The Damned have announced a tour taking in more than twenty towns and cities across the UK to celebrate the 40th anniversary since the release of the first punk single, ‘New Rose’
Celebrated as the most entertaining of the original punk bands, The Damned were the very first British band to release a punk single (their mighty debut “New Rose”, released on 22nd October 1976), the first to release an album (1977’s ‘Damned Damned Damned’) and also the first to tour America. From the very first moment they started playing live in tiny punk clubs in 1976, The Damned quickly gained a reputation as a band who would always deliver an accomplished live set.
To cap their incredible 40th Anniversary year, which has already seen the band play a memorable set at Coachella Festival, where TheLA Times raved; “The Damned’s no-future UK punk thrash sounded gritty and immediate” and Rolling Stone claimed their set as ‘One Of The “20 Best Things We Saw” and also deliver a blistering three-hour show at a completely sold-out London Royal Albert Hall in the summer, The Damned will play across the UK this winter on dates listed below where they will be playing their legendary debut album ‘Damned Damned Damned’ in full, plus a career-spanning retrospective set.
The Damned are currently recording a new studio album, with exclusive merchandise and experiences available to pre-order now via Pledge Music.
Following a new film documentary on The Damned, ‘Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead’, directed by Wes Orshoski (Lemmy), released in 2015 to much acclaim, BMG Music will release a new 40th anniversary ‘Art Of The Album’ CD, digital & heavyweight vinyl LP special-edition of the band’s classic debut album, ‘Damned Damned Damned,’ complete with extensive new sleeve notes, in February 2017.
Always unforgettable, The Damned continue to wave the flag for originality, stick two fingers up to mediocrity and celebrate a DIY punk ethos in the face of plastic entertainment and scripted reality. Original members David Vanian and Captain Sensible never expected to still be doing it 40 years later, but here they are in town for one night only, as their loyal following will attest, all simply because they are still an incredible live band who sound as fresh and exciting as they did way back in 1976.
12 Leamington Spa, The Assembly
13 Nottingham, Rock City
15 Guildford, G-Live
16 Wrexham, William Aston Hall
17 Leeds, 02 Academy
18 Manchester, Academy
19 Newcastle, 02 Academy
20 Glasgow, 02 ABC
22 Cambridge, Junction
23 Norwich, Waterfront
24 Brighton, Dome
25 Gillingham, Britannia Theatre
26 London, 02 Brixton Academy
27 Cardiff, Tramshed
29 Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
30 Bristol, Motion
1 Portsmouth, Pyramids Centre
2 Weymouth, Pavilions
3 Plymouth, University (Main Hall)
4 Exeter, Phoenix Centre
9 Margate, Winter Gardens
In the late 1970s while working at the Chatham Dockyard, Billy Childish dreamed of a way out by forming a band and writing songs for a living. Like many wannabe teenagers, the name of the band was important and came before any rehearsals or songs were committed to paper. Soon after, ‘Wild’ Billy Childish, as he became known, formed a post-punk band called The Pop Rivets before gaining cult status with the psych-garage band, Thee Milkshakes.
Over 150 album releases later and Billy Childish has returned to reclaim the name he first imagined, The Chatham Forts (or CTMF). So back to the future, Wild Billy Childish & CTMF recently released SQ 1 on Damaged Goods records.
SQ 1, or Square 1, is the name given in explanation to the music originally created by a band that, for all intense and purpose is an end in itself, rather than seen as a stepping stone. In the title track, Billy explains they have no intention to move forward , changing the sound to something more developed or progressive; and in doing so don’t face the familiar problem of attempting to recreate the energy and enthusiasm of a debut album.
Twelve tracks start off with the brilliant ‘A Song For Kylie Minogue’ recounting Billy’s brushes with the pop and rock celebrities including when Kylie Minogue called him to ask permission to use one of his poems in a song; and another when after meeting with Beck, was asked to call him on a personal number. When Billy called someone answered abruptly ‘how did you get this number?’ Billy recounted this story to me some years ago, and suggested it was one of the many reasons why he wasn’t interested in contacting other artists or ‘playing the game’.
CTMF is another primitive sounding rock n roll song with biographical notes including an answer to a dumb question “the reason we didn’t sound like The Smiths is because we wanted to sound like this!” Billy sings of how punk sold out and was full of bullshit; and the disappointment of so-called difficult second albums, such as ‘Give ’em Enough Rope’ by The Clash. Which brings us back to groups that lose their way when all initial excitement and power of their music gets watered down or lost through the concept of progression or over-production.
Anyone already aware of Billy Childish and his prolific output will be immediately familiar with the rudimentary rock ‘n roll sound, lo-fi garage production and uncomplicated purity of CTMF and the ideals of ‘square 1’; and this album could be seen as a manifesto of punk rock defiance, a celebration of musical, independence or simply a true document home-made rock and roll delivered as art, not commerce.
