Music: The Damned

TV Tropes Page Of The Damned

The Damned are one of the original British punk bands, although they have mutated beyond punk rock in the decades since they were first formed in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Dave Vanian (Vocals), Brian James (Guitar), Captain Sensible (Bass) and Rat Scabies (Drums). They released both the first British punk single (“New Rose”) and British punk album (Damned Damned Damned) before becoming the first British punk band to tour the United States. Interestingly enough they were not the first British punk band to break up (that was the Sex Pistols; the Damned were second) but they were the first to re-form. The subsequent line up had Captain Sensible replacing the departed Brian James on guitar and whatever bassist they could findnote  that week replacing the Captain on the bottom section. It was during this period that the band - which thanks to their vampyric crooning frontman Vanian had always dabbled in the dark - began to take on a more gothic sound, which helped give birth to the Gothic Rock subgenre.

The band broke up again in the early nineties but re-formed (again) in time for the new millennium and are of this article (July 2010) still performing and releasing music. The current line-up includes Vanian, Sensible, Monty Oxy Moron, Pinch and Stu West. Their current sound can be described as Gothic Neo-Psychedelic Punk Rock.

In November 2012, the band were awarded the Classic Rock Outstanding Contribution Award for services to Rock music, possibly the first award they ever got in their long career.

Discography Of The Damned:

Albums Of The Damned:

  • (1977) Damned Damned Damned
  • (1977) Music For Pleasure
  • (1979) Machine Gun Etiquette
  • (1980) The Black Album
  • (1981) Friday 13th EP
  • (1982) Strawberries
  • (1985) Phantasmagoria
  • (1986) Anything
  • (1995) Not Of This Earth
  • (2001) Grave Disorder
  • (2008) So Who’s Paranoid

Singles Of The Damned:
  • 1976
    • New Rose
  • 1977
    • Neat Neat Neat
    • Stretcher Case Baby
    • Problem Child
    • Don't Cry Wolf
  • 1979
    • Love Song
    • Smash It Up
    • I Just Can't Be Happy Today
  • 1980
    • White Rabbit
    • The History Of The World Part 1
    • There Ain't No Sanity Clause
  • 1981
    • Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
  • 1982
    • Wait for the Blackout
    • Lovely Money
    • Dozen Girls
    • Lively Arts
    • Generals
  • 1984
    • Thanks For The Night
  • 1985
    • Grimly Fiendish
    • The Shadow Of Love
    • Is It A Dream?
  • 1986
    • Eloise
    • Anything
  • 1987
    • Gigolo
    • Alone Again Or
    • In Dulce Decorum
  • 1991
    • Fun Factory
    • Prokofiev
  • 1995
    • Shut It
  • 2005
    • Little Miss Disaster
  • 2010
    • A Nation Fit For Heroes

Compilations Of The Damned:
  • (Too Many To List)

Tropes Of The Damned:

