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Well, I’ll Be Damned!
Ahead of their Dublin stop-off this week, The Damned’s Captain Sensible talks to Stuart Clark about longevity, mad Argentine football games, Lemmy and the difficulties of teaching Sid Vicious the bass.
Stuart Clark, 22 May 2012
“35 years? We thought we’d last about 35 weeks. One of the great rock ‘n’ mysteries is how nobody in this band hasn’t died or lost a limb.”
Captain Sensible is reflecting on how The Damned have somehow managed to avoid punk’s built-in obsolescence, and are as popular now as they were in 1976 when they beat the Pistols, Clash et al by releasing the first punk single, ‘New Rose’. Subsequently covered by everyone from Guns N’ Roses and Dave Gahan to Blondie and Eagles Of Death Metal, the song will be getting an airing on May 25 when the Captain & Co. crash land in the Dublin Academy.
“We’re concentrating on Damned Damned Damned and The Black Album – the ones that helped kickstart punk and Goth,” he tells us from his Croydon layer. “We were never yer’ Sisters Of Mercy-type Goths, but we did gloomy pretty well there for a while!”
The man born Raymond Burns in April 1954 has fond memories of the band’s first Irish foray in 1977.
“We played this place in Belfast called The Pound Bar, which was literally falling down. The dressing-room was where they kept the kegs, so by the time we went on we were completely arseholed. We haven’t been that drunk before or since, so Ireland occupies a very special place in our hearts.”
Aw, shucks! The Captain sounds a tad weary having just returned with The Damned from a mad sprint around South America. The numerous highlights included popping their Argentine gig cherry in Buenos Aires.
“It was particularly interesting as an Englishman going to a country, which not that long ago was at war with us,” he reflects. “The whole Malvinas/Falklands thing had just blown up again when we were there, so I was continually being asked what I thought. I told them I’m a pacifist who doesn’t believe in war in any shape or form. I went down and paid my respects to the fallen troops at the Buenos Aires memorial. Most of them were conscripts who were forced to fight, so the Falklands War was a tragedy on every level. I put a little picture of the memorial up on my Twitter and didn’t get one single comment from Britain. People are obviously following the general vibe as purveyed by the tabloids over here.”