CTMF is promoted as a three-piece group. But like all of his 150+ albums, this is first and foremost a Billy Childish album. Billy plays guitar and sings with Wolf Howard on drums and wife Julie Hamper on bass guitar, backing vocals and lead vocal on songs like ‘Turn and Run’, ‘When I think About You’ and ‘It’s Over (Again). The album also includes the limited edition 7″ single ‘A Glimpse Of Another Time’ also released on Damaged Goods earlier this year.
The final track on the wonderful CTMF SQ 1 album is ‘Cadillac’. A charming rock ‘n’ roll song that is sure to put a smile on your face that bops along to the ubiquitous tune of ‘Bo Diddley’. Great!
The record industry is big business. It is therefore all the more refreshing to see an original artist stick to his principles, never sell-out and always be looking for artistic control of fame and fortune. Over the past 30 years and 150+ albums Billy Childish has achieved this. But unlike Radiohead, U2 and The Rolling Stones, he has never signed on the dotted line for a major record label.
The new album from Wild Billy Childish & CTMF is scheduled for release on 20th May, and is released on Damaged Goods Records by way of CD or the choice of 3 different colours of green vinyl – light green, mid-green, and dark green.
‘the reason we didn’t sound like the Smiths is because we wanted to sound like this’
No less than 40 years ago, Billy Childish, then a 16 year old working in Chatham dockyard, imagined a group called ‘the Chatham Forts’, and so started a journey through punk rock from 1977 to now.
‘people think they know me, but they don’t know me’
No one, including Billy Childish himself appear to know exactly how many albums he has released. But the release of Wild Billy Childish & CTMF’s SQ 1 brings it to around 150th, or thereabouts.
SQ 1 could be seen as a manifesto of punk rock defiance, a celebration of musical independence or simply a true document homemade rock and roll delivered as art, not commerce.
The lead single to be taken from the forthcoming album is ‘Kylie‘.
‘Here’s a story ’bout Kylie Minogue. She’s only tiny, so I’ve been told. She rang me up she said can I use your poetry, I said help y’self girl, it’s all for free.’
In 1976 I was a young teenager already turned on and pretty passionate about music. Like many young people that witnessed the arrival of The Sex Pistols and punk rock, I was bowled over. The music was raw, powerful and aggressive. But most of all I was mesmerised by Johnny Rotten; his manor, his voice and his style, looking the epitome of cool in the Pretty Vacant video with his long-sleeved Destroy t-shirt and bright ginger hair.
Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys is a book by Viv Albertine. In “Side One” she recounts growing up in London, the separation of her parents, teenage rebellion, art school, sex, drugs, abortion, punk rock and The Slits.
Johnny Rotten & the Sex Pistols changed my life, but only from afar. Viv Albertine was also struck by Rotten & the Pistols, but she was in touching distance. Albertine was one of a small inner circle, gathered together by their love of music and fashion; and in Viv Albertine’s eyes, boys too. Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren’s shop Sex provided the clothes (to those who could afford them) and The Roxy, 100 Club & Louise’s gay club became punk-friendly haunts where infamous gigs and happenings happened.
Like members of The Clash, Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Siouxsie & The Banshees, Viv Albertine decided she wanted to form a band after witnessing an early Sex Pistols gig. She bought a guitar and began learning to play. But it didn’t come easily and she struggled with traditional chords and rhythms while forming a band with close friend, Sid Vicious. Flowers Of Romance was a great name, suggested by Johnny Rotten and later used as an album title by the band he formed with Keith Levine, Public Image Limited. But when Sid was asked to play drums for Siouxsie & The Banshees, the band disbanded and Viv Albertine was left to find her own destiny.
The band she joined was The Slits. At times shambolic and loose but always uncompromising and exciting in both their music and fashion. The Slits embodied the true meaning and energy of punk as much as The Sex Pistols, themselves. By being the last rock ‘n’ roll band, The Pistols opened the doors to a whole spectrum of acceptance and possibilities. Punk was good for offering the freedom to ‘have a go’ & a ‘do it yourself’ mentality. It also opened the doors for girls to be in bands without being used for sexuality.
That said, The Slits were very sexy! But they didn’t use sex to sell records.
The Slits music was ‘punk’ but not ‘rock’; and Viv Albertine was an essential ingredient with her beautiful looks, great mix of retro and new fashion styles, messy wild blonde hair and most of all, her unique guitar style. They took time signatures from dub and reggae. They were feisty and original; and with ‘Cut’ they recorded a classic debut album with legendary reggae producer, Dennis Bovell.
