5 QUESTIONS WITH CAPTAIN SENSIBLE OF THE DAMNED
Did you know that the venue you are playing PARADISE ROCK CLUB is also celebrating 40 years?
No, good luck to them… if them walls could speak what stories they’d tell. Whereas with us the carnage over the years is well known. I can only guess at the money it cost us to replace wrecked equipment and pay fines. Of course, we had no idea it was us paying it all… managers don’t tell you that stuff. Until you ask them why you’re still stoney broke - despite playing all those shows.
Do you have any memories of past Boston shows you’d like to share?
The Rat Club.. we had some fun there over the years. Not so much the first time though, when between songs the audience chatted among themselves, accompanied by the sound of cutlery on plates. We dragged a table up onstage and ordered pizza… if you can’t beat em join em!
The band has of course taken some time off over the years, but continues to roll on and tour. What keeps you all coming back?
While there’s discerning music fans out there who want to see us, and we’re fit enough to do it we’ll keep going. Those old frauds the Stones are still out there, can’t let those old swines outlive us.
When our guitarist and leader Brian James quit the band in ‘78 we were considered to be washed up… especially with no history of songwriting between the remaining 3 members. But I wasn’t going back to cleaning toilets if I could possibly help it so started composing like anyone’s business, and with the help of our chum Lemmy on bass we did some gigs that procured a new record deal, and a new musical adventure began - that went thru garage, psych and goth phases… with us eventually becoming the evangelists for live music you see now. We live for that manic hour and a half onstage when there’s an element of danger and chaos… and anything could happen.
The music business has changed but the support from your vast swath of punk, goth and rock fans continues to stay the same. Not many you started out with are still doing it. How was it working with Pledge Music to fund your latest album, offering your fans something that they want?
Things are very different now… but we caught the tail end of a golden period for bands. When a label would book a live in studio for a few weeks and trust you to deliver something they can sell. They often ended up with drastically different records to that they were expecting… and you simply can’t imagine that ever happening today. We used to enjoy seeing the slightly shocked record company faces when we played our new finished albums the first time.
Our mates the Buzzcocks told us about this Pledge Music thing which I’d no idea about - but when told it allowed us to make the album that WE wanted to make… without a record label bloke watching over your shoulder I was there. So we can pretty much do what we like - which in the 80s would’ve meant getting comprehensively sloshed and wrecking the studio - probably getting thrown out of a few along the way for those sort of capers. Not this time though, being considerably older… and hopefully wiser.
Pinch, Stu and a Monty are such great players… they’re going to get a chance to flex their muscles musically. This is a band that can break out of a song structure and really jam it up.
Each album we’ve made sounds different from the last one - and this one will continue that trend. It’s fun to experiment, to be creative… take a few risks. The only shame is not releasing before the world tour, but to have boshed out a half finished album would be wrong. I have Sgt Pepper and Pet Sounds in my vinyl collection, played em to death over the years, and unlikely as it sounds always aspire to achieve those elevated standards.
Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) THE DAMNED song to play live?
Fave - Neat Neat Neat for the jamming scope the riff allows… we never play it the same twice.
Cheers - CS