Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Damn Fine Punkband; GIG PREVIEW THE DAMNED - Newcastle O2 Academy , FRIDAY, JANUARY 26

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Damn Fine Punkband; GIG PREVIEW THE DAMNED - Newcastle O2 Academy , FRIDAY, JANUARY 26

Article excerpt

IF there's such a thing as a punk holy trinity, the Damned would be in it alongside the Clash and the Sex Pistols.

They were, after all, there at the beginning, releasing what's long been acknowledged as the first British punk single, New Rose.

They even supported the Sex Pistols in the long hot summer of 1976 at the 100 Club, the scene of punk's "Big Bang".

More than 40 years later, the Damned are still going strong and this year will see them release a new album recorded with David Bowie's legendary producer Tony Visconti.

That record, titled Evil Spirits, is the first fruit of a new deal the band has signed with Search And Destroy/Spinefarm Records and their first since 2008.

But before that release hits the shops, the band are going back out on the road to tour the UK, starting with a North-east show at the Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday, January 26.

Several key Damned members have come and gone over the years and the current line-up features returning bass player Paul Gray, who links up with ever-present lead singer Dave Vanian plus guitarist Captain Sensible, drummer Pinch and Monty Oxymoron on keyboards.

Gray was part of the band for two albums in the early-80s, The Black Album and Strawberries, and has also played with Eddie And The Hot Rods, Johnny Thunders, UFO and Rob Tyner from the MC5.

On his Damned return, Gray said: "It's my third time, how about that? Never say never.

"I can't wait (for the tour) and there's a fantastic new album on the way. Once we started playing it felt like I'd never been away."

Captain Sensible, who was The Damned's first bass player, is delighted that Gray has agreed to replace Stu West, who left the band last year.

He said: "I wasn't the best bassist in the band by a long way, that was Paul.

"The Damned, Eddie and The Hot Rods, UFO... the bloke is a master of his instrument and it's great to have him back for the tour. …

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