  • Badass Baritone: Dave Vanian
  • Breakup Breakout: Sensible had a surprising bout of solo success in the 1980s (UK only), though he remained in the band until after Strawberries. He would eventually leave the band to focus on his solo work, but he returned in the late 90s.
  • Christmas Songs: "There Ain't No Sanity Clause", with tongue firmly in cheek.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sensible is an infamous looney. Vanian dressing as a vampire 24/7 made him come across as one as well.
  • Cool Old Guy: All of them as of the 2010s.
  • Cover Version:
    • "Help!" by The Beatles" as the B-side for "New Rose"
    • "1970" by The Stooges (renamed "I Feel Alright") for Damned Damned Damned
    • "Looking at You" by MC5 for Machine Gun Etiquette
    • "Citadel" by The Rolling Stones for Friday 13th EP
    • "Eloise" by Paul Ryan as a non-album single, later included on reissues of Phantasmagoria
    • "Alone Again Or" by Love for Anything
  • A Day in the Limelight/Step Up to the Microphone:
    • Captain Sensible takes over vocals for "Silly Kids Games" from The Black Album, "Life Goes On" and "Don't Bother Me" from Strawberries, and the B-sides "Take That" and "Torture Me".
    • Then-guitarist Roman Jugg sings "Edward the Bear" from Phantasmagoria.
    • Rat Scabies sang on the b-side "Burglar".
  • Dead Artists Are Better: "Would You Be So Hot"
    "-if you weren't dead?"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sensible
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover for Music for Pleasure
  • Epic Rocking: "Curtain Call" from The Black Album is 17 minutes long, and "Dark Asteroid" from So, Who's Paranoid? is 14 minutes long.
  • Evil Laugh: Briefly in "Noise, Noise, Noise"
  • Goth Rock: Their 80s output helped to develop Goth Rock, and their 1985 album Phantasmagoria was full-on Goth.
  • Iconic Outfit:
  • Instrumentals: "Singalonga Scabies" (instrumental version of "Stab Your Back" from Damned Damned Damned, titled due to it being Scabies' song in the first place), "Smash It Up (Part 1)" (also rarely found part 3 and 4 and istrumental version of part 2, titled "Singalonga Damned"), "Trojans", "The Portrait".
    • The "Mine is a Large One Landlord" B-side, except for one clip of sped-up spoken word.
  • In the Style of...:
  • The Killer In Me/Tomato in the Mirror: "Twisted Nerve" from The Black Album
    "Go to the window / What do I see / Go to the window / The killer is me"
  • Laughing Mad: "These Hands", being sung from the perspective of a Monster Clown. Topped off with:
    "Stop laughing!"
  • Long Runner: Still performing and recording, despite dissolving and reforming several times.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Life Goes On" from Strawberries sounds awfully sad for such life-affirming lyrics.
  • The Masochism Tango: "Torture Me", a B-side to the "Dozen Girls" single.
  • Monster Clown: The narrator of "These Hands" from Machine Gun Etiquette.
    "These are the hands of a demented circus clown..."
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: From their third album Machine Gun Etiquette on, they've mixed Punk with classic Rock, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Goth Rock, and even incidental film music.
  • Non-Indicative Title: "Anti-Pope" is more about church-going hypocrites than the pope.
    "I got nothing against the church / Only the people who go there"
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Ours is a grave digger-turned-Punk singer-turned-Goth crooner.
  • Punk Rock: The first British Punk band to release a single, release an album, and tour the United States.
  • Revolving Door Bassists: They never went more than two albums without changing their bassist, with Stu West lasting longer than any other just by sheer years.
  • Sampling: "Curtain Call" incorporates a long-since-forgotten recording of a violin from Scheherazade.
  • Self-Deprecation: Often called themselves ugly in front of their audience.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Smash It Up Part 1" is an instrumental tribute to the then-recently-deceased Marc Bolan.
    • "There Ain't No Sanity Clause" takes its title from a scene in the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera.
    • "Grimly Fiendish" is about 1960s-80s children's comic character Grimly Feendish - The Rottenest Crook in the World, with his name altered for copyright reasons.
  • Silly Love Songs:
    • "New Rose" and "See Her Tonite" from Damned Damned Damned, "One Way Love" from Music for Pleasure, "Shadow of Love" from Phantasmagoria, non-album single "Eloise", "She" from Grave Disorder, "Little Miss Disaster" from So, Who's Paranoid?.
    • "Love Song" from Machine Gun Etiquette is a sarcastic parody of this.
  • Skunk Stripe: Vanian had one in the 80s to complete the vampire look.
  • Spin-Off:
    • Naz Nomad and the Nightmares - A one-off Garage Rock and Psychedelic Rock album from the 1984 lineup made to look like a (fake) soundtrack album from 1967.
    • Dave Vanian and the Phantom Chords - a Gothabilly project born out of the 1989 breakup. Last active in 1999.
    • The Sensible Gray Cells - A 2013 Psychedelic Rock collaboration between Captain Sensible and former bassist Paul Gray with drummer Ant Thickett.
  • Stage Names: Dave Vanian (David Lett), Captain Sensible (Raymond Burns), Rat Scabies (Christopher Millar), Monty Oxy Moron (Montgomery Gillan), Pinch (Andrew Pinching).note 
  • Take That:
    • The title of another B-side to the "Dozen Girls" single. Includes several lines that apply to the trope as well, such as "You're feeble and fat".
    • "Idiot Box" from Music for Pleasure. See "In the Style of...".
    • "Anti-Pope" from Machine Gun Etiquette, though more towards religious hypocrites than the pope himself.
    • "Bad Time for Bonzo" from Strawberries is this to Ronald Reagan.
    • "W" from Grave Disorder is this to, no surprise, George W. Bush.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Their first two albums, written largely by Brian James.
  • Video Nasties: Yes, they've got an entire song dedicated to Video Nasties. It was recorded especially for British sitcom The Young Ones for an episode titled "Nasty", which was about, fittingly enough, a Video Nasty. The song? "Nasty".
  • Vocal Evolution: Dave Vanian sounds differently on first three records, than on later material. Only from The Black Album era onwards, he started singing in that baritone croon he's known for today, and even that album featured some of that snarle-kind of singing present on previous albums.
  • War Is Hell: "Generals" from Strawberries