As far as Punk is concerned, there’s The Damned and then there’s everything after. The band’s list of firsts reads like the genre’s Book of Genesis: the first Punk single, “New Rose,” recently cited by Kerrang! Magazine as the greatest Punk single of all time; the first full-length Punk album, Damned Damned Damned; the first British Punk band to play in the U.S.; the first Punk band to consistently cover classic Rock/Pop artists (The Beatles’ “Help!,” The Rolling Stones’ “Citadel,” Love’s “Alone Again Or,” Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Barry Ryan’s “Eloise,” among others); the first Punk band to have an alter-ego side project (Naz Nomad and the Nightmares); the first Punk band to break up and reunite (again and again); the first Goth Punk band; and the first active Punk band (accounting for breaks and new personnel) to celebrate its 40th anniversary, an event commemorated with a show at the Royal Albert Hall, holes and all.
Over the course of The Damned’s four-decade run, various versions of the band — 25 permanent and touring members along the way, with Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible anchoring the current lineup, which has been solid for the past 13 years — has recorded 10 studio albums, including their most recent, 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid?, but adding in live albums, compilations, EPs and singles pushes the band’s discography to nearly 90 recordings. The band was also the subject of an extensive but very Punk-structured documentary, The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead, from renowned filmmaker Wes Orshoski.
The Damned’s groundbreaking and seminal debut album was recently reissued in a remastered deluxe 40th-anniversary package, featuring exhaustive liner notes by John Ingham, the first British music writer to review the band. Perhaps the best news of all is the imminent release of The Damned’s crowdfunded (and as yet untitled) new album, the band’s first set of new material in 11 years. It’s all living proof that Punk may never have gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for those Damned kids.