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THE DAMNED – MYTHS AND LEGENDS

After a long career, The Damned (and particularly its lead singer, Dave Vanian) have gathered more myths and legends around them than most bands.
THE DAMNED AUSTRALIAN TOUR

After a long career, The Damned (and particularly its lead singer, Dave Vanian) have gathered more myths and legends around them than most bands.

From Sid Vicious throwing a glass at them at the 100 Club (and hitting a concrete pillar) to Vanian working as a grave digger in a Hemel Hempstead cemetery (“I used to annoy people because I’d be digging a grave and singing Alice Cooper songs at the top of my voice”) this band has a rich history.

Alice Cooper – School’s Out

DAVE VANIAN IN MARCH 2024

Speaking to Jessica Adams in March 2024, Vanian explained some of the legends around his band.

The Damned will be 48 years old in April and so that’s nearly five decades of anecdotes and stories. Fortunately, Vanian’s memory holds.

ON HAVING THE STAGE CURTAINS PULLED

As Dave Vanian tells it, The Damned were in fact once so loathed by venues that managers closed the curtains on them, playing live. “I just pulled them open again,” he says.

As Sensible told it in a 2009 interview, “When we got on the stage, quite often the curtains would be pulled or the plugs would be pulled. We’d end up playing three songs and that was it. We’d be kicked out on our ear holes.’

Marc Bolan and Dave Vinian
Marc Bolan and Dave Vanian (Alamy)

ON PUNK AND MARC BOLAN

Photos of The Damned in New York in issue No11 of 1970s Sniffin Glue Punk Rock Fanzine Magazine
Photos of The Damned in New York in issue No 11 of 1970s Sniffin Glue Punk Rock Fanzine Magazine (Alamy)

 

The T-Rex and Damned partnership on tour in 1977 was more than just an intelligent career move for both of them.

When Bolan passed away in a tragic car accident, Captain Sensible composed the first part of Smash It Up in homage to him.

Vanian says of Bolan, ‘He saw where it could go. Unlike a lot of that generation that turned around and said ‘This is rubbish’, or ‘We don’t want anything to do with this kind of stuff.”

As Marc Bolan’s publicist used to have an office next to Stiff, Vanian says, it was easy for T-Rex and The Damned to collaborate.

Before that, the closest any of The Damned had got to Marc, had been Captain Sensible, cleaning the lavatories at a T-Rex concert. Another legend that happens to be true.

Marc Bolan talks about The Damned and Punk

ON CAPTAIN SENSIBLE

So Dave, is it true that Captain Sensible kept rabbits and lived with his parents?

Captain Sensible at home with 'Rabbit' his rabbit. 13th June 1984.
Captain Sensible at home with ‘Rabbit’ his rabbit. 13th June 1984/Alamy

‘Oh yeah. He still kept his old bedroom on when he was with the band. And he had Smurf wallpaper.’

Captain Sensible and his rabbit interviewed by the BBC

 

DAVE VANIAN ON BRIAN JAMES

‘He’d give you a bit of crumpled paper and then you went and did the best you could with it.’

ON VANIAN’S CEMETERY MANAGEMENT JOB OFFER

‘If I’d stayed on I would have got a house and the management side of it. I did wear a donkey jacket. I was very proud of my donkey jacket.”

ON THE NEW ROSE CLIP AT THE HOPE AND ANCHOR

“It’s a tiny venue and it was just a guy with a hand-held camera. He was a little bit sloshed at the time. It was another of those things where it was just so quickly done. I quickly painted up THE DAMNED in that bloody sort of script.”

ON SLEEPING IN A COFFIN

‘I’ve never said I did that. I only said it would be a little bit uncomfortable.’

ON HIS FUNERAL MUSIC

‘I’d choose Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye.

Vera Lynn: Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye

 

Long Way To The TopMORE DAMNED, DAMNED, DAMNED

Dave Vanian is featured in a full interview with Jessica Adams in the next episode of the cult podcast, A Long Way To The Top with Shayne Brian.

The Dave Vanian interview is now live on Long Way To The Top

 

 

Buy tickets to see The Damned in Australia here.

Brisbane Tivoli March 20th
Sydney Enmore Theatre March 21st
Melbourne Northcote Theatre SOLD OUT
Adelaide Hindley Street Music Hall March
24th
Perth Astor Theatre March 26th

 

Sniffing Glue Fanzine – Alamy
Marc Bolan and Dave Vanian – Alamy
Captain Sensible and Rabbit – Alamy

 

 

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