The Damned’s Captain Sensible tells us what he’s been listening to; tour starts this week
The Damned's Evil Spirits Tour kicks off Wednesday (10/17) in Boston, and then hits the NYC area for shows at Irving Plaza on 10/18 and Asbury Park's Stone Pony on 10/19, and then DC, Philly, Denver, Salt Lake City, Vegas, Tempe, AZ, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, L.A. and Danzig's 30th Anniversary show in Irvine, CA. Still led by frontman Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible, they remain a great live band and have an arsenal of killer songs -- including ones from Evil Thoughts, their first new LP in 10 years (stream it below).
Ahead of the tour, we checked in with Captain Sensible (real name Ray Burns) to find out what (wot?) he's been listening to lately. His list includes songs from his pre-Damned band Johnny Moped (who are still at it), some psych/glam/prog nuggets from the '60s and '70s, the winner of Britain's Got Talent 2015, and a couple new artists who are, in the Captain's ears, keeping rock n' roll alive. As you may know, he's a very smart, funny guy -- with great taste and not one to hold back on opinions -- and he's applied that to the commentary accompanying his selections. Read that while listening to his picks, below.
CAPTAIN SENSIBLE - "WOT I'M LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT"
Ultimate Spinach - "Ballad of the Hip Death Goddess"
Monty [Oxy Moron, The Damned's longtime keyboardist] and myself we’re listening to Ultimate Spinach on the way back from the studio the other day. For a meandering psych out, the musicianship is way above what you’d expect from the average no hope garage ensemble so we were speculating whether it might in fact be a flower power cash in by a bunch of top session players. Wherever - it’s a bunch of fun from ‘67.. a year when everything went wonderfully nuts.
Alvin Stardust - "Red Dress"
I found myself sitting next to a DJ named Adam on a flight back from New York a few years ago... recognising that being of the old fart persuasion I was unlikely to have heard of him he volunteered “but you may know of my Dad... who had the stage name of Alvin Stardust”. “Heard of him?... I’m possibly his biggest fan” I spluttered and lubricated by a few drinks we entertained / annoyed (take your pick) our fellow passengers with a few of the great man’s more memorable tunes - of which "Red Dress" is my fave - it’s full of fab glam rock guitar riffs, but the exciting outro buildup may be '70s po's best ever. Recently departed -- gawdbless Alvin Stardust!
Lorraine Bowen - "The Crumble Song"
She’s a mate of mine from Brighton, a pretty wacky town, full of weirdos -- like us I guess. Somehow Lorraine got persuaded to do one of those awful TV talent shows, where she caused a bit of a sensation with this here song. Marching onto the stage with her Casio organ, and using an ironing board as a keyboard stand, away she went... “everybody’s good at cooking something -- and I’m good at cooking crumble, in fact I’ve got one in the oven... would you like some”... and the look on the judges faces was priceless. What gave them the right to judge anything was the unasked question Lorraine’s pisstake of a performance seemed to be asking -- she certainly managed to divide public opinion down the middle pretty much. For those out there who think plastic surgery enhanced, boob job sporting but plausible sounding karaoke singers are entertaining she was a total joke... but for the rest of us it was nice to see a bit of old fashioned British ‘don’t give a fuck’ eccentricity on prime time TV. And that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.
Lorraine is an extremely talented, and very nice lady... available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, biker bashes, etc, etc.
And while we’re on the subject...
Johnny Moped - "Simon Can’t"
Sounds like they might be talking about that odious TV mogul... it doesn’t beat about the bush either. And Johnny has still got it -- and thankfully the world will be seeing a bit more of him from now on because, following the sad departure of his wife Brenda, there is now nothing to stop him going out to do gigs any more. She didn’t like him coming home late and sozzled so all that was banned. Anyway, the Damned have managed to secure the services of this fun punk band for our UK winter tour... maybe we should invite Simon Cowell along to have a listen?
Pink Floyd - "Green Is The Colour" / "Careful With That Axe Eugene"
A mate of mine purchased that posh new early Pink Floyd compilation -- at some astronomical price... maybe the guys are down to their last Bentley? -- in which, after the magical Syd material, there is another golden period where Dave Gilmour is still employing enough Syd-isms to give the interplay with Rick’s Farfisa an authentic psychedelic vibe. The new lineup trod water for a year or two until the former architecture students finally constructed the template for a succession of mega albums -- which sadly stripped away any remaining charm from the Barrett era, so for me are not particularly interesting.
Anyway, going way back to my childhood, the best Xmas gift my folks had ever gotten me was a Ferguson reel to reel tape machine, which I wired up to the radio, enabling recording. Which is how I captured the Paris Theatre (actually located in in London, strangely) 1970 Floyd session.. the band were on fire at the time, so I was excited to hear it again after all these years.. only this time a beautiful hifi quality version rather than the dodgy medium wave radio to tape one I’d been enjoying for so many years.
The weird thing was, without the warm muffled tone I was so used to a lot of the nostalgia buzz was missing from the posh new / old version. The human brain is a funny old thing isn’t it!?
Ty Segall & Wand
It’s probably fairly obvious I don’t really listen to much modern music... most of it drives me nuts, not only because of new styles but also for the ghastly overdone studio treatment.. the excessive compression, enhancing, auto tuning, quantising, maximising... nearly everything is basically turd polished to oblivion these days.
So I’m always delighted to hear something new that doesn’t have that horrible modern computer crap all over it. And garage psych as a genre still sounds pretty fresh... especially in the hands of Ty Segall who I’ve watched develop as an artist with great interest over the last few years. He’s been smart enough to team up with Wand, another exciting bunch of psych merchants and some of the dual guitar jamming on this clip is as good as it gets -- plus, the way the rhythm section morph from animal stampede volume to pin drop sparseness is genius. This lot know what they’re doing... and rock n roll ain’t dead yet, not while there’s bands like this around.
THE DAMNED - 2018 TOUR DATES:
October 17- Boston - Paradise
October 18 - New York - Irving Plaza
October 19 - Asbury Park - Stone Pony
October 20 - Washington D.C - Black Cat
October 21 - Philadelphia - Theatre Of Living Arts
October 25 - Denver - Gothic Theatre
October 26 - Salt Lake City - The Depot
October 27 - Las Vegas - House Of Blues
October 28 - Tempe - Marquee Theater
Wed. Oct. 31 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Thu. Nov. 1 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
November 2 - Los Angeles - Henry Fonda Theatre
November 3- Irvine, CA - Five Point Ampitheatre