Friday, December 10, 2010

Captain's Blog: Happy Talking Damned, Glam and Glitter with Captain Sensible..

Captain at Crocs - Boxing Day 1983

Whether you're a long-haul reader or casual browser of this blog - you'll probably know if there's one band that kick-started my passion for punk, fired my energy and enthusiasm for gig-going and wide-screened my musical horizons with their technicolour productions tuning me in to strange new worlds: psyche, garage and power-prog - it  is The Damned.

A regular rant of mine typically riffs on how under-valued and hugely influential this national treasure of a group are. A group with one of rock's (not just punk's - but rock's) finest guitarists on fret 'n' jangle-duties. So, it's no overstatement to say  - getting yer actual Captain Sensible on this ol' blog is an absolute super scoop of the century for me...

Well, what are we waiting for gang -  let's get to it and crack on with Captain.

Christmas seems the perfect time for your tour with the Glitter Band. What can we expect to see in the setlist..Glam anthems, Damned tunes (Sanity Clause?) Captain solo hits and Christmas bits - and is it a double bill or team up.
I'm definitely going back to revisit my 80s pop material. Not just Happy Talk.... there's some lovely tunes in there. Right jangly stuff too, that in my opinion gives Pop a GOOD name. Like before Simon Cowell made you avoid the charts.

I have ALSO been invited to do a song or two with the Glitter Band which might be a giggle.

The Damned appeared on Mike ‘cue the music’ Mansfield’s Supersonic pop show in early 77 – alongside: Cliff Richard, Guys and Dolls and Leo Sayer. How did these established polite pop acts react to having such a hi-energy punk band on the bill..
Cliff hated us, he just doesn't get punk at all. He's old in the head, even back in the day. Couldn't he see that we were getting the same bad headlines that his hero Elvis had gotten?  Supersonic was good cos they mixed up the acts.... a little bit like Jools. Holland - except for the fact that the Jools show won't have us on. Even when we release albums. What the problem is I have no idea.... I used to get on OK with Squeeze and JH himself. Maybe it's just some daft production policy - no UK punk bands maybe?

And THAT would be a disgrace for, whatever anyone thinks of 1977 and all that the eyes of the world's music scene were VERY MUCH on Belfast, London and Manchester and the UK in general where there was a music revolution going on. Crazy days that will be talked about for decades to come. This country should be PROUD of it's punk days - and play the bands on the radio occasionally - the BBC take note!!!

Marc Bolan took The Damned on tour as support in '77. I've read mixed reports of him during the mid 70s - but what are your memories of Marc
Nice chap, VERY helpful... full of advice about the music biz. Took us on the road in his tour bus. Sociable too. I used to pop in his dressing room as there was always a bottle of bubbly on the go. He lent me his shades one night after I sat on mine.

Why do you think most newbie bands seem happy to gig in their gardening gear - what happened to rockers looking like Rock Stars - why do you think dressing up seems to have disappeared
It'll come round again. When glam was 'cool' everyone had to wear the daft garb and it was reflected in street dress too. And then punk came along, which meant posh people had to ditch the expensive apparel if they wanted to be in fashion. What fun.

Wearing anoraks onstage is taking it a bit far the other way though.

There used to be a tradition of crowd-rousing band members (Rod Stewart, Noddy Holder, Freddie Mercury, Captain Sensible) - any thoughts on why newer performers don't work or interact with an audience in the same way
Can't say as I don't follow the scene at all. After seeing gigs by Sweet, The Groundhogs and Brian Auger why would you want to see these stage school educated bands around today?I'm sure there are WONDERFUL performers around.... some quirky eccentrics with totally original ideas but I can't be bothered to plough through the ubiquitous dross to find 'em.

Couple of local interest bits: I saw The Damned at Crocs in Rayleigh 1983 – with a totally over-capacity crowd in a tiny venue (exploding modern Health and Safety standards) do you have any memories of these shows..
Nup. Sounds like fun though......

The Damned's set-list September 10th 1983

 Another Southend question: if you had any free time, which of these Southend Rock 'n' Roll landmarks would you visit?

1)The club where Donovan was discovered in Westcliff

2)Oil City (Canvey Island) home to Dr Feelgood and the Eddie and Hot Rods ,

3)Have an ice cream at Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour (relations of Francis Rossi)

4)Or, being a train fan - can the lot and catch a train to the end of Southend Pier (the World's longest pleasure pier)

Yes, I'm interested in all of these.... Don's 'Catch The Wind' is such a lovely song. I did that onstage myself a few times. You can't beat the Rods and Feelgoods for sleazy R+B..... and 'Ma kelly's Greasy Spoon' by the Quo is a forgotten masterpiece. Recorded just before their sound had gelled into a formula. They used to have a drink in the bar with their audience occasionally too..... a tradition the Damned carried on with some enthusiasm.

I'm still a 'spotter' too.....
[Captain's written a great piece on an Ivor the Engine style adventure here]

Do you think the influence of glam on punk has become overlooked. Which Glam bands did you catch in concert as a teen and who were your faves.
Yes, a lot of punk bands were into glam..... Mark E Smith was well into the Glitter thing, I loved T Rex and their beautifully simple riffy pop and who could not dig Sweet, described as 'brickies in tinfoil' by some wag at the time.

Will you be sticking to your signature SG style guitars for the tour or going for something more Dave Hill-ish
I'm not playing a loud raucous set - it'll be full of thoughtful melancholy tinged jangly songs so - no.

