2020 has been a year that we all would rather forget due to the pandemic live shows have been sorely missed so any new music we must grab with two hands so that brings me to the latest EP release by The Damned titled ‘The Rockfield Files’.

The Damned has recorded some of their classic material at Rockfield and the welsh studio was where the band decided to record their last album Evil Spirits.

‘Keep em’ alive’ is the first track on Rockfield files and it doesn’t disappoint with a chanting intro the track then bursts into life with guitars and drums crashing in and with Dave Vanian’s glorious vocals over the top the tune is a sure-fire winner.

‘Manipulator’ is next up and is a melodic punk ripper with sneering vocals from Dave and some great slashing chords on the guitar courtesy of the Captain.  This track also contains some powerhouse drumming from Pinch who sadly said goodbye to the band and with the Palladium and now this EP as his swansong he is leaving on an extreme high.

The spider & the fly’ is an interesting track as the beginning sounds like something off ‘Phantasmagoria’ but quickly morphs into the psychedelia of “The Black Album” and shows what a diverse band The Damned are.

The last track ‘Black is the Night’ is a song most Damned fans will know as it was the bonus track on the anthology of the same name released last year albeit this is an extended version and a welcome edition here for any fan who has not picked it up.

Overall this EP is top quality with some more great songs from such a great band.

Do yourself a favour and go and buy it and cheer yourself up cause after the last couple of months we all need some happiness in our lives and what better way to do that than with music.

Buy ‘The Rockfield Files’ Here

Facebook

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

This fully restored and expanded set from Woolwich Coronet This 2020 version has been newly remastered and includes several tracks that were left off the original release! Includes all-new artwork with full liner notes and a personal message from drummer Rat Scabies !

Available on both digipak CD and a 2LP vinyl set in your choice of either RED or BLUE vinyl! I had this when it first came out many moons ago and loved it.  It captured the band at the time perfectly.  whilst they might have been at a commercial career-high the studio albums were a bit beige around the time of MCA but live they still had it and that tour was a blaze of fun.

Expanded to nineteen tracks this is well worth tracking down and getting hold of from the opening keyboards of ‘Curtain Call’ they were on fire. The quality of the recording is good as well not overdubbed nor flat this is a picture of a band living it large and doing it well. As you would expect there is a decent smattering of tracks from ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Shadow Of Love’ particularly sound great. As does the much-maligned ‘Grimly Fiendish’ that I quite enjoy hearing live these days and back in the day or the mid-’80s to be precise it was quite a departure. It seems odd to hear tracks like ‘There’ll Come A Day’ played so fast and full of energy. that tour with The Fuzztones was exceptional and I have such fond memories of Cardiff New Ocean Club.

‘Gun Fury’ makes me smile as does the version of ‘Lust For Life’ 1985 seems like yesterday but its also so long ago.  when the Damned could have been and should have been we are left nuggets of pure Gold like this recording to remind us that it doesn’t matter what happened commercially because they were always the best and still are capable of amazing shows and the odd record that ignites a fire inside my heart and it seems odd to hear them end the set with a one two of ‘Disco Man’ Val Doonigan style followed by a rip-roaring slash of ‘Born To Kill’  If only all bands were this good.  Don’t think twice just buy it and revel in it. Fiendishly good!

Bandcamp

Author: Dom Daley

Bryn Merrick was a member of Cardiff-based punk band Victimize long before he joined the Damned. He joined The Damned where he survived as bass player from 1983 to ’89. He’d replaced Paul Gray, who had left for UFO. Merrick’s first release with the Damned was the single “Thanks for the Night” b/w “Nasty”. As bassist on the bands most commercial and commercially successful albums  ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Anything’ Bryn had arrived in the big time. 

Bryn made his TV debut on the set of the Young Ones where the band performed the fantastic single ‘Nasty’ still with the Captain on board but, it would seem not for long before he fell overboard. Bryn played the two dates at Finsbury park under the circus tent for the bands Tenth Anniversary Tea Party celebrations and was then featured on the Old Gray Whistle Test recording in Denmark where the band had a pretty decent feature.  The band had never had it so good at that period and after the success of ‘Grimly Fiendish’ and subsequent singles around the album there were high budget videos recorded as well as plenty of sold out shows. The high point of this period had to be the bands cover of ‘Eloise’ which saw them hit the top three in the UK singles chart. The band managed to stay a stable entity for several years thanks in no small part to the inclusion of Jugg and Merrick although stable might be a poor choice of word seeing as the tomfoolery and high jinx would continue a plenty with Merrick complaining of being set alight by Scabies as well as trashing the set of Rock the Dock in Liverpool on a promo performance of Anything ahead of the album release.

They rode the success as they pushed on with the more commercially accessible ‘Anything’ album the band was playing to big crowds every night and with Bryn and Roman occupying the guitar department the band seemed to be doing well but something was indeed rotten in the heart of Denmark and the band imploded after a time of inactivity and sitting around waiting for something to happen which did but this time it was without Jugg and Merrick. who bowed out when the ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ was released at the tail end of the ’80s.  It was fun whilst it lasted and Bryn enjoyed the trappings of success and the fast living of Proper tour busses and half decent hotels.

With the return of Captain several years later Bryn only became newsworth in Damned circles due to his health issues and one we hoped he would win.It was during the making of the movie ‘Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead’ it became apparent that both Bryn and Paul were being treated in the same place by the same Doctor.  Sadly the last time I saw Bryn was during a questions and answers session when the film had a screening in Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre where both Paul and Bryn were present with the film maker and seemingly in good spirits taking candidly about their time in the band.  Sadly Bryn never fully recovered from his diagnosis and on this day in 2015 he lost his battle with the disease.

His time in the Damned will be fondly remembered by many fans and I personally loved following the band around during that period at some pretty amazing shows.  Bryn was a character and filled some pretty hefty shoes in The Damned from Captain, Algy and Paul He last played with the band at a show at Cardiff Point where the Damned had 4 bass players on stage at the same time not something you see every day.  Captain, Paul, Stu and Bryn it was great to see but I think there were a couple up there who’d had a sherry or two but it was fun to be there for that.  Bryn sadly lost his battle on this day in 2015 but not before signing off Facebook with,”Goodbye, Signing out for a while”.  Gone But Not Forgotten Rest in peace Bryn Nos Da for now.