an awful CD. Actually, not even awful. Just abominably nondescript. These songs, written by Scabies and a friend, don't do ANYTHING. They're simplistic and punkish like the early Damned stuff, but without the energy and interesting riffs that made those songs so enjoyable. Generic is the term that pops most readily into mind. There are some really catchy choruses every once in a while, but that hardly justifies the destruction of the Damned name, does it?

Actually, most people hated Phantasmagoria and Anything too, so that's probably not even an issue. Oh well. Como si, como se llama.

Reader Comments

fango2000@optushome.com.au (Warren Bingham)
Way Hey!!!

I've been waiting for you to do a Damned review Mark ever since I commented that 80's by Killing Joke sounds like "Life Goes On" off Strawberries by the Damned. I knew you must like em.

And even tho they're my fave band, I pretty much agree with all your reviews, except I give Machine Gun Etiquette, The Black Album and Strawberries about an 8 each cos that's the Damned that rocked my world.

They've just signed a deal with Nitro Records (Dexter Holland from the Offspring's label) and will be releasing an album sometime in the first half of this year so get your laughing gear ready for that one. Should be a goody as the Captain is back with them.

Cheers from Australia

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Grave Disorder - Nitro 2001.
Rating = 7

Determined to get the stench of that last abortion out of the nation's clothing, singer Dave Vanian told Rat Scabies to stick his faux-Damned up his bloody arse (as the British say, Benny Hill for example) and somehow convinced the talented Mr. Captain Sensible to join he and three other people who've never been in The Damned before, and release an album under the name "The Damned." And it's good!

Covers pretty much every genre they ever hit in their career, all under the umbrella of one roof - a big sloppy joe combination of great rudimentary punk rock, cheesy-keyboard-laden synth goth, catchy Beatlesque pop and, unfortunately, a few really humiliating shit"punk" songs similar to those featured on the previous record. Some of it comes across as awfully forced (looking at the band photo -- four decrepit old men in corny Don Johnson sunglasses and a 60-year-old goth girl -- it's difficult to believe that they're caapable of feeling that "manic punk energy" that they're trying for on a lot of these songs). But so many of the songs do so many things that are right -- wonderful guitar hooks, singalong melodic vocals, smashingly fun '77-style 3-chord rave-ups -- that the few weaknesses are easily forgivable. I mean, Dave and Sensible haven't recorded a studio album together in like fifteen years; how "genuine and comfortable" was it going to sound? I think we should all just take pride in the fact that two principal members of one of the first punk rock bands can still write songs as awesome as "Democracy?," "Would You Be So Hot" and "Amen." Probably shoulda dumped the last few songs though. They aren't too hot and they make the CD almost an hour long. Plus -- am I crazy here or is one of the songs about George W. Bush?

I don't know. I was just kinda hoping that we could make it through his whole term without anybody writing a song about him.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
These guys just quit their opening slot on Rob Zombie's 2002 tour because the industrial-metal oriented crowd booed these goth-punk veterans off the stage night after night. Losers!

redcalx@lycos.com (Ben Mattison)
imagine the embarassment they must have felt, booed off by the discerning, tasteful and highly intelligent rob zombie following. of course, they deserve it for even deigning to tour with a boring shit-for-brains like rob z. what, was stabbing westward unavailable? for shame, damned, for shame.

Edinblack@aol.com
This is an excellent return to form. Although no Scabies it does feature Patricia Morrison (ex Gun Club/Sisters of mercy) otherwise known by us as fat pat. Sensibles guitar playing and songwriting is as vreative as ever. Thank Fuck some decent music again at last!!!

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
Mmmmh..., not far, really : 7.5

All in all, a good work. I give you 7.5 out of 10 for the accuracy and 8 out of 10 for sense of humor.

Hey, what about Todd Rundgren ? Come on, make me laugh !

dougal70@optusnet.com.au
Look I just thinks it's a great record.

Maybe one day we'll see Ratty,Dave and Cpatain patch up their fiobles maybe not. Some people are just to darn wound up about nuthin.I like it still do. Grave didorder is on high rotation at my gaf 'cos I t sounds good. Who gives a shit about anything else.

pozwr@webtv.net
I'm happy to hear Dave and Captain writing again.... it's been too long.
I really enjoy the fast songs, and don't care if they're from old farts, cuz I'm one.
Song.Com and Looking For Action are FUN. And who has a problem with fun?

All Damed albums have a clunker or two, and it's a small price to pay for the privilege of hearing great tunes.

For a band that didn't make any good coin until um, the 90's?, God Bless 'Em!
May they live to write another day.

Gibby RULES!
peace, Mark

Ben
Man, what a waste of an opportunity. I'll give it a 7 too, but it would be in 8.5 or 9 territory with more careful editing. Mainly the song lengths and the actual songs themselves. The biggest offender is "Amen," which is long, rambling, boring and makes absolutely no sense. Not as bad as "Curtain Call," but it still sucks.

We also get the overblown "W" (yes it's about George Bush), "Till the End of Time" (which sounds like a dumb ripoff of the Doors song "The End") and I'm not too crazy about "Obscene" either. "Would You Be So Hot?," "Beauty of the Beast" and "Thrill Kill" are all good songs, but could easily lose a minute or two.

Putting the bad things aside, the other songs are more or less terrific. I find the faster, punk-ish songs to be more fun and inspired. "Neverland" is probably my favorite Damned song (or at least in my top three) and "song.com," "Democracy?," "Absinthe" and "She" are also pretty first rate. Dave Vanian's voice is also probably the best it's ever been.

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So, Who's Paranoid? - English Channel 2008
Rating = 6

4/5ths of the Grave Disorder line-up has returned seven years later for another hot dose of haberdashery! Yes, new bassist Stu West joins immortal vampire Dave Vanian, fearless man of the red beret Captain Sensible, former English Dogs drummer Andrew "Pinch" Pinching and keyboardist Montgomery "Monty Oxy Moron" Gillan to sell small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons and zippers.

But enough wacky haberdashery gags! Don't you get enough of those from today's top comedians of today? George Carlin with his side-splitting list of "7 Words You Can't Say In A Haberdashery"? Abbott & Costello's rip-roaring "Whose Haberdashery Is On First" routine? Gilbert Gottfried's annoying voice? Indeed, it seems you can't walk two feet without running into a great haberdashery joke.

Why, here are a few examples now!

What did Axl Rose say to the hard-of-hearing haberdasher/plastic surgeon?
"I said I wanted a button on lace, not a butt on my face!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Haberdasher!
Haberdasher who?
Haberdasher! Haberdancer! Haberprancer! Habervixen! I named all my reindeer after German chemist Fritz Haber, who discovered the industrial process for synthesizing ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen.

What's the difference between a haberdashery and a militant lesbian gum store?
One sells small articles for sewing; the other sells ball particles for blowing!

Yes, there are worlds of tales we could weave about the ancient folklore of the haberdashery. Unfortunately, time and currency demands that we return to the subject of the mediocre new Damned album.

But first I insist that you view these two videos from my high school days:

Sgt. Powerful And The America Gang - I wrote this fake sitcom for a Broadcast Journalism class in 1991, when I was 17 and the first Gulf War was taking place. Low-Maintenance Perennials singer Christian Smith plays "Sgt. Powerful," LuMP guitarist Matt Terrebonne plays the member of the "America Gang" with the barbell, and I have a cameo as the 'hippy' that they beat up in the middle. Worth noting is that the man holding the gun and doing the 'US Army' commercial was a teacher at our school!

Brickman And The Legend Of The Chinese Cobbler - Another high school project for Broadcast Journalism class, this is the 'rock video' for a ridiculous Low-Maintenance Perennials song. I'm the long-haired guitarist dressed like an idiot and chewing a corncob pipe.

But now then, The Damned.

Every song on So, Who's Paranoid? is over 3:30 long. Although a couple of tracks reach punk rock speed, it would more appropriately be classified as a '60s-tinged pop/rock/garage/goth album, featuring a colorful mix of tones and approaches reminiscent of mid-period Damned. Dave Vanian's vocals are as striking and tuneful as always, and the songs are built on ear-pleasing arrangements of trebly rock guitar and melodic piano/organ/keyboard. Unfortunately, too many of the songs rely on overused and instantly predictable chord changes that have been stagnating for decades on albums by far lesser bands.

In today's i-Pod generation of teenagers and 'Lazy Ear Syndrome,' I hereby recommend four stellar tracks for downloading:

- "Under The Wheels" - An awesome descending bass line, emotional chorus and speedy tempo distinguish this moody punk song.
- "Diamonds" - A breezy, catchy pop-rocker with funny lyrics about how diamonds are just rocks.
- "Since I Met You" - A lovely piano ballad that begins with the verse "Since I met you/The lyrics of songs mean something new/They sound so real, they reflect how I feel/Even the stupid ones."
- "Dark Asteroid" - Bathe in the vibrating organ bliss of this psychedelic-pop chestnugget, then hurry and take the CD out before the unfortunate 11-minute, 1-chord jam starts up.

Elsewhere, there's just too much chaff mixed in with the wheat, and if you've ever tried to eat Cream of Chaff soup, I think y

Elsewhere, there's just too much you've heard before: the chorus of The Ramones' "Go Mental" reappropriated as "Just Hangin'," The Rolling Stones' "We Love You" rearranged for guitar as "Perfect Sunday," and ages-old garage riffs revisited as "A Nation Fit For Heroes," "A Danger To Yourself" and "Little Miss Disaster." Longtime fans might enjoy Vanian's dark theatrical torch ballad "Nature's Dark Passion" or the Straight-Outta-Damned-Damned-Damned rudimentary punker "Nothing," but to these ears on my face they sound like lesser versions of earlier Damned material.

I ruined my brand new $300 suit this morning by trying to rip the label off the jacket sleeve like an asshole. It can be fixed, but not for less than $175, which hardly seems worth it. It really sucks having no common sense.

But hey! How about this $300 pair of pants I have now, eh? Who's with me?

Reader Comments

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
I must say I don't agree with your review. In my opinion, it's a good Damned album ( I would it an 8 out of 10 ). Each song has something interesting and catchy. I think it's less patchy than Grave Disorder or Black Album.

A few new classics : A Nation, Diamonds or Little Miss.

dereksteed123@btinternet.com
Look pal, The Damned make good honest rock and roll music and have always been overlooked. These guys have a place in British music folklore and deservedly so. DV is one of the best crooners who has ever lived and if you ever met him youíd also see what a humble man he is.

All dodgy modern day punk outfits, Rancid, Greenday, The Offspring and on and on and on, cite The Damned as one of the most important influences. Legends, not just old gits. If itís ok for Plant and Page, Bawbag Bono, and The stones. Why shouldínt these guys make some money doing what they do best. DV also writes musical scores for TV and has a make up range on sale with Harrods. Millionaire he is, sad old goth he is not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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