The roots of THE DAMNED can be traced way back to 1970 when Paul Halford formed the Black Witch Climax Blues and enlisted the help of two brothers, Phil and Ray Burns on organ and piano, guitarist Fred Mills and drummer Dave Berk. In 1971 they changed their name to Genetic Breakdown and Ray switched from organ to guitar. In May 1974 Halford changed his name to Johnny Moped and the band's name to Five Arrogant Superstars. By August Phil had left the band to yet another name change, this time Assault And Auggery. At this time, somewhere in Sussex, Bryan James formed Bastard, a Stooges/MC5 influenced band who were well received in their locality as well as Belgium.
1975 was the year that punk's roots began to sprout. In January, Dave, Ray and fred left Assault And Buggery and formed the Commercial Band. In March Tony James and Mick Jones formed LONDON SS, The Swankers split up and joined up with John Lydon, Nick Kent and Steve New and became the SEX PISTOLS, and Rot formed in June with drummer Chris Millar.

Towards the end of Rot's short-lived existence Chris joined London SS and was soon named Rat Scabies. Rat and Bryan left London SS and joined Nick Kent in the Subterraneans. The Commercial Band had since evolved into Elite but Ray declined to join the Subterraneans. After a couple of gigs in Cardiff the Subterraneans split, with Nick becoming a journalist and Ray forming Oasis. Rat went on to drum in the orchestra for the Yorkshire Theatre Co's production of 'Puss In Boots' and Bryan set about forming a new band.

In January 1976 Bryan was reunited with Rat and with Ray, now playing bass guitar. A search for a vocalist was short-lived as singing gravedigger and Alice Cooper fan Dave Vanian was given the job. All that was left was a name. It would appear that Vivien Westwood came up with the name the Damned when trying to find a name for the SEX PISTOLS, but, seeing as they did not use it, Bryan did. They rehearsed every week until June when they got a four Saturdays in a row residence at Lisson Grove. It was, however, at the 100 CLUB that they played their first punk gig, supporting the sex pistols on July 6th.

In August they played two gigs at the Nashville before setting off to Mont-De-Marsan in France for the first European Punk Rock Festival on the 20th. The bill also inclued the Pink Fairies, whose guitarist Larry Wallis was responsible for naming Ray Captain Sensible. In September they played the second night of the 100 Club Punk festival with the VIBRATORS and the BUZZCOCKS, did a couple of gigs with the Vibrators as support act and signed to STIFF Records. October brought a few more gigs and, at the Red Cow in Hammersmith, a meeting with Marc BOLAN was to have a great effect on their carreer.

On the 22nd the band had the great pleasure, and a page in the history books, to be the first UK punk band to release a single. The single 'New Rose', was SOUNDS' single of the week and on the whole it was one of the great punk releases of all time, especially for the B-side, a blitzkrieg version of the Beatles 'Help'. Ridding high in the sucess of the single they soon grabbed the support slot on the Flamin Groovies' UK tour which started on November 11th. On the 14th the Groovies failed to appear at The Roundhouse gig and the DAMNED supported the Troggs instead. Thelast gig of the Groovies's tour was in Oxford on the 15th with the Vibrators and the STRANGLERS. Three days later the Damned set out on their own tour. On the 20th the NME carried a news story about the forthcoming 'ANARCHY TOUR' to be headlined by the RAMONES and the Sex Pistols, along with the Damed, the CLASH and Johnny THUNDERs. The Ramones pulled out and the Vibrators were added to some of the dates. December brought punk's rapidly increasing 'bad reputations' to the homes of everybody when the sex Pistols appeared on the 'Today' programme with Bill Grundy and the Press have a field day. Even venues decide to get rid of punk bands and the Roxy cancel the forthcoming 'Anarchy' tour date and draw up a hit lit of bands they won't let play. In fact, thanks to the Pistols' publicity stunt punk nearly died.
On the proposed 19 dates of the Anarvhy tour only three were played, and the Damned's only played two, Leeds on the 6th and Manchester on the 9th. They were thrown off the rest of the tour because they tried to play a gig without the rest of the bands, or because Pistol's manager Mc Laren detested Damned manager Jake Riviera - choose your own version. 1977 was the year of punk, much to the distate of the media. Far from dying, punk was growing stronger and record companies were fighting over each other to sign the latest bands. January was quiet for the Damned and they only played one gig, on the last day of the month with Eater at the Roxy. They had, however, been recording their debut album with Nick Lowe. The album contained ten original songs and a cover of 'Fish', originally a London SS song written by Tony James and Bryan, and a cover of the Stooges' 'I feel alright'. On February 18th the album titled 'Damned Damned Damned' is released. The first 2,000 copies were deliberately issued with a picture of Eddie & The Hot Rods ON THE BACK COVER. The album was the first UK punk album to be relased and it peked at number 36 in the charts for ten weeks.
The Damned continued to notch up gig after gig, including a night at The Roxy with Johnny Moped. Captain Sensible rejoined them for a couple of gigs and some recording but never left the damned full time. In March the damned set out on a major UK tour, supporting T Rex. The idea of the old meeting the new caught the Press' s attention and riding high on the sucess of their second single release from February 25th, 'Neat Neat Neat', the damned were now becoming hot property and bigger things are planned for them. Bigger things indeed. Plans were afoot to send them to America.