1975 – 1982 was heady days for Viv Albertine as The Slits toured the globe. In the early days she had an off / on relationship with Mick Jones (The Clash & Big Audio Dynamite) and in her book is very open and honest about her sexuality and flirtatious nature. Johnny Thunders, Johnny Rotten and a non-sexual but close relationship with Sid Vicious all get a mention. In 1977, The Slits were invited on the White Riot Tour with The Clash, Subway Sect and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers. The same year they recorded the first of two Radio 1 sessions for John Peel, who since has stated both would be in his Top 10 sessions of all-time! Not bad for a group who ‘allegedly’ couldn’t play very well!
By 1982 the music scene had moved on, and though their contemporaries had decided to play the game, The Slits refused. They were dropped by their record label. A second album, Return Of The Giant Slits, was released out of time with the 1980s. Though she recalls the band was already falling apart, Albertine recalls how devastating it was when the band finally split up.
Side Two of Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys is what happened to Viv Albertine after The Slits: teaching aerobics, forging a new career in film and video, getting married, cancer, IVF, parenthood, divorce, and finally, like a Hollywood movie script, a happy ending as Viv Albertine plucks the courage up to return to music, finds her way as a solo performer and releases a great solo album.
I’d be lying to say I wasn’t looking forward to reading about the heady days of punk and Viv Albertine as ‘guitarist of The Slits’ more than her years ‘in the wilderness’ – settling down and staying away from music altogether. But the second part of this book is as gripping as the first. Having turned her back on the music industry altogether, Viv Albertine went about re-inventing herself, first with dance and fitness, then with a new career working behind the camera in video, television and film. She met and married what she believed to be the man of her dreams, but becoming a housewife and moving to the sleepy coastal town of Hastings didn’t work out as she had planned. Add to this hospitalised illness, cancer, miscarriages, IVF programmes and divorce – Viv Albertine’s life has been a see-saw of emotion which, I’m glad to say she has survived and written a wonderfully enthralling book about.
The title ‘Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys comes from a saying her mother used to say that it was all she was interested in. It appears the mature Viv Albertine hasn’t lost her passions one single bit.
Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys – A memoir is possibly the most honest and naked biographical account I have ever read. I smiled, laughed and cried (all in the right places, I hope) and like the heroine of a Hollywood movie, when she decided to pick up her life again and start writing songs, I was willing her on to succeed.
In 2009 Viv Albertine began performing as a solo artist and in March 2010 released a four-track ep called Flesh. In 2014 she followed this with her debut solo album, The Vermillion Border. If you didn’t already love Viv Albertine, you will after reading her book.
London grungy punk girl trio Feature have unveiled their new video for ‘Wisdom Teeth‘ directed by Maria Cecilia
Maria says, “When I was approached to make a video for Feature, the band asked me if I could make it about “Jen’s weird hands doing things”. Basically it’s an in-joke taken a bit too far, something I’m always going to get behind. I really wanted to add some old school effects – making it a quite absurd and surreal without being too serious. Also apparently it’s almost the exact same set up as the the Disney film Frozen? Haha. Oops.”
The band say of the video,
“Jen’s twiglet fingers are a constant source of wonder to us; They’re always there in the corner of our eye, resting majestically on objects, creeping across tables or wrapped around drumsticks. We felt now was their time to shine”.
Feature are a punk band from London. Having already released two EP’s (‘Memory’ on Cazenove Tapes in 2012, and the acclaimed ‘Culture of the Copy’ on Tye Die Tapes in early 2014), they joined up with tour buddies Slowcoaches for the ‘Tourists’ split EP, which gets a cassette release on April 27th via Unwork Records (COP, USA Nails, Los Cripis, Major Malfunction).
Last month, a compilation of both EPs came out on Brisbane label Ruined Smile, and the trio have releases on Art For Blind and Soft Power Records later this year, as well as currently writing an album, due 2016. The band did a session for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music last year, plus a Bowlegs session, and have supported the likes of Protomartyr, Cheatahs, Mazes, TRAAMS, Joey Fourr, Verity Susman and Chain and the Gang. Jen also plays in Sauna Youth and Monotony, Heather also plays in Slowcoaches and Human Form. Liv feels lazy.
Feature ‘Wisdom Teeth’ is taken from the Tourists EP (a split with Slowcoaches), released 27th April via Unwork Records.
Feature UK & European Live Dates:
Friday 17th April – The Stillery, London w/ Super Luxury (free)
Saturday 2nd May – Odd Box Records Weekender, The Shacklewell Arms, London w/ Slowcoaches, Joey Fourr, The Fish Police and more
Friday 8th May – Gullivers, Manchester w/ Gorgeous Bully
Monday 11th May – Oslo, Hackney w/ Cheatahs & No Joy
Friday 29th May – Berlin, Germany w/ DIÄT
Saturday 3rd October – The 9th Annual Nottingham Pop All-dayer, The Maze, Nottingham w/ Witching Waves and more