Hopefully there'll be no gobbing at gigs - what a disgusting carry on that was, how did you put up with it and when did it die out?
Blame J.Rotten esq for that. And now he advertises butter. How times change.

The Damned's last records Grave Disorder and So, Who's Paranoid are two of the bands career-best albums in my opinion - are you working on any new material
No. It's quality not quantity with the Damned BUT we are talking about a special tour concept for next year maybe playing a couple of classic Damned albums back to back with stage sets and stuff. My choice would be the 1st album and the Black Album but it'll be decided by a brainstorming session round at Mr Vanians gothic mansion over a glass or 2 of port I'd imagine.

If you had to give a novice The Captain's Guide to Glam - what albums, bands or singles - what would you recommend.
Sweet, Slade, Mud, T Rex.... and don't miss out on the hugely influential Glitter Beat just cos the Daily Mail might get offended.

Regardless of what the ex singer got up to these great records should not be shoved under the carpet. Banning stuff doesn't work.

CALLING ALL SOUTHENDERS: Captain Sensible and The Glitter Band play Chinnerys on the 13th of December - click on the pic for all tour details..

A huge salute and a tip of the beret is due to Captain for his help with this and to John Medd for making it happen (Samuel Smith's voucher is in the post matey!)

Recommended reading....
The Official Damned Site
Captain Sensible site
Captain Sensible on Twitter


Coop said...

Great stuff Mondo, I'm totally with you on The Damned, just starting to get their due I reckon after years of being overlooked. First band I ever saw at the Hammy Odeon in 79 or 80 on either The Machine Gun Etiquette or Black Album tour, memory's a bit fuzzy on which year. I'm sure I remember nuns in fishnets on stage though. Still rocking strong as we saw at the Cliffs recently. Nice to hear some pearls of wisdom from the Captain as always.

lil said...

Fantastic Q & A’s Mondo!
The Damned are one of my fave’s from my Teen years, I can’t believe you got a Blog interview with Captain Sensible; amazing...

Mondo said...

Captain great isn't he? He should do a book 'Captain's Orders' with his theories and thoughts on things. Speaking of first gigs I found my ticket for my first Damned gig last week..Sunday 5th July 81. Damned are 5 gig. Details here. Wonder if there's a booty of it about..

I know Lil I'm bowled over and when you think of the amount of Damned we played at College too. It's put really the gloss back on a gloomy year..

John Medd said...

You're very welcome Mondo - I'm glad it went well. Now you've got his number I'm sure he'll have a scoop with you after the show. Interesting about Eddie & The Hot Rods: they were a massive influence on The Damned - so much so that they 'accidentally' put them on the back cover of Damned Damned Damned .

Mondo said...

All true JM. Did you know ex Hot Rod, and also Damned bass-man Paul Gray (Black Album, Strawberries)is back onboard for the Captain's christmas tour...

Ishouldbeworking said...

By pure coincidence I'm sitting here in hubby's original Damned (5th Anniversary) Tour t-shirt. Fifth!! And we thought they'd been around forever THEN (1981). So glad they still are. "Cliff hated us..." . I love that.

EXPO67 said...

I agree, The Captain should write a book or his autobiography would be even better.

Big scoop getting El Capitano for a Q&A..

Mondo said...

Can you describe it ISB. What's the design? Desperate to see any chance of a Facebook photo? I had a Damned are 5 badge but don't remember those tees. I love his line 'gives Pop a GOOD name. Like before Simon Cowell made you avoid the charts'

A book would be great wouldn't it Expo and I know just the person to do it.

Piley said...

Wow, what a great interview! Picked up my tickets today, looking forward to it.

Some great bits of info there... but have to say I was drooling at the thought of the Damned banging out whole album gigs. I had exactly that conversation with the Brownster earlier in the year, saying that would be a great thing to do.

Have to say though, if they are doing two albums, it REALLY should be Black Album or Strawberries and the Who's Paranoid. The new album is nothing short of a masterpiece, right up there with Black and Strawberries for me. If there are non-believers out there, who only did the old albums, doing an old and new album could get people along and get there hearing the new stuff (and seeing how bloody good it is!).

Look forward to seeing Cappy on Monday!!! (I wanna be in his gang!)


Carl said...

Wonderful stuff mate. Like you i feel The Damned are hugely under rated and under valued. There is so much more to them than just punk, they covered so many musical styles yet all we get from the press is The Clash. It fills me with joy to hear of Ma Kelly's by the Quo getting praise too, another under valued band in my opinion. What a top bloke the Capt is, shit hot guitar player too. Good stuff man.


E F RICE said...

Really good piece Mondo, lots of bits and pieces mentioned here to investigate !

Love the bit by the Captain on Cliff Richard by the way, I find it quite comforting that Cliff didn't get punk to be honest !

Mondo said...

Cheers chaps should be a walloping stomper of an evening. Buzzed for that double drum sound and Cap is a proper crowd rouser, so should be a Glamtastic tear up

Ishouldbeworking said...

Hope you have a fabulous night - you can't fail.

My luscious pouting hubby will be allowing me to photograph him in the famed 5th Anniversary t-shirt (I'll send via FB), as his delight at finding that a t-shirt he bought when he was 17 now fits him again was uncontrollable. I still think it looks better on me.

WV - 'panter'. Seems right somehow!