April saw the Damned play one of their most famous gigs at The Roundhouse, on the 24th, when they were supported by Motorhead and the Adverts. Soon after the Damned were the first punk band from England to play in America. They played four nights at the legendary CBGB's Club in New York. The first night was, by all accounts, average. Both the Damned and the Dead Boys were not on form. Only a blonde girl nearly getting laid on the stage seemed to liven up the evening. The second night was the Dead Boys's night. The Damned were bugged by technical problems and even the Captain's nurse outfit went unnoticed. The third night went well for everybody and both bands joined up for a version of 'Anarchy in the UK' at the end of the set. The four night was going to be a hard one as the Damned were supporting Patti Smith, but they won them over and returned victorious. (Captain: "Patti Smith was a dreadful, snobby 'Rock Star' who sneered at the new British music"). The US Press didn't seem to know what had hit them and the general opinion was summed up by the New York News when a reviewer said 'For all their valiant energy their music didn't seem at all remarkable'.
In May the DAMNED and the ADVERTS, set out on a UK tour. It started on the 20th at Southampton University and concluded on June 29th at Dunstable. The first gig was recorded by the BBC for the 'In Concert' series. On July 6th, exactly one year since they supported the Sex Pistols, they started 4 nights at the Marquee. Over the 4 days 5000 copies of 'Sick of being sick' weregiven aways as a thankyou to their fans. Whenever possible the band played at the 100 Club. Unfortunately things did not go according to plan. The gigs started on Sunday 3rd with the Rings supporting. On Monday they were sopported by Johnny Moped and that was that - the next two gigs were cancelled.
After this disaster it was decided to bring in a second guitarist, Robert 'Lu' Edmunds, to add a fuller sound to the band. The first gig with the new line-up was a return to the French Punk Festival in august. Also in August the Damned were the first band to play the new punk venue The Sundown in Charing Cross Road. Work soon continued on the next album but it was not working out so they took the tapes to a studio in Islington which was owned by Nick Mason of Pink floyd and set about re-mixing and re-recording the tracks. They also enlisted the help of jazz saxophonist Lol Coxhill, much to the shock of the Press and the less intelligent music fan. Lol ad jammed with them at the Dunstable gig in June and was asked if he would like to come down.
In October Rat left after various 'internal' rows and was replaced by Dave Berk from Johnny Moped's band for the European tour. ON return to the UK Dave was replaced by ex-London drummer Jon Moss. By November the new album, Music For Pleasure, was ready. The Damned along with the Adverts, the Rich Kids and Generation X were due to appear on the TV programme Impact, due for transmission on December 21st. It was recorded but remains unshown. For the record the Damned performed 'Neat Neat Neat', 'Problem Child' and 'Fan Club'. So a great year ended for punk, and the Damned, despite various problems, were ready for 1978. But 1978 was not ready for the Damned. in January Stiff Records dropped them in favour of their more commercial acts such Elvis Costello and Ian Dury.
Rat had by this time formed his own band the White Cats with ex-London SS vocalist Kevin Colney and ex-Clash Eddie Cox. Back in the Damned all was not well, and in February they called it a day and went their separate ways. Lu and Jon formed the Edge. Bryan formed Tanz Der. Dave joined the Doctors Of Madness for a 15-date tour. Captain went off to work once again with Johnny Moped before joining the Softies. The Damned did re-form during this time for a farewell gig on April 8th at the Rainbow and that was the end of the Damned.

