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Te Damned are known as a band of firsts – the first punk band to release a single, the first to release an album and the first to tour the US. Tey continue to wave the flag for originality, stick two fingers up to mediocrity and celebrate a DIY punk ethos. Original members David Vanian and Captain Sensible never expected to still be doing it 40 years later, but doing it they are – in fact they celebrated their 40th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall last year. I spoke to Captain Sensible (yes, him from Happy Talk) about punk’s legacy, his berets and what bands he’s into now...


What music were you listening to in your early teens that led you into punk? I attended every live gig I could… the wilder and sweatier the better. Te Groundhogs, Edgar Broughton & Pink Fairies put on rollicking shows but by the mid-70s things had gone a bit tame, a bit country. So, to hear the music we liked, the class of ‘76 had to do it for ourselves. You met Rat Scabies at work, and he suggested you join the band. Can you remember what that first meeting was like? I thought another aspiring musician, that’s good. But what really sealed it was when he managed to break into the canteen’s ice cream freezer and we scoffed so many we


made ourselves sick. Your first gig was supporting Te Sex Pistols in July 1976 and you followed that by going on tour with them. What was that experience like, back when everyone was terrified and horrified by punks? Te press were whipping up all the anti punk vibe, with the result that everywhere you went as soon as they clapped eyes on you some


local hero would start a punch up. A couple of years that lasted. So indeed, we DID fight in the punk wars - and in the process paved the way for the likes of Green Day to become multi-millionaires. People might not know that you were responsible for the


18 / November 2016/outlineonline.co.uk


cr“Punkaps onmostmodernmusic.”


theme music for Big Break, the snooker TV show. How did that come about? Ha ha! I was invited by Mike Batt to contribute to a musical he’d written based on Lewis Carrol’s Hunting Of Te Snark’ along with Billy Connolly, Justin Hayward, Roger Daltrey and Julian Lennon. It was a great album but wasn’t a hit; then one day I’m watching TV and I hear my song being used for a new snooker TV show. I didn’t send back the royalties though… it ran for several series. Ker-ching! How many red berets have you been through in your career? Loads as you can’t wash them - the dye comes out and it ruins anything else in the wash. I tried once but the missus was livid! What has held Te Damned together for so many years would you say? Te audience - we are very lucky to have them. If they ever stop coming we’re buggered.


What do you make of all the ‘anniversary of punk’ events that are happening this year and next? Are they a good nostalgia trip or is it a bit of a drag? Well, a lot of people under 40 don’t really know what it was all about. I think punk craps on most modern music with those ghastly studio effects and multi-layering. Punk was honest and direct, it connects with the listener, that’s why it’s still popular. What is your favourite protest song of all time? Won’t Get Fooled Again, with the line “meet the new boss - same as the old boss”. Never a truer word… Tatcher, Blair, Cameron - nothing much changes. Te NHS is still being privatised by stealth, corporations are still avoiding tax and there are still wars and daft new nuclear power stations keeps coming. Voting doesn’t seem to do much.


LIZZ PAGE


> INFORMATION Te Damned play at Te Waterfront on 23rd November. Tickets available from ueatickets.ticketabc.com Read this interview in full online at outlineonline.co.uk


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