The Damned reunited: “We make an explosive sound together”

All four original members discuss their surprise reunion

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Last year, Dave Vanian admitted to Uncut that a reformation of the classic Damned line-up was unlikely, describing the relationship between fellow original members Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies as a “powder keg”. But it seems that the fuse has been re-lit, with the foursome announcing a reunion tour for July next year. In the latest issue of Uncut – in shops now, or available to buy online by clicking here – all four original Damned members tell Peter Watts why they decided the time was right to get back together.

“Everybody wants to do it and life is too damned short,” says Dave Vanian. “This band was always very exciting. It’s an incredible mix and one that works very well. It wasn’t just that I wanted us to play together, I thought we should play together. For the fans and because Brian James doesn’t get enough credit. He wrote a great album [1977 debut Damned Damned Damned] and we played on it. That combination made it what it was.”

Brian James still seems slightly shocked that the reunion is happening. He left The Damned in 1978 and rejoined a decade later for a couple of short tours, the second of which ended badly – he thinks his final performance with The Damned took place in Washington in 1991. 

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Then, early in 2020, he was called by The Damned’s manager, who said matters had been settled between Sensible and Scabies. In September, the four reunited for a photo shoot. “There may have been a slight frostiness in the air between Rat and Captain, but that soon seemed to disappear,” says James. “It always seemed silly to me for grudges to be held. I’m hoping the spark will still be there. It’s the spark that made me and Rat get together in the first place when we were in London SS. That spark still exists, it really does. Some people you play with, it’s like time stands still.”

Adds Captain Sensible: “We make an explosive sound together and I wanted to hear it again myself, to be quite honest.”

You can read the full interview with The Damned in the January 2021 issue of Uncut, out now with Paul McCartney on the cover.

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