By August rumours began to spread that the Damned were to re-form and rumours soon proved right when in September a gig was arranged at the Electric Ballroom. The band billed were Les Punks - a one-off gig maybe but this band should have been recorded. For those who don't know Les punks were Rat ondrums, Daveon vocals, the Captain on guitar and Lemmy on bass. The gig revitalised the Damned and they re(formed, armed with a contract from Chiswick Records. One difference, however - they called themselves the Doomed. Henry Badowski was brought in on bass initially but ex-Saints bassist Algy Ward got the full-time job. In November they went into the studio and recorded six tracks as the Doomed and a couple of others with Lemmy. Two of tracks, 'Love Song' and 'Burglar', were issued as a limited edition of 250 copies and given away at the Christmas gig at the Electric Ballroom. The Chiswick sessions for the next album were noisily interrupted when Lemmy, along with Philthy Phil Taylor and Fast Eddie Clarke turned up for a jam. One track, 'Ballroom Blitz', surfaced as the B-side of 'I just can't be happy today'.

1979 and a new wave of heavy metal was dawning. Not only did it revitalise such bands as Motorhead but it brought the music of the Damned to a new generation of rock music fans. In April 'Love Song' was released to the masses and, copying Motorhead's 'No Class' , it came in sleeves each with a different member of the group on the cover. The single made top twenty in the UK pop charts and the Damned were back. Touring continued and the Press became interested again, but some venues still banned them. The May/june tour inclued the Ruts as support with local bands being added to each gig. Towards the end of June they set off their second visit to America, taking in New York and L.A. The L.A. gigs were most sucessful and they were joined on stage by Joan Jett and somebody who looked like Gene Simmons from Kiss(Captain in disguise). The US tour ended with a few nights at the old Watford in San Francisco. After the US tour the Damned set off to Eutope for a short tour, taking in Germany and the Punkaroka Festival in Finland. The damned were in goog company as the package tour inclued Motorhead ans the Skids.
In October the single 'Smash it up' was released. Descrobed by some critics as a pop song it remained a firm favourite with the fans. The new album 'New Worlds Symphony' was eagerly awaited and another taster to the album was issued as the follow-up single, 'I just can't be happy today', with the Motordamn version of 'Ballroom Blitz' on the B-side and 'The Turkey song'. Whih the November/December tour announced the album appeared in the shops re-titled 'Machine Gun Etiquette'. One of the best album of the year and one of the best from the Damned. The title track features Paul Simenon and Joe Strummer.
In February 1980 Algy left the Damned and formed the heavy metal group TANK with two brothers. Algy's replacement was the man responsible for one of the best bass riffs of all time ('The beginning of the end' on the Eddie & The Hot Rods 'Life on the line'). With time on their hands the Damned worked on various solo projects. Recording began on new material and the result was two singles 'The history of the world' and 'There ain't no sanity clause'.

...In October they released their Acid Rock 'The Black Album'. The continuing output from the Damned seemed poitless, they issued poor singles and in September 1981 the album 'Strawberries'. Altough it reached the top twenty , it was not a real Damned album.

In November '82 Paul quit and joined the hard rock UFO... In August '84 the Captain left the Damned....

 

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