Be the first to hear about news, tour dates, contests and more.
ìThe Damned make a glorious noise and Iím proud to be a part of it.î
óCaptain Sensible, 2001
Dave Vanian - vocals
Captain Sensible - guitar
Patricia Morrison - bass
Pinch - drums
Monty Oxy Moron - keyboards
Ever fluid, The Damned swiveled into the new century with their trademark dark vocals, poppy melodies and scintillating sounds intact. But, as always, theyíve managed to bring the best of the new into the mixóthey are no dinosaurs of punkís heyday. Without missing a beat, theyíve remained current, even innovativeóalways a little ahead of their time. As relevant now as in 1976, The Damned continue to bring new sounds to the stage and studio.
Fans will recognize the lilting, near-anarchy of The Damnedís new album, Grave Disorder (Nitro Records). But finally, 25 years after their start, The Damned boast the ultimate lineup and are at the peak of their creativity and potential. Grave Disorder proves beyond a doubt that Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian are one of the truly great songwriting teams of modern music. ìWe dig a lot of the same things musically,î says Sensible of the long-running collaboration. ìPlus, Iíve worked with the chap on and off for 20 years so I know what he likes by now.î Says Vanian, ìWe do share a common bond with melody and a good tuneÖwe work in such a way that compliments each otherís talents.î
The new CD has been compared to The Damnedís best, including Machine Gun Etiquette and the Black Album, but thatís pale praise. In fact, Grave Disorder goes beyond these albums. With the fruition of Vanian and Sensibleís talents and experience combined with Patricia Morrisonís (ex-Sisters of Mercy, Gun Club, and The Bags) throaty bass sound, second-generation punk Pinchís (ex-English Dogs, Janus Stark) blistering drums, and Monty Oxy Moronís disquieting keyboardsóThe Damned are at their pinnacle. Morrison, referring to The Damnedís infamous idiosyncrasies and amazing talent, quips, ìItís a nightmare and a dream come true.î
Grave Disorder is an epic record. Produced brilliantly by Grammy award-winning David Bianco, each song is distinct but all work together to tell a story. The recording streams seamlessly, right from its forceful opening, in the best Damned tradition. ìI adjourn the sitting, Grave Disorder having broken out,î an outraged parliamentary voice announces, leading into the politically charged ìDemocracy?î (ìCause revolution changes nothing and voting changes even lessÖî) From there, the record spins into the information-age taunting ìsong.comîópointing out a generation lost online.
As always, The Damned arenít afraid to take on ivory towers. In the best punk rock tradition, they unabashedly mock the false icons of fallen rock gods, the shaky maneuverings of politicians on both sides of the pond and blind allegiance to religious charlatans. ìAmenî is punctuated with eclectic samplings of religious proselytizing, from church bells to hootenannies. ìDonít stand there looking sheepish, come and join the flock inside,î Vanian mockingly invites. ìAlthough the church is an easy target,î says Sensible of ìAmen,î ìthe damage is still being done and it does need to be said. For a religious leader to condemn the use of condoms in Third World countries battling an AIDS is madness.î
ìWould You Be So Hotî raises an interesting question: Wouldnít John Lennon reject his own deification? (ìSuddenly, you are twice the man you used to be, excessive fame in quick death. Would it a be different if he had gone instead?î) Sensible elaborates, ìHe wasnít perfectófar from it. I think he wouldíve agreed with that too and sneered.î
ìShe,î Vanianís song to wife, bass-player and Goth diva, Morrison, is sexy and affecting. Part romantic ballad, part dominatrix ode, it provides delicious insight into whatís been called the ultimate punk rock/Goth marriage. (ìSheís an emissary of sin,î Vanian drawls.)
ìW,î written by Pinch, shows a surprising influence from modern English techno. This should be a sacrilege for a band with The Damnedís old-school creed, but itís not. Like always, they pull it off brilliantlyósurpassing rockers and ravers alike. Says Pinch, of his contribution to The Damned, ìMy musical influences are at least a decade later than the rest of the band, encompassing not only the second wave of punk rock but also the energy and excitement of the rave explosion hence my use of break beats and super groovy non-aggressive playing.î
The album ends poignantly with Monty Oxy Moronís trailing piano notes finishing the haunting epilogue of ìBeauty and the Beast,î Vanianís tender ode to the horror legends of a time gone by. Says Ox Moron, who effortlessly captures the mood and feel of The Damned on this song and throughout the recording, ìThe best music should be able to express the whole range of emotionsóexcitement, sadness, anger, fear, humor. It is my hope that the keyboards on Grave disorder add to that end.î
Yes, The Damned were the first to publish a punk rock single, the first punk band to tour the States and influencers of countless other bands. But, who cares; Grave Disorder stands on its' own. As Sensible states, ìI have records at home containing no filler tracks whatsoever. I wanted to try and do one of those sorts of CDs here. Do you knowóI think weíve gone and done it.î