Smashing It Up - A Decade Of Chaos With The Damned
The definitive biography of The Damned. Drawing on in-depth new research and interviews with associates and band members – including founders Brian James, Chris Millar (Rat Scabies), Raymond Burns (Captain Sensible) and David Lett (David Vanian) – Kieron Tyler presents an alternative history of British punk, one fixing The Damned firmly at the head of a pack including the Sex Pistols and The Clash. From their individual involvement in the birth of British punk rock, Kieron Tyler brings the band together, sees them sign to Stiff Records, make friends with Marc Bolan and Motörhead, and charge off the rails at high speed.
Conflict was rife: managers and labels came and went; bridges were burnt; opportunities squandered. Yet through it all, The Damned always had great songs and made fantastic records. Their influence spread to the US as they travelled from their groundbreaking early sound to new artistic heights. They split in 1978, swiftly reformed, made the timeless Machine Gun Etiquette album – and hit the pop charts. They embraced psychedelia and celebrated lead singer David Vanian’s fascination with horror and retro-glamour. And when Captain Sensible became an unlikely solo pop star – amazingly, with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Happy Talk’ – The Damned simply dusted themselves off without him and headed into the Top Ten. Inevitably, disarray followed the successes of 1986 and, here, Kieron Tyler unveils the messy aftermath